Great Team Award winners – Staff supporting students on campus during Covid

Winners of our Great Team award are staff who supported our students on campus during Covid. Team members include: Lucy Foley, Director of Student Services; Jacqui Double, Head of Colleges and Community Life (Student Services); Laura Maclean, Head of Accommodation and Customer Services; Louisa Harvey, Senior Events Coordinator; Caroline Hames, Event Services Coordinator; Rachel Walmesley, Events Coordinator; Jan Williams, Events Coordinator; Alison Polden, Events Coordinator; and Sarah Tooze, Reception Services Coordinator (all from Kent Hospitality). Their nomination notes that staff from Student Services and members of the Isolation Team worked outside of their normal working hours, regularly working evening and weekend shifts on a rota basis, to ensure that students received all the support that they needed throughout the pandemic. On receiving the award, team member Jacqui Double said: ‘It’s recognition that it takes a big team of people to come together to make things happen for students – particularly to keep changing things as regulations change. It also shows that flexibility and kindness, as emphasised by Karen (Cox) in her welcome this evening, has been shown by the whole team.’ Award nomination The award nomination outlines the team’s support for international students, including daily support and guidance on travel restrictions, as well as booking accommodation for quarantining students and co-ordinating the delivery of daily food packages in conjunction with the catering team. For students who needed to self-isolate, the team provided invaluable support, co-ordinating the delivery of care packs, giving vital information, support and advice. They also co-ordinated student helpers – or when unavailable went themselves – to help with deliveries to isolating students such as medication, toothpaste, food deliveries and more. The nomination notes: ‘This outstanding compassion and support for our students has made a huge difference to our isolating students.’  And students were also appreciative: “The self-isolation team was great with the care packages and checking in, I cannot fault them.” During the University Winter and Spring Bank Holiday closure, a high number of students on campus were unable to return home – and the Isolation Team stepped in again working every day (except Christmas Day) to ensure students remaining on campus were supported. ‘This represented a huge sacrifice for both the team and their families who had been expecting to spend uninterrupted time together after what had been an incredibly challenging period.’ As restrictions eased in Spring 2021, the number of students self-isolating increased. Numbers peaked during Kent Summer Fest, with a record number of students needing to self-isolate ahead of their anticipated departure date causing ‘an extraordinary amount of work’. The Isolation Team were also on hand to support our Accommodation Office with administering two rent rebates in the Spring – ‘a colossal effort and, again, far outside the team’s normal remit.’ The nomination ends: ‘All of this was done in addition to the team’s usual work and represents an outstanding and sustained contribution to the University with far reaching impacts for our students and their families.’ Picture shows: Jacqui Double, Rachel Walmesley, Alison Polden, Louisa Harvey, Jan Williams and Caroline Hames.