The P&SM team holding up the social distancing signs

Return to campus series – Spotlight on Estates

Taking part in our ‘Return to Campus’ series is Helen Holland (Head of Planning and Space Management) and Jenny Martine (Interior Services & Signage Manager), who tell us all about the work of the Planning and Space Management (P&SM) team to ensure a safe return to campus for us all.

Members of the P&SM team – Helen Holland, Sophie Pearson, Karen Weatherley, Jenny Martine and Pete Hayes – look after space management, planning and data, property leasing, as well as Interior Services covering removals, furniture and signage.

Helen Holland explains: ‘In preparation for enabling restricted access, our team has been busy working with stakeholders from all divisions, schools and professional services departments to determine maximum capacities and develop one-way systems (where possible) to enable social distancing around buildings on the Canterbury and Medway campuses. This is all part of making the campuses Covid-19 secure.

‘Once the one-way systems have been designed and reviewed by the team to check signage quantities are sufficient, these are then passed to the Design and Print Centre for printing. We have created a schedule of all buildings and a rolling programme of signage installation to ensure all buildings are ready for the start of term.

‘Due to the varying size of the buildings, it can take from one day to a whole week to install all signage as every route has to be rechecked to make sure there are no clashes and it’s easy for people to navigate. We are working closely with HR and the Safety, Health and Environment Unit to enable some staff (whose critical work cannot be done at home) to return to their offices or labs as soon as the buildings are ready.

‘This is a huge undertaking as we have approximately 96 non-residential buildings across the Canterbury and Medway campus. The project is not just limited to our team within Estates, as colleagues from our Estates Administration, Environment and Sustainability, Projects, Customer Services, Logistics and Postal teams are all helping with installing signage.’

Jenny Martine says: ‘The process of installing the signs has been a mammoth job from weeks of pre-sticking the posters in advance (thanks to Waste and Cleaning for their support on this task!) to testing routes in each building and laying out all the posters to ensure the routes flow.

‘Myself and my team  – Pete Hayes, Karen Weatherley, Emma Grove, George Baker, Emily Mashford, and Catherine Morris – have each clocked up an average of 16,000 steps per day and can be seen wheeling our signage-filled suitcase around campus from one building to another.

‘We won’t mention the blisters and the night terrors of falling down posters, but all in all it has been a fantastic team effort and camaraderie. If the social rules change…we have already booked our annual leave!’

Find out more about the services the Estates department provide.

Tips to get back into study after a long break

It’s not easy to return after a long break, so don’t be too tough on yourself if you’re struggling to get back into study mode. Whether it’s a summer break, or you’re returning as a mature student looking for a career change, it can be a daunting and overwhelming task to readjust. Here are some tips from our past students which you may find helpful.

If you’re feeling anxious about starting to study again and have the tendency to procrastinate (I know I do) just tell yourself you’ll just do a 30-minute session to get you going. Even if you’re struggling to concentrate, 30 minutes doesn’t seem too unmanageable! What usually happens is after about 20-25 minutes you start getting into your study, and before you know it you’ve done 1-2 hours.

You might also find StayFocusd and Tomato Timer helpful in keeping your concentration. StayFocusd stops you from getting distracted by websites and social media whereas Tomato Timer breaks up your studying into smaller chunks.  Make sure to check out the other productivity tools recommended by Kent!

After taking a 2-year break from studying, it took a while to return into an academic mindset especially after working full-time. I found advanced planning and group study sessions helped get me back into the swing of things. It also really helped that I was studying a subject that I can directly apply to my role.

If you’re looking for somewhere suitable to meet up, the Templeman Library has plenty of relaxed study areas for group work. It has re-opened but with limited services so keep this in mind ahead of your visit.

Plan ahead! If you know you have an early seminar make sure you’re prepared and have enough sleep. I usually try and return to a more regular sleep schedule 2 weeks before term starts, giving my body enough time to get used to the early starts.

Make the most out of feedback sessions. You can speak to the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) for extra support in your studies e.g. if it’s been a while since you’ve written in an academic style. Slowly get back into a routine, don’t rush yourself.

Vicky Annis cross-Channel swim

Head of Physiotherapy to swim the English Channel

Vicky Annis Head of Physiotherapy at Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic, will be part of a four-person relay team attempting to swim the English Channel on Friday 7 August 2020.

The team will begin the challenge at 1.30am, leaving from Samphire Hoe beach. You can follow Vicky’s attempt by visiting the Channel Swimming Associations live tracking website, Vicky’s boat is called Masterpiece.

Vicky describes how she has prepared for a trek of a lifetime during lockdown:  ‘Most of my swimming preparation has been completed at Tankerton and Kingsdown with support from friends and family swimming with me and kayaking. It has been a welcome distraction from the difficulties in the world and every time you get to the shore, there are slightly different conditions which has made it so much fun; whether it is a calm day or windy with the waves and tide to contend with.’

