Monthly Archives: November 2022

Respite day announced for 21 December and annual leave rollover

For many of us, 2022 has been another challenging year.  Workloads have remained high and we have all had to work hard to get used to new systems, new structures and our new post-pandemic normal.

In recognition of these challenges, the extraordinary efforts of colleagues across the University and the impact on staff wellbeing, Wednesday 21 December will be treated as a respite day and so the Christmas closure will begin on 21 December, with the University re-opening on Tuesday 3 January 2023.

Colleagues who have already booked leave for this day should cancel this via Staff Connect. Part-time staff who do not normally work on Wednesdays, those rostered to be on shift and staff in front-line roles who are required to work on this day should make alternative arrangements to take equivalent time off prior to 1 February 2023 in discussion with their line manager.

Annual Leave

We understand it’s often been difficult to take annual leave again this year, so as an exception to normal arrangements, all staff may carry forward up to 10 days leave (pro-rata) from their 2022 allocation into 2023.  Where this applies this will happen automatically via Staff Connect.  Any leave carried forward must be used by the end of July 2023.

Any exceptional carry-over of annual leave from 2020 and 2021 that has not yet been used will also be carried over automatically.

We continue to encourage all staff to take their annual leave regularly across the year to help maintain a reasonable work-life balance.

Christmas tree

Your Wellbeing at Christmas

Winter can often be a challenge. Short days, limited daylight and cold days can all play a part in lowering our mood. Alongside this, Christmas is just around the corner. For many of us, Christmas will be a time for us to relax, enjoy ourselves and have a positive effect on wellbeing. However, for some, Christmas is a time of financial stress, family problems and feelings of loneliness.

If you find yourself affected by any of the issues outlined above, you can access support 24 hours a day through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This scheme is managed by Sodexho/Care first and provides easy access to expert help with both workplace and personal issues. You can phone Care first/Sodexho, free of charge, on 0808 168 2143 and get free and confidential advice from an information specialist or accredited counsellor. You may prefer to access services through their website. To log-in, use the username: uokent and the password: university. Their website contains information on a host of subjects relevant to how we live our lives and the challenges we face. There is even an AI interaction available for those who are drawn to technology.  

They also offer weekly webinars on topics such as how Care First can support you and grief awareness. Here’s the schedule for next week: 2022 Weekly Publicity Calendar – 5th December 2022.docx

The EAP is not just for Christmas and New Year; it’s there any time you need help; contact details are exactly the same. Please, keep this information handy so it is there if you need it. 

Brenda Brunsdon, Health and Wellbeing Manager

Two student smiling outside Drill Hall Library

What’s on in Medway

6 December 10.30-13.00: Medway Staff Forum and Christmas Social

Please join us for an end-of-term event on Tuesday 6 December:

Medway Staff Forum (M1-22) 10.30-11.30

An opportunity to receive updates and ask questions about the strategic direction for the University and the Medway campus.

Led by Professor Georgina Randsley de Moura, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Strategy Planning and Performance, and Dr William Collier, Strategic Lead for Medway.

Christmas Social (Oasis Lounge) 11.30-13.00

A festive buffet, Christmas tunes and the chance to catch-up with colleagues.

If you would like to attend, please register using this form.

We hope to see you there!

6 December 17.00-18.00: Carols on Campus in the Touchdown Cafe, Rowan Williams Building.

Come along and join us for an evening of carol singing on the Medway campus. Refreshments will be served from 16.30. For more information email

13 December 11.00-13.00: Staff Coffee break in the Oasis Lounge, Rochester Building

Industrial action

Reminder: Industrial action 30 Nov and reimbursement (direct costs)

Following last week’s strike days, some members of the University and College Union (UCU) will be going on strike this Wednesday (30 November). This is happening at all universities across the UK and is part of a national dispute – as such our influence over this is limited.

We’re sorry for the further disruption this is likely to cause to your week. We are here to help and will do all we can to minimise the impact on your studies – we’ve put together some key links and info below, including information on how you can claim back any direct expenses as a result of the strikes.

What to expect on strike days

  • Some of your classes may be cancelled; union members don’t have to tell us if they are taking strike action so we won’t always know in advance.
  • You might see UCU members picketing on campus; these are peaceful protests which will be stewarded by the union.
  • Other services may be affected but we’ll work to make sure all essential support services are running as usual. Our libraries and catering outlets will also be open as usual.

See industrial action support.

How to claim back direct expenses

We will refund you for any direct expenses you incur as a result of industrial action.

To claim back any direct expenses, you will need to:

See student expense claims guidance.

“Thank you for patience throughout last week’s strike days and I apologise again for any disruption to your studies – we are working hard to mitigate any impact on our work and will continue to do so around the additional disruption on Wednesday.”

