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Making friends with our residential mentors

Making friends can be difficult for some students when starting at Sheffield Hallam. Starting university, moving to a new area and facing the challenge of meeting lots of new people are factors which have been found to increase the risk of loneliness for young people. A recent study by the Office for National Statistics has found that people aged between 16-24 feel lonely more often than any other age group of adults.

The Residential Mentoring Programme was set up to provide a support network for students living in halls of residence. The mentors help to counter student isolation and loneliness by offering a weekly schedule of social events and activities and making it easy and fun for residents to meet new people.

Charlotte Eynon is a mentor at the Charlotte Court halls of residence. Working with her fellow mentors and the Student's Union, Charlotte promotes a broad variety of activities for students to get involved in, ranging from sports activities and Zumba classes to coffee tastings and film screenings.

'We advertise events that we know from our personal experience as students to be good events. A few of the residential mentors are in senior roles in societies, so we always promote events from these societies on our events board.'

Magnus Wieslander is also a mentor at Charlotte Court. He feels that these activities help students who may find it hard to make friends.

'These activities definitely help students who may be struggling to make friends. If you go to these activities and enjoy them, you might meet people who enjoy the same things as you.'

The Residential Mentoring Programme is focused on improving the confidence and mental wellbeing of students. By offering a selection of group activities throughout the year, mentors are helping students socialise with other people from across the University and become more active and engaged members of the Sheffield Hallam community.

Charlotte says, 'Students have the opportunity to mix with people they wouldn't meet in their flats or on the courses; they can embark on new adventures with people from all different walks of life and they can develop new hobbies and skills in areas they wouldn't normally embrace. They have more experience of working in a team, communicating, listening and have knowledge of how people see things from different perspectives.'

Donations to the Hallam Fund mean that schemes like the Residential Mentoring Programme can continue to grow and embed across the University, ensuring students are more connected to each other and the University has the flexibility to prioritise funding in these areas. If you would like to know more about how donations are helping students, click here.

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