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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Birmingham Solihull Women's Aid Fundraiser

As part of our Wellbeing strategy, and commitment to our civic mission, the College of Social Sciences has partnered with Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid (BSWAID) in celebration of their 40 year anniversary. We know domestic violence affects many men and women from all backgrounds and as a College we are committed to understanding the causes and supporting those in need as a result of domestic violence.

Read the full article
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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.

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Black Lives Matter

The College of Social Sciences is committed to supporting all of our colleagues who have been directly or indirectly affected by what has been going on in the world, when a black man named George Floyd was tragically killed in the US city of Minneapolis by a police officer. Since the 25th May there have been increased protests for #Blacklivesmatter, and over Social Media such as #Blackouttuesday. We stand in solidarity with the ongoing challenge to achieve equality and civil rights for all.

Read the full article
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Wellbeing in a virtual environment

As we continue to work remotely, and are likely to increase the use of remote working routines into the longer term, there has become increased awareness among colleagues of the need for guidelines for virtual working including the operation of online meetings, in order to ensure that they are conducive to wellbeing and a positive working environment.

Wellbeing in a virtual environment


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. 

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Runner's Corner

Runner’s corner is a collection of blogs from Couch to 5k running coach and Wellbeing Taskforce member, Dr Lee Gregory. Lee has many years of experience with Couch to 5k programmes, and is a member of a running group in South Birmingham. Whether you’re just starting out or have completed 5k programmes, this blog has something for everyone.

Runner's Corner


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

Featured videos

Lee video croppedLee Gregory
Couch to 5k instructor
Learn how the couch to 5k programme could benefit you


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One year of Mayor's Mentors
Our mentors on how mentoring helped them and their mentee


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TED Talk

Hear why all it takes is ten mindful minutes


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 and contact a Mental Health First Aider

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. 


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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.

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Debbie Harrison

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.

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Previlla Devi

HEFi Digital for CoSS


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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. 

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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.

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Ruth Frazer

Human Resources


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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.

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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


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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.
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  • 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!
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  • 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.
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  • 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, come along to Knit and Natter. All crafts are welcome and spare needles, yarn and plenty of helpful knitters will be available to get you started.
Connect

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