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Supporting our Community. How we responded to Covid-19

Date 18.08.2020

The University of Northampton (UON) invested more than £2.5 million to financially support its students during the pandemic, among many other ‘good deed’ initiatives featured in a new report.

The University earmarked £2.6m to help students in financial trouble through its Covid-19 Hardship Fund.

This included waiving £2.5m of final term accommodation payments, providing 30 much needed laptops and extra funds from partners Santander supporting international and EU students who were eligible for tuition fee loans.

In addition, University people stepped up to help out with many good deeds and endeavours, as well as helping the University to rapidly and successfully switch to provide a comprehensive, online teaching and learning experience.

The University’s commitment to delivering – and supporting others to deliver – initiatives to help our community is summed up in the report ‘Supporting our Community: The University of Northampton’s Response to Covid-19’.

Examples of UON students and staff members’ good work during recent months include:

  • 400 rooms in vacant student accommodation were given to house healthcare staff and social care patients. 154 were finally used
  • Other, empty student rooms were temporarily given to 26 rough sleepers to help them get on their feet and into permanent accommodation
  • Nearly 400 students stepped up when the NHS needed those from nursing, midwifery, occupational therapy and paramedic science to provide extra people hours
  • UON supported the Red Cross when they needed a base to store food for delivery to vulnerable people across the county. Several members of our Security and Campus and Estates Services volunteered to pack boxes
  • Waterside campus housed a temporary assessment clinic for people with COVID-19 symptoms who needed to see a healthcare professional. Around 200 people visited
  • Check in and chat – a ‘friendly ear’ telephone support service for students unable to return home. 54 staff made the calls
  • Online information pages with support and guidance for staff, as well as a dedicated feedback mechanism and virtual ‘cuppa and chat’ sessions.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Nick Petford, sums up the great work: “Someone once said light-heartedly that hindsight is always 20/20. But looking back over the past few months, some astonishing things have happened at the University of Northampton that show there is a lot of truth in that saying.

“As soon as news stories started to tell us that something very big was about to happen, there was an automatic desire across the University to step into the breach and help out, sometimes before our partner organisations even approached us. It’s woven into our DNA to be Changemakers and to proactively seek to support others, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised to read and hear about the fantastic, altruistic work we have been engaging in.

“As a society, we might have felt before coronavirus that we were less kind and tolerant toward others. But I feel this experience has brought back to us a sense of basic decency, of neighbourliness and of taking a pause to consider what we can do to help those around us.

“This report sums up all that we are about at Northampton and I hope people have time to read the wonderful examples of what has been happening and feel the same amount of pride that I do.

“Another famous phrase – ‘It goes without saying’ – doesn’t do justice in these instances. So, I’d like to say a big, personal thank you to all of our people for going above and beyond when it was really needed.”

For more examples of how the University stepped up to help out during coronavirus, read the full report.

For our news stories about these case studies, see our serving the community webpage.