Keeping UON healthy and well

Member News

Students and staff at the University of Northampton (UON) have access to better health information, activities and support thanks to an institution-wide wellbeing initiative.

The Waterside Wellbeing Community brings together teams from across the University to support, improve and promote the wellbeing and physical and mental health of those living, studying and working here.

It has three interlocking strands – mental health, sport and physical activity and the work environment – to ensure this outlook remains front and centre of everything the University does for its students and staff.

This approach incorporates the Keys to Happier Living, recommendations by Action for Happiness to help build a happier and more caring society for all.

Recent achievements from all three strands include:

Mental health

• The University continues to promote mental health support including the role of trained Mental Health First Aiders. Training for Mental Health First Aiders restarted in May 2021, adding to the existing network of staff and students who have the knowledge and confidence to recognise the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and guide a person towards the right support.

• The University has been working with the Northampton Health and Wellbeing Forum to share ideas and coordinate local initiatives.

Sport and physical activity

• Research led by the University – in conjunction with Northamptonshire Sport and Delapre Abbey – has created directional signposts to help people get the most out of walking around the Abbey’s Park.

• The launch of the Northampton Energy Elite Athlete Scholarship. Students with a higher level of sporting ability can benefit from development from UON’s Sports Science staff and students.

• The Students’ Union are piloting a Play-don’t-Pay scheme offering facilitated badminton, basketball and five-a-side sessions.

• Outdoor table tennis and table football have been installed for all to use, to be followed by an outdoor pool table.

Physical and work environment

• A review of sustainability governance and leadership arrangements has seen the introduction of a new Sustainability Board.

• The University has committed to becoming net carbon zero by 2030.

• The University achieved Green certification (the highest level) and Silver Status as a Hedgehog Friendly Campus.

• The opening of a Memorial Garden located between the Avon building and the River Nene.

Ongoing research by University academics will evaluate the impact of the Waterside Wellbeing Community and help steer its development.

Deborah Mattock, UON’s Executive Director of HR, International Relations and Marketing, is Co-Chair of the Community. She said: “Making the University of Northampton a place that priorities the health and happiness of its people is everything we want to achieve with the Wellbeing Community, so it’s wonderful to look at what has been achieved so far, especially when a global pandemic has been hanging over us.

“This is very much the beginning of our journey. Already on the horizon are a UON Park Run set to start next month, a Northamptonshire ‘Activity Quarter’ which we will be a key part of and further promotion of our commitment to supporting better mental health for our students and staff, consolidating our health and wellbeing commitment to our students and staff.”

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