Higher education student newsletter: 20 April 2020

We continue to be inspired by the way our B&FC College community is responding to current challenges and the continuing support being provided within the community. Thank you for your ongoing contribution as a member of the B&FC community in pulling together during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For links to B&FC support during the COVID outbreak please continue to visit the Student Frequently Asked Questions https://www.blackpool.ac.uk/coronavirus/students and keep an eye on our social media for updates.
We continue to be grateful for any comments, suggestions and concerns you are raising with us directly or by email, via your lecturers, personal tutor and programme leader, the Students’ Union, and your Course Rep. Your feedback helps us to continue to learn together to support your learning journey.
We are here to help you, particularly at this difficult time, and we will continue to update you on how you can access support and services. I would like to bring to your attention the following support and how to access it.
The Higher Education Learning Mentors (HELMs) team is continuing to provide a remote service to support all HE students with assignment planning, writing, referencing and editing. Please email HELMinfo@blackpool.ac.uk with any requests. We can then follow up via email, phone or Microsoft Teams.

Mitigating Circumstances

We recognise that this extraordinary situation will be creating additional pressures and there may be circumstances where performing in one or more assessed activities might prove challenging. The B&FC Personal Mitigating Circumstances (PMC) process provides us with an opportunity to consider your current unique context to ensure you are not disadvantaged.
Our Lecturers, personal tutors and/or programme leaders can provide you with further information, guidance and support. During this period, we will generally not require specific evidence/verification to support any students impacted by circumstances relating to COVID-19.
Financial Support - Hardship applications can now be made online. Please contact us using the details provided below for more information and to apply. We will need evidence of your financial hardship, including your student finance award notice, tenancy agreement or mortgage statement and three months' bank statements for all your bank accounts for you and your partner if applicable (but we will discuss the evidence requirements with you when you apply). 
Please contact us by emailing careers@blackpool.ac.uk or by telephone on 01253 504474.
Care leavers, carers and estranged students with no family contact are able to access SUCCEED support for prioritised support with remote study and finance.
Please email hannah.emery@blackpool.ac.uk if any of the above circumstances apply to you.
Higher Education Disability and Disabled Students’ Allowance support. The B&FC Non-Medical Helper (NMH) team is providing support services for students online, via telephone, email or through MS Teams. Please liaise with your designated NMH B&FC support staff to continue your current provision. 
All queries relating to disability support (including Disabled Students’ Allowances) can be sent to DSAinfo@blackpool.ac.uk 
Technology to support learning. All B&FC students can access the following software via their accounts to assist them with their education:

  • Read + Write – literacy software with tools designed to support reading, writing, study and research, which includes reader software and speech to text
  • Mindview – software used for mind mapping, concept mapping and other visuals

If you are unable to access either of these two pieces of software via your account  and would like to use them, please email canvas@blackpool.ac.uk and we will investigate this for you.
We are also trialling a notetaking software called Glean. This is a great piece of software that allows you to record and take notes for any class you’re attending. If you would like this software please email canvas@blackpool.ac.uk
For assistance with finding online eBooks and journals for your studies, email LRCs@blackpool.ac.uk including your student ID number in any correspondence.
The Wellbeing team is providing a remote support service for students, both online and via telephone. If you would like to access this support, please fill in the online referral form https://www.blackpool.ac.uk/getwellbeingsupport
You can find a wide range of wellbeing services and resources if you visit our Student Frequently Asked Questions. For additional information, visit the following link: 10 ways to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. The following government website also provides a wealth of advice: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support
Develop Your Skills and Employability - The Careers Team is still operating and is available to support you during this time. The team can help you with online support for mock interviews, CVs, application forms and applying for student finance. If you would like a personal careers guidance interview to discuss your goals, aspirations, progression options and more we can help you to formulate your ideas into a plan. 
Contact us by emailing careers@blackpool.ac.uk or by calling 01253 504474.
In addition, there are lots of opportunities to learn new skills and develop your employability. All B&FC students have free access to LinkedIn Learning offering short video courses in creative, software and business skills. You can also access your Gradintelligence account to create or update your e-CV or do some psychometric tests, in addition to reviewing your electronic transcript (HE-AR).
If you have been volunteering to support those in your local community, in response to the current situation, you may want to consider applying for DegreePlus. This is a B&FC employability award that is added to your HE-AR for the purposes of enhancing your employability. Application forms and details are available via Moodle in the Student Life sections, or if you would like further information please contact degreeplus@blackpool.ac.uk.
Your B&FC Students’ Union is sharing stories in the community of what is happening outside College, as well as working with B&FC Alumni to share their stories https://bit.ly/34jGwgs. To get involved view the #ShowKindness youtube and this video explaining the campaign.
Finally, Local Community Support can be accessed via virtual Community Hubs that have been set up to provide support during the COVID 19 crisis. These hubs are able to signpost residents to local services, such as preventing loneliness, mental health support, and financial and debt advice.  
To contact the Blackpool Council hub telephone 0808 1963 080 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, email: helpneeded@blackpool.gov.uk or click the following to access web resources.
Alternatively, if feel you can help, email helpoffered@blackpool.gov.uk.
To contact the Wyre and Fylde and other Lancashire County Council hubs, telephone 0800 511111: Talkzone is open from 8.30am to 10pm each weekday, and from 2pm to 10pm at weekends. Text 07786 511111, email talkzone@lancashire.gov.uk, visit www.facebook.com/LancashireYZ or click the following to access web resources.
Please continue to take care of your own wellbeing, and that of your family and friends, while following the government’s advice regarding social gatherings and staying at home. I appreciate the contribution you are making to our College community in rallying together in these difficult circumstances.

Best wishes,

European Structural and Investment Funds
Council for Independent Education
European Social Fund
Lancaster University
Disabled Confident
Top 50 Training Providers