COVID19 – Serving the community in a crisis
The University has taken an active role during the pandemic in many ways. From students and staff going on the frontline to help the health service, starting their own charity and fundraising initiatives and the opening up of vacant student halls to house healthcare professionals. Below is our round up just some of what has been happening, with a big thank you from all of us to all of them.
Read our report for how we responded to the pandemic and supported our community:
The University of Northampton (UON) is supporting Universities UK’s economic and social recovery campaign #GettingResults to help people and businesses recover from the wide-ranging damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With indoor activities banned, social distancing still in place, and many people unable to see friends and family in person, a team of four University of Northampton Events Management students teamed up with Northampton Association for the Blind (NAB) to create the virtual fundraising event The Inclusive Escape Room.
A team of three University of Northampton Events Management students have inspired local people to walk, run or cycle a mile a day at the start of April and raised nearly £4,000 in support of a local charity, The Hope Centre.
A team of Covid heroes from the University of Northampton has been recognised for going above and beyond the call of duty to help the community during the pandemic. Colleagues from the Estates & Campus Services department leapt into action in March 2020 providing a number of key support services for students and the community during lockdown. Their work has been recognised with an award nomination from the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).
Marking 12 months since the University ‘switched’ to providing teaching and learning entirely online, our Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Petford takes a reflective look on our successes during the ‘year of Covid’.
The University’s mission to make Waterside and the wider community better equipped to support people’s mental health – even during pandemic lockdowns – gained recognition with the first national, Inside Out Award for Mental Health First Aid training.
Ellie Stokes, one of our MSc Counselling Children and Young People students, spoke about her role as an Outreach Bereavement Counsellor during the pandemic, including what she has seen, why she feels this is just the top of the Covid iceberg and why the UON degree has stood her in good stead to deliver important and much needed help.
Northamptonshire businesses have been given a fresh opportunity to receive up to £5,000 funding from the University of Northampton to boost growth and develop ideas. The University of Northampton Business Innovation Grant (BIIG) enables organisations in the county to work with the institution’s academics and facilities, with the aim of developing new products, processes, services, gaining new insights or generally developing business.
The University of Northampton has supported local food banks with a bumper donation of food cupboard essentials.
Foodbanks across the county have been supporting people throughout the pandemic by providing food parcels and more. Thanks to a huge donation from the University of Northampton, families will be able to access nutritious ready meals, cupboard staples, tinned fruit, and sweet treats from their local food bank.
Nursing students in the final year of their degrees followed their 2020 peers by opting to provide extra help in hospitals during the pandemic.
124 students from all four nursing fields at the University of Northampton ‘signed up’ to support NHS staff at partner hospitals across the region, providing extra people hours on the wards.
For people who wanted to learn something new, get extra support for home teaching or advice about their mental and physical health were able to log-in for free, online learning sessions from UON experts. Community of Online Learning (CoOL) started on Friday 26 February to give people information, direction and top tips to help them better navigate a pandemic planet.
A nursing student working on the COVID-front line has launched an initiative to donate wellbeing packs for patients to keep them occupied while spending long hours in care. Charlene Field, based at Kettering General Hospital (KGH), has launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy mindfulness activities and items and create wellbeing packs to boost patients’ mental and physical health, with the help of her friends Tanya Cox* and Danielle Crook.
A group of three University of Northampton students have created a blog to help navigate student life. Second-year students Megan Denny, Lydia Wiles, and Megan Andrews, have launched their blog, It’s A Student Thing, on Facebook and Instagram, geared towards supporting and inspiring other students.
University of Northampton teacher training students have made a huge impact on children’s learning.
65 Initial Teacher Training (ITT) students from the University’s undergraduate programme can be found in a variety of school-based training placements at 55 schools across the region. 42 of their postgraduate course peers have placements in a total of 35 schools.
Paramedic student Emily Copson received praise from her crew members for keeping on top of a fraught situation, when a baby decided to make an appearance in the world slightly earlier than expected.
Former Education Secretary Justine Greening is working with the University of Northampton to protect opportunities and boost social mobility. The partnership comes as research shows 80% of people are concerned that there will be fewer available job opportunities for young people nationwide in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Nursing lecturer Hannah Cannon keeps human contact a touchstone of good care. She extended this approach by helping two COVID patients get married while they were both in hospital.
Recognise your local COVID heroes on our Power Tower
The University of Northampton’s Energy Centre tower is an important part of Northampton’s skyline, and starting in January we gave people the chance to share a message of thanks for all to see on the power tower screen.
Making sure the homeless aren’t forgotten
Vulnerable people in the town facing homelessness could continue enjoying a safe, warm night in thanks to an agreement to use vacant student rooms being restarted.
University wins award for supporting pandemic-hit community
Dedicated colleagues at the University were officially recognised for the way they have supported communities during the pandemic, with a Rose of Northampton Award.
Radio station wins county award for supporting the community during the pandemic
The University’s second Rose of Northampton Award went to the UON-backed, community radio station NLive. The station was recognised for the vital contribution it has played during the coronavirus pandemic.
Students living in halls received first-class support from University staff to help them get through the pandemic safely. Staff rallied round to provide food parcels for those who were self-isolating, welcome packs for international students and provided a listening ear with UON’s Check in and Chat service.
The care package developed for students who were isolating due to the pandemic received the thumbs up from student Chloe Finch.
Dr Katere ‘Kati’ Pourseied – Lecturer in Psychology – is an expert who is passionate about helping people understand the complexity of their emotions and thoughts, their responses to stress and how to manage these and other positive psychology concepts in life-changing situations. To help people deal with change, heavier than usual workloads, stress and to remain positive during lockdown, she gave a ‘pick list’ of tips and advice.
