A new joint project that aims to support students experiencing loneliness and isolation has been launched by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and Swansea University.
CONNECT is a HEFCW-funded project between the two universities which aims to promote positive and healthy behaviours, improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness amongst students at the universities, through peer support and group activities.
CONNECT was set up in response to evidence suggesting that students are becoming increasingly isolated. The project aims to tackle this issue early on to help reduce the risk of further psychological or social issues.
UWTSD Director of Student Services Rhys Dart said: “UWTSD is delighted to see the launch of the CONNECT partnership project website. Combatting isolation and loneliness has never been more important to our students and staff. We are heartened by the response we have had from our volunteers and are looking forward to seeing this project develop from strength to strength.”
Professor Gareth Stratton, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Physical Activity, Health, Sport and Wellbeing at Swansea University said: “A recent study at Swansea University showed that 42% of students didn’t go to a university event because they have no one to go with. It’s a common misconception that everybody at university feels part of a group or has loads of friends. Today more young people are becoming isolated or feeling alone and loneliness can increase the likelihood of someone developing a mental or physical health problem.”
The project works by creating supportive communities in the universities by working with both staff and students. The service, which operates during the working week, is not a crisis service, but offers students practical support and help. Over recent months, CONNECT have been training a community of staff and student, ‘Connectors’ at both universities to support to students struggling with issues such as isolation, loneliness or developing social integration skills. The launch of CONNECT is particularly timely given the continued social restrictions as a result of COVID19 and the increase in those experiencing loneliness and isolation.
To date over 50 staff have become accredited Mental Health First Aiders within UWTSD. To ensure sustainability, the university also now has 5 Mental Health First Aid instructors who are approved to deliver the Mental Health First Aid Wales Youth Mental Health First Aid Course. The aim is for staff to feel more competent and confident if and when they find themselves supporting a student in a crisis situation.
46 student volunteers have signed up to support other UWTSD students. Some to help meet their needs for work placement whilst some volunteer to do something positive particularly during the current situation. Student volunteers have undertaken in-house training which covers topics such as listening skills, boundaries, confidentiality and signposting.
Student Connectors can provide one-to-one peer support including:
- listening to students who are struggling with isolation or loneliness.
- accompanying students to society/University events if they are nervous about going alone (subject to pandemic restrictions).
- helping students to get together as a group and support each other.
- sharing positive messages, campaigns and information about campus events.
- signposting to other support services available on and off campus.
Staff Connectors can also put students in touch with a Student Connector, tell students about the services available at university and community and give updates on CONNECT and University events.
More information about the project can be found on the CONNECT website.
Tempo the key for Duff as Swans prepare to face Huddersfield
New project to bring empty shop units back into use
Mount Pleasant shoplifter jailed after assaulting security guard
Wholesale changes for Ospreys for Benetton clash
‘I can never live a normal life after being stalked’ – Brave women speaks out about domestic violence in new Police campaign
More homes developed in former council buildings in Swansea
Carmarthenshire GB Taekwondo star hopes Manchester Grand Prix can help inspire more people to pick up the sport
Swansea nurses meet King Charles during royal appointment
Llanelli politicians back alternative steel proposals as unions warn Tata’s current plans would mean closure of Trostre plant
Thieves target local cemeteries and disrupt water supplies
Popular Swansea pub set for grand re-opening after £279,000 makeover
New light being shone on popular seafront promenade
Funding boost for Mumbles women’s fashion shop
Work completed on River Tawe pontoon
Aldi Fforestfach celebrates grand opening with help from Paralympian
Specsavers to invest more than £400,000 in new Mumbles store
Castle Square transformation takes new step
Free buses returning to Swansea for the festive period
Plans submitted for sustainable aviation fuel plant in Port Talbot
Will Pepper’s Christmas wish come true after 800 days waiting for a home?
Money2 days ago
Morriston receives banking hub following community request
Carmarthen3 days ago
Council agrees sale of sprawling former asylum in Carmarthen
Bridgend4 days ago
Independent pharmacy chain pick up former Lloyds pharmacy branches
South Wales Police3 days ago
Three arrests after Mount Pleasant home attacked with ‘weapons’
Neath3 days ago
New look for Victoria Gardens children’s play area is completed
Business4 days ago
Swansea-based housing association enters into merger discussions with Rhondda organisation
Business2 days ago
Revamped H Samuel shop shines bright in Swansea’s Quadrant Shopping Centre
Carmarthenshire7 days ago
Council leader says hydrogen bus trial on the cards for Swansea