Report your symptoms so that we can support you

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You will not be penalised. We need to keep you and the community safe, so report your symptoms, self-isolate, and we’ll support you.

We have a Covid Support Team especially for this unique period in time. You must contact them:

• if you have Coronavirus symptoms
• if you have received a positive test result

How do I report symptoms?

If you develop Coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate in your accommodation and ring 0117 32 87000. The phone line is open from 09:00 to 19:00 every day.

You can also report symptoms online using Infohub (login required). If you report your symptoms online a member of the team will call you back.

What we’ll do

We’ll take some details, explain how to book a free test with the NHS (if you haven’t already) and what your next steps are.

We can help you access your learning resources online and make sure you have all the support you need. We’ll also check back in with you throughout your self-isolation to make sure you’re ok and to see if there’s anything you need from us.

This goes for all students, wherever you’re living. For information visit our University life in self-isolation page.

A message from Bristol City and South Gloucestershire Council

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by Sara, South Gloucestershire Council and Christina, Bristol City Council

We’d like to offer you a very warm welcome to South Gloucestershire, home to UWE Bristol and our wonderful city of Bristol where many of you will choose to live and spend your free time. We hope that the start of this academic year at UWE Bristol goes well for you.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a global challenge and we will only beat it if we work together. We need to behave differently and we need to be flexible, adapting to the safety measures as we move around the campus and across our city area. There is still so much to enjoy as a student here, as long as you do this responsibly and in line with national and local safety guidelines.

Making the most of Bristol

You’ve chosen a fantastic city to study in and will play a hugely important role here. You can still enjoy a social life as long as you keep COVID-19 compliant. Our pubs, cafés and restaurants want you to experience what Bristol has to offer, but they need your help to do this safely. Make sure that you follow the measures put in place to keep everyone safe.

This includes maintaining a safe distance outside our venues if you need to queue, wearing face coverings in shops at all times, and in restaurants, pubs and cafes when not seated at a table, and following social distancing guidelines. It’s also mandatory that you do not to gather in groups of more than six people unless you all live together (or are in the same bubble).

Protecting yourself and others

Make sure you continue to:

  • Wash your HANDS – frequently for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your FACE – in all mandatory settings, including shops and on public transport.
  • Keep SPACE – between you and others not in your household.

If you are feeling unwell and develop any coronavirus related symptoms you should tell the University by calling the COVID Support Team on 0117 32 87000, book a test online and self-isolate until you get your results.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • A high temperature.
  • A new, continuous cough.
  • A loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.

If you test positive for COVID-19, or need to self-isolate, please let the University know so that they can support you. Find out what you need to do and how to stay well.

Please ensure you register with your local GP here. This not only means you have quick access to healthcare and advice when needed, but also ensures the NHS Test & Trace service have the correct location for your whereabouts if you do test positive for COVID-19.

Visiting home

We know it’s common for students to travel back home in term time, however we urge you to please wait until the end of term to do so, if you can. This reduces the opportunity for the virus to hop from one area to another. If you do need to go home, please think carefully about how you can reduce the risk by limiting who you see and how you travel.

When travelling, try to avoid car sharing with those outside your household and avoid public transport at peak times. Walking or cycling, when it’s possible and safe to do so, is a great way to really get to know Bristol, if you can cope with our hilly terrain! You can find out more about cycling in and around Bristol here.

Asking for help

The University has put a wider range of measures in place to keep students, staff and the wider community safe and well on campus. If you’re worried about your health and wellbeing, please get in touch with the University Wellbeing service and they will provide the support you need.

Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils also have a variety of mental health resources for young people.

Staying up to date

It’s a good idea to keep up to date with the latest health and safety guidance and we recommend you bookmark the following links:

You can also follow Bristol and South Gloucestershire council on social media for the very latest information and guidance on how to stay safe in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

Once again, welcome to Bristol, and we wish you every success at the start of this very different new academic year.

Keep safe, stay well.

Worried about settling in and making friends?

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by The Feel Good Team

Moving to university is a massive change and can feel pretty intense. Loads of our new students tell us they feel worried about settling in and making friends, which is completely normal. So we’ve put together some top tips on how to get involved and make friends.

Smile and say ‘Hi’

Simple, but it can make all the difference! Introduce yourself and smile – whether it’s your new flatmates, new classmates, or people at an activity. Even just having one or two nice conversations helps you to feel more confident and less worried – so be the one that breaks the ice first!