Professor Richard Reece, DVC Education and Student Experience

Becky, living with HIV for 7 years. "I rock the Ribbon to help fight HIV stigma". Wear a ribbon to show your support for people living with HIV

World AIDS day, 1 December

To mark World AIDS Day on 1 December, we are fundraising for the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Working to end the HIV/AIDS crisis

World AIDS Day is a time to come together to remember those lost to HIV/AIDS, and to work together to end the global HIV/AIDS crisis. Remember that if you are sexually active, you can protect yourself and others by using protection, including PrEP. It’s also important to get tested regularly, share your test results with your sexual partners, and where possible ask them for their test results. HIV-positive people can go on to lead healthy, happy lives, but it’s important to catch an infection early on to maximise the efficacy of treatment.

We must also campaign for fair distribution of PrEP and other preventatives, as well as sex education, not only within the UK but also to the Global South – more than a million adults and children die of AIDS each year on the African continent alone. Western governments and corporations control much of the supply of HIV-preventatives, and as citizens it is our responsibility to push to redistribute these more fairly.

How to donate

Terrence Higgins Trust are the UK’s leading HIV and Sexual Health charity. They support people living with HIV and amplify their voices, with the aim of destigmatising sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS in particular.

On Thursday 1 December, it will be 40 years since the first case of HIV/AIDS in the UK. We will be taking the time to remember all those who were lost in the epidemic. If you’d like to wear a red ribbon to show your support, you can find these in Nexus, located in the Templeman Library, available for a small donation either in cash, online or via phone:

Text RIBBON1 to 70580 to donate £1

Text RIBBON5 to 70580 to donate £5

Visit the Christmas Market on Thursday 15 December

It might be a surprise, but Christmas is rapidly approaching! Do you have presents to buy, gifts to wrap, and ideas which quickly running out?

Well don’t fret, we will have a host of talented elves and local suppliers, showcasing their fantastic products – including food, drink, and crafts at the University of Kent Christmas Market, opening on Thursday 15 December from 10.00-14.00 in the Colyer-Fergusson Music Hall.  

This is your opportunity to discover local goods, browse gorgeous craft items, sample some delicious locally-produced food, and pick up unique and meaningful gifts in time for Christmas!

Introducing the Emergency Support Fund

We have now launched our Emergency Support Fund in response to the cost-of-living crisis. This fund aids staff facing a short-term, emergency cash flow problem. The fund is intended as a safety net and is not designed to help staff facing long-term financial problems.

Staff can now apply for a one-off grant by completing an application form, which will be sent to the HR Reward team. Send any questions to and one of the team will get back to you. Please note, all enquiries will be handled in confidence.

Important FAQ’s

What qualifies as a short-term financial problem?

There is no set list of situations, however, the fund is to help purchase essential products or services that have arisen from an unexpected situation. For example, you travel to work in your car but it has broken down and you don’t have the immediate funds to cover the cost of repairs.

Who is eligible?

To qualify, staff must:

  • Have been in employment at the University for at least 6 months
  • Have no received a grant from the fund in the last year

How much help can I get from the fund?

A net of £500 maximum on one occasion. The amount provided to an employee will be at the discretion of the panel as will the method of payment e.g. cash or voucher

What information is required when I apply?

  • How much money you need and a breakdown of these costs
  • Information detailing the unforeseen circumstances
  • A declaration that you do not have the funds to cover these costs
  • A receipt if the goods or services have already been purchased or an estimate/formal quote

Who will decide the outcome of the application?

A panel comprising of the Reward and Recognition Manager, a representative from Finance and an employee representative.

See the HR webpage for further information and FAQ’s

Wain Medal Lecture: Light for Life

Join Professor Matt Johnson, Director of Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield on Tuesday 29th November 2022 in SLT1 at 1pm for his lecture Light for Life. 

Professor Matt Johnson will explain how plants harness the extraordinary power of the sun through photosynthesis and use it to weave life out of thin air and water. He will discuss how photosynthesis has shaped our world and will emphasise how humankind urgently needs to learn its inner workings if we are to successfully feed a growing population, estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050. Whilst simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions and increasing the generation of renewable energy.

Incorporating his own research, Professor Matt Johnson will highlight the great strides made in recent years in understanding photosynthesis by observing the photosynthetic machinery at work. He tells the story of how we are using this knowledge to grow bigger, healthier crops and even showing we are not alone in the universe.

For further information please contact Prof Martin Warren, School of Biosciences, University of Kent

Inclusion pride flag

World Cup: Support for our LGBTQ+ community

We take the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students extremely seriously. Working with Kent Union, we want to capitalise on the world wide attention currently on the FIFA World Cup and the political standpoint of its host country, Qatar, to draw attention to where LGBTQ+ individuals still continue to suffer from a lack of rights, safety and belonging across the globe.

As part of this work, we want to ensure that all staff and students are aware of the support that exists for our LGBTQ+ communities at Kent.

