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Add me on Facebook for more info about ‘Welcome Week’: HallamUnion Welfare and CommunityOfficer (Carl Hawkes)
0114 225 2006
Hi, I’m Carl, your Welfare and Community Officer. This role focuses on promoting students as members of the local community. I will be responsible for running campaigns that tackle welfare, social and community issues. If you are experiencing any problems with your neighbours or what to get involved with any campaigns just drop in to see me or send me an email.
With this year’s officer elections approaching faster than your average Hallam student descends on Harlequins after a Wednesday night out in Embrace, the current officer team at this time of year often gets asked what we have achieved this year, apart from the extra 2inches around our waist, notably coined “Sabb Flab”? Our Union President, Helen Francis, recently asked me in one of our catch up meetings “Carl, tell me how you’ve made a difference to students this year”. I responded with a list things equally as long as the queue to this year’s freebies fair. She then asked me “Do students know about this?” To which I replied “Probably not”.
All the officers stood for election because we genuinely care about making a difference for students at Hallam. However, I am equally as guilty as every other current and past officer of working incredibly hard and too often working 50+ hour weeks, yet somehow we’ve still not managed to get the simple basics right. We rarely come back to students and explain what we have achieved, and how their vote, which at times singly decides an election, (Ask our President, who in her first year in office won by only 4 votes) has made a difference to the student community in Sheffield.
The aim of this short blog is to firstly explain that our promises and pledges have not been broken, unlike in many other elections, take the 2010 general election as an example. (I promise I’m still not bitter about Nick Clegg….) When you voted for me last year I promised to prioritise student welfare within our union. I have since launched Nightline, a listening service which runs from 8pm -8am throughout term time. We also have Welfare Wednesdays where you can access a range of services here at the Hubs including full sexual health screenings. I also started the Hallam Head Space group, where we work with Mental Wealth UK to campaign to destigmitise mental health problems on campus.
I promised to focus a lot of my time looking at student housing. I have developed some fantastic relationships with landlords across Sheffield, where I now have an avenue to represent the problems students are facing with their accommodation; I’m also currently working with Sheffield city council to develop an accreditation scheme for all student houses in Sheffield. As well as working with many local community group to action on problems in the communities where our students live.
I’m also currently lobbying the University to change the access offer we give to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, to put more money in their pockets.
This is a very brief outline of some of the things I’ve done, as I didn’t want to have you as bored as a midget in a theme park whilst reading this. All I wanted to get across is that it is important to vote for the candidates who you think will take the Union in the right direction in this year’s elections, because we do a lot of work (even though we don’t tell you about it!) and we do represent your views to the University, to the council and even to MP’s… I was recently in a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg discussing international students and immigration, whilst sitting there talking to Nick, he had his back to his window when an egg suddenly flew towards the window. SMASH. This must be normality for him, as he barely flinched. Whilst I was trying to keep a straight face, I couldn’t help but wish I was the one throwing the egg at his window. Had people voted differently in 2010 that egg would never have been thrown. Moral of the story – Next month, vote in the Hallam Union elections and make sure you have the officer team which is right for Sheffield Hallam.
Good luck with your exams, Varsity and the rest of the year.
Apologies for not keeping in touch more often!
Welfare and Community Officer 2011-13
Victoria Hall has made history with an unprecedented win in the National Student Housing Survey 2012, gaining recognition as Best Private Halls Provider and Best Value for Money, alongside an International Quality Mark and a shortlisting for Best Customer Service.
For the second year running, Victoria Hall Ltd has picked up the UK’s Best Private Halls Provider in the National Student Housing Survey’s 2012 Accommodation Awards, announced this week by independent market research agency Red Brick. The award is the highest accreditation given in the vibrant and growing student accommodation sector. Victoria Hall achieved success in all three headline awards for which they were eligible.
This is yet again an example of the high standards Sheffield Hallam University sets for its student accommodation partners. Hallam Union congratulates Victoria Halls in its success.
The madness of the July 1st moving day is finally over. This day baffles me as year on year despite being a very tidy person I somehow accumulate masses of rubbish and for one day become a self-proclaimed hoarder!
After moving in, my eye always turned to getting my deposit back from my old landlord to fund a summer of fun, so here are some useful tips on getting the most of your deposit back.
Firstly if you and your landlord agree on an amount of your deposit you’re getting back it should be returned to you within 10 days (depending on the scheme you’re in you may have built up some interest on your deposit).
One of my top tips is to make sure your deposit is in a protection scheme. If it is not, your landlord cannot take any of your deposit without your agreement, in fact your landlord could be liable to pay YOU up to three times the amount of your deposit if it’s not in a scheme. You can check all three protection services to see if your deposit was/is protected. If it’s not protected then you can take court action to get your deposit back and possibly up to 3 times the amount in compensation.
