Hi, I’m the Welfare Officer, Rich. I’m someone you can talk to about things like questioning your orientation or gender, coming out, sexual health, or anything else – it doesn’t have to be ‘really important’ and you don’t need to identify as LGBT+. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you’d rather meet up in person or talk over Skype/the phone, just let me know.
I am currently running an anonymous phone contact service. The number for this service is 07594981115. I put the sim connected to this number in my phone once or twice a week, so if you want a more instantaneous response please contact me on Facebook (Rich Bartlett).
I’m also happy to meet up with you at one of our events if you’re nervous about coming, so that you’ll definitely have someone to talk to and to introduce you to people!
There are a number of other resources available as well, both inside and outside the university.
College LGBT+ Reps
For most people, college reps are the first point of contact for all things LGBT+ in Cambridge. They are there to keep you informed and offer support. If you’re not sure who your college rep is, you can find a list of the current reps here, or else you can contact Rowland, the Reps Coordinator, on email@example.com.
Other CUSU LGBT+ Exec Members
There are lots of great people on the exec, some of whom run their own mailing lists. Members like the Bi/Pan Rep run regular events, which are advertised on the main mailing list as well as on their own lists. They’ll be happy to receive an email from you or just have a chat about what they do. CUSU LGBT+ currently has a Bi/Pan Rep, Women’s Rep, Ace/Aro Rep, Disabilities Rep, BME Rep and a Trans and Non-Binary Rep. There is also a society, FUSE, for LGBT+ BME people – if you identify as BME and LGBT+, definitely check out their events!
The welfare team at CUSU is made up of students who have been elected since graduating – often referred to as sabbatical officers or ‘sabbs’), as well as some full-time staff. Between them they have a lot of training as experience, so they can be really helpful. There’s also more contact information at www.cusu.cam.ac.uk/advice.
College Welfare Officers
The welfare officers at your college are trained to handle a wide variety of welfare issues, and they will offer you confidential and non-judgemental support. They’re good people to talk to and great to put you in contact with helpful staff at your college or for supplying free sexual health supplies.
It’s a good idea to keep your tutor informed if you have anything going on in your life which could impact upon your time in Cambridge – after all, they will be your main contact if any official procedure needs to be followed, whether it’s financial, academic or something else. They’re good for explaining the systems within the university, and can do things like talk to your DoS or your department on your behalf.
Other tutors or your senior tutor should be able to help if your tutor in unavailable. The welfare officers in your college should be able to help if you’re not sure who to ask.
University Counselling Service
The counselling service is completely free for all Cambridge students and staff. They offer both one-off and repeat appointments, as well as running various groups. If you need to be seen by the counselling service urgently, it can be a good idea to get in contact with your tutor or the CUSU Welfare and Rights Officer so they can refer you.
Many of the colleges have a Chaplain or Dean who provides pastoral support to students. You don’t have to have any religious beliefs. Contact details should be available on your college website.
Nightline is run by trained student volunteers. It provides a listening, support and advice service and is completely anonymous. During term time, you can phone them between 7pm and 7am, or send an email which will be responded to within 24 hours.
Non-University LGBT+ Resources
If you’re reluctant to go to university events for any reason or want to meet new people or volunteer, there are various things going on in Cambridge that you could try. Encompass hosts a directory of local and national groups and resources:
Non-University Welfare Resources in Cambridge
The Samaritans – have an office close to the town centre and run drop in sessions. They provide a listening service and can arrange for you to go more than once and see the same person.
0845 790 9090
4 Emmanuel Rd, Cambridge, CB1 1JW
Centre 33 – give support and information to young people. You can email them or drop in.
01233 316 488
33 Clarendon St, Cambridge
Your GP – is the person best placed to talk to you about any medical issues, including mental health ones. International students can also visit them for free.
Sexual Health Screening
The website below is a great resource to book an appointment to get tested – it will tell you when all the local clinics are free. The tests running at each clinic may vary, so be sure to check that the clinic you book runs the kind of test you need. As your Welfare Officer, I’m here to support you throughout the process if you would like to talk to someone confidentially.