Food with your flatmates

Everybody needs to eat, and it’s a perfect way to do something together and get to know who you’re living with. Whether it’s navigating your way to the local supermarket together, ordering a takeaway, or making pasta and pesto, it’s a good way to chat and have a laugh. You can even get your whole flat involved for a pizza night.

Lacking confidence in the kitchen? Check out our Cooking up a storm blog post for tips!

HallsLife

If you’re living in halls, then there will be loads of fun stuff going on, including online activities, run by HallsLife. This is a great way to get to know people living in your flat and in your halls. This also encourages a bit of friendly competition with other halls too, which can be fun.

Find your society

With thousands of students, we have clubs and societies that suit everybody! Signing up for activities, clubs, teams or societies is a great way to meet other new students who have similar interests to you.

Get involved

Find out what’s going on across the university and get involved! The Students’ Union is a great place to meet other students and they have loads of virtual and face to face events coming up! You can also connect with others via the HallsLife and Feel Good Facebook pages and Freshers groups.

Drugs and alcohol – reducing the risk

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by Becky Risley, Senior Drug and Alcohol Practitioner at SPACED

The festivals were cancelled, nightclubs are closed and the pubs are shutting at 10pm.

Despite the rules and regulations in place, using drugs including alcohol in halls and student accommodation is something that is likely to happen. Behind closed doors, without the usual protection from door and bar staff, as well as medical teams, the risk of accidental overdoses has increased for students.

For some, drug use – including alcohol – at universities is a whole new experience while for others it’s something they feel very familiar with. Whatever your previous experience, educating yourself is the best way to ensure you stay safe.

Tragically we have already seen the fatal consequences of drug use at university in the North East over the weekend. In the South West there are local reports of substances being mis-sold and having devastating consequences for those who choose to use them – follow SPACED Instagram for up to date drug warnings and harm reduction advice.

Accidental overdoses are preventable – look after yourselves and look after each other. If you or anyone else on campus may have taken too much, and especially if someone is unresponsive, call 999 and/or UWE Security on 0117 328 9999 to ask for help.

To reduce the risks and ensure you’re making an informed decision you can follow these steps:

Large quantities of alcohol consumed rapidly can cause respiratory depression, coma and death.

  • Avoid shots, doubles and strong spirits to avoid becoming too drunk too quickly.
  • If alcohol is combined with other drugs especially Ketamine and benzodiazepines (eg Xanax) the risks increase greatly.
  • Avoid using alcohol and illicit drugs together.

Mixing drugs can be fatal.

  • Using Drugs+Me can give you factual information about what the risks are when you combine one substance with another.

What are you taking?

  • Lockdown has affected the supply of drugs into the country leading to shortages which results in some drugs being heavily cut.
  • Using a reagent test can identify if a drug that you have brought is what you think it is – although it can’t tell you how strong it is, it’s a way to ensure you aren’t putting dangerous adulterants into your body.
  • But pure doesn’t mean safe – high purity MDMA can be very dangerous when taken in large quantities.

If you would like advice or support related to drug including alcohol use you can contact the UWE Wellbeing Service and ask for a 1:1 appointment or to attend a one-off group harm reduction awareness session with SPACED.

SPACED offer a free, confidential harm reduction advice and information around drugs including alcohol.


Becky Risley is a Senior Drugs and Alcohol Practitioner in the Wellbeing Service here at UWE Bristol. In response to events at universities in the North East over the weekend, she is raising awareness to help you stay safe as you move onto campus.

Take time to educate yourself on the harms that drugs (including alcohol) can cause. Remember, you can never eliminate risk completely, so it’s important to understand your own motivations and risk factors.

UWE Bristol does not endorse the use of drugs including alcohol, but we want our students to be safe. We operate a policy of harm reduction that prioritises the welfare and wellbeing of our community.

However, if there is reason to believe that a student has been dealing drugs we will immediately suspend the student pending internal investigation and/or criminal proceedings.

Staying well in self-isolation

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If you, or someone you have spent time with, shows symptoms of COVID-19 or has a positive test, you may need to self-isolate for up to 14 days. You may find that you feel more stressed or anxious at first, particularly if you haven’t experienced anything like this before.

While self-isolation may be a challenging time, there is a lot you can do to stay healthy and positive while you’re staying at home, so that you’ll feel ready to get back out there safely afterwards.

