Union announces new charity partnerships to enhance student support

The Union of Student’s Advice team provides a free, confidential advice and support service for all University of Derby Students. Independent to the University

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Throughout the challenging times that students have faced through the pandemic, the Union of Students at the University of Derby, has positioned itself as a supportive, inclusive and connected organisation; able to signpost to local and national wellbeing services.

The Union of Student’s Advice team provides a free, confidential advice and support service for all University of Derby Students. Independent to the University, the advice is completely impartial for any student seeking advice, support and information on a range of issues and concerns. Students seek out support with academic issues including offences, appeals and issues affecting personal studies; student conduct, complaints and disciplinaries. At certain times of year, finance, housing and wellbeing are also priority themes.

In response to COVID-19 lockdown period, the Advice team moved a large number of resources and information material online to ensure that students could access this support at any time of day. They also helped to deliver vital mental health training to sports and society committee members to ensure they were equipped to identify and signpost their friends for additional support should they find themselves struggling with isolation or any other concerns.

The Union responded to the pandemic by working with the University to provide a helpline, a phone line run by students, for students to keep in touch with those isolating. Over 30 student volunteers were recruited, trained, and supported to make calls to all students who declared themselves as self-isolating. Over 2,000 phone calls were made and 200 lockdown self care activity boxes were delivered, providing a way for those isolating to connect with others and spend time away from the screens, by cooking, playing cards and taking part in different mindful activities. Students fed back that the support was invaluable, I was going through one of the worst stages and lowest points and with the support and advice of the advisor I was able to get through it all.

Since students have been back on campus, and returning to normal life, we have seen an increase in reports of student safety issues – whether on nights out or settling into their new surroundings. It is, therefore, with great pride that the Union can announce new partnership working with two hugely important charity organisations to complement the advice and wellbeing offer at Derby.

Remedi is a free, confidential service for young people affected by abusive or controlling behaviour in relationships. Representatives from the organisation will be working in spaces within the Kedleston Road campus so that students can come and chat to staff for a one-off conversation, or see a particular practitioner more regularly at times chosen by them.

During a drop-in session, trained Remedi practitioners will offer emotional support, practical advice, and guidance around the best services and safety measures for them in relationships.

SV2 is a Derbyshire based charity service and exists to help anyone who has experienced any form of sexual violence or abuse. SV2 can also support family and friends. An Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) will be accompanied by the SV2 Learning and Development Officer offering drop in sessions for students who wish to speak confidentially about any issues that may be affecting them.

Emma Taylor, the Union’s Support and Inclusion Manager, says:

We are proud to be working with SV2 and Remedi to support students, allowing us the opportunity to offer students specialised support, delivered by trained practitioners, at the Kedleston Road campus.

The advice service were keen to remove as many barriers as possible to ensure students are able to access the relevant advice and support in a location that is convenient, whilst feeling safe and familiar. Both SV2 and Remedi offer a free and confidential service offering emotional support, practical advice, and guidance. SV2 specialises in supporting anyone who has experienced any form of sexual violence or abuse. It doesn’t matter when it happened, whether you are male or female, young or old. SV2 can also support family and friends if needed. Remedi are available to help any student affected by abusive or controlling behaviour in relationships. You could be a witness, a friend, a son or daughter, or the person in the abusive relationship.”

For further information about the drop in sessions please visit our website or give our info and advice assistants a call on 01332 591507

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