The Inclusive University

Time to Talk Day

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Contributed by Sue Ollis, Student Support Adviser.

On Thursday 2nd February, once again the Mental Wellbeing Peer Support Staff Network marked national Time to Talk Day here at UWE.  As you can see, we offered free apples, free hugs and free conversation. 

Volunteers covered the stall from 11:00 until 14:00, during which time many hugs and positive conversations were exchanged with both students and staff.  Some staff also took the opportunity to join the Peer Support Staff Network.  You too can do so by e-mailing your interest to

This Time to Change national day is an opportunity to break the silence of mental health, to encourage people to speak about their mental ill health as they would physical ill health.  Working to raise awareness, reduce stigma and also reduce mental health discrimination, as UWE pledged to do following the signing of the Time to Change pledge in February 2013.  Since becoming a Time to Change Champion both in the workplace and beyond, I regularly speak out about my own experience during my own struggles with mental ill health during my fulltime working over the past 38 years.  On the morning of Time to Talk day, I was invited into Radio Bristol to highlight the need to talk.  You can listen to the show here (external link) between 2:02 and 02:15 hours in. (Available until 4th March).

On the day, there was also a positive message from the Prime Minister which you can see here (external link).

Since the signing of the pledge in 2013 and the subsequent organisational healthcheck, UWE have continued to address recommended actions including the launch of the Reasonable Adjustments Policy.  Further information can be found here.  Also, following a successful pilot scheme, we now have a Support Service for Disabled Staff.  This invaluable service can provide advice and support on a referral basis on disability-related matters, including – Reasonable adjustments, Access to Work and Mental Health.

The Director of Time to Change, Sue Baker (OBE) will be coming to UWE on Monday 3rd April and will be giving a lunchtime talk for interested staff and students.  More information will follow nearer the time, please check the events page for details.

Although much has been achieved, there is always room for improvement and much more to be done, to quote the PM, ‘not just in our hospitals, but in our classrooms, at work and in our communities’.

Health and Wellbeing Update

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Contributed by Lizzie Johnson, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator.

Mental health is a growing concern for the university,  and is one of the priority areas for the Healthy University Group (HUG). In order to raise awareness about mental health and the support available, HUG are working on a number of related projects including: 

Feel Good Focus – a new project looking at a particular health topic each month for students and staff. This will enable UWE to promote health and wellbeing all throughout the year (not just February), it will raise awareness about key issues such as mental health during exam periods or staff taking breaks for lunch and will hopefully increase engagement with our initiatives/events.

Feel Good February (FGF) – planning is underway we are hoping for a full programme of activities and events again this year if anyone would like to contribute to FGF or give any suggestions for activities please don’t hesitate to contact

Mental health working group – There is a lot of work going on across the university around mental health so we have decided to create a working group to bring all interested parties together to ensure future plans/projects are co-ordinated efficiently and ensure some consistency.

The Wellbeing College – UWE are partnering with the Wellbeing College (South Glos partnership scheme) to bring relevant wellbeing courses such as peer support, money matters, mindfulness, assertiveness training, cooking courses etc. to UWE for its staff and students. This will be launched in February 2017.


New online file conversion service available for students and staff

Posted by Vicky Swinerd | 0 Comments

The library now offers an online file conversion service, which enables students and staff to create their own accessible documents in just a few minutes. Simply upload a document, select your chosen format and enter your UWE email address. The converted file is emailed to you within a few minutes.

You can upload a variety of formats including .DOC and .DOCX (Word), .PPT and .PPTX (PowerPoint), JPEG (photos), EPUB (ebook) and PDF.

Documents can be converted into a range of formats including accessible PDF, Word, Braille translation, ebook, and MP3 (audio).

This service is perfect for converting short documents such as journal articles or reports.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please contact the Library Disability Support Team (

Princess Campbell paediatric suite opens at Glenside

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The new Children's Focused Nursing Simulation Suite at Glenside was officially opened by Kath Evans, Experience of Care Lead – Maternity, Newborn, Children and Young People for NHS England.

The Suite, which includes a simulated children's ward and a sensory room, ensures student nurses develop skills and get the chance to practise them in a safe environment, improving their confidence and ability when they are on clinical placement.

