Peer Support Schemes vary from PALS, as there is more focus on the pastoral and wellbeing side of belonging to a university community. Through the Peer Support Schemes, trained Student Leaders run regular events, meetings, sessions and social activities – covering a diverse range of topics. Some of our Schemes will hold regular 1:1 mentoring sessions, others will arrange social gathering around particular cultural events related to their Scheme.
As with Peer Learning, there is no expectation that a Peer Support Scheme is a replacement for any professional services; student leaders are not expected to give any help that would normally be provided by a counsellor or GP – and instead is to work alongside your studies to give participants a space to unwind and make friends.
We currently have 17 Peer Support Schemes that range across both School-oriented and broader, central projects. You can find a list of all the Schemes here.
Each Peer Support Scheme is organised by Student Leaders, who have been trained and have planned their goals and events for the year ahead. Each Scheme is student-oriented and is built upon the Student Leaders’ own experiences of being in your shoes – meaning Student Leaders are always open to new ideas!
It is important to us, as well as our Student Leaders, that Peer Support Schemes are not used as a replacement for any professional help you may require. This is for a variety of reasons, primarily because Student Leaders are not qualified professionals. However, they have been trained in giving advice and signposting to places where you can find this support. Due to this, Schemes aim to give you broader, community-building support, and are more geared around creating inclusive and safe spaces to unwind and meet people in a similar position to you.
This really varies between each Scheme. Previous activities have included holding sessions on healthy study habits, finding your feet at Uni, advice on embarking on a year abroad, as well as events based around wellbeing topics such as guided mindfulness sessions, 1:1 chats with a more experienced student, film screenings, craft events, and guest speakers.
This varies between Schemes, however due to the nature of Peer Support, we know that sometimes the sessions might require quite a bit of emotional energy, which can be especially true in the 1:1 mentoring sessions. Because of this, Schemes such as LGBTQ+ Peer Support have a 12 meeting cap per year, meaning that they don’t allow mentors and mentees to meet more than 12 times during the academic year in a mentoring capacity (if you become great friends and decide to meet up outside of the Scheme then that’s absolutely fine). Some of the Schemes that are geared towards community building within a school, e.g. Chinese Peer Support, will hold 2-3 bigger scale events a semester, as they want to accommodate to everybody’s busy timetables.
If you are in your second year or further, and belong to the Scheme’s community (e.g. are a philosophy student for PhilosophyBuddies) – you can become a Leader. For more information on this click here