What does everyday welfare look like?
Prioritising the welfare of your members starts long before any group activity is put on. When you are organising your regular activities, there are things you can do to ensure that the wellbeing of your members is being prioritised from day one.
We ask you to provide risk assessments for all your events, including regular activities. This is a basic requirement of running group activities safely, but is also a great opportunity to go above and beyond in ensuring that the welfare of members is being thoroughly considered and planned for. It may be easier to include risks surrounding physical injury or accidents, but what about if a member were to experience a mental health crisis during one of your meetings? These risks should be considered as seriously as any other, and there are resources available to help you plan for these.
We offer Mental Health Awareness training, based on training delivered by the Mental Health Foundation, to all committee members at Student Group Training in the summer, and in ad-hoc sessions throughout the year. This training will give you the tools to support members who may be struggling, and the confidence to have conversations about mental health. We strongly recommend that anyone who is able to attend this training, as it will help you to feel more confident in addressing wellbeing-related risks. Also, making sure that members know who their Wellbeing Secretary is, or an otherwise designated committee member, is important to ensure that members who may be struggling know there is someone they can go to in the committee.
Checking in with members
When things get busy, remembering to check in with your members can be easily forgotten, but it’s an important part of prioritising your members’ needs in group activities. You can use feedback from members to help guide the committee in creating an open and supportive environment in the group. You may want to gather feedback in the form of an anonymous survey, a social media post asking for ideas, or a termly meeting where you discuss with members how things are going. Alternatively, you can also check in with members more informally by making space in your regular activities for chats about how they are doing. Check out the skills section of this resource pack for tips about active listening which can help you feel more confident to do this.