The impact of Covid-19 has been enormous for all corners of society but, arguably, none more so than for students.
For 2020’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed college-leavers especially, freshers’ week either didn’t happen at all or was replaced by a few days getting to know flatmates over a few drinks in front of the TV.
Lectures were, by and large, all online and so too were societies and other events — yes, for the vast majority of students, this year has been somewhat of a drab one.
But aside from it being merely disappointing for students, 2020 was, for many, extremely difficult for a multitude of other reasons. Worries about family, not being able to see friends and self-isolating has had a profound effect on the mental health and overall wellbeing of many.
From the outset of the pandemic, Nido was quick to realise its duty to act to not only safeguard our students from the physical consequences of the virus, but also the mental health ones.
Fortunately, over the past few years, we were already taking mental and physical health extremely seriously. Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) today demands more than simply bricks and mortar and high-quality communal and study spaces — students today need to feel like they belong to a community, and that’s precisely what Nido has sought to nurture in our residences.
Famous for our experiential programme, we became the first PBSA provider to launch a comprehensive virtual events programme in response to Covid-19. Since March, we have put on more than 150 events — with more than 18,000 total viewers — to help students stay connected and stay happy, ranging from cookery classes, lunch-and-learn events, florist workshops and more.
Our commitment to ensuring wellbeing also extended to financial wellbeing. We introduced a flexible booