We recognise that this is a really difficult time for many of our students, especially those who have to isolate or those who are new to Manchester and are unable to meet many people due to COVID19 restrictions. A number of you have told us that you are struggling with isolation and would like support. We have also had several students get in touch who recognise what other students are going through and who would like to help. Right now, it’s more important than ever that we come together as a community and help one another through this time.
That’s why we’ve set up our UMSU Buddy Scheme - to help connect you with other students! As part of the scheme, we’ll pair students with other students who will get in touch for weekly phone or video calls, providing some social contact and the chance to make a new friend.
We will match ‘peer buddies’ with students who are feeling isolated so that they can get in touch for a chat to check in with them and find out how they are getting on. Our peer buddies aren’t trained counsellors but are students who may be studying on a similar course or have similar interests. They will also be able to signpost you to Students’ Union and University services should you need them.
This is a ‘peer to peer’ scheme and so everyone involved will be a student at the University of Manchester. We are unable to DBS check our participants and volunteers and so although training and escalation information will be provided, we would expect everyone involved to exercise the usual cautions. Anyone involved will be able to request a new buddy should they wish.
If you are feeling isolated, are struggling with the start of Uni because of the pandemic, or would just like to make a new friend, then this scheme is for you! We can pair you up with a ‘peer buddy’ who will contact you a couple of times a week to chat and check how you’re getting on.
We’re looking for confident, empathetic students who’d be happy to call a small number of students once or twice a week. You’d be there to provide a friendly ear and to check on how they’re getting on. We wouldn’t expect you to act as a counsellor and have lots of services you can signpost them to should they need it. We will provide training and also have Students’ Union staff on hand to support you with the role.
The Students’ Union and University have staff on the ground providing practical support like food parcels for students who are isolating. For more information on support the Students’ Union are providing here: https://manchesterstudentsunion.com/covid
The University have also issued guidance for isolating students, which can be found here: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/coronavirus/self-isolation/