She adds: ‘The English Channel is such a remarkable waterway with so many historical events and tales. Living in Kent, and having always been a swimmer, this challenge was one not to miss!’

The Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic has been raising funds for the NHS Charities by offering free initial online consultations. Vicky has chosen this charity for her relay channel attempt and you can support her by donating via this JustGiving link.

Elvis Presley

Linda Hamilton, Elvis and Roman Catholicism: Nostalgia interview with Gaye Morris

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Dr Chris Deacy, Head of the Department of Religious Studies, interviews Gaye Morris. Chris and Gaye collaborated about 15 years ago on a book called Theology and Film, and talk about their rationale in writing it and the relationship between the Christian and the secular world.

Gaye also shares some fascinating anecdotes, including a story about meeting The Terminator series’ Linda Hamilton on a plane and getting three autographs from Lauren Bacall at a European film festival.

Gaye also talks about the time she thought Santa was talking to her as a child, watching Elvis movies at the military base in Germany where her father was posted, being a “Beatlemaniac” and meeting ‘The Zombies’ in a hotel swimming pool.

She reveals why she left the Southern Baptists for Roman Catholicism and is now an ordained Unitarian Universalist, and also talks about working in Yorkshire, the relationship between nostalgia and gas-lighting, and why serendipity is her keyword.

Canterbury campus, Senate view

Condolences for Dr Ian Stone

The University was very sorry to hear of the death of Dr Ian Stone on Friday 10 July 2020.

Dr Stone was appointed Administrative Assistant in the Academic Division of the Registry in May 1978. He was then appointed Assistant Registrar in 1982 and by 1985 was Senior Assistant Registrar and Faculty Administrator for the Natural Sciences Faculty. In 1990 Dr Stone moved to the new Research Grants and Contracts Office, as Head, and worked there until he took early retirement in the mid-1990s.

Dr Stone then moved to the Isle of Man and, a scholar of polar studies, became Emeritus Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, being editor of the journal Polar Record for over ten years and publishing more than 60 articles.

Many University colleagues have expressed their sadness at Dr Stone’s death and have looked back with happy memories at a greatly esteemed and entertaining colleague, a very supportive manager and someone who was always ready for a competitive game of squash.

Dr Jeremy Ovenden, former Director of Planning and Student Information, writes: ‘Ian was one of those real characters that you are privileged to come across in your working life. Always entertaining, he delighted his colleagues with his little eccentricities and headed up a happy and motivated office. Yet beneath that exterior was an intelligent, knowledgeable and caring individual and I was grateful for his guidance on many occasions. He will be missed.’

Dr Stone will be remembered with immense fondness. The University expresses its condolences to his family.

River Stour in Canterbury

Top 10 outdoor walks and activities in Kent

One of the perks of living and working in Kent is access to lots of outdoor space. From beaches to scenic parks and historic buildings, this county has it all!

Make the most of the sizzling summer sunshine and enjoy our Top 10 outdoors activities on offer across the county.


  1. Cathedral to Coast Cycle Ride – Canterbury to Dover

Chart your own Pilgrim’s Progress on this 50-mile circular ride linking Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone. The route passes along leafy lanes and bridleways amid rolling hills, wide skies, woodland, country villages and hamlets.

  1. Marlowe’s Canterbury Walk

This walk encourages you to explore the life of English poet and playwright, Christopher Marlowe. The route takes you on a journey around the heart of Canterbury, visiting places he would have known and offering an insight into his short life.

  1. Kent Food Trails

Kent Food Trails are designed to encourage visitors and locals alike to discover new places and taste new dishes. You will meet fantastic food and drinks producers and farmers from all over Kent.

  1. Via Francigena

If you fancy a real adventure then consider walking at least a segment of the Via Francigena. This ancient route starts at Canterbury Cathedral before passing through France, Switzerland, across the Alps and into Italy before finishing in Rome.


  1. Fort Amherst

Fort Amherst is a free-to-visit historical site with 20 acres of green space all linked to the Great Lines Heritage Park. You will be able to explore tunnels, nature trails, ditches, ammunition magazines, cannons, soldiers’ quarters and fortifications.

  1. The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Return to the ‘Age of Sail’ with a visit to Chatham’s Historic Dockyard, which built mighty ships that once mastered the world’s oceans. More recently, this lovely location has been a setting for popular TV shows, including The Crown and Call the Midwife.

  1. Riverside Country Park

Covering 100 hectares alongside the Medway Estuary, Riverside is one of Medway’s beautiful country parks. Holder of a Green Flag Award, this haven for wildlife is the perfect spot for walking, running or cycling.


  1. Crab & Winkle Way

This path takes its name from the railway line which ran between Canterbury and Whitstable from the 19th century. On the way to Whitstable, you’ll pass through the Blean, with its 13th century Church of St Cosmus and St Damian, and Blean Woods, a delightful RSPB nature reserve. The journey also takes you through Clowes Wood – one of the best places to hear the song of the Nightjar bird.

