Students Donate Belongings to Those in Need

Reaching Out to Help Others During Lockdown

Alice Denman, a 1st year Psychology student at the University of Bath, shares her befriending story as a volunteer with 3SG.

“As many have found, living in lockdown is extremely different from normality. Personally, I struggled with the transition between constantly seeing friends, to seeing absolutely none. Once leaving University and returning home, I was so pleased to be with my family, but I did miss the social life I had at Bath. Lockdown made the days tedious, which I mainly filled with binge-watching Netflix… Although, having so much spare time led me to compare my circumstances to others. Of course, I missed my friends and Bath, but I questioned how different I would feel without my family during this crisis.

As a result of this reflection, I was keen to involve myself in supporting an individual who was isolated during this crisis.  I frequently fundraise and volunteer in my free time, so I began searching for opportunities and learnt about the befriending scheme from 3SG through the Students’ Union website.

I am going to refer to the individual I was paired with as “Jenny”. At the beginning of the lockdown, Jenny was not prepared to talk with me. Entering lockdown was tough for everyone but she was particularly struggling. I kept attempting to contact her and after our first call, we frequently spoke throughout lockdown. Jenny went from reluctantly speaking to me to “looking forward to our calls, as they always made her feel happy”; so much so, she began to call me herself for a chat. Not only did our calls make Jenny feel happier, but our chats always made my day too. Every call was comprised of endless topics, where there was never a dull moment speaking about the adventures she had in her life and how pleased she was to be laughing about them again. Hearing about Jenny’s experiences has encouraged me to reflect her ways and make the most of every moment. The optimism she possesses despite the current struggles she is facing is something I admire greatly.

I am so glad I volunteered as a befriender during this crisis and I believe it is so important to put aside some time for others who may need a friendly voice. I will be keeping in contact with Jenny as I would love to hear how she is getting on seeing her family, friends and pet tortoise again! The friendship the experience has developed is something I am so grateful for. I hope other students are inspired to use their free time in a way which benefits others after lockdown ends. If you are willing to listen and are aiming to make a positive impact in someone’s life then I would go for it.”

3SG provides support for local charities across Bath and North East Somerset. Since the start of lockdown, they have been working on numerous initiatives to try and reach vulnerable people and provide support with food, medicine, housing, mental health and money matters.

#NeverOK

Resources for Student Victims of Discrimination

 

The Student Community Partnership (SCP) is aware that there are many students in our community that are experiencing some racist and discriminating behaviour since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the current Black Lives Matter protests. All the partner institutions of the SCP condemn this type of behaviour and are committed to raising awareness on how to address it.

We would like to reiterate to all students that discrimination of any type is #NeverOK. If you have experienced or witnessed anything which has made you feel uncomfortable both on or off campus, please do report this via the channels below. Following your report, the services you selected on the form will be in touch with you to confidentially provide advice and support and detail all your options to you. 

If you are a University of Bath student, you can directly report via the Report and Support form or you can directly contact the SU Advice and Support Centre and they will provide advice and support including identifying the other services that may be able to help you. They are working remotely Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 16:00 (excluding bank holidays). 

 If you are a Bath Spa University student, you can also use the following Report and Support tool to report directly. You can also email the University’s Student Wellbeing Team (studentwellbeing@bathspa.ac.uk) and the Student Union advice centre (su-advice@bathspa.ac.uk)   for further advice and support, as well direct reporting. Both teams are also working remotely Monday-Friday (Excluding Bank Holidays)

For Bath College Students, you can contact the Student Advice Centre. 

You may also wish to report through SARI, a local charity dedicated to Racism and Inequality.  

*Please note all of the above services are working remotely and can correspond with you over email, video and audio online calls, therefore you can contact us from anywhere in the world and we will advise you as best we can, though you may need to research local services also.

Student Volunteer

My Experience of Befriending

Name: Loic Estier

Course: 3rd Year Mechanical Engineering with Integrated Design at the University of Bath

“My flatmate went abroad to visit his family and could not make it back due to Coronavirus, leaving me alone in the flat. I’m a relatively relaxed person, and I can entertain myself and keep busy quite easily; nonetheless, the morning news left me anxious and the evenings were terribly lonely, I couldn’t sleep with all the rumours about Coronavirus. When you’re alone you have no one to “reality check” with, and, although it helps, you can’t possibly be on the phone 24/7.

