The initiative PairED Up looked to combat this by pairing volunteers from the University community throughout the winter period and was so successful, it will be returning again.
From 24 December 2021 to 7 January 2022, the scheme will run again, pairing students and staff and encouraging a range of activities, including walking, cycling, running or even just meeting for coffee to alleviate any feelings of isolation over this period.
Staff that took part last year found it hugely beneficial. One volunteer said it was: “A nice way to meet someone new and potentially ease a student’s feelings of loneliness or isolation – and also my own over a difficult Christmas period.”
Another agreed it was little effort on their part for a huge benefit to lonely students: “Although we didn’t actually meet up, I still strongly believe in the principle of supporting students. This was a small give on my part which could have been of significant benefit to the student.”
This is a commitment of one or two hours on a voluntary basis. There are still 80 students who need a buddy.
Any staff wanting more information or to volunteer should register on the PairED Up SharePoint.
Photography: Laurence Winram