Manifesto Reviews: Welfare Officer candidates

Amelia Brookes, Laura Scaife, Sophie Robinson & Olivia Hughes

A team of Impact’s contributors came together to review candidate manifestos. The team, consisting of Sophie Robinson, Kit Sinclair, Olivia Hughes, Laura Scaife, Hannah Walton-Hughes, Lottie Murray, and Olivia Conroy have summarised the main manifesto points and given their opinions on the overall manifesto. Voting closes on Friday 17th at 1pm.

Ben Mellor: 

Main manifesto points:

  1. Proactive campus welfare and engagement
  2. Putting ‘Wellbeing’ in Welfare and Wellbeing
  3. Connecting with communities & charities

As the Welfare and Wellbeing Officer, Ben, a third year student, would improve welfare engagement by ensuring that his working hours double as office hours for students, so he’s easily approachable. He would also engage with societies by hosting roundtables with society welfare officers to discuss any possible improvements and ensure that the welfare officers are well equipped to signpost and offer basic support.

He would also co-ordinate societies to increase activities conducted outdoors, for example student events with the Conservation and Nature society and encourage the Lego Society to host building events outdoors. He would also work with the UoNSU food outlets to encourage more healthy food on campus – such as improving the quality of fruit and vegetables served. There is an aim to make DRSV membership more affordable for students- that it should be reduced, subsidised, or tiered.

He would aim to have more societies than the two hosting outdoor events, especially in summer

He mentioned that he would increase the visibility of university welfare and wellbeing services e.g. adding signage throughout the Portland Building showcasing where the Welfare Hub is located.

I think that the multi-faceted nature of this manifesto is interesting – and also the holistic view towards mental health and wellbeing. I would wonder if he would aim to have more societies than the two hosting outdoor events, especially in summer.

Overall, this is a very complete manifesto with a variety of different points to apply to a variety of students. I do think that any further questions at the Q+A would be beneficial, especially with such a focus on working with lots of different members of the SU. It will be interesting to see his campaign and how he can stand out to students when the role of Welfare and Wellbeing Officer is so highly contested.

Hope Palfrey:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Self-certification for extenuating circumstances
  2. Action to alleviate cost of living
  3. Fighting racism and other forms of discrimination on campus
  4. Community events
  5. Supporting Welfare Campaigns

Hope Palfrey was last year’s Environment and Social Justice Officer and hopes to continue the work she started by becoming your Welfare and Wellbeing Officer next year. Hope’s manifesto summarises their plans to improve student welfare by improving every aspect of student life. From increased support during exams, to improving students’ accommodation, to making the university a safe and welcoming space for all students.

Hope will lobby UoN, NTSU and the council to collaborate on improving the current student housing

Hope’s manifesto includes plans to provide affordable and liveable housing on and off campus. They argue that “students deserve to be able to focus on studying without the stress of bills and not have to live in damp, poorly insulated housing.” To achieve this Hope will lobby UoN, NTSU and the council to collaborate on improving the current student housing on offer.

Hope’s manifesto is ambitious with impressive plans that could really improve students’ wellbeing in the next year. However, the ambition of their plans and the wide range of issues she intends to cover could limit their ability to make the changes they hope for. By focusing on so many different areas, Hope may struggle to meet all her targets.

Ellena Leech:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Implement a student foodbank
  2. Create a library of things where students can borrow items
  3. Create safe spaces in all University schools
  4. Facilitate a weekly self-care session for anyone to attend

Ellena’s manifesto for Welfare & Wellbeing Officer is focused on both taking care of students’ welfare, but also creating a community where students look out for one another. Some of the things that Ellena would like to implement while in this role are: creating a student food bank to help students through the cost-of-living crisis, and creating a bank of other useful items which students may not have access to, including but not limited to cleaning supplies and sports equipment.

Set the tone for a very hands-on approach to student welfare

They put emphasis in their manifesto on creating “safe spaces” in schools across the university, which students could have access to for wellbeing reasons. In a similar vein, Ellena would like to run self-care sessions for all students on a weekly basis, including sessions with meditation, therapy dogs, nutrition experts, crafting and more.

Another important thing to highlight from Ellena’s manifesto is how they would like to “improve the current report and support system”, which they say very rarely results in repercussions for perpetrators. They would like support to be “delivered completely” for victims of different incidents on campus. The detailed plans set out by Ellena are promising and set the tone for a very hands-on approach to student welfare.

Anushka Sharma:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Build inclusive spaces
  2. Enhance support during/beyond Welcome Week
  3. Quarterly Welfare campaigns

Anushka aims to build a safe inclusive space which can be used by students. They have noticed that not every school has one and they really cherish having a space where they can relax/work/socialise between lectures or at any other time they are on campus.

Anushka has worked in Welcome Week for two years, so they understand the importance of wellbeing support and the very crucial role it plays in the lives of students. They believe that their work with various teams will promote the wellbeing services which exists on and beyond campus.

Anushka aims to focus on a new student role (Wellbeing champion)

They aim to work closely with the following teams to do this:

  • Welcome Committee
  • Residential Experience
  • Chaplaincy & Faith Support team

Finally, Anushka aims to focus on a new student role (Wellbeing champion) and states that students in this role would be given more training and opportunities so that they are approachable to students.

Anushka, a final year psychology student, outlines in their manifesto that she is a friendly, approachable, and driven person. Anushka begins their manifesto by sharing a short account of the difficulties she has had in the as a university student.

They says that the past four years have been an absolute pleasure but they equally acknowledge that life does not always go smoothly and even in this journey she has faced ups and downs.

Some of the main aspects of university life Anushka focuses on is living alone, far from home as well as being in a new city. It is evident that they share this brief insight into their experience during university to acknowledge that most students also go through this.

Amelia Brookes, Laura Scaife, Sophie Robinson, and Olivia Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Lottie Murray. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image. 

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