Matt Dawson praises work on health and wellbeing


Former England rugby international met students and staff ahead of University Health and Wellbeing Day

The University of Greenwich welcomed Matt Dawson, MBE, to its Avery Hill campus yesterday (6 March), where he provided skills and tips on a touch rugby session and met students and staff from across the university.

During the visit Matt, who is Health and Wellbeing Ambassador for university partner Sodexo, learnt about the university's work to support the wellbeing of all its students and staff, a commitment culminating in the launch of its new strategy on the topic today, which is also University Health and Wellbeing Day.

Matt Dawson said: "The University of Greenwich has done a wonderful job when it comes to mental health awareness, not just in their health and wellbeing day, but also in the individuals talking about it.

"The education of pupils and lecturers on health and wellbeing is right up there on the agenda and I don't think you could ask for anything more."

By 2022 the university has committed to initiatives including:

  • All students will be able to access a wellbeing or advice service within 2 working days
  • The development of a team of trained and supported student peer mentors
  • Every department and team will include a trained mental health champion
  • There will be comprehensive mental health first aid training for academic staff, student supporting roles and managers – initial training is already underway.

This complements existing support, which includes counselling and wellbeing services and advice on a range of issues from finance to careers.

David Maguire, Vice Chancellor of the University, said: "We're delighted to welcome Matt Dawson to the university and show him our fantastic sporting facilities, as well as the work we're doing in supporting the health and wellbeing of our staff and students.

"We have recently invested £1.7m in new sports facilities and we're keen to engage the whole student community in sport and physical activity, not just those that play at a competitive level, especially as there's a proven link between regular moderate physical activity and better mental health."

As well as the launch of the new strategy, Matt's visit also tied in with the University's Mental Health and Wellbeing day (7 March), which includes over 60 events across the university's three campuses ranging from yoga and tai chi to a jewellery workshop as well as lots of information, advice and drop-in sessions.