Making mental health and wellbeing a priority for staff and students

We’re delighted to announce that Bridgend College has secured a place in the finals of the Association of Colleges Beacon NCON Group Award for Mental Health and Wellbeing.  

The AoC Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges each year. This award celebrates the important work colleges are doing to support the mental health and wellbeing of their students and staff. 

As a College, we have developed a supportive, safe environment where staff and students can openly discuss mental health and access a wide range of services at their own pace. Some of the innovative initiatives we have delivered across the College include; free breakfasts for students, free online yoga for both staff and students, Mindfulness for Leaders programme, healthy options as part of our refectory offer, student peer support groups, enrichment activities, free sanitary products and a Learner Voice strategy.

The aim of our Wellbeing Strategy is simply to create a work and learning environment where staff and students can thrive and achieve their full potential. We measure the impact of our interventions and support through frequent staff and student surveys, combined with continuous dialogue and analysis of key data. Insights from various surveys, including the Mind Workplace Wellbeing survey and the Times Top 100 survey, ensure we keep delivering an all-encompassing action plan. 

We also invest heavily in CPD for staff, to ensure we are able to effectively support both staff and students with their mental health and wellbeing.

Our approach has created a solid platform which has enabled staff and students to adapt to the challenges that the current Covid crisis has presented in terms of mental health and wellbeing. 

We achieved ‘Gold Status’ in the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index 2019/20 and were ranked eighth out of 103 UK organisations participating. This further demonstrates a commitment to removing stigma and fostering a culture of mutual respect in which everyone is valued and supported to succeed. 

Sam Morgan, the College’s Director of People, said:

“Our work in this field will never be complete as there will always be more we can do. We have had some amazing feedback from both students and staff telling us that the support we are giving is really making a difference to them, this is how we know our work is having a positive impact. It is why we do what we do.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said: 

“The work colleges do on wellbeing often gets overlooked. But institutions and especially these final three have shown a whole college mental health strategy that impacts on improving teaching and learning and effective support. All this great, much-needed work enables students to feel secure and able to learn.”

The AoC Beacon Awards finalists were announced at the AoC FE Summit on Tuesday 17 November. Winners will be announced in Spring 2021.