Helping our most vulnerable students
In supporting the most vulnerable students, so far we have provided more than £3.8 million in financial hardship funds, IT equipment, essential food supplies and delivery to self-isolating students, and organised the repatriation of our students who were abroad and couldn’t get home.
More than 800 self-isolating students received additional support over the past year. Boxes of essential food and basic provisions have been provided free of charge and dropped off at their term-time addresses. Over 1,000 food boxes have been distributed over the last year including over the Christmas period.
A digital hardship scheme was created to support students during remote learning. Through this scheme we have awarded nearly £2million – providing more than 4,500 pieces of much needed technology and equipment to students including laptops and printers.
In March 2020, we launched the Coronavirus Emergency Appeal in addition to our ongoing Hallam Fund. Our community of alumni, staff and friends showed their support to our students and contributed to the emergency response, successfully raising £135,000 through gifts from 337 donors over four months.
In addition to this we received £1million of funding from the Office for Students to help students experiencing rent-related hardship. We are still working with accommodation providers to urge them to be as flexible as possible with our students, including an open letter from the Vice-Chancellor and President of the Students' Union to encourage consideration of refunds, discounts, or flexibility with contracts. We also continue to press the Government for further support for students in our city and across the country.
Mental health and wellbeing
The impact of isolation on mental health has been devastating for people across the country. For students away from home and potentially in an unfamiliar environment, that impact has clearly been magnified.
At Sheffield Hallam our support services have been available to students throughout the pandemic, both online and over the phone, including counselling, wellbeing, mental health support, and inclusive support. We have also collaborated with leading mental health charity Mind run online mental health workshops for students as part of the Mentally-Healthy Universities programme.
Our ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ campaign was created to ensure regular promotion of the five ways to wellbeing and remind our students of the support services at Hallam. The campaign works in line with the student journey, so at peak times of year for assignment and exams, specific support is promoted to support students with their studies.
In addition we have created an online mental health community Togetherall, which provides a safe place for students to connect and access advice at any time. This features a range of self-help resources, videos and links with information and includes a weekly drop in session to support student's mental health and wellbeing. We have worked collaboratively with colleagues and Students Union officers to embed positive wellbeing information and advice about support services across the University.