Unite Students launches Home Charter to foster safe and secure environment amid Covid-19

  • Outlines expectations for students living together and the ways in which Unite will assist
  • Students back new charter to bolster sense of community - case studies available for interview

Unite Students, the UK’s leading provider of purpose-built student accommodation, has developed a Home Charter to foster a supportive community with a culture of mutual respect for students post Covid-19 lockdown.

Unite wants to create safe, respectful and harmonious homes for students when they return to campuses around the UK from this autumn.

The charter sets out principles and expected behaviour standards with a focus on the student experience, while ensuring adherence to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Importantly, it also underlines what students can expect in return from Unite Students.

In shaping the charter, lessons have been learned from UK universities, where student charters have been commonplace for decades.

Despite UK-wide lockdown restrictions slowly being lifted, social distancing and hygiene guidelines remain in place.

While seeking to ensure students engage with Government guidelines, the Home Charter has been created to help engender mutual respect and encourage conversations among students.

Although not a binding contract, the charter covers a range of expectations, including behaviour, responsibilities, and respect, particularly given the new dynamics that Covid-19 brings when living in shared accommodation. Going forward, it will be reviewed annually.

Jenny Shaw, Student Experience Director at Unite Students, said:

“Making our students’ homes safe and secure has always been at the heart of everything we do. We have developed this Home Charter to create a positive culture for living as a community. It’s about creating a safe, respectful and harmonious homes that help students get the most out of their time at university. Covid-19 has made it more important than ever to communicate safety guidance and expectations and to be clear about the student experience on offer.

“The charter is about creating a community and a culture of respect. That’s respect for peers, and respect for one another’s differences. But it’s not one sided. It has also been developed so students know what to expect from us in terms of our support of their student experience. Students will be the co-creators in building the respectful and healthy environments they tell us they want. ”

Students have welcomed the new Home Charter as a way of strengthening the sense of community in their homes during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

Emma Dobson, 23, a Cognitive Neuroscience MSc student at Aston University, was classed as ‘high-risk’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. She was living at Mary Sturge Residences in Birmingham prior to lockdown.

She said:As someone with cerebral palsy, I’m at ‘high risk’ from Covid-19. I’ve been disabled my entire life, but it’s never really impacted me in the way that Covid-19 has. I’m not used to having to cancel things in order to protect my health.

“This Home Charter is a great way of explaining what’s expected from students and what they can expect to receive in return to keep their homes safe. It will be especially useful in communal areas and reassuring for students, like me, who are considered ‘high risk’.”

Safiyah Ouaguena, 24, an Arabic and Linguistics BA student at University of Westminster, is graduating this year. She was living at Unite Students’ North Lodge in London when lockdown was announced.

She said: “This Home Charter is very clear and it’s reassuring to see that it’s been carefully thought through.

“Graduating this year feels a lot like having drawn the short straw. In many ways, I wish I was still at university. There’s a profound lack of closure to what has been a central part of my life for the past three years.

“Covid-19 has changed everything and this charter will certainly be very helpful for all students living in shared accommodation.”
 

Download the Unite Students’ Home Charter

 

For further information, please contact:

Unite Students

Unite press office

Tel: +44 7754 749 301