I went back home the day before France’s lockdown came into effect to quarantine with my brother and sister. We hadn’t lived together in years, but I can assure you that no one was injured over the course of lockdown 😉 Things were actually quite peaceful between us; we were all busier than ever thanks to uni (yes THANKS to uni – can’t believe I just said that!) and as hugely cliché as it might sound I probably baked about a hundred croissants in 2 months. Trust me, it’s a healthy addiction – croissants and coffee are a match made in quarantine! No seriously it’s a good meditation, you should try it.

Being confined with my siblings made me realise how lucky I was to have someone to talk to and laugh with. Why should anyone have to experience what I did back in Bath? I could not bear the thought of knowing that some people, and certainly the elderly, would have no choice but to brave lockdown alone. What’s more is that, while essential workers were working overtime to keep society up and standing, I felt useless abroad. Luckily, I stumbled upon 3SG who happened to be organising a remote calling system. It’s impressive how fast 3SG’s befriending scheme was put into place — they’re seriously on top of their game. Anyway, I signed up right away!

At first, I felt a little uneasy calling a stranger and I kept thinking: “do they actually want me to call them, or am I just taking their time? Do they even know I’m a volunteer? That there’s a human soul behind the voice calls, that I’m not just following some script and that I’m completely winging this thing because I’ve never done anything like it before?”. I guess I just had no idea what to expect.

We hit it off straight away. My befriendee is 85 years old, at high risk, and, despite the circumstances, has plenty of good humour to share! We used to joke about who was really befriending who. We called every single day for at least 2 months, and to this day the conversations don’t slow down. If anything, they get more and more intriguing! In reality, it took about a week or so to really break through — at first we were discussing her past, but then we started chatting about current events, sharing personal opinions and, further down the line, loneliness and common life struggles.

My befriendee has taught me a great deal about the world pre-90s and, looking back on it, I know I have made an impression on her life, too, which is actually incredibly fulfilling. A more sombre realisation is that there are many other elderly people who have no one to talk to, not even family, and for whom life will remain  a restless battleground against loneliness and depression.

On a more positive note: Now that the scheme is over, we still call about once or twice a week by habit, which is more than I call my own grandparents! It’s an interesting friendship to say the least.”

3SG provides support for local charities across Bath and North East Somerset. Since the start of lockdown, they have been working on numerous initiatives to try and reach vulnerable people and provide support with food, medicine, housing, mental health and money matters.

Over £500,000 raised for British Heart Foundation since 2012

The Student Community Partnership is proud to announce that since the Pack for Good campaign with the British Heart Foundation launched in 2012, over £500,000 has been raised! Pack for Good is a joint initiative across the city during the student move-out period and it supports the life-saving research of the British Heart Foundation.

Student Group Raises £300 for Local Charity

Through its Community Fund, the SCP was proud to support the Bath Minervas community film screening of The Ladybird in support of VOICES in Bath. As a student leadership and volunteering group based at the University of Bath Students’ Union, Bath Minervas focuses on empowering women through collaboration and service. The group applied to the Community Fund in order to raise awareness and funding for the VOICES charity in Bath. VOICES was founded by women who have experienced domestic abuse and provides a safe and welcoming space in the community for people who have experienced domestic abuse to discuss their needs and find support to recover.

After a successful screening of the film, Marianne Fanous, chair of Bath Minervas, said, ‘We raised over £300!! It’s so good to come together to raise awareness of those affected by domestic abuse and the help that is out there. We would also like to thank the Student Community Partnership for their sponsorship in this event, the support from the Student Union at the University of Bath and the The Little Theatre Cinema for hosting the event.’

The SCP Community Fund of £1,000 per academic year can be applied to in amounts of up to £250 for a community event or initiative. The aim of the fund is to enable students in Bath to design and develop projects in the community that will enhance and promote positive relationships between the student population and the permanent residents of Bath. If you have a community project which needs funding and would like to apply, please contact community-liaison@bath.ac.uk.

NeverOK

Safe Night Out in Bath

The ‘Bringing in the Bystander’ training was organised by the Student Community Partnership (SCP) and provided to staff at Komedia, Second Bridge and Moles nightspots. The University of Bath’s Students’ Union’s Plug and Tub bar and nightclub staff, who already receive this training, are also a key part of this pilot.

