Wellbeing, Skills and Diversity Team

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How we deliver our services

Drop-in

Wellbeing, Skills & Diversity department runs drop-in sessions that cover a variety of topics. Look for posters on campus and watch out for updates on the university’s social media channels.

Workshops and group sessions

Support doesn’t always have to be done on a one-to-one basis. Many students find it beneficial to join our workshops and group sessions instead. It’s a chance for students to get help from our specialists while supporting their fellow students.

One-to-one appointments

Appointments are usually in person but we also offer appointments using Microsoft Teams. Many students find they like functionality offered by Microsoft Teams such as being able to turn off the camera or record the session. It also allows students to discuss sensitive matters from the comfort of their own home rather than having to visit the department in person.

Email, social media, website

Keep an eye on your email and social media for special announcements and campaigns from the Wellbeing, Skills & Diversity department.

The Wellbeing, Skills and Diversity Team

Pascale Atkins Dip. Couns MBACP

Student Counsellor

By training, I am an integrative therapist with a person-centred core. In practice this means that each client is given the time and space to explore their own issues and at their own pace, but I am able to bring in different theoretical approaches, including amongst others, CBT, Transactional Analysis,  where it might help. Counselling is confidential and completely non-judgemental.

‘I can’t promise that we will fix your issues, but I can promise that you won’t have to face them alone’. (Anon)


Dee Bunker

Head of Well-being, Skills & Diversity

I have a background of mental health nursing spanning 37 years’ with the NHS. I joined the university 7 years ago to manage and promote the well-being of students and to ensure all aspects of student well-being is improved enhancing the student experience and the journey they embark on whilst study for a degree. I am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor for England and am passionate about ensuring that all staff have mental health awareness training and access to the 2-day Mental Health First aid certification. I am also the proud owner of Millie and Darcie the university therapy dogs.


Claire Croxall

Student Advisor & Receptionist

I have a background of working within various customer service lead roles throughout my career.  I joined the university 5 weeks prior to the 2020 lockdown.

I enjoy keeping fit and healthy –   I love to walk, and cycle, I really enjoy attending gym sessions and fitness classes. I will probably be the first person you would speak to either in person or by phone and by having an initial chat with me,  I will be able to ascertain how best our team would be able to improve and enhance your student experience. I am mental health first aid certificated and have a very good understanding of all student related matters.


Sharon Deaker

Wellbeing and Drug Adviser

I have over 20 years experience working alongside those with mental health issues including drug and alcohol misuse.  In addition, I have a good insight into self-harm & suicidal thoughts.

I can assess and support issues like wellbeing, mental health, drug misuse, alcohol misuse, life events, alcohol and drug Awareness Packages, drop-in sessions and progress appointments. I can also signpost to internal/external support, including academic assistance and counselling.


Darcie

Therapy Dog

Darcie joined the university 5 years ago 5 months after Millie. Darcie was a rescue dog who had battled her young life with abuse from her previous owners. Darcie has a different temperament to Millie and loves to be the centre of attention. She is very affectionate and loves to have cuddles and give you kisses! Like Millie, Darcie is a Cockapoo and is black in colour with a white tuxedo on her chest! Darcie will also be your best friend at Buckingham unless Millie gets to you first!


Roy Davis

Student Adviser and Inclusivity Administration Support

I work closely with the Inclusivity Adviser and provide administrative support to the Wellbeing, Skills & Diversity team.  I am available to assist students to access appropriate University services.


Cara Stubbings

Faculty Mentor, Computing, Law, and Psychology

Hello, my name is Cara Stubbings and I am the Faculty Mentor for students studying Computing, Law and Psychology. As a recent graduate, I understand the challenges that university students can face. I also have first-hand experience of overcoming the additional barriers students with disabilities can come across. I am here to provide support and guidance to help you achieve your personal and academic goals and gain confidence in your capabilities. Whether you need some advice or just want a chat, I’m here to help.


Dr Philippa Martindale

Academic Skills Tutor

I am a founder member of ASK and have been with the University of Buckingham since September 2018. I hold a PhD and a MA in English Studies from the University of Durham and have a PGCHE from the University of London. I have experience working with students from a wide range of backgrounds and from foundation to postgraduate level. I particularly welcome students who are feeling anxious about their studies or who are returning to education after a break.

philippa.martindale@buckingham.ac.uk


Sarah ‘Macky’ McDonald

Inclusivity Adviser

I advise students and colleagues on matters relating to inclusivity, diversity, accessibility and fair practice in order to provide an Inclusive Learning Environment. We want to nurture a diverse student body by acknowledging that each student is a unique individual with unique skills, needs and aspirations. I help to challenge unhelpful stereotypes based on age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, family circumstances, social background and other characteristics. My role is to support the University with removing any barriers which may unfairly limit a student’s ability to fully engage with their university experience. This includes, for example, recommending Reasonable Adjustments for disabled students.

Please contact me at the Wellbeing, Skills & Diversity department if you have any questions or concerns around the University’s approach to accommodating the unique needs of students and staff.


Millie

Therapy Dog

Millie was purchased by the University to help students with their emotional and mental health and to offer support to students who may be missing their own pets. Mille was 9 weeks old when and a very tiny and very curly black Cockapoo. She was part of the Black dogs campaign which was being rolled out by the charity Sane. It is their ambition to get a black dog into all schools and education facilities to help students with their mental health.  Millie is now 5 years old and loves nothing more than cuddles and chasing her ball. Drop-in and say hello and she will be one of your best friends at Buckingham.


Sarah Myhill

Dyslexia Specialist Tutor

The University of Buckingham has a successful record of supporting students with dyslexia to good degrees and helping them to achieve their potential.

I work to raise dyslexia awareness across the University among students and staff.

I offer free dyslexia screenings, 1:1 support sessions and group workshops on academic study skills designed to support students with dyslexia/SpLD.

Contact: sarah.myhill@buckingham.ac.uk or ask@buckingham.ac.uk


Tara Peach

Psychotherapist and Student Counsellor

I am the University’s Psychotherapy/Counselling lead and I deal with the counselling assessments and allocation to the University therapists.

I also work with students in a guidance counsellor role. This enables students to engage in positive ways to tackle university life. This is a less formal intervention to therapy and it will give students the opportunity to work through any obstacles they have while promoting a positive mental health mindset.


Ellie Wilkins

Faculty Mentor, Business, Humanities and Social Sciences.

My name is Ellie Wilkins and I am the Faculty Mentor for the Business, Humanities and Social Sciences faculty. I am approachable, enthusiastic, and passionate about providing you with the necessary tools to build on your resilience, as well as helping to make your university experience as successful as possible. I support students through a goal-orientated approach that focuses on your continuous progression as an effective independent learner; equipped with the transferable skills needed to manage obstacles faced in your academic journey.


Karen Webb

Lead Mentor

I have a nursing background, where I have worked in learning disability, mental health and occupational health settings. I have personal experience of studying at universities and I have worked with students in both secondary education and higher education. I joined the University very recently. I work with the faculty mentors to provide students with a professional and accessible mentoring service.