Category Archives: Christmas on Campus

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!

Christmas parties at Kent 2021 – Book today

Celebrate the festive season in style with us at Kent this year.

We’re excited to announce that Christmas Parties on the Canterbury campus are now open and taking bookings.

We have packages to suit all tastes, from organised Christmas Party Nights on Thursday 9 or Thursday 16 December in Darwin Suite with an indulgent 3-course meal and entertainment, or exclusive use of Darwin Suite for your own private festive event with seasonal menus, drinks and entertainment packages.

Or for something truly different, why not bring some festive wonder to your Christmas party and hold your event outdoors in our large marquee overlooking Canterbury Cathedral? Bespoke packages are available from festive BBQs and hog roasts, to canapés and Champagne topped off with a snow machine for a Winter Wonderland experience.

Plus, our Conference and Events Team are on hand to take the stress out of the organisation for you during this busy time.

So, whatever your plans, support Kent this season by keeping your spend on campus and count on us for fun-filled celebrations and a night to remember.

Find out more on the Christmas Parties webpages or send an enquiry via this form.


Walking buddies and JustCoffee

Stuck in your room and need to get out, but nobody is around to go for a walk? We can put you in touch with a walking buddy. This is a great opportunity to get out, meet another student and energise your mind! Find a reason to leave your accommodation, get outside and enjoy the fresh air with someone else.

Or you might like to have a virtual coffee or tea (or other beverage!) break with someone else but find that your usual network isn’t available. We’ll randomly match you with another student who’s looking for a coffee break buddy and email you their contact details so you can get in touch to arrange when to virtually meet.

If you’d like to take part and find a buddy, simply email from your Kent email address giving your mobile number and saying that you’d like to be matched for a Walking Buddy or Just Coffee and stating which campus (Canterbury or Medway) by midday on Friday, and we’ll randomly match you with another student to meet the following week.

For more information and to sign up, check out the  Student Support and Wellbeing Events Calendar.

Please note: From 5 January 2021, England has entered a third national lockdown. You are able to meet with one other person from another household in a public place for exercise. Make you maintain social distancing (stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.)

Looking after your wellbeing

There is a lot of support on hand for students over the Christmas period at the Canterbury and Medway campuses.


Students can contact the Canterbury Food banks for emergency food parcels. You can read more information about the food bank. 

Student volunteers are on hand throughout the night if you just need someone to listen. The phone number to call is 01227 824848 or they have an instant chat function if preferred.

Campus Security staff are on duty 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and can always be contacted on their emergency number 01227 823333


At Medway, students have access to support through Medway Foodbank Vouchers (these can be obtained from the Medway Campus Chaplain) and Medway Street Angels. Please note that the foodbank itself is closing from the 23 December for 2 weeks.

For support with your finances, please contact GKSU Advice team to find out more about what support is available to you.

Please remember that the Medway Campus Chaplain is also available and can be contacted on


Student Support and Wellbeing continues to operate until 22 December and then will return on Monday 4th January. Wherever you find yourself over the vacation period, please find below some information to help you stay well and connected:

For expert information to help you through the challenges of coronavirus from Student Minds, check out the Student Space website which provides advice, as well as telephone, email, webchat and text support.

For 24/7 free online support from peers and trained professionals, all Kent students can access Togetherall.

If you’re having a difficult time and want to talk to someone, you can call the Samaritans free on 116 123, or email

If you would prefer to receive support via text message, Shout is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope, simply text 85258.
Spending Christmas on campus? There’s lots happening for our on campus communities – for information on events, where to eat, meet, study, worship, walk and much more, check out the vacation webpage. Local GP surgeries (University Medical Centre in Canterbury, St Mary’s Island and in Medway) are operating according to normal opening hours apart from bank holidays, outside of these please use NHS 111.

Greenwich’s Wellbeing Hub provides resources to empower you to look after your mental wellbeing with practical tips on resilience and self-care. The University of Greenwich is also offering students Winter Care Packages that can be ordered here.

Remember, you can call Nightline to speak to a trained student volunteer about anything that may be troubling you. Greenwich students can access the London service on 0207 631 0101 or there are other online methods available.

More information, advice and resources will be posted throughout vacation on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts – check out @UniKentSSW.

Emergency support

NHS 111 is the NHS urgent help advice line. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency.

For 24/7 free online counselling and peer support, all Kent students can access Togetherall for free.

Need to talk right now? Call the Samaritans free on 116 123

The university also offers a Wellbeing Page to provide links to Counselling Services, Self-help Resources, and ways to stay connected.

Facilities at Medway over Christmas

There will be numerous on campus facilities open during the Christmas break. You will be able to catch up on your studies at the library and pop into the student union.

Drill Hall Library

Drill Hall library will be at the following hours.

Monday to Friday – 9:00 to 19:00
Saturday and Sunday – 9:00 to 17:00


The Student Union re-opens on 11 January. You will be able to pop into the Student Hub to speak to reception.

GKSU is now 100% online with the Student Hub being used for lateral testing. We are open 9:00 to 17:00. Students can email or visit GKSU to talk to someone on our live chat.


Pilkington is open between 8:00 to 16:00 for food and drink.


The University Chaplaincy can be contacted via either of the following emails: OR On weekdays they can be contacted anytime between 9:00 to 18:00.

For more information, please head over to the GKSU website. 

Facilities at Canterbury over Christmas

There are various campus facilities open during the Christmas break.

Templeman Library

From Monday 11 January, Templeman Library’s new opening hours will be:

Mon – Fri 10.00 – 16.00
Sat -Sun closed

Please note that you now don’t need to renew or return any books, including document deliveries, till Friday 26 February inclusive.

The Library Café, Group Study Rooms and booths are closed until further notice.

