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Building a supportive student community

The Residential Mentoring Programme is a peer-led support service for students staying in halls of residence. The programme places an emphasis on student wellbeing and community engagement, with student mentors working in halls of residence to build a network of support to help overcome isolation and anxiety. With a threefold increase in mental health cases in UK universities in recent years, this innovative project has made a big difference to students currently studying at the University.

Donations to the Hallam Fund have enabled the University to run a week-long training programme which recruits and equips student mentors with basic counselling skills and teaches them how to identify mental health problems, culture shock and drug and alcohol issues. Mentors are visible peers based in halls of residence and wear branded hoodies, name badges and have calling cards to make them easily identifiable to other students.

Lara Beech, a third year Illustration student, has benefitted hugely from being a mentor. She was keen to help others and create a supportive community for new students.

'Even my flatmates felt more comfortable knowing that I'd had this training, and knew what I was talking about and that they could talk to me. When I talk to people now, I'm always trying to see things from their perspective.

'As a result of the programme, I'm now interested in going into Art Therapy after I finish my degree in Illustration. I can take the experience gained from mentoring to help people and get them more involved in art.'

As the Residential Mentoring Programme embarks on an exciting new year, donations to the Hallam Fund will support a calendar of events led by mentors, raising awareness of the scheme and supporting even more students. As Lee Mansell, Residential Support Co-ordinator, said: 'In the long-term it's about having the ability to change because each year as a new student body comes in they're going to want different things. Without the funding, we would really struggle.'

If you would like to discover more about how donations are supporting the wellbeing and personal development of students, please follow our Student Support bursary pages.

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