The bystander intervention workshop taught the clubs’ staff to identify inappropriate behaviour, how to safely intervene, when it occurs and how to handle disclosures.

The training for the clubs has been developed as part of the wider #NeverOK campaign, run jointly by the University of Bath and its Students’ Union. The SCP is a partnership between the Universities of Bath and Bath Spa, their student unions, Bath College and Bath & North East Somerset Council. It exists to promote harmonious relationships between students, residents and the wider community of Bath.

NeverOK educates students and staff about unacceptable behaviours, empowers students to speak out when they see inappropriate behaviour and encourages students to speak to support services if they witness or experience harassment or assault.

Alisha Lobo, University of Bath Students’ Union Community Officer, said: “The bystander training approach used in the #NeverOK campaign recognises the communal responsibility that we have in addressing the issue of sexual violence in our society. The training works to encourage individuals to be prosocial bystanders; playing an active role in altering the course of events they witness for the better.

“The responsibility to prevent sexual violence does not lie with one individual or group but requires a cultural shift from us all. This move to expand the #NeverOK campaign into Bath night clubs is a move in the right direction and clear demonstration of collaborative work in our shared community between the locals and University to ensure the safety for all.”

Enya-Jayne Battersby, Bath Spa Students’ Union VP Community, added: “The SCP has formed really good relationships with the three partner clubs who took part in the bystander training, and we’re thankful to them for their enthusiasm and engagement with the campaign. We all want to enable our students to enjoy good, safe nights out, and look forward to continuing to raise awareness of the #NeverOk campaign in our community.”

Student Community Partnership Co-Ordinator, Kalyn Mallard, commented: “The SCP wants everyone in Bath to have a safe night out. The joint-working between all involved in these initiatives exemplifies its importance and we hope to see it expand across the city.”

EAUC Green Gown Award Finalist

The Student Community Partnership is proud to announce that it is a finalist for the EAUC Green Gown Awards. The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges invite institutions from all over the country to submit an application for a campaign or project which has impacted the environment in a positive way. This year, the SCP submitted their ‘Our Shared City Student Move-Out Campaign’ in the Student Engagement category. Pete Phelps, Chair of the SCP Green Group commented, ‘Our application focused on the partnership working between Bath Spa University, the University of Bath, their Students’ Unions and Bath and North East Somerset Council during the student move-out period. It also emphasised the tremendous amount raised for the British Heart Foundation over the past three years. We are thrilled to be a finalist.’ The awards will take place in York on 8th November 2018.

Pultney Bridge

River Safety: A National Initiative

Cath Brown, the Chair of the SCP River Safety Forum, represented Bath at a conference to discuss river safety initiatives across the UK. Here’s her brief summary of the valuable discussions shared:

Bath is not alone as a city where fatalities have tragically occurred through young people falling into the river. Durham and York have experienced similar incidents in recent years. These cities share more similarities; they all have historical areas with a large number of licensed premises closely located to fast flowing rivers. They also have large university communities. It would seem to make sense then for all of these cities to share their experiences, learnings and ideas. So that’s what we did earlier this year.

Representatives from local authorities, the emergency services and universities met up in Durham for a one day conference on river safety. I travelled to Durham by train and as we pulled into the main station I was struck by the similarities to Bath; here was a beautifully, historic small city surrounded by a river with riverside pathways and lots of shops, pubs and clubs.

The following day I met colleagues from Durham City Council and York City Council and as we feedback to the delegates, it felt like we could have done a single presentation that would have represented all of our experiences. A repeating theme was that all of the fatal incidents had taken place at night and mainly involved young people who had been enjoying a night out in the city. We all discussed the positive measures that had taken place in light of the tragedies- the physical measures which had included additional fencing and extra life saving equipment and then the educational work to raise awareness and change behaviour. Other colleagues were particularly interested in our unique river rescue cabinets and how they prevented vandalism of life saving equipment. In the afternoon we took a walk along the river in Durham and I got a real sense of the challenge to both protect the public but also make the river accessible and a pleasant open space. For example, the Council had installed new signage to highlight the safer paths which would be floodlit at night so that the public could make the right choices when walking home.

As I ran for my train home at the end of a very productive day, I felt reassured that all of the cities were working towards the same aim and that we in Bath are part of a bigger, national community who are trying to help the public understand the risks of living near to a river.