The new facility is being dedicated to Princess Campbell MBE who was Bristol's first black ward sister, and who worked and studied at Glenside. Princess Campbell campaigned tirelessly for disadvantaged communities and sought to represent and give a voice to vulnerable people.

Transition Support Service for UWE Students

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Contributed by Annabel Lee, Funds Administrator

The Money Advice and Funds Service (MAFS) is providing a new package of support in 2015/16 for students that have spent time in care homes or foster care. The Transition Support Service will help these students adjust to student life through pre-entry advice, online forums and the UWE/Care Leavers Bursary, for those eligible. We have also initiated a bespoke Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme in which current care leavers mentor these new students in academic skills. Furthermore, students will be offered Financial Health Checks and receive ongoing support from a dedicated Student Support Adviser.

If you come into contact with an applicant who discloses time spent in care, please contact FAO Annabel Lee (named contact for the Transition Support Service). We can then ensure the student is receiving all appropriate support.

Ron Ritchie: his thoughts on leaving UWE

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Contributed by Ron Ritchie, Senior Diversity Champion

A retirement event for UWE's senior diversity champion, Prof Ron Ritchie, was held on 26 August in the Community Hub.
Ron was invited to reflect on his 40 year career in education in the greater Bristol area as a secondary school teacher, primary teacher and leader, local authority advisory teacher and HE teacher and leader.
He explained that he had very mixed feeling about leaving UWE having tried so hard to get here - first in the late 80s - before, several applications later,  he finally arrived here in 2001. He said that he had wanted to work here for a simple reason - it seemed like an institution that shared many of the values he held as important. It turned out to be a move that never disappointed him - he said he had always been immensely proud of the difference UWE makes to its students, its staff, local communities and the  local economy, culture and society. It had, he stated, been a genuine privilege to work here with many highly talented and committed individuals.
He emphasised the importance to him of values - what we hold as important as human beings - and noted that there's a big difference between espousing values and living them out. He said he had always tried to do the latter, not always successfully!
He explained his commitment to social justice and moral purpose was a result of experiencing the transforming power of education on his own life, being the first in his family to go to university. He had left school and started an apprenticeship in the aircraft industry which led to him studying aeronautics and astronautics at Southampton University. Whilst there he found life in student politics and the SU more stimulating and rewarding than his academic work. He spent a lot of time on campaigns such as those related to improving the opportunities for local youth and challenging negative attitudes towards mental health.
At this point, Ron reflected on choices we all have to become a 'prisoner, passenger or participant' in society - he had determined to become a participant and an activist!
He decided to complete his degree and train as a teacher. His experiences on a PGCE at Sussex University, especially in disadvantaged areas like the Moulscombe Estate, reinforced his commitment to fighting injustice and promoting equality. As a young teacher in a challenging Bristol comprehensive, his love of teaching developed and his activism led to him becoming the school's NUT rep.
He explained that his growing understanding and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion was strengthened through living in Bristol and valuing the diversity of its population whilst feeling aggrieved about the inequality he saw. He also referred to his personal experience as a father and how this had informed his understanding of equality issues and increased his commitment to improve things, this included having a daughter who suffered from a serious mental health condition and another who is gay and now a university teacher.
Returning to other values that are important to him, Ron shared his belief in the importance of lifelong and life wide learning - saying he was always happy, even as a professor, to call himself first a foremost a learner. Indeed, he noted, his role as UWE's diversity champion had been a rich learning journey. He said how pleased he was to be supporting Bristol's ambition to be a Learning City as a consultant post his UWE retirement.
Ron stressed how much he had enjoyed teaching and believed that you should always strive for improvement given your responsibilities to learners, young or old. He reminded us that 'you don't have to be ill to get better'!
He talked about how he had always valued research and scholarship - his own PhD had been through action research; evidence-based and research-informed practice. He had written a number of education books, all including case studies of practice in real settings. Through his teaching and as a teacher educator, he had developed his understanding of the importance to professionals of reflection and reflexivity - being self critical and honest with yourself and recognising how who you are changes what happens around you and how others behave.
Later in his career, he had come to appreciate that successful leadership has to be authentic, distributed and person-centred. He stressed that to him 'leadership' was a more important concept than 'leaders' - he believes everyone in an organisation has the potential and should be given opportunities to contribute to leadership capacity.
Ron emphasised his belief in the benefits of collaboration and partnership based on various experiences in his career, for example in an advisory teacher team, in the Education Department (as part of the then S Block 'family' of academic and professional support staff) and more recently in the context of the Cabot Learning Federation.
He returned to leadership and organisations and said we should, perhaps, recognise more often the importance of people over processes. He said his aim had always been to empower others through reward and positive feedback. In that context, he thanked colleagues who had written in support of his National Diversity Champion nomination last year and said how moving and motivating he had found that public feedback.
Ron talked about the importance of significant others in our lives, both professional and personal and thanked those in the room and those unable to be here who had made unique and highly valued contributions to his time at UWE.
He concluded by reflecting on UWE's recent E&D successes and ongoing issues that remain work in progress …
The successes he celebrated included:
• Our ongoing commitments to activities related to widening participation and partnerships with schools in disadvantaged areas;
• The central and secure place of EDI in the UWE strategy, the successful Single Equality Scheme and senior staff commitment;
• The range and impact of staff and student networks;
• Stonewall Workplace index success;
• Athena SWAN success;
• The developing Disability Service for staff;
• Two Ticks accreditation;
• Time to Change commitment;
• Race Equality Charter Mark application;
• The outstanding contribution of HR and the E&D Unit.
Ongoing challenges for UWE that Ron recognised included:
• Further improving the diversity of staff;
• Maintaining inclusivity as a strategic goal, which includes promoting its benefits;
• Continue to probe the 'lived experience of staff' to ensure it is positive for all;
• Celebrate successes and promote role models;
• Find smart ways of measuring the impact of EDI work against the UWE Strategic Plan;
• Continue to build leadership capacity for the agenda;
• Foster more joint working (for example with unions and networks) and partnership with other organisations;
• Join things up to ensure efficacy, efficiency and maximising benefits;
• Develop efficient and constructive approaches to equality analysis;
• Ensure EDI doesn't suffer in the context of further inevitable change and uncertainty in the HE sector.
Ron finished by thanking colleagues for the support and friendship he had been given. He wished all well in continuing to make UWE the special place that it is and furthering the cause of equality, diversity and inclusivity.