The University of Northampton increased its support for businesses and organisations to help them survive and thrive beyond the pandemic, with a grant worth up to £5,000 to develop their business.
Despite the pandemic, the University’s Mental Health First Aid team (MHFA) were busy training members of the local community and preparing to extend this support.
Ten new police officers patrolled the streets of Northamptonshire before officially graduating from the University, after successfully completing their three-year Professional Policing degree. They spoke about starting as police officers during the pandemic.
Nursing student Alley Eyre spoke about working on the frontline throughout the pandemic, saying the experience enhanced her learning, despite coronavirus claiming three of her nearest and dearest.
Students from across the Faculty of Health, Education and Society stepped up when the Government issued a call for nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy and paramedic science students to provide extra people hours to help the NHS.
A total of 273 Nursing (all four fields), 37 Midwifery, 40 Occupational Therapy and 45 Paramedic Science (BSc and Foundation) students did this during lockdown.
One of those was Adult Nursing’s Hannah Shaw who said: “My family is definitely proud of me, but also nervous because I am on the frontline, exposing myself to the virus more than I would have done if I was staying at home.
“The University is also so proud of us all, whether we opted in or out of a placement. There’s a real sense of pride and a feeling of togetherness, which is a nice thing to have come out of this situation.”
Senior Lecturer in Early Years and former nurse Sharon Smith answered the government’s call for retired/out of practice nurses to return to the wards to support the NHS. After a 25 year gap, she worked for several weeks at Northampton General Hospital as a Healthcare Assistant.
Staff from our Institute for Creative Leather Technologies helped dye half a tonne of material that was turned into clinical scrubs for local NHS staff.
Our men’s student rugby team helped ensure doctors, nurses and health care assistants working at the Northampton General Hospital’s (NGH) A&E department continued to have fresh, hot beverages by donating a coffee machine.
Overseas students who were stranded in Northampton during the coronavirus lockdown were supported by kind-hearted UON volunteers. The students who benefited from the Check-in and Chat initiative said it provided them with much-needed reassurance and company, during what many found to be a stressful period of isolation.
First-year Advertising and Digital Marketing student Chahak Kawatra also gave the thumbs up for the University’s super-supportive ethos when the pandemic meant she couldn’t safely get home and spend time with her family.
Social Work (MA) student Nancy Tsvara spotted vulnerable members of her local BAME community needed support during lockdown accessing ethnic traditional foods, so she started her own food donation charity to help out.
University accommodation was temporarily given to a local charity who are supporting rough sleepers in the town to get back on their feet. With support from Northampton’s Single Homelessness Forum – which includes three meals each day, toiletries, a laundry service and support to find work and medical treatment – 26 people are now off the street before moving into more permanent accommodation.
During the pandemic, our Business Support team helped 428 local business with their webinar. 103 start-up businesses have been supported by our advisers on a 1-to-1 since late March and 60 social enterprises were supported by our Inspire2Enterprise programme since May.
Our Waterside campus housed a temporary assessment clinic. The clinic was specially equipped to ensure patients from Northampton with COVID-19 symptoms could be safely seen by a healthcare professional, instead of them having to visit their own GP practice or an urgent care setting. Around 200 patients visited and were safely assessed.
The University supported the Red Cross, when they needed a base in Northampton to store food to be packaged for delivery to vulnerable people across the county. The University gave the ground floor of the Creative Hub at Waterside and the services of several members of UON’s Security and Campus and Estates Services who volunteered to pack some of the boxes.
University students continued giving English lessons during the lockdown, helping young refugees and asylum seekers in Northampton to continue learning the language.
Paramedic Science students Felicity Hubbard and Anna Leitch became ‘Technicians receiving payment’ during lockdown and spoke about their experiences.
The University’s Podiatry Clinic’s doors are open again for general appointments, but part of the team remained on-call for patients during lockdown They either gave advice remotely or came into the clinic to provide direct care to those deemed at high risk of developing more serious complications and who required urgent treatment. During this time, they gave advice to or directly saw over 250 patients.
Masters in Business Administration (MBA) student Farsana Kodavandi put her critical thinking and research skills to good use, working for the NHS Test and Trace service. She said:
“When I saw the contact tracer role, I was determined to get the job, so that I could have the opportunity to do my part, serve the community, and help people to stay safe. Covid-19 has taught us to stay united and to put other’s lives and safety first before our own.”
Our Director of Student & Academic Services Kathryn Kendon praised the on-campus teams that have been looking out for students who are living in halls.
Molecular Bioscience lecturer David Young juggled daily lecturing duties and his own research with volunteering to support local hospital colleagues tackling the pandemic. He gave his spare time to support Northampton General Hospital’s (NGH) testing of Covid-19 samples.
Occupational Therapy student Andy Jay combined his former life as a telecoms engineer with his passion for using OT to support people and created a telehealth helpline.
Kind hearted criminology student Ben Eva donated £450 worth of food vouchers to help support fellow students in need.
University staff members Nick Allen and Becky Bradshaw found time in their busier than ever schedules to join the ranks of the NHS ‘volunteer army’ to support their communities.
Shortly after the lockdown officially started in March, we provided 400 free rooms in vacant student accommodation to house healthcare staff and patients to ease the pressure on the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Lastly, but by no means least, a big thank you to the University’s Dr Steve O’Brien. Every Tuesday morning during the crisis, he was the county’s voice of calm and reason with his informed, balanced and never alarmist coronavirus updates with BBC Radio Northampton’s Annabel Amos.