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Episode 1 – the return to campus

15 October 2020

Why accommodation matters when it comes to student safety and wellbeing

Unite Students launches new podcast for anyone working in or associated with student accommodation

Student accommodation matters. It matters because it’s a key part of the student experience. It provides students with a sense of safety and belonging.

It matters because it supports and promotes students’ wellbeing. We provide support 24/7, 365 days of the year.

But, crucially, it matters because it enables students to achieve their best and is an integral part of their success at university.

Students arriving in their accommodation at the start of this academic year have been urged to seek any help and support they might need, particularly given the recent impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the student experience.

In Unite Students’ first Accommodation Matters podcast, which focuses on student safety at the start of a new academic year, guest speaker Nick Hillman, director of Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), warned students not to assume their accommodation provider, or university, would necessarily know they need extra support.

He said: “Students, who may need extra help, would be well advised to reach out to their university and their accommodation providers to make sure they know that they may need extra support. Sometimes, students are reluctant to do that before they reach university. Some new students will arrive knowing what their needs are, but their university won’t. I would encourage new students to start those conversations early because none of us want to see a higher dropout rate this year.”

Unite Students is committed to the safety and security of every student and is focused on supporting students’ wellbeing and mental health. 

Commenting on Unite Students’ new podcast after the first recording, podcast host Darren Ellis, higher education engagement director at Unite Students, said: “Accommodation providers play an important role in the overall student experience. This podcast is about bringing all the key partners together to talk about a series of different topics, the first being student safety and the return to campus. At its best, student accommodation provides a sense of safety and belonging, supports and promotes wellbeing and mental health, and enables students to achieve their best.  Crucially, these benefits are no longer just available to students at a limited number of universities, but more widely thanks to the driving up of expectations and standards in both universities and the private sector, and a more collaborative relationship between universities and the private sector.”

Joining them on the first Accommodation Matters podcast is Ian Jones, the deputy director of accommodation and commercial services at the University of Sheffield, Robert Garnish, commercial services director at the University of Glasgow, and Steph Camm, head of health and safety at Unite Students.

Each month, Darren Ellis will host a roundtable chat with university student accommodation leaders, national policy experts and subject specialists.

Focusing on topical issues, he’ll explore student accommodation and the student living experience, talk about what’s happening and what might be coming over the horizon.

Alternatively, you can download and listen to the podcast in these places:


Apple Podcasts