Loneliness and feelings of isolation have only become more prevalent in our everyday lives since the pandemic. This Mental Health Awareness Week we’re shining a spotlight on loneliness and how we can help combat these feelings and, in particular, what we as The College offer to help you. We have a whole range of resources available to help improve your mental and emotional wellbeing but one scheme that we’ve introduced since the pandemic is the CAW Buddy Scheme.
What is the Buddy Scheme?
All students at CAW have the opportunity to get a Buddy via our Buddy scheme or become a Buddy themselves. We understand that it can be a struggle to strike up friendships, especially in a world that has only become more virtual in the recent years, but the Buddy Scheme is aiming to help create connections between our students to not only improve your wellbeing but help with feelings of isolation and loneliness. The Office for National Statistics noted that since the start of the pandemic, 7.2% of the adult population (about 3.7 million adults) reported feeling lonely and areas in which there are a higher level of people aged 16-24 also noted higher rates of loneliness, particularly when having to isolate.
The CAW Buddy Scheme was put in place to help lower those levels of loneliness within the College. Buddies can support each other through college life and provide a friendly face to chat to when needed. Having a Buddy can also help develop interpersonal skills! You can share hints and tips with your Buddy, arrange a virtual chat or even plan activities together and make the most of the resources the College offers.
How do I get a Buddy?
Getting paired with your own Buddy is very straightforward. To start to process, simply complete the application form with your preferences and submit it to the Buddy Co-ordinators. Our team of Buddy Co-ordinators will review your application and will contact you if they have any queries. Once processed, you will receive a confirmation email following the review of your application form and you’ll be matched with your Buddy! They will make contact first and you can then arrange your first virtual meet up.
Can I be a Buddy?
Yes! Becoming a Buddy Volunteer is easy and can help your fellow students struggling with loneliness and isolation. To apply, complete the application form and let us know why you want to become a Buddy and a few bits about yourself so we can match you with a student. Your application will go to our Buddy Co-ordinators who will review it and, if successful, invite you for an informal chat. You’ll then get an email about the outcome of your application and will be provided with details for the training and guidance for Buddy Volunteers. When you have completed the training, you will be matched with a student and can then get started on your Buddy journey!
It’s really that simple! The Buddy Scheme is just one of the ways we’re supporting your wellbeing. If you want to find out more about the Buddy Scheme, or any of the others resources we have available, you can find all of it here.
Don’t forget, we’ve also got two more virtual drop-in sessions taking place to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. The first takes place today with Fika, 1 – 1.30pm and the second takes place tomorrow with Togetherall, 12.30 – 1.30pm. You can find all of the information on the virtual drop-in sessions, including how to access them here.