Working across all our sites, our Student Services team can help you throughout your time at the University and can offer support with key areas which may be impacting your life or your studies.

Throughout the last 12 months, the team has made major changes based on your feedback:

  • To help students and staff to know the wide-range of support we offer, Student Services created a video highlighting all our services.
  • Recruitment of three Student Services Advisers and the creation of a new Student Services Helpdesk, to help to get the right student the right intervention through effective triage.
  • Review of induction to try to provide a more holistic experience for students across the different entry points.

Your Money

  • Introduced a simplified Student Support Fund – the fund delivers several key improvements including a single fund for all students to apply to, a simpler application process and revised awarding structure.
  • Recruitment of a Student Money Adviser has allowed us to introduce a new money management support service. We will be recruiting two new Student Money Advisers to allow us to introduce further support initiatives into the service.
  • Collaboration with StepChange debt charity which has allowed us to introduce a direct referral service for students who need support

SVLO/Report a Concern

  • New dedicated UoC Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) service running during AY22/23, to provide specialist support for those that have experienced sexual violence. According to SI-UK, there are 166 universities in the UK and of those Lime Culture, SVLO training provider, has trained 80 to date, with UoC being one of those 80.
  • We established our Report a Concern service (online reporting mechanism for unacceptable behaviours), to increase the number of reporting pathways available for students, staff and visitors – which can help to reduce barriers to reporting.

Targeted student support

  • We set up a Ukrainian Peer Support group to enable students to meet and share experiences.
  • We established new peer support groups for Iranian students, and students affected by the Turkey/Syria earthquake. These are in addition to existing support groups established over the last year; Ukrainian students, Care-experienced, Estranged, and Carers.
  • We expanded the financial support package for Sanctuary Scholars – AY 22/23 students received a £2500 in-kind financial support package to help with essential study and travel costs.
  • We expanded the financial support package for Sanctuary Scholars.
  • We introduced a new Gypsy Roma Traveller Showman Boater support package.

International student support

  • We created the International Student Handbook and Toolkit, to bring together key information for international students.
  • We launched the Epigeum International Student Success Platform to provide support and guidance to international students about living and studying in the UK.

Extra support for University sites

  • We’ve had an increased presence at University Centres, providing students with opportunities to feedback on student experience and get involved in events and activities.
  • We also worked with Student Shout Out to develop centre specific communications to highlight services available to students at all centres following feedback in forums where students felt they were unsure of the services available, and that communication often felt ‘Chester-centric’.

Wellbeing and Mental Health, Disability and Inclusion, and Counselling

  • To help students to know when to support or signpost a friend who maybe struggling, as well as looking after themselves in the process, we trained staff from Wellbeing and Mental Health to deliver Look After Your Mate workshops, accredited by Student Minds.
  • We also provide additional support for students experiencing menopausal symptoms through a dedicated student support network and options for reasonable adjustments via an Inclusion Plan.
  • To reduce barriers to support, Disability and Inclusion create Inclusion Plans with standardised support based on disclosures alone and no requirement for evidence.
  • We’ve streamlined our counselling process, removing the wait for an assessment and then a wait for support. Instead, once students have completed an assessment they start with support immediately.
  • We have developed enhanced outcome measures for students engaging with Mental Health Advisers. This helps with tracking changes and needs, providing both students and the Advisers with more detailed insights.
  • We provide more student-friendly appointment summaries from Mental Health Advisers to aid students with seeing progress and identifying their next steps.
  • Students who have previously engaged with a Mental Health Adviser can now self-refer back into the service for further support, reducing waiting times.
  • We have raised the profile of Wellbeing & Mental Health through a dedicated university-wide marketing campaign to ensure students know about all the support they can access.  
  • We have launched even more student support networks for students who may have a shared background or who may be going through similar experiences to connect, support, and share tips and information with each other. This included a new LGBTQ+ Network and Male Support Network (for anyone identifying as male).
  • Disability and Inclusion created an autism toolkit, designed to provide bespoke support to this student group.
  • We have delivered campaigns and events at all sites, to raise the profile of Wellbeing and Mental Health support, linking to key awareness weeks.  
  • We have delivered dedicated group-based sessions based on issues students were raising on managing stress, developing resilience, eating disorders and domestic abuse.
  • We created more pathway options for support, with Social Prescribing available for our students.
  • We raised the profile of our free 24/7 support, offering counselling, in the moment crisis support, legal advice and medical information to ensure our students know the range of support available to them.
  • We have extended Wellbeing appointment duration to ensure students had sufficient time for rising complexities.
  • We have developed a new student Pregnancy and New Parent Support Plan for students who are/become pregnant or go through the adoption process whilst studying at university.
  • We have created student-friendly info-sheets to support students when applying to the Student Loans Company, where there is an option for Compelling Personal Reasons, to obtain additional funding to complete their course.
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