Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy


Student welfare initiatives at the fore

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Halley Cohen

  • College Communications and Website Officer
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Looking back at Michaelmas term, it is heartening to see how the College community rallied together in the face of changing tiers and restrictions, and a month-long lockdown in November. Bereft of the usual social activities, interactions, and extra-curricular events, the JCR and MCR Welfare Officers played a hugely important role in supporting the wellbeing of their fellow students. Read on to hear how they responded to Michaelmas term and their plans for Hilary.

Philippa Warman, MCR Welfare Officer

“It will not come as a surprise to hear that Michaelmas term was a challenging one. Despite the unprecedented circumstances we faced, Lincoln’s MCR pulled together to create a term card with a new look. Welfare events consisted of virtual teas where participants were encouraged to show off their baking expertise, whilst winding down at the end of the week with plenty of cake and friendly faces. OS maps were dusted off and routes for welfare walks were circulated amongst paired MCR members to facilitate meeting new people and enjoyment of the ‘great’ British weather. Professional mindfulness events and access to ‘Headspace’ was provided to help those in need of a little support. Finally, the term culminated with a social-welfare collaboration, in which students received craft boxes with mulled wine and mince pies to celebrate the close of a particularly challenging term.

Although circumstances remain largely unchanged, I am hopeful that Hilary term events will continue to engage and support members of the MCR. Plans currently include the continuation of virtual welfare tea, welfare walks, and mindfulness programmes. In addition, there is scope to include Easter themed escapades and dog walking to incorporate variety into the term card.”

Matthew Jackson and Bekah Goodchild, JCR Welfare Reps

“Overall, we had a busy term with welfare work in College, with much of our work being performed online. Most significantly, we helped with the Freshers’ Inductions via Zoom, including the alcohol awareness workshop run by Dylan and Bekah. One of the most successful initiatives we introduced was using the welfare tea budget to pidge snacks to people for free throughout the term. We thought this scheme worked well and we were able to deliver 550 snacks in total. During Michaelmas term, we tried our best to come together and work closely with others in College. This included helping the Gender Reps to purchase and distribute period products, sexual health supplies, and panic alarms, as well as working with the Access Rep on an imposters syndrome workshop. We were also particularly keen to support the work of Jody Laporte (Gonticas Fellow in Politics and International Relations) who organised welfare walks, a scavenger hunt for students, and a drop in session with her cat Bruno! We are very thankful for the support she gave us last term, especially during the lockdown. We have also been trying to promote the use of our peer-supporters, mindfulness courses, headspace subscriptions, and our lovely new Chaplain, Andy Shamel.

For the coming term, we understand it is going to be increasingly more difficult to support student welfare as everyone is living and working remotely. I am going to join Bekah by training as a peer-supporter, and we are also putting together a guide to help students work from home. We were very excited to hear that a lot of alumni have offered to help us with welfare events, and we are tremendously thankful for their support.”