Support for disabled staff

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Contributed by Louise Davis, HR Advisor, HR.

The university has commenced a four-month pilot with an external organisation, Action on Disability and Work UK (ADWUK) to provide advice and support to staff, line managers and HR on disability-related matters.

ADWUK have experienced advisers who can provide advice on a range of issues including: reasonable adjustments, Access to Work and mental health.

Employees can be referred to the service via their line manager.

Please actively engage with the pilot:
Please contact HR on extension 85111 or if you have an employee that may benefit from this support.

A range of resources are in place to support staff and can be viewed on the support for disabled staff webpage.

Facilities Embrace E&D in a Variety of Ways

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Contributed by Annette Hennessy, Head of Operations and Security:

Facilities is a very varied and widespread service and therefore it is not a surprise that the Facilities E&D Action Plan mirrors that spread of responsibilities. Some of the activity that is happening to address E&D issues within the service are:

- Many line-managers in Facilities have refreshed their recruitment and selection knowledge by re-training with many people commenting on how 'things have changed’ since they last went on the course

- Several services have recently made offers to BME applicants, leading to a better balance of ethnic minorities in those teams

- A couple of traditionally male dominated services have recently appointed women

- Facilities Senior Management Team have appointed two women making the senior team equally balanced between men and women

- The H&S Team are currently reviewing the evacuation procedures for disabled people and are setting up a project group to ensure key stakeholders are involved in this

- Accommodation services welcomed their first hearing dog this year

- A Business Case has been submitted for a multi-faith space as part of the Bower Ashton Campus redevelopment project

Alternative Formats Service update

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Contributed by Sarah Fleetwood, Disability Support Librarian:

So far this academic year the Alternative Formats Service has had 370 separate requests for core reading materials (a mixture whole books, book extracts and journal articles) to be made available in different formats.

Formats we have created include audio, large print, and PDF. Demand for alternative formats has noticeably increased in the last two years, and the feedback we have had from students show that they really appreciate the service.

We are currently looking at ways we can improve and streamline the service due to the increase in demand.

There are more details about what we do, including information for academic staff, on the library webpages. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions: