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New funding for student lifeline

A groundbreaking scheme aimed at arming a team of students with the skills to help those in need of assistance is to be expanded with news of extra funding.

Officially launched in November 2000 and thought to be rare, if not unique, in Scottish higher education, the SupNet (support network) comprises of a team of 25 students of all ages and backgrounds who are trained in basic welfare and counselling skills and who can be called upon by staff to befriend students in need of help.

Coordinated by Steve Yorkstone, the scheme has received a second year of funding (£12,000) from Lloyds TSB and, to complement this core funding, a grant from the University’s Development Board (just over £11,000). The news means the team can recruit up to 20 more volunteers and offer advice on a broader range of issues.

Steve said, “The scheme’s success is largely down to the fact that students have a unique and valuable insight into the problems faced by their peers and, by the very fact that they are students, can offer a type of support that staff cannot. This extra funding is crucial in expanding and improving the systems we’ve developed over the last year”.

Working with the Student Support Service, SupNet run a number of self-help support groups and networks providing confidential guidance and support on everything from personal, health and relationship problems to financial and accommodation issues. SupNetters, who are recruited in their first year, trained in their second year and involved in appropriate projects in their second, third and fourth year, also provide first aid cover for special events.

Since its official launch in November 2000, the SupNet have been involved in projects from the creation of an ME support group to a well used information caravan in Freshers’ week.

As well as funding from LTSB and the Development Board, SupNet is also one of this year’s University of St Andrews Charity Campaign nominated charities. This demonstrates a commitment to the project from the student community, outside bodies and the University as a whole.

The Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland was founded in 1986 to support local community groups. In the last year, the Foundation has carried out over 250 evaluation and monitoring visits for project applicants.

Further information about SupNet can be obtained from the Student Support Service, 71 North Street, St Andrews (telephone 01334 462720) or email supnet@st- andrews.ac.uk).

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: supnet- 2001standrews/chg/12dec2001

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