Wellbeing in the College of Social Sciences

CoSS Wellbeing aims to create a healthier and happier workplace through improved colleague wellbeing in the College of Social Sciences.

See below for events, activities, news and tips from the Taskforce, colleagues in CoSS and the wider University.

From free lunchtime activities to sharing colleagues best practice and research, CoSS Wellbeing offers you the tools to understand and enhance your Wellbeing at work.

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Featured pages

Rest Bandit: Stealing Rest in a Land of Busy: 19 May 2021

RB and Sophie video playback

Watch our second CoSS Wellbeing: Rest Bandit session here.

Watch the video

CoSS Giving

Featured videos

What does mental health mean to me?
Alumni of the University of Birmingham 

Mental health and the workplace
Alumni of the University of Birmingham

Covid-19 and mental health
Alumni of the University of Birmingham

CoSS Art Exhibition - Call for submissions

Do you express yourself by making art? CoSS Wellbeing are asking CoSS staff to release their inner artist and submit a piece of art for an Art Exhibition on the theme of ‘Inside my Head’ to showcase your creativity. 

Art Exhibition
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CoSS Wellbeing & Bereavement

As part of the COSS Wellbeing, we are keen to encourage colleagues to share their experiences of bereavement and work, to encourage colleagues to be able to understand a little more around the impact it has, how different people have felt and what really helped them, both at home and work.  

Find out more
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CoSS @ Home

Keeping well during the current lockdown can be difficult, but now more than ever it's imperative to prioritise your wellbeing. The CoSS @ Home page is a dedicated resource for stories and pictures from colleagues in the College of Social Sciences who want to share their tips, advice and experiences of wellbeing. 

Coss @ Home


Our Approach to Workplace Wellbeing

The College of Social Sciences (CoSS) in the University of Birmingham set up a multi-disciplinary Wellbeing Taskforce in October 2018 to devise and deliver a Wellbeing Strategy with a programme of activity to improve the Wellbeing of colleagues across the College.

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Mental Health First Aid

When people feel safe to disclose mental ill health and are met with supportive responses from their organisation, they are more likely to access the services needed for recovery or management of symptoms. Mental Health First Aid forms part of the Wellbeing Strategy being developed by the Wellbeing Taskforce led by Sophie Sinclair and Dan Wheatley.
People who have completed the Mental Health First Aid training will act as a point of contact and reassurance for a member of staff who may be experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. 

Find out more

Coronavirus wellbeing support from the University

The Univestiy recognises that this is an uncertain and worrying time for many of our staff and would like to share a number of resources to support your wellbeing during coronavirus.

Read the full article

Gardener's Corner

Gardener's Corner is a comprehensive source of tips and tricks for gardening from University of Birmingham Groundkeeper Lewis Warwick and the Wellbeing Taskforce's own keen gardener Jodie Hopewell. This page will be updated each week with new articles covering every type of garden.

Gardener's Corner


 What's happening


CoSS lunch time yoga

Wednesday 10 May (12:10) - Wednesday 12 July 2023 (12:55)
Sport and Fitness Centre
CoSS lunch time yoga

CoSS Wellbeing Archive

Want to browse our back catalougue of articles, advice and resources? Visit the CoSS Wellbeing Archive.

CoSS Wellbeing Archive

Aims and objectives of the Wellbeing Taskforce

CoSS Wellbeing aims to create a healthier and happier workplace through improved colleague wellbeing in the College of Social Sciences.

From free lunchtime activities to sharing colleagues best practice and research, CoSS Wellbeing offers you the tools to understand and enhance your Wellbeing at work.

  • The Taskforce aims to successfully engage colleagues across the College in the wellbeing agenda and measure outcomes and successes
  • To enable the personal development of its members
  • To set the benchmark at UoB for best practice in wellbeing
  • To create measurable positive impact for wellbeing of colleagues in CoSS.

CoSS Wellbeing Taskforce Purpose:

  • To evidence how UoB research underpins best practice and creates organisational impact
  • To develop and deliver an initial twelve month programme of activities and supporting information resource to support improved wellbeing across the College
  •  To successfully engage colleagues across the College and measure outcomes and successes.

