We’re delighted to announce the College has been awarded funds from the newly formed College Wellbeing Stimulus fund, to deliver a project designed to support early intervention and preventative approaches to support student wellbeing.

The College Wellbeing Stimulus fund was established in the wake of the University’s Mental Health Review thanks to a generous gift supporting preventative approaches to support student wellbeing in colleges. The review recommended that specialist, responsive services should be mainly offered to students through the University and NHS, allowing colleges to focus on preventative and early-intervention work with the potential to deliver the greatest impact. Funding has therefore made available to enable colleges to support innovation as they implement new initiatives around student wellbeing.

The ‘Chu Healthy Minds’ project, devised by Churchill’s Wellbeing Coordinator Louise Ranger, aims to be both preventative and educational with a broad-based appeal. As Louise explains, “the programme has been designed to appeal to all our students, not just those with diagnosed mental health conditions – we also want to build on our existing culture of advocacy and acceptance within the College community.”

 The ‘Chu Healthy Mind’ programme will include series of psychoeducational workshops, guest speakers and new wellbeing events designed to provide students with an opportunity to recognise what their own personal mental health challenges are, ways to manage this, and in general how to keep well balanced and regulate the impact of stress and pressure on a regular basis.

Students will be invited to attend psychoeducational workshops exploring the following key areas:

  • ‘What is good mental wellbeing? How to recognise yours and other peoples’
  • ‘Chronic Illness (mental and physical health). Building resilience and reframing negative thoughts’
  • ‘Supporting Transition to University’ (Freshers only)

There will also be a series of guest speaker talks aimed at both staff and students, covering issues such as Neurodiversity, gender and eating disorders. The aim of these talks is to provide up-to-date information and guidance on these issues for our whole community, with the aim of encouraging more empathy and understanding.

The third element of the programme will be the delivery of a range of events including ‘Train-the trainer meditation’ training student volunteers to run weekly meditation drop-in sessions. There will also be an opportunity for students to join weekly outdoor Qigong session in the Churchill fields. Qigong is a beautiful moving meditation that stimulates, stretches and clears each of the organ’s channels. Each move is over 3000 years old and leaves your mind, body and soul in a state of deep relaxation. No experience is required as all the moves are slow and easy to follow and those taking part will also be provided with tools to take into their day to day lives to quickly ground themselves – wherever they are! And finally, ‘Bad choir’, a wellbeing singing workshop that will be open to everybody, regardless of musical ability!

The variety of events on offer will enable students to do something that help them feel better, learning something new, distract them from worries, and also make connections with students that they may not have met organically.

Louise Ranger – Wellbeing Coordinator

Next steps

The programme kicks off in May with a pilot Qigong session to help ease what can be a stressful term for students. The Qigong session will take place in the grounds of the College by the Chapel on Friday 17 May from 1-2pm – look out for details! The remainder of the programme will be rolled out over the course of the 2024-25 academic year.

The College Wellbeing Stimulus Fund will open again for future applications until the end of 2026, providing a source of additional support to develop the programme in future.

We are also extremely grateful to all those who supported The Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund as part of the College’s third Giving Day on 14 – 15 February 2024. £7,428.67 was donated and with match funding that was unlocked the total raised came to £13,947.42. This will significantly help further the programme of support we can offer