Belong and Grow Week – updated schedule!

We are happy to share the most up to date schedule of virtual sessions, running 17th-21st May

During BAG week, we will be hosting the following virtual sessions that are open to all staff (we have some additional sessions that have been recently added since our last blog post!)

Monday 17th May:

  • The Coronavirus Pandemic is taking Gender Equality back decades – How can we address this as an organisation and individual? External Keynote: Catherine Mayer, 10am-11am (bookable via Staff Connect)

From the very beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic experts have been saying that it “is having a devastating effect on gender equality and could set women back decades”. Guardian, May 2020. During this 60min session we will be hearing from Catherine Mayer (co-founder and President of the Women’s Equality Party in the UK) how we should address this on both individual and organisational level.

Tuesday 18th May:

  • Creative Writing, Facilitated by Steve Cope, 11am-12noon (bookable via Staff Connect)

Creativity is not the exclusive zone of the privileged few. We can all write. We do it every day. This event uses structured activities to encourage you to free your imagination. The aim is to help you enjoy the creative writing process. The session is for anyone who enjoys writing, regardless of ability and experience.

  • Apprentice Information Session, Facilitated by Loretta Izod, 10am-11am (bookable via Staff Connect)

As of 1/04/2021 to 30/09/2021 employers can claim the incentive of £3000 for any age Apprentice. If they are aged 16-24 an additional £1000 can be claimed. This is open for all new employees employed as an Apprentice. Loretta will be hosting an information session on how to:

  • Recruit an Apprentice to your team​
  • Use the incentives to support your Apprentice​
  • Develop an existing employee / team member using Apprenticeships ​


  • Exploring Neurodiversity, an open and safe space to talk with colleagues, supported by the Disability Staff Network, 2pm-3pm(This will be a Teams meeting, and there is no need to pre-register – Click here to join the meeting)

Are you exploring whether, maybe, there’s something unusual about your way of looking at the world? What does it feel like as a neurodivergent academic? Does the way your neurotypical Professional Services colleagues communicate or socialise seem a bit odd? Aren’t autistic people mainly interested in STEM?

Are you thinking about asking for workplace reasonable adjustments to be made, but worried that this could attract stigma? Does the thought of leaving your carefully controlled working-from-home environment make the autumn feel intimidating?

Would being able to share experiences and draw support from colleagues from every part of the University make these questions (and so many more) feel less daunting?

Come along to the session Exploring Neurodiversity on Tuesday 18 May at 14:00.

No answers are promised. There won’t be any experts. Just an open and accepting space where your confidentiality will be respected.

Periodically, staff approach the Disability Staff Network and ask if there is a support network especially for neurodivergent staff. This session, if useful, could be the beginning of creating something more lasting.

Thursday 20th May:

Would you like to learn how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and how to support your colleagues or friends who are affected by domestic abuse? It can be difficult to know what to do when someone tells you they are experiencing domestic abuse, or how to ask questions, if you suspect people want to talk. People from all walks of life are affected by domestic abuse, so you have the confidence and knowledge to talk about abuse and where someone can seek help will make all the difference!

The training will cover:

  • The definition and dynamics of domestic abuse
  • How it impacts survivors’ lives
  • The barriers to seeking help
  • How to respond if a survivor discloses abuse
  • How to seek ongoing support

Friday 21st May:

  • Writing for Wellbeing, Facilitated by Steve Cope, 11am-12noon (bookable via Staff Connect)

The Writing for Wellbeing session provides a loosely structured framework which enables you to identify and express positive reflections of your health and happiness. By drawing on your unique experience, you will create short, written narratives about the things in life that you most enjoy.  Suitable for all.

  • Balanced Breathing Session, Facilitated by Rebekah Osborne, 2pm-2.30pm (bookable via Staff Connect)

Balanced breathing is simply the practice of breathing in for the same length of time as you breathe out. And although simple, doing this for 5 – 10 minutes each day has huge benefits!

Balanced breathing physiologically balances your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Your nervous system regulates our involuntary processes including your heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and digestion, among others!

And it is also responsible for our response to things like stress. Balancing your nervous system can interrupt stress hormones, reduce anxiety, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, increase focus and energy, develop new neural pathways which support positive thinking and produce feelings of inner calm, peace, and tranquillity.

All Week:

  • Coffee with a Mystery colleague, building on the successful initiative, Kent Colleagues Connect

Coffee with a mystery colleague provides opportunities for informal meetings between all colleagues across the university, either in an academic or a professional service capacity.

What? This gives staff the opportunity to virtually meet a colleague that they may not normally get the chance to network with, as you will randomly be matched with a “mystery colleague”.

Who? This scheme is open to all staff across the University!

When? During BAG week, we will notify you of who you have been matched with, and then it’s up to you to pick a date and time to get to know someone new over a virtual coffee break.

Where? Teams

How? All you need to do is email by the start of BAG Week (17th May), letting us know your name, role and email address, and we will then randomly match you with a colleague.

  • 1:1 Coaching with Rebekah Osborne – a 90minute coaching session. Rebekah specialises in anxiety but is more than happy to explore anything that anyone wants to bring to coaching

Is there something going on in your life that you want to chat about, explore, and resolve? At its heart, coaching is simply a conversation about what’s going on for you right now and how you are feeling about things. It’s also a conversation about where you would rather be with this and how you would really like to feel? And most importantly it’s a gentle exploration of what might be stopping you or getting in the way of you reaching your desired outcomes and goals for your future and enjoying all those feelings of peace, calm, joy, excitement and bliss.

A 90 minute coaching session is a really useful tool to help aid our clarity, motivation, personal development and resilience. And it is also a safe and confidential space to delve into anything that is causing you difficulty or to further explore ideas, aspirations, and goals you have for yourself that you want to reach and achieve!

A coaching conversation can cover any aspect(s) of work or personal life (or a combination of these) where you’re looking to make changes, take action on something, or you’re experiencing a struggle, work/life imbalance, inner conflict, feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, stuck, worried, or just don’t know what to do.

Spaces are limited, and to book a session, please email


If you want further information, or would like to be added to our Teams Channel, please email the team: