In response to student feedback, Student Services, with funding from the University’s Access and Participation Plan budget, launched a seven week virtual wellbeing programme in February. Each week consisted of a 90-minute session exploring key wellbeing themes, with guest speakers/coaches and discussion activities using group coaching techniques. Each session concluded with a reflection exercise and applied 'homework' for the week. This programme was designed with the support of wellbeing experts and coaches from the Black community, and tailored for University of Bath students who identify as being Black (African, Caribbean or Dual Heritage) with the aim of exploring key themes such as resilience, exploring racism, challenges with racial activism and identity, loneliness, self-esteem and imposter syndrome. Students had the opportunity to create strong support networks. We are pleased to announce that all 20 places were filled.

Adonay Berhe a final year student explained “The Black Students’ Network wellbeing programme has been one of the highlights at my time at University. It makes conversations around wellbeing and mental health accessible to minority students who do not access student services at the same rate. The facilitator, Toluwa Oyeleye, combines group discussion with presentations. She is able to speak to the unique challenges that Black students face. This programme has led me to grow confidence and resilience. I feel emboldened to make a success of my time at University and beyond. As such, I am grateful to Imroze Sahota, Student Retention Team Leader, for organising this initiative. With mental health and social inclusion being at the forefront of student issues, the Black Students’ Network Wellbeing programme is needed now more than ever!“

Samekah Howard also a final year student stated “the programme was very informative and the applied homework did open up my eyes to realise that I do still struggle with imposter syndrome in some form or fashion. Self-love and doing things to keep my self-esteem up and take care of myself is just as important as anyone else's and it’s something I think I need to practice more. I do think that a network programme like this, for Black students, was something that has been desperately needed for a while.”

Anthony Payne, Director of Student Services explains that “in Student Services we are on a journey to listen to our diverse student community and to understand the types of support that they value and which are most effective for them. The early indications that students are engaging with and benefitting from this wellbeing programme are really positive and we look forward to carrying out a complete evaluation later in the summer to see how this scheme may benefit students in future years.”