Sir Chris Husbands acknowledged the huge sacrifices made by young people across the country and said although an end to restrictions may be in sight, further support will be required as damage caused by the pandemic remains.
Supporting Sheffield Hallam’s 32,000 students– academically, practically and emotionally - has been at the heart of the University’s response to Covid-19. A significant number of Sheffield Hallam’s students (41%) are from low-income households, which meant that our students were disproportionately vulnerable to the impact of Covid-19 when it struck.
In supporting the most vulnerable students, Sheffield Hallam has so far provided more than £3.8 million, including £1.4m support from the government, 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.
Providing much needed technology and equipment
A digital hardship scheme was created to support students during remote learning. Through this scheme we have awarded £1.9m to more than 4,500 students – providing much needed technology and equipment including laptops and printers. 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.
Support for students’ mental health and wellbeing has also been paramount to the University’s response during the past 12-months with isolation and disruption to their learning taking a huge toll on young people.
All students have access to three support advisers, and are actively encouraged to make use of these services. The University has made it a priority to increase the visibility and accessibility of mental health support for students, as well as increasing investment in our service.
Students who have graduated or are about to graduate will also face the toughest job market for many years. In response the University launched support packages for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. Designed to address the challenges students will face as they graduate it gives access to a huge range of resources, employer internships and discounts on further study to help graduating students to thrive.
"The impact of the pandemic on this generation will remain long after the restrictions have been lifted"
Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Chris Husbands said: “The last year has been particularly tough for our students. They have had to adapt to new ways of living, learning and engaging with their peers, adjusting their expectations of the wider university experience in what has been a very different 12 months.
“I have been impressed by their adaptability and resilience in the face of enormous challenges. As the country begins to ease Covid-19 restrictions, we will continue to make sure we support our students and graduates to a successful future.
“I will also continue to lobby the government to put in place a more comprehensive package of support for students and young people more broadly, in recognition that the impact of the pandemic on this generation will remain long after the restrictions have been lifted.”
As the University looks towards a phased reopening of the campus, having welcomed back another 4,000 students on practical courses earlier this month, Sheffield Hallam will continue to ensure students are supported academically, practically and emotionally to thrive both during and after their time here.