Ask your landlord for a breakdown of any amounts deducted from your deposit. They cannot charge you for general wear and tear (be careful of landlords charging you for this).
There are rules to what can and can’t be deducted from your deposit. If a landlord has an unreasonable charge e.g. £5 for cleaning a light switch (yes some landlords do charge for ridiculous things like this) in most cases you won’t have to pay that amount. So look out for unreasonable charges!
Each protection service has an ADR (alternative dispute resolution) service. If you use this service, no money can be deducted /retrieved unless you and your landlord reach an agreement. This will also hopefully prevent the case from going to court.
Finally put up a fight. Don’t let your landlord take your deposit without checking every detail of their claim. Last year the Unions advice centre gained back thousands of pounds for students in fighting deposit claims.
For more information about deposits contact Carl Hawkes at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about housing issues on our Advice webpages here.
Nearly a year ago to the day I had a meeting with my predecessor Jake Kitchiner to discuss my plans for my year in office as the Welfare and Community Officer. One of the points of discussion was student safety in particular the development of the Safe Taxi Scheme which Jake had started work on in his year in office. Through my manifesto I promised the students of Sheffield Hallam University that I would develop the Safe Taxi Scheme. I stand here today with that promise delivered.
The whole aim of the project is to ensure the safety of our students in Sheffield. The scheme allows students to use their student card as a temporary form of payment if they feel unsafe and want to get home safely.
The service is simple and easy to use. If you feel unsafe and have no money, most of the time walking isn’t the safest way to get home. All you have to do is;
1) Call City Taxis on 0114 2 39 39 39, and quote ‘safe taxi scheme’. They will then ask you for some details from you.
2) A taxi will be sent to you, and they will take you home. You provide your student card as form of payment. The driver will provide you with a receipt.
3) In the morning, come to the HUBS reception and pay the taxi fare and you’ll receive your student card back!
This service will hopefully give our students some reassurance if they ever feel unsafe on a night out. If you need any more information on the service contact me on email@example.com.
Carl Hawkes, Welfare & Community Officer
Congratulations to all of you who have achieved your A-Level grades, and are coming to Sheffield Hallam this September! You have made the right decision coming to Sheffield and I can assure you, you will have an unforgetable 3 years!
My name is Carl Hawkes and I am your Welfare and Community Officer, I am one of 6 student officers who run the Students Union, and we are here to help with your every need.
You will see us all throughout freshers week, so come and have a chat! I will be running the ‘Wellfair’ on Tuesday 20th September. You can sign up to the doctors, grab yourself some free condoms (and more….) or you can just come have a chat and chill with you friends.
Look forward to meeting you all,
Carl Hawkes – Welfare and Community Officer
1. WHAT EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS I BRING TO THE ROLE:
I am a final year student currently studying Sport and Community Development. Throughout my time on this course I have studied the keys theories and practices linked to community development and welfare. By voting me into this role, you will be voting for an officer who will bring new and intuitive ideas to the union’s current welfare and community projects in line with current theory and practice of which I have learnt throughout my time at Hallam. I have also been a course rep for my first and final year of university, whereby I have honed my skills in relaying the ‘Student Voice’ which is an essential part of being a Student Officer. In my three years at Hallam I have represented Hallam’s Swimming and Water Polo team. For two of these years I have sat on the clubs committee as social secretary and as secretary. I am also currently part of the Sports Committee again as secretary. I support all sports clubs and help organise both Varsity’s. Within these roles I have worked closely with both the union and students which has enabled me to gain a clear insight into the working links between the University and students.
2. IN THIS ROLE I WILL ACHIEVE FOR STUDENTS
My general aim will be to ensure that student welfare and safety are main priorities of the union. I will achieve this by developing and changing current policy in; – Student Safety: I will continue to push and develop the ‘safe taxi scheme.’ (If students do not have enough money for a taxi they can use their student card as initial payment. This will be returned upon payment of the taxi fare.) – House Signing: I will aim to change the mentality of ‘early’ house signing, as there is a direct correlation between students leaving tenancy agreements early and signing for those houses ‘early’. – Student Fee’s: I will aim to work closely with schools and colleges to tackle to problem of increased tuition fees. – HMO Policy: On the 6th April there will be a new policy which re-defines shared/student houses. This will effect landlords and by extension students. I will work towards ensuring students are affected by HMO policy. – Community Reps: The union’s community strategy plan aims to increase student community reps. I will ensure this is achieved, as I believe there is a gap between students and the Sheffield community which needs to be bridged.
3. STUDENTS SHOULD VOTE FOR ME BECAUSE:
“Your Time To Fly – Vote HAWKES”