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Staff benefits and wellbeing update

21 May 2020

It is Mental Health Awareness Week and the key theme this year is Kindness.

We have all been living in a period full of anxiety isolated from family and friends. Yet we have all witnessed the incredible kindness of many in our local communities from NHS, keyworkers, foodbanks and neighbours looking out for each other. These stories have been so uplifting in these difficult times. Our own University community rose to the challenge too and the Division of Communications and Marketing premiered a film, at the Making a Difference Awards 2020, thanking all our staff, students and alumni who have been responding to the coronavirus challenge in a variety of ways.

Your kindess with Payroll giving

Despite these difficult times, you are still signing up to make one off or regular donations to your favourite charities via the Payroll Giving Scheme. A monthly gift of £10 from your take-home pay to your chosen charity is automatically boosted to £12.50 for a 20% rate tax payer and £16.66 for a 40% rate tax payer.  This means your charity receives your donation, but also the amount that you’d normally pay in tax at no extra cost to you.  Giving this way helps your charity receive regular financial support and helps smaller charities in particular, as many do not have the resource to claim back Gift Aid.  Over £11,800  was donated alone last month, due to your generosity, to local, national and international causes. Your continued kindness is helping support many charities who have experienced a massive drop in funds due to the cancellation of events due to social distancing.  

Local charities needing support

A number of local charities have been reaching out for support recently including DePaul UK based on Oxford Road. They are encouraging everyone to #SleepBedless for 1 night and donate £5 - give up your bed for the night and sleep on the sofa, floor or have fun by building a den with the kids. All donations help support young vulnerable people in the UK. You can donate via their Justgiving page or via the Payroll Giving Scheme.

Wood Street Mission are asking that if you have donations of children’s clothing, books and toys – good quality second hand or new, please can you put them to one side for them and they will update as soon as possible as to when they can collect or accept drop-offs. Unfortunately they can't give a date just yet.

Why kindness matters

Mental wellbeing

To support your mental wellbeing the staff wellbeing pages has a range of links and signposts support for you during the Covid crisis. Keeping active is so vital for mental health and there are  videos of exercises you can follow at home including Pilates and Tai Chi; a back care video with the University’s sport physiotherapist; guidance for managers and links to key internal and external resources.

Financial wellbeing

The mental health charity MIND explain that “money and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.” It’s so important to get support if there is an issue as soon as possible. The financial wellbeing web page has been updated and now has a webcast on managing your money during the Covid crisis and links to improving your finances and debt and mental health support, if money worries are having an impact.

You can still make savings via UniDiscounts and still have free access Wider Wallet via our secure portal. Featured offers of the week include 35% off your first 4 HelloFresh recipe boxes; Sky Ultimate TV for £25 p/m for 18 months and digital codes for leading supermarkets Asda (3%), Sainsbury (4.5%), Marks and Spencer (5%) and helpful for the reopened B&Q (2.5%).

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend. Keep well and keep up to date with all your benefits and wellbeing options.