Through a unique partnership iQ has formed with relationship charity Relate, the leading relationships charity, we looked at how relationships and loneliness can impact student wellbeing. We found that a fifth of UK students report feeling often or always lonely and wanted to understand this further, so we commissioned Relate to look more deeply the issue. Our hope is that what we learned about the risk factors for, and consequences of, student loneliness can serve as a catalyst for positive change. Off the back of this work, we launched a campaign called Embrace the Unexpected which encourages students to get more involved – to take a chance on new relationships, be open to trying new things, and find friendship in surprising places. This is a student-led campaign, with students in the driving seat as we work with them to identify and test potential solutions to loneliness.
But addressing student wellbeing cannot be achieved by one accommodation provider alone, which is why, with my other hat on – as Chair of the British Property Foundation (BPF)’s Student Accommodation Committee I am proud that today we are launching the BPF’s wellbeing guide for the student accommodation sector. Endorsed by the Department for Education, this guide has been a unique opportunity for collaboration and learning for all those with a stake in student wellbeing with contributions from university bodies, charities, mental health experts, the purpose built student accommodation sector (PBSA), and the government. By working together to support student wellbeing, we can all play a part in helping students make the most of their experience at university and equipping them for life beyond.
The guide showcases existing best practice and makes recommendations for staff training, wellbeing policies and a proactive package of holistic wellbeing initiatives. It is our hope that this guide, our research and the Embrace the Unexpected programme findings will add to the national conversation about student wellbeing and we invite you to work with us as we play our part in helping students to have their best possible experience at university.
You can find out more and stay connected to our wellbeing campaign.