Support at Kent

  • Rainbow lanyards are available for staff and students from most college and library receptions at Canterbury and Medway. Designed around the ‘Inclusion Flag’ which incorporates the Pride rainbow flag with pink, blue, brown and black representing the trans community and people of colour within the LGBT+ community. Wearing the lanyards shows students that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction.
  • There is a support group in Canterbury that meets twice a month. It is open to trans, intersex and non-binary people at Kent. The group is run by trans/non-binary people for trans/non-binary people. Family and partners are welcome.
  • There are gender-neutral toilet facilities across our Canterbury and Medway campuses.
  • Student Support and Wellbeing offer free mental health support, counselling and peer support groups to all students and have an advisor with specialist LGBTQ+ support knowledge.
  • Kent Union run the LGBTQ+ Student Network and various student societies focused on support for students within the LGBTQ+ community.
  • For staff members, we have the LGBT+ Staff Network that is open to any staff member or student.
  • The Transgender Student Support Policy and the LGBTQ+ Study Abroad Guidance offer practical advice and information for students.
  • Check out our directory of LGBTQ+ self-help resources including details of free, confidential, specialist helplines and support group networks, such as Metro, The Be You Project, and Gendered Intelligence.
  • You can also update your gender and preferred name (which shows on your Microsoft Teams account) on KentVision.
  • Have you heard of the Gender Affirmation Fund? In early October 2022, Kent released a new Gender Affirmation Fund to support students who identify as transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming with the purchase of gender affirming items such as binders, clothing, packers, makeup, hair extensions, pouches, Stand To Pee devices, gendered religious headwear or clothing and minor cosmetic procedures such as ear piercing or for managing body hair. You can access the Gender Affirmation Fund via the link above; you must be a University of Kent student on a registered course and use the funds to support your purchase of gender affirming gear. Applications are capped at £100 per person.
  • Interested in running events or activities to help raise awareness or support our LGBTQ+ community? The LGBT History Month Planning Group (planning activities for LGBT History Month in February) has started meeting and any staff member or student is welcome to join. Email to learn more.

Experienced hate or discrimination because of your gender identity?

You can report incidents of assault, harassment, and hate via the REPORT + SUPPORT tool, with or without giving your name. Even if you don’t choose to request support, by reporting an incident you will help to make the University a safer place for all.  Staff members can report under Ordinance 42. We also have Harassment Contacts available who can provide support and guidance.

Help us create a university community which belongs to all students, and where all students feel they belong by sharing this information on support for LGBTQ+ individuals at Kent. #InclusiveKent

Christmas tree closeup of bauble

Events roundup: 28 November – 4 December

Disability History Month (DHM) continues this week with more events as well as a timeline of disability history at Kent and film series with students, staff and alumni sharing their experience of disability. Check out the DHM website.

Our magical candle-lit University Christmas Carol Service in Canterbury Cathedral returns on Monday 12 December! You can collect your tickets this week.

Here’s a roundup of our top events this week:

Monday: Meet Staff Disability Network and Medway Study Night

Meet with the Staff Disability Network as part of Disability History Month. Have a drink and biscuit with members of the Staff Disability Network to learn about their activities and how you can get involved. Find out more about what the network can do to support you.

Join a Medway Study Night in the Oasis Lounge on Monday. There will be tea, coffee, biscuits and treats to keep you going.

Tuesday: Finger Casting, careers values workshop and free manicure/massage (Medway)

Come along to a Finger Casting Workshop – create a Plaster of Paris sculpture by casting your fingers and try your hand at Foil Embossing to create your own miniature wonders of art with local artist Wendy Daws.

Match your values to your career journey in this online workshop. The session shares tools to help you to work out your career goals, desired outcomes, preferences and personal values. It also includes practical exercises to help you use your values to find the right role for you.

On Tuesday at the Hub, you can choose between a free gel manicure or a massage to help you relax and unwind.

Wednesday: Industrial action support drop-in, cooking session and Christmas decoration making

Wednesday is a UCU strike day, so your teaching may be affected today. The College and Community Life Team will be offering drop-in support sessions for any students affected by the industrial action. You can head to Locke Building between 9:00-17:00 to chat to one of the Residential Life Assistants or College Life Officers. Find out how to prepare for a strike day.

Want to improve your cooking skills? The chefs of Darwin kitchen are running a cooking session (£5 per person) making pasta with tomato, courgette, parmesan and homemade spinach balls. Yum. Book your place.

Get into the Christmas spirit and make some decorations for your accommodation. Drop in, listen to some festive tunes and get creative.

Thursday: Careers events and Neurodivergent workshop

On Thursday there are a few careers with social impact events including NHS Careers and Skills in Healthcare, Science and Social Care virtual panel, How to start a career in think tanks and policy and how to answer interview questions.

LSSJ presents ‘How to Manage your Workload: The Neurodivergent Way’. Do you often feel overwhelmed by deadlines? Learn how to use online tools, tips and tricks to make your workload seem manageable. This is a hybrid event so you can either join in Kennedy Building or online. The workshop is led by a fellow neurodivergent student, and followed up with a social event with light refreshments.

Saturday: Wild Wellbeing Christmas tied door garlands

On Saturday you can make some Christmas tied door garlands at the Kent Community Oasis Garden. Spent some time in nature and craft using natural materials.

See more student events.


See more student opportunities.