Who's Who in the Taskforce

The Taskforce includes academic and professional Services Staff from across the College with each School and central college services represented.

Current Members:


Sophie Sinclair

Co-Chair, CoSS Wellbeing Taskforce

I developed the Wellbeing Taskforce after leading the College’s Birmingham Professional programme and realising the demand from colleagues for activities and information to support their wellbeing at work. Throughout my career and HR management studies, I have developed a strong interest in understanding how working life can be more engaging, fulfilling and rewarding and the added value that prioritising wellbeing has for individuals, organisations and society as, and how research supports this vital agenda.  It’s great to be part of a College where this agenda is a priority, and we have the support and opportunity to develop the wellbeing offer through the Taskforce, for the benefit of all of our colleagues.

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Daniel Wheatley

Co-Chair, CoSS Wellbeing Taskforce

I believe that consideration of wellbeing is central to the effective operation of the workplace. My research focuses on workplace wellbeing including the quality of work, work-life balance, flexible working arrangements, spatial dimensions of work including work-related travel and broader aspects of wellbeing including uses of leisure time. The Wellbeing Taskforce offers an important opportunity to apply our respective research and practical experiences to enhance the wellbeing of all those working within the College of Social Sciences. 


Louise Reardon

Lecturer in Governance and Public Policy

I’ve done a lot of research on the wellbeing agenda, which has exposed me to the strong evidence base around the importance of the workplace to our personal and collective happiness and wellbeing. It is great to be part of the College’s Taskforce, which fully recognises this too and provides me with the opportunity to put some of my research knowledge into practice to help support real and positive change towards improving wellbeing within the College in the short and long term.

Louise India Pass

Debbie Caine

HR Advisor

As well as having a personal interest in the topic of wellbeing, my role at the University gives me an insight into the wellbeing of staff across the College. I am always motivated to try to find ways to support staff in any way that I can, and being part of the taskforce gives me the opportunity to feed into the work being done across the College to positively influence the experience of others and to make a difference.


Previlla Devi

HEFi Digital for CoSS

I was excited at the prospect of working with the taskforce and helping develop wellbeing initiatives and incentives with emphasis on commitment to wholly embedding a wellness culture as a core component to everyday life inside and outside of work.  For my own wellbeing, I love playing rounders with the local grassroots community team ‘Lightwood’s Rounders A team’ and have done so for the past 5 years which we play in Lightwoods Park, Bearwood and it’s a great way to meet a diverse group of people from all backgrounds and all ages.  Playing evokes memories of my youth when I played in a team at school and it certainly was and still is a welcome escape from life’s challenges and every day routine allowing me to completely switch off and enjoy the game.


Vickie Glynn

College Deputy Wellbeing Manager

My name is Vickie Glynn, and I’m the College Deputy Wellbeing Manager supporting the Wellbeing Team in the Business School. Having experienced my own mental health challenges, the taskforce provides an opportunity to contribute to making positive change within the College that will support the wellbeing of staff. 


Lee Gregory

Senior Lecturer in Social policy

set up King's Heath Running Club's first ever 5k programme in January 2015. I called this “To 5k and beyond” for two reasons. First, most people were like me before they started running. They were not necessarily “couch potatoes”, they have some level of activity. Second, whilst the 5k is the target the club runs a 4 mile club route each week so I wanted to help new runners not just run 5k but to get to 4 miles so they could run with club. Hence the name (and Buzz Lightyear based memes to promote the programme. Since the programme started somewhere between 100-150 people have now completed 5k for the first time – many going on to 10k and half marathons (and a few marathons). But each had their own running goal I helped them to attain. 


Chloe Carpenter

Communications and Events Officer

I've always been passionate about mental health and ending the stigma attached to talking about it. I believe that through small kindnesses, both to ourselves and others, we can build up a strong foundation of mental positivity. I joined the taskforce because I can offer a set of skills ranging from video content creation to website building to creative design, and because I like working here and want to help to make it an even better place to work.


