Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Working together for 'Welcome Week'

  • Students set to return to campus
  • Partnership working key to happy and safe students and residents
  • Students to receive guidance on crime prevention, personal safety, fire safety, waste, recycling and responsible behaviour.

West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership is welcoming Edge Hill University students back to West Lancashire for 'Welcome Week' (25 Sept - 3 October) as both students and residents continue to adjust to a new and emerging landscape due to COVID-19.

The partnership, which includes West Lancashire Borough Council, Lancashire Police, Lancashire Fire and Rescue, local councillors, Edge Hill University and Edge Hill Students' Union, makes arrangements for new and returning students each year.

Many students will be living away from home for the first time and may need extra support.  All partnership agencies including the University recognise the joint and collective responsibilities to welcome and support the transition and integration of students into the community. This year provides the extra challenge of mitigating the ongoing risk of COVID-19.

Heidi McDougall, Chair of West Lancashire Community Safety Partnership, said: "It has been a tumultuous 18 months and I'm delighted to see students return to campus, undoubtedly  looking forward to university life that is closer to 'normal' than what they may have experienced last year.

"But COVID-19 is still with us, and we know that the University is working very hard to provide a safe campus environment to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to students and the wider community. We will continue to work with our partners over this next academic year to make sure both students' and residents' experiences are as safe and positive as they can be."

The partnership is collaborating closely with the University to reinforce key messages to ensure Edge Hill students are well informed about their responsibilities as citizens of the Borough, helping them integrate into the community responsibly, and so minimising potential issues for residents and students. This message will be reinforced by a 'letter drop' sent to all students living off campus.

The Council will be sending information to student letting agents, and student accommodation with useful information on things like refuse collection arrangements and preventing noise nuisance issues, while making students and landlords fully aware of their responsibilities.

Councillor Gareth Dowling, portfolio holder for Communities and Community Safety, said, "As an Ormskirk town centre councillor, I'm aware that local residents have concerns about the large numbers of students set to arrive in the town from all over the country and that COVID continues to be a worry.

"I would like to reassure residents that we are working hard with our partners to minimise any potential issues with a robust plan of action, while at the same time offering a safe environment, along with the warmest of welcomes, to all students who have chosen to continue their education at the award-winning Edge Hill University."

The Council will also be working with local businesses, particularly hospitality venues, to advise on remaining COVID compliant and the requirements of their licencing agreements.

Lancashire Constabulary will also be offering confidential drop-in sessions for students and will continue to work hard to ensure the safety of people using the night-time economy, as well as providing crime prevention advice. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service will also be offering students fire safety guidance.

During Welcome Week, the University will be operating in line with Government guidelines such as reducing the capacity for the Freshers' Fair and hosting fewer stalls than in previous years to help maintain social distancing while continuing to promoting wellbeing and confidence within the student community.