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. More young people are becoming isolated or feeling alone. Loneliness can increase the likelihood of someone developing a mental or physical health problem. We want everybody at University to feel connected and share positive experiences. We believe that raising awareness and training supporters will be a huge step in making this happen. CONNECT is also one of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing – CONNECT, Give, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Be Active. Just like eating your five fruit and veg a day can help keep you physically healthy, doing each of these things can help keep us mentally healthy.
As this is a new project we are currently focusing on training our Connectors ready to provide support. If you are a student and would like support during this time you may find our list of “useful organisations” helpful. Follow us on our socials or check back soon for an update as we hope to launch this in September.
Both student & staff Connectors can offer you support but they are trained differently and have different roles. Student Connectors can arrange to meet with you for a coffee, walk and a chat, support you to go along to a course, campus event or society or give you information on where you can look for more support. Staff Connectors will be looking out for students who need support, they can listen to you, put you in touch with a student Connector or give you information on where you can get further support.
No, Connectors are not counsellors or therapists. They are fully trained in offering the support the project aims to offer. Some staff or students may be trained professionals already, but their role as a Connector is separate. If you feel you need to speak with a professional, please visit your institution information page for links to other services.
However much you have to give! We don’t set a limit on how much time Connectors need to give per week. We just ask that you get involved regularly and do what you can. We do however ask for a commitment of at least 2 terms, but you can do more if you want!
Visit our ‘Become a Connector’ page, read the role description, complete an Expression of Interest form and a Project Coordinator will get in touch with you!
We will be asking for regular feedback from Connectors and students who are receiving support, if they are willing. At Swansea University we have a masters student evaluating the project, to find out if it’s making a difference. If you are happy for her to contact you, you could be involved in a focus group to share your experiences! We always welcome feedback so if you want to share anything, please email Briony in Swansea University [email protected] or Natalie in University or Wales, Trinity Saint David [email protected]