Ruth Frazer

Human Resources

Ruth Frazer

Hannah Hogben

Human Resources

1/3 of our life is spent at work. With this in mind, it is more important than ever to get wellbeing in the workplace right. Over the last few years, I have experienced the toll that life can take on health and wellbeing and I wanted to join the taskforce to help tackle this issue head on. My role at the University places me in a unique position where I can talk openly with employees about wellbeing and the effect it is having on their daily lives, so it is important for me to be able to identify emerging themes and  work with the taskforce to help find solutions.


Jodie Hopewell

Birmingham Business School

I’ve always been an advocate for taking the time to look after yourself and do more of the things that you enjoy. When I did my Masters in Forestry I spent a lot of time researching the holistic benefits of outdoor spaces and the ways in which reconnecting with nature can help you to find your place in the world. I really enjoy spending time in the garden and it has been brilliant to be able to share that through the Taskforce in Gardeners Corner. We spend so much of our lives at work, it really is important that we take the time to connect with each other and prioritise our own wellbeing. When I joined the College I was really excited to see that wellbeing was on the agenda and I joined the Taskforce to help support and encourage all staff to do more of what they enjoy at work. 

Jodie Hopewell

Caroline Chapain

Birmingham Business School

Paul Stephen

Health and Safety

Paul Stephen1

Maureen Smojkis

Lecturer in Mental Health

Natalie Jordan

Central College

Lorraine Gaytten

Central College


University Workplace Wellbeing

If you feel you would benefit from personalised wellbeing support, the University offers an Advice and Listening service to all members of staff. As well as a one-off consultation, you can also be referrred for professional counselling free of charge. Visit Workplace Wellbeing for more information.

All CoSS staff also have access to a number of Mental Health First Aiders who can help us understand our own mental health and recognise when a colleague is distressed or has a mental illness.

Five ways to wellbeing

In the coming months we will be introducing a variety of free, lunchtime activities for all CoSS staff based around the principles of the 5 ways to wellbeing. Below are some suggestions below of how you can introduce the 5 ways of Wellbeing into your working life.

  • Become a mentor - there are numerous opportunities across the university to share your skills and expertises with both students and colleagues.
  • Have a skill to share - whether you're a master baker or make your own honey - why not bring something handmade into the office to share with colleagues?
  • Become a School Governor - lots of Birmingham School are looking for people with expertise in areas across the University.

  • If you want to learn something new, why not try one of the University's free MOOCs - online courses on a range of topics so you can learn remotely.
  • Winterbourne is more than just a pretty place - they also run all sorts of classes and workshops teaching a range of crafts and skills!
  • We are lucky to have some amazing learning institutions right here on campus - visit the Barber Institute of Fine Arts or the Lapworth Musuem. Look out for their lunch lectures and activities or just pop in on your lunch hour.
  • If music is more your thing, attend a concert at the Bramall some of which are put on by our very own staff choir!

  • Get outside and take notice of what's around you. If you need inspiration, visit the Wildlife Trusts.
  • Winterbourne is also great for observing our beautiful surrounding - and a great spot for lunch!
  • Look out for our mindfulness courses to help you take notice of the here and now - coming soon.
Take notice

  • How about trying a walking team meeting?
  • Do people in your office have a shared sporting interest? Try setting up an informal lunchtime club - like badmington or squash.
  • If you fancy a bike ride but don't have a bike, you can hire one for free from the University.
  • UoB Sports offers one off classes that you can attend, or look out for our free yoga classes, coming soon.
  • Thought about trying running but not sure where to start? Join us in Couch to 5K.
be active

  • Some teams and departments have a monthly lunch or after work club. Though everyone might not be able to make it every time it's good to have something in the diary to catch up outside of meetings - all you need to do is send the calendar invite and suggest a place.
  • Have a skill to share - whether you're a master baker or make your own honey - why not bring something handmade into the office to share with colleagues. It doesn't just have to be edible either - make some art to brighten up the office or knit your constantly cold colleague a shawl.
  • Speaking of knitting - whether you are already working on your own craft project or you want to learn to knit, join UoB Crafts Social on Teams. All crafts are welcome.

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