2004 -2008 residential services very remote from student services, lots of behavioural and contract issues. Felt like it was going it alone and taking a lot of responsibility. Accommodation was seen to be a commercial service and not about welfare.
Student support services and residences came together in 2008. Took time to build trust and links. Accommodation staff ‘spoke to the institution’ about what better integration would look like.
Living support introduced in 2008 to deal with all the issues that students face, including off campus. Students weren’t bringing concerns about friends. Academic services weren’t bringing concerns about students either. A lot of engagement to all services, students, partner services, community, etc. to join things up more. Once information started coming in about students in trouble the service looked at what support could be given. The more you offer the more work comes in! For example, students picked up using drugs have a meeting with Living Support and local police support.
More resource added in 2012. Posts –
- Engagement officer (coming soon)
- First response
- Student community
Team trying to monitor behaviours and find out about underlying feelings and causes in order to let them know their options and guide them to the best decision.
Out of hours support introduced for night-time and weekends to provide support for incidents and crises to back up the residence and security staff.
Living support went live in Sept 2012 and have had contact with over 600 students, including 160 with mental health issues. Many have contract for more than one issue.
Great video of a student who was called into the service talking about her issues and the multiple needs flagged at this meeting. Living support not replacing any of the individual support services but bringing things together in order to have an overview of that individual student’s experience.
Living support have worked with other services, for example security to give them info about the support available and to give them guidelines for incidents including out of hours.
Work in progress, looking to reach academic teams more. Need to be clear about boundaries and avoid doing work which other services should be doing.
Blogged by Hilary Simmons, Head of Colleges and Student Life, Lancaster University