Welfare & Inclusion in Clubs and Societies
This year we are beginning to introduce Welfare responsibilities into committees.
Over the past year we have unfortunately had quite a few welfare-related issues within societies and clubs and the responsibility of handling them has often fell to under-supported and insufficiently trained student committee members. Examples include bullying and harassment cases, mental health concerns and very serious personal circumstances affecting students’ abilities to participate. It has been difficult to reach everyone but we are looking to improve the support networks we offer and look to promote students supporting students.
At a Union General Meeting (UGM) last year a policy was passed which mandated the Vice President Activities and the Vice President AU and Sport to research into how clubs & societies could be more inclusive and ensure that the welfare of their members was looked after and was considered in the decisions that committees made about their activities.
After looking at what other unions do a decision was made that the implementation of Welfare responsibilities within committees was the most effective way of ensuring the best support for group members. Whilst we were hoping to implement this fully this academic year, we have decided to instead have this as a sign up to initiative in the first instance in order to see how it goes, assess the impact at the end of the year and also evaluate any changes/improvements that might be made when it transitions to a wider implementation.
Groups that are taking part have added welfare responsibilities to the portfolio of an existing committee members or have elected a student into a brand new role with specific duties.
The training provided will cover a variety of topics and will be open to all who are interested, but there are 3 highly recommended sessions for those who have taken on the responsibility which should be attended during the first semester. These are in Inclusion, Intersectionality and Self-care & Burnout.
The Welfare Officer (or selected existing committee member) will be responsible for:
- Attending specific welfare-related training to fulfil their role.
- Talking to students that bring up any welfare concerns.
- Signposting to relevant services.
- Working with the Welfare and Internationalisation Officer to disseminate key campaign messages amongst the society’s members.
- Working with the committee to plan socials that consider all members.