Student living specialists, Scape launched a Fresher & Healthy initiative at the beginning of the new University term, aiming at the greater physical and mental wellbeing of students. Officially launched in late September, the new services are just a small addition to what the company already offered. Roar caught up with Scape to learn more about the initiative.
Scape is a company that provides accommodation services across the UK with a few internationally located entities as well. They have properties across London and Australia, as well as in Surrey and Brighton, and have further expanded to Ireland. Developments in the United States are currently in the process. Scape’s UK Managing Director Neil Smith shares more about the company’s core values, aims and services in an interview with Roar.
“This for us is not something which appeared this year or last year or because of the pandemic. This passion and interest in student mental health and wellbeing is a long running thread. It indicates what Scape is all about. It is not something that started yesterday. It is something we have been passionate about for many years. It forms parts of our DNA, it is something that is embodied in the rooms that we create, the communal spaces we create, the service levels that we expect from our team members, the way we structure our team support,” Neil explains.
He further adds that all staff members undergo special training in order to secure the highest quality of services, especially when it comes to support in the sphere of mental wellbeing. While the reception is working 24/7, there are also other wellbeing ambassadors within the buildings to guarantee fast and competent reactions in case of a problem. Neil also stresses the importance of partnerships, especially with organisations tackling the issue of poor mental wellbeing, such as Student Minds and Together All. Scape has been working closely with those in addition to being in good relations with various universities across the country and their welfare teams.
Despite the great efforts of Scape’s team, the distress the pandemic caused led to the need of additional services. This urged the company to launch the Fresher & Healthy initiative in order to further secure the wellbeing of their students. The initiative, launched in the beginning of the academic year, is in collaboration with certified A&E Dr Alex George, also known for participating in the famous reality show Love Island. Some of the services included are:
- List of tips with up-to-date advice from Dr Alex on ways to look after one’s mental health, especially when living in an accommodation
- Enhanced GP service, where the GP comes to the accommodation
- Further advice on good hygiene practices
- Advice from specialists on various topics, such as ways of dealing with the university curriculum
- Free flu shots
- A welcome pack with hand sanitizers, quality face-masks, discounts for various nutrition supplements and memberships for a few organisations in the sphere
- Access to an online fitness system
- Access to nutrition information
Adding to the last point, Neil mentions the running of a nutrition campaign where an expert taught students how to cook simple and healthy meals.
As international students are even more affected because of travel quarantine, the team further introduces a Quarantine Bundle. It comes at an extra cost, but offers access to food, deliveries to your door, laundry service and waste removal “to ensure students coming from overseas have a hustle-free way to conduct their travel quarantine”.
The company used to provide various face-to-face focus groups with students, something they are still trying to maintain when possible. Neil shares they try to gather people together, following strict rules of social distancing. Due to the pandemic, however, the team is forced to focus more on active blog posting and more online presence in general. A feature that really helps in his opinion is the residences’ app, which all residents have access to. It allows students to access certain things safely, such as reporting maintenance issues without visiting the reception, safe and secure way of obtaining parcels and others. In addition, the app provides valuable information on wellbeing, including a list of internal and external resources and the option to immediately call a staff member. Nevertheless, Neil says they still try their best to maintain “active offline presence” as well through daily communication, check-ins and smaller gatherings following rules of social distancing.
Neil shares he feels hopeful about the situation and mentions a great interest in their services for the upcoming year.
The company offers various contract lengths, and the accommodations are available to all students, regardless of university or year of study.
Contacts and more information here.