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.

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.