Be kind to yourself

If you are self-isolating, you are likely to be away from family and friends and will likely have had a significant change to your normal routine.

Remind yourself that it is normal for your mood to have been affected by the current situation. It’s normal to feel a sense of grief for the loss of ‘normal life’. When we are grieving any loss it is normal to experience a range of emotions including sadness, bargaining, denial and anger.

So notice how you are feeling but try not to judge your feelings as good or bad. Try to avoid shaming yourself for experiencing these normal feelings. It might also be helpful to share your feelings with other people.

Remind yourself that anxiety is a completely normal response to this abnormal situation. As humans we are biologically programmed to experience anxiety when we feel we’re under threat but it can be helpful to acknowledge our anxiety when it shows up and normalise this.

If you are self-isolating with other people you may want to discuss each having your own space to retreat where you can go if you feel overwhelmed, want to practice some self-care or need some time to be alone.

And remind yourself that this is temporary. Remember that although the current situation is difficult, this will pass.

If you have previously had difficulties with your mental health, then this may be a more challenging time than normal, and your usual support networks may be less available. Make sure that you keep taking care of your mental health as much as possible, and if you need to seek extra support then don’t put it off – services are able to offer remote support and find ways of helping through these unusual times.

Keep to your usual routine

Having a structure to the day can really help to make things feel more normal. Try and get up at your usual time and keep as much of your usual routine as possible, including meal times and self-care activities. Don’t forget to build in rests and breaks. Eat regular meals, and eat well.

Stay active

While staying indoors you probably won’t move around as much as you normally would, so it’s a good idea to build some exercise into your day. A huge variety of guided exercise videos are available online for free, from gentle stretching all the way up to intense workouts. Even setting an alarm to get up, stretch and walk around a couple of times each hour will help.

If you have safe access to a private garden, getting some fresh air and walking around can boost your mood. If that’s not possible, try opening a window and watching sunrise, sunset, or the trees and birds outside.

Keep in touch

Make use of phone calls and the internet to keep in touch with friends and family. Having some contact with someone else every day, even if just for a few minutes, can help keep loneliness at bay.

Give yourself permission to limit or end conversations with people who are causing you to feel anxious. It can be useful to have phrases in mind to end conversations that are making you feel worse. This might be a statement such as ‘I’m finding that talking about this isn’t helpful for me at the moment, can we talk about something else?’

Avoid drugs including alcohol

Limiting use of substances which can affect your mood will help you to stay safe and keep feeling well throughout your self-isolation. If you need to talk to someone about this, the Wellbeing Service have a dedicated Senior Drugs & Alcohol Practitioner who you can speak to.

Limit your exposure to the news

It’s important to stay informed, but try not to let the news cycle become all-consuming while you’re in self-isolation. Make a plan for how much news you plan to read or watch, and at what times of day which will fit with your routine.

Recognise your strengths and achievements

Make sure you give yourself credit for managing this challenging time. Think about ways to safely celebrate the end of self-isolation and recognise your own resilience.

And if you need support…

If you find you’re struggling in terms of your wellbeing, a range of support options are available through UWE. The Wellbeing service can provide appointments by phone or video call – register with us to get started.

Please also have a look at our guide to self-isolating in accommodation and our University life in self-isolation page for advice and resources to keep you connected to university life.

Disclosing a mental health problem

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by the Wellbeing Service

For some people, the transition to university can be made more daunting by the thought of being surrounded by new people who don’t understand our difficulties.

Opening up

Telling people about your mental health is a personal choice and you should never feel like you have to. However, it can mean that new people around you better understand your experiences, needs and behaviours and can support you more effectively.

Telling people does not have to be ‘all or nothing’ – you can choose who you tell and what you tell them and you only need to share what is relevant. For example, you may want your flatmate to know you get really anxious around new people and ask that they let you know if they’re having people over.

If you choose to tell people about your mental health, be aware that this may be the first time they are hearing about these kind of difficulties. Letting them know where they can access accurate information is really helpful in their understanding. Mind have a great website with particular information for friends and family.

A helping hand

The University’s Wellbeing Service can support you to tell staff and friends about your difficulties if you feel it would be helpful for them to understand what you are experiencing. This could be on-going difficulties or a specific set of circumstances. This would be collaborative and is never done without your consent.