  1. Spy Mission Trail

This self-guided family trail perfectly combines two things a day out with the kids should include – exploration and imagination! See the sights of Whitstable as you pretend to be spies and crack codes along this two-mile trail.

Dover to Deal

  1. 3 Castles Walk

Starting at the White Cliffs Visitor Centre in Dover, amble along this beautiful coastline taking in three magnificent castles and a lighthouse as you head towards to Deal, enjoying its heritage and natural beauty along the way.

Picture from Canterbury City Council

Got an idea for a Top 10 feature? Let us know by emailing:



Tips for your second year

Can you believe a whole year has gone by since you first started at Kent – where did the time go! With your second year just around the corner, you might be wondering what this means for your university life now you’re no longer a Fresher. Here are some tips for your second year by students who have been there to help you settle back into university life and make the most of the year!

An increased workload

Personally, I found second year to be the most challenging year of my undergraduate. Having the option to have a greater choice of modules, now most of the standard, introductory modules were complete, meant greater flexibility and I was able to really explore the areas of psychology I thought I would be most interested in. This however did come with an increased workload which I definitely underestimated! Plan ahead by getting a diary and make sure to have all your deadlines and exams in there as soon as you find out so you can give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Push through the hard times and don’t give up! It’ll all be worth it later!

Remember you’re not a Fresher anymore!

Your main focus for coming to university was for your studies and second year is when this really starts to count. You won’t be able to go out every night as you were used to as this can impact on your studies. It may make it more difficult to catch up several months down the line and cause your future self to be even more stressed when exam season creeps up. This doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun and go out, just make sure you set aside enough time to complete your weekly goals.

Explore the local area

You might be living off-campus now and have access to more shops outside of your normal route to and from campus. Have a look around outside of your usual as you might be able to save some money by shopping elsewhere. Make the most of the local area and really explore what the city has to offer. Go on a walk, discover, and learn something new!

Take care of yourself

Be sure to make time for yourself to relax and unwind. Have dedicated time for yourself every week doing something you enjoy, whether that may be reading a book unrelated to your studies or going on a walk.

There’s lots of support available at Kent. If you’re struggling with a problem and you think you might benefit from discussing with this someone outside your circle of family and friends, never feel that you’re alone. You can set up a confidential appointment with Student Support and Wellbeing who can help you through any particularly challenging times. Additionally, if you’re eligible, have an Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP) set up ahead of time. It’s one of the best things you can do to reduce stress. An ILP is where some reasonable adjustments are made tailored to you around your course, assessments, and exams to give you that extra bit of support.

Try something new

Every year there is a Welcome Fair where sports, societies, and volunteering groups all come and showcase what they have to offer. You may have attended last year, signing up to everything or only hopping from stall to stall for freebies. This year actually sign up and join something different. Most students don’t even give a new sport or activity a go and regret it later when they have less time in their final year. There are usually free taster sessions so you have nothing to lose. Even if you decide you don’t fancy it that’s fine. Or, you never know, this could be the beginning of a lifelong hobby!

2020 Graduate Programme

The Careers and Employability Service is pleased to launch the 2020 Graduate Programme. The programme aims to support new graduates from achieving their degree, to achieving their next steps into work or study.

If you are a 2020 graduate, who is:

. Looking for graduate work
. Thinking about further study
. In work, but would like help to find something else
. Unsure where to start

Join our graduate programme and receive tailored 1:1 support to help you in your journey!

Simply visit the Graduates 2020 webpage to begin!

Kent WebChats double bills takes place on 11 August

The next Kent Student WebChat takes place on Tuesday 11 August and it will be a double bill. The chats are aimed at current students and are designed to help them keep in touch with staff and other students.

It will cover security on campus with Mark Arnold – Head of security answering questions. This session takes place between 11:00 and 11:30.

You can sign up for the session here.We will then send you the Zoom link to join.

This will be followed by our colleagues in SSW explaining how to access mental health support whilst studying at Kent, and answering any questions students have about the mental health support we provide. This session takes place between 11:30 and 12:00.

You can sign up for the session here. We will then send you the Zoom link to join.

A laptop, with a notebook, glasses and cup of tea.

Care first webinars w/c 3 August 2020

As our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services, including helpline support and face-to-face counselling. During the pandemic, Care first has also provided weekly webinars to offer further support and advice.

Webinars taking place this week (Monday 3 – Friday 7 August) are as follows:

Monday 3 August 2020 –  ‘How Care first can support you and an update on our services’
Time: 14.00-15.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Tuesday 4 August 2020 – ‘Activities you can still do this Summer’
Time: 15.00-15.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 5 August 2020 – ‘A users guide to wearing a face mask’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 6 August 2020 – ‘What are the benefits of Cycling?’
Time: 11.00-11.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 7 August 2020 – ‘Ways gratitude can boost happiness’
Time: 11.00-11.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link