Arriving at University and moving into your accommodation is an exciting time for new students. Meeting your new flatmates and socialising is an important part of getting to know each other, making friends, friendship groups, and organising flat agreements.
We understand that socialising is a large part of the student experience and often involves alcohol, occasionally other substances, and ‘hooking up’.
Students are adults and make their own choices, however when alcohol and/or substances are involved, inhibitions often go out the window and responsible decision-making can become skewed.
This blog post hopes to provide a clearer understanding of how you can keep yourself and others safe if drinking/taking substances, whilst adhering to social distancing rules.
Safe Nights In and Out
With the recent Coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions we have all had to adjust to, social opportunities have been somewhat restricted. We understand that the new-look Freshers Week and Welcome Events may reduce the opportunities for meeting other students, and you may want to host your own party.
Although lockdown restrictions have eased a little, there is still a very real risk from Coronavirus if we are not vigilant. This is everyone’s responsibility and public safety is reliant on people making the right choices and adhering to rules. The list below is the most up to date information available.
The current rules mean you can:
Meet in groups of up to two households(anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.
- When you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.
- Those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with.
- Stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing).
It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces), or in a public outdoors space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.
You should also be mindful of the potential for noise nuisance if you are hosting a party. UK legislation is very clear:
Between the hours of 23:00 and 07:00 there should be NO noise audible from the property.
At all other times noise should be kept to a REASONABLE level.
If you plan a party you could let your neighbours know and suggest they contact you initially with any concerns.
City living is great fun, busy and exciting with lots of activities, opportunities and experiences, there is however also the need to be aware of your own safety and vulnerability. Below are a few basic tips to keep yourself safe:
Due to social distancing, many bars and restaurants are operating on a booking system only, if you just turn up you are likely to be refused entry.
They may also have restrictions on the size of groups they are allowing in at the moment in line with social distancing.
Everyone in the group has fully charged phones and each other’s phone numbers.
No matter what the pressure say ‘No!’ to drugs.
Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know, don’t let others you don’t know top your drink up, be aware of the dangers of your drink being spiked – if you think you or one of your group has had their drink tampered with – REPORT IT AND GET HELP.
Have an agreed meeting point in case you lose each other.
Everyone is in agreement to watch out for each other, particularly after a few drinks.
If one of the group ‘hooks up’ with someone, agree to check in with each other.
Be with a trusted friend who has agreed to take you home.
Always put aside enough cash for a taxi ride home, just in case – this will mean you’ll never be stranded.
Have with you the number of someone you can call in an emergency. It’s a good idea to have your emergency contact stored as ICE (In Case of Emergency) this is what emergency services will look for.
Always stay with people – never walk home alone.
You know what your limits are – staying within them gives you more control and reduces the risk of finding yourself in a dangerous situation.
Some of the above apply to both nights in and out. You can be vulnerable in your accommodation if people you don’t know are invited. Whilst this all might sound a bit fussy, it could be the difference between being safe and being vulnerable.
Be responsible; Be sensible; STAY SAFE.
More information is available in our Tenancy Support Guide which you can access online here.