Dealing with diagnosis

If you have a formal diagnosis, our Disability Service can support you with telling relevant people in the university about your needs. They can work with you to prepare what’s called an Impact Statement which informs academic staff about your difficulties and how these affect your studies – for example letting lecturers know you may need to leave for breaks if you become too anxious. The service can also support you to arrange ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make your study experience as accessible as possible.

Access support

If you’re finding it difficult to disclose your mental health difficulties, remember that you can speak to someone at the Wellbeing Service for support. To arrange an appointment, contact us on 0117 32 86268 or email.

Visitors, bubbles and households – explained!

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by the UWE Accommodation Team

None of us could have imagined what 2020 had in store, but we’ve all adapted, found new ways of keeping touch, discovered new hobbies and uncovered new technologies.

This year is going to be different, and we all need to follow government advice to help protect our families, friends, wider community and the NHS. That doesn’t mean that we can’t socialise with each other and live University life to the fullest!

We have written this guide to explain our rules on visitors, social distancing and to give you some ideas about how university will be different this year, but also how you can make it work for you.

What are the rules on visitors in UWE managed accommodation?

At this time, we will not be allowing visitors into accommodation. We understand that this is going to be difficult, but we have made this decision to keep areas as clean as possible, to minimise the risk of cross contamination and to allow track and trace to operate as effectively as possible.

Who is classed as a visitor?

Unfortunately, this means anybody you don’t live with. This includes friends, family, partners and students who live in other flats – even if you live in the same building.

What about my flatmates? Can we socialise freely?

Good news – you can socialise with members of your flat freely, without social distancing. Your flat family will become your new ‘social bubble’ or ‘household’.

You might find that your housemates don’t become your best of pals in the first few weeks and that’s OK. Sometimes it takes a little time to adjust and you might find that you prefer to socialise with other people, but just remember to support each other.

Does that mean I can’t meet anyone outside my bubble?

Good news – you can meet people from outside of your bubble or household, but this cannot be in your accommodation – no visitors, remember!

We encourage you to go out and meet other people as long as you’re maintaining social distancing. When socialising with people that you do not live with, you must not meet in a group of more than six, indoors or outdoors – following government guidance.

So, for example you could meet in a group of six with others from your course or another flat at the Students’ Union, go for a walk, or head into the city centre together, but not in your flat.

What are the rules for socialising if you live in private accommodation?

The rule of six still applies as it’s official government guidance and law. For example if you live in a flat or house of five people and you want to meet up with others, inside or outside, you can only meet up with one other person.

I am worried that I’m going to struggle making friends in the current situation

This is totally understandable. Here are a few ways you can meet other people:

  • Check out the range of in person and virtual UWE Welcome events.
  • UWE Global Team have a ton of virtual events that you can get involved in and meet new people. These are especially aimed at students who have just moved to the UK.
  • Societies – Societies are an ideal way to meet people, get more out of university, learn new skills and more importantly have a good time.
  • UWE Sport offer a range of social sports clubs and classes.
  • The Centre for Music is here for you and will be running music lessons and concerts.

I’m feeling lonely, what can I do?

We understand that the new rules are difficult, especially if you have just moved away from home. We want you to know that we are here to support you, and no question is too big or too small. Take a look at our wellbeing support pages to find out how to get the support you need.

If you’re staying in private accommodation, the team at the Students’ Union advice centre are on hand to support you and give advice.

And if you’re in UWE managed accommodation, we’re always here for you. Let us know if you would like us to set up a call with a member of staff to talk through how you’re feeling.

And remember to keep in touch with friends and family back home.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms, stay at home and ring 0117 32 87000 or report your symptoms online (link requires login). The phone number is open from 09:00 to 19:00 every day.

If you are in UWE managed accommodation, you can also let us know by following the details on the back of your flat door. For information on what to do if you have to self-isolate visit our self-isolation guidance page.

How to build emotional resilience

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Life is not without its challenges – but you can navigate through them. Here are our tips on how to build on your resilience.

  1. Build self-empowerment. Learn about yourself! What motivates you? What are your goals?
  2. Build your support network. We all need help sometimes, it’s important to know when and who to ask for help. You can also strengthen this network by supporting others when they need it.
  3. Learn from you past. We can’t be perfect, but make sure you learn from mistakes and use it to keep building on self-empowerment and support so you can be more resilient next time.

