The University of Suffolk’s Active Wellbeing Project is being featured in a national campaign.
Universities UK’s MadeAtUni campaign aims to bring to life the impact of universities on everyday lives.
The Active Wellbeing Project, run by the Students’ Union (SU) and Student Services, is one of the ‘Nation’s Lifesavers’ – one of 100 individuals or groups based in universities whose work is saving lives and making a life-changing difference to our health and wellbeing.
The Active Wellbeing Project aims to address isolation and mental health issues at university. The SU are giving six free fitness sessions to students who have been refereed by Student Services and a volunteer ‘buddy’ then accompanies them on a choice of ten sport activities ranging from yoga, zumba to futsal and badminton. The use of a ‘buddy’ is predicted to be successful due to results from the SU’s sports survey showing that attending sessions alone was a big engagement barrier.
Referred students are asked to complete the Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale before taking part in the sports and are asked to complete it following participation in the Scheme, to measure its impact.
The volunteers who have been recruited as part of the scheme receive mental health and first aid training and the Project aims to provide early intervention for those who could struggle with mental health and wellbeing issues.
Megan Rea, 18, is a software engineering student and signed up as a ‘buddy’ after leaving a different university because she felt isolated.
She said, "I know how it is to feel low and like you've not really got anyone. Some people don't like going to something like that alone, but I will go with the person, be next to them and they will have someone."
The SU are hoping that 300 people will benefit from the Active Wellbeing scheme, which was given £7,000 funding by British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS).
Amy Grant, Vice-President of the Students’ Union said, “We know that there are many things that may get in the way of students getting involved with all the activities we provide as an SU. These barriers often relate to mental health and naturally, the stresses of university life can be difficult to deal with. The Active Wellbeing Project aims to break down these barriers and encourage those who may be struggling to engage with our activity programmes. An additional barrier we have identified is the anxiety of attending sessions alone. Our Active Wellbeing Volunteers are vital to running this project as they help develop the student’s confidence within the session and therefore overcoming this barrier.”
“We are so pleased our Active Wellbeing Project is being featured in this MadeatUni campaign. We have already received really positive feedback from both the participants and volunteers who have taken part. I am overwhelmed with pride at the progress and development each student involved in this project has made.”
The campaign features the work of Universities across the country and projects that include helping new parents and children enjoy the best start in life, supporting older people and improving our mental health and wellbeing. The selection reveals the amazing use of technology, such as drones to fight malaria, a smart glove for communicating sign language and robots helping older people.
Professor Dame Janet Beer, President Universities UK, said, “When people think of lifesavers they tend to focus on the dedication and skill of our doctors, nurses, carers, and paramedics – many of whom are trained at universities. Every day, up and down the country, universities are also working on innovations to transform and save lives. Research taking place in universities is finding solutions to so many of the health and wellbeing issues we care about and the causes that matter.”
“By proudly working in partnership with charities, the NHS and healthcare organisations, universities are responsible for some of our biggest health breakthroughs and in revolutionising the delivery of care.
“This campaign is a chance to bring to life the wonderful and often unexpected work going on every day in our universities and to celebrate some of the people working to make a life-changing difference to the nation.”
Research shows the public are proud of UK universities but have little understanding of the benefits they bring, with most not being aware that UK academics are behind many of the discoveries that save lives and keep up healthy. The MadeAtUni campaign gives the public an insight into some of this work and celebrates those who made it happen. More information on the campaign can be found on the dedicated website: www.madeatuni.org.uk
University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476