We are sorry that we currently can’t allow library access for visitors or external borrowers.

Catering facilities 


From 11 January 2020, due to current national restrictions, all catering outlets, except for Rutherford Dining Hall, are closed until further notice.

For those students with Flex credits and those living in Keynes College and Becket Court with a Bed & Bistro catering package, all meals will be served in Rutherford Dining Hall until further notice. Please refer to these opening times and further information.


Although the bar and catering service will be closed, the student hub will remain open for the Parkwood shop and Study Hub.

Library café

The Library Café is closed until further notice.

Oaks nursery

Oaks will be open until 22 December when they close from 13:00. They will open up at 8:00 on 6 January.

Co-op at Main Plaza

The main Kent Union Plaza Co-op will stay closed until further notice, with the Park Wood Co-op remaining open to serve those still on site. You can see the availability of all the Kent Union services on their website.

Tyler Court

The reception is open over the Christmas break.


The University Chaplaincy will continue to be responsive throughout the Christmas period, so please email them at or call/text 07970 438840 if you feel you need additional information or relevant personal support.

For traditional Christmas worship services with Christmas Carols (in person and online) why not explore the programme at Canterbury Cathedral.

Meanwhile, New Life Church is a partly campus-based ministry, led by our Pentecostal Chaplain and is offering online content.

St Thomas’ Catholic Church, Canterbury offers in-person and online services.

Please visit the University Chaplaincy website or email direct on and sign up for their e-newsletter (a special Christmas edition will be sent out on 18 December). In addition, please contact them if you would like to receive a free copy of the booklet ‘Comfort and Joy’ (Christmas prayers and reflections, presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury). This can be delivered to you anywhere on Canterbury campus.

Scenic walks in Canterbury

Kent Union has published a guide to some of Canterbury’s most scenic routes for you to explore with a friend.

From local walks a stone throw away from the campus to scenic routes near the City Centre and a footpath that takes you through to Chartham – you are spoilt for choice.

There is also Marlowe’s Canterbury Walk. The aim of this walk is for you and one friend to explore the life of Christopher Marlowe, who is Britain’s best known playwright. The route takes you on a journey around the heart of Canterbury, visiting places he would have known, and offering an insight into his life.

Download the guide to find a route that suits you.

Photo credits: Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Charities to support over Christmas

These are the charities that the university are supporting over the Christmas period. Please feel free to donate if you wish.

Support The Salvation Army this Christmas 4 | The Salvation Army

Top 6 Charities That Help Children at Christmas Time (


How to become an Age UK phone buddy this Christmas? | Metro News

Community Christmas Campaign: Volunteering and Events for Older People (

The Times and Sunday Times Christmas Appeal 2020 | News | The Times

Here are some other charities you can get involved in.

Canterbury Homelessness  

STAR refugees 

There are also some letter writing campaigns for you to join:



Three students sat on corner sofa together catching up

Support from other students

If you are feeling lonely and would like to meet up with your fellow student peers then we have a couple of schemes to give you the support you need.

Buddy Scheme

Kent Union are extending their Buddy Scheme to support those remaining on campus over Christmas. To ensure no student feels isolated over the vacation period, the Christmas Buddy Scheme gives an opportunity for anybody not returning home to pair up with other students, matched on their common interests and location. Buddies can meet virtually or in-person as part of a ‘Christmas bubble’.Buddies aren’t just for Christmas though and you might find a long-lasting friendship through the scheme.

Residential Life Assistants

The Residential Life Assistants will be staying on campus during Christmas. They are postgraduate student volunteers who host events and support initiatives within your College. They will be on hand to offer you support and organise events such as The Tw’Elf Days of Christmas competition and the Christmas Cookies baking event. You will be able to borrow baking kits and baking boxes, cooking books and jigsaws from the College and Residential Life team. They will also be hosting events via Zoom over Christmas. Please head to our calendar so you are updated on all their events.


How to stay safe on campus

We have some tips on how to stay safe on campus over the Christmas period while still
enjoying the festivities.


Due to COVID it is imperative that you follow the government guidelines:

  • Hands – please keep your hands clean.
  • Face – wear a face covering inside University buildings and where social distancing can’t be maintained. There are exemptions for a number of health and other reasons, please be respectful of those who are unable to wear a face covering.
  • Space – remember to socially distance from others.
  • Test – if you display any symptoms that could indicate Covid-19, self-isolate immediately, get tested, and let the right people know. Please read our procedure if experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or have been advised to self-isolate.

We have some more tips on COVID and how to stay safe. 

Personal safety

Your personal safety is important to us. If you are out on your own at night here are some tips:

  • If on campus, use our night-time walking taxi service by contacting Campus Security
  • Get a registered taxi – save some money for the end of the night, so you can be brought straight home – it’s much safer and easier
  • Get the night bus, the Uni2. Stagecoach provides a night bus and the route includes campus colleges and the local area.
  • Get a free personal safety alarm from Campus Security
  • Keep your valuables hidden – cover-up expensive looking jewellery, mobiles, keys, cash and cards
  • Stick to well-lit and busy areas. Avoid car parks and underpasses
  • Stay alert – don’t walk home on the phone or listening to music

We have some more information on how to stay safe at the Canterbury and Medway campuses. 

Celebrating safely

The festive period is all about being merry but do exercise caution.

  • Don’t leave your drink unattended
  • Never accept a drink from a stranger or someone you don’t trust
  • If you feel ill, slightly drunk or wasted when you know you shouldn’t, your drink could have been spiked. If so, tell someone you trust and get to a safe place

Campus Security staff are on duty 24/7 and can be contacted on 01227 823333.

We have some tips on how to be merry and safe. 

Free SafeZone app

The free SafeZone app gives you quick access to emergency services, first aid and the University.