How to deal with an unhelpful emotional reaction

When we hear about a challenging situation, like an assignment being due, we can act on instinct and have an emotional reaction which isn’t always helpful. Here are a few examples of negative thoughts which might cause the unhelpful reaction:

  • “I did badly last time, so I’ll do badly again”
  • “I can’t do this”
  • “I’ve never done this before”

All these thoughts can lessen your resilience but are normal. The key to start dealing with these situations is to be C A L M.

Calm down

The key to start dealing with these situations is to be calm, as it will allow you to think more clearly. Here are some examples you might want to try to help calm down:

  • Let time pass
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness
  • Use an app such as SAM app or Calm
  • Exercise or go for a walk
  • Speak to friends or family
  • Write in a journal
  • Listen to music

Ask questions

Once you have calmed down and can think properly, question your reasons for the unhelpful reaction. Ask yourself:

What’s going on here? And why am I feeling like this?

Learn

Knowing why you reacted unhelpfully can help you to learn the cause(s) of the issue.

Manage

Work out how you might be able to improve your situation and lessen the impact of the negative thoughts.

  • What can you do yourself?
  • What might you need support with?

We have a range of self-help resources available online as well as one to one appointments for individual support with the Wellbeing Service. You can book these over the phone on 0117 32 86268 or by email.

Cooking up a storm at University

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by the Feel Good Team

What is Feel Good?

The Feel Good programme is based on healthy behaviours for your wellbeing. We believe in empowering you to make healthy choices and run events throughout the year to help you relax, eat well, get active and try new things.

Eat well

We all love eating out and getting food delivered (especially after months of lockdown) and it can be fun whilst you are settling in and meeting new people.

But it can get expensive and unhealthy pretty quickly, so try and balance it with some healthy, home-cooked meals too. Making sure you’re eating some wholesome, balanced meals is so important to keep your energy levels up, keep you feeling good and well.

Once you’re settled in, cooking in your accommodation can also be a great way to get to know your new housemates. Whether you’re cooking group meals together, or doing your own thing – it’s a chance to socialise and get to know your new housemates.

Our top tips for cooking at university

  1. Bulk cooking is cheaper than cooking one meal at a time. Make a big dish of something like pasta or chilli, store it in the fridge and you’ve got a quick, easy and delicious lunch or dinner whenever you need it.
  2. Pick the no-fuss stuff. Buying the supermarket’s ‘own brand’ items wherever possible will save you so much money. You pay so much extra for branded items and it doesn’t taste that different – so shop smart.
  3. Buy it dry. Stock up on dry rice, pasta and own brand cereal. They aren’t very expensive, they’ll last ages and can be used as the basis of loads of different meals.
  4. Multipacks means more. Whilst multi-packs might cost more upfront, you’ll save lots in the long run. For example, a bag of crisps or a Diet Coke can set you back around £1 for just one from a small convenience store or a vending machine. But in supermarkets, you can normally get a multi-pack of 6+ for just double that price.
  5. Don’t forget the seasoning! When you start cooking away from home you might find your food tastes so bland… That would be seasoning! Salt and pepper, basic seasoning and spice mixes are cheap and make a world of difference to your dishes.
  6. Ice ice baby…If you want to buy meat or fish it can be a lot cheaper from the freezer section (just make sure you have a freezer in your accommodation before you buy it). Meat-free alternatives like Quorn can sometimes also be cheaper, and they are high in protein and low in fat too.

And did you know it’s Feel Good Fortnight? Events started on Monday and run until Sunday 4 October. See all our Feel Good Fortnight events and get involved!

How coaching groups can support your student journey

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by the Student Journey Team

In sport, the role of a coach is to support the people participating, reach their full potential. And when it comes to academic coaching it’s just the same!

During Block Zero, you’ll be put into coaching groups hosted in a Microsoft Teams site. Your group will be made up of around ten students within your programme areas and you’ll be able to meet up and work with your group virtually.

Once Teaching Block One and Two start, you’ll then be timetabled to meet up with six other groups of ten students, every two weeks for an hour and a half. During these sessions, the team coach that’s been assigned to you will present a pre-recorded lecture to you based around one of the 5 secrets to success. You’ll then break off into your coaching group to complete activities which will build on that theme and help you reflect on your experiences.

By working in a group and with your coach, you’ll be able to support each other to seek solutions to any issues you might be experiencing. You’ll also have the chance to build on your learnings from Block Zero, gain confidence and feel empowered to make the most of your opportunities at UWE.

We hope you enjoy working with your coaching groups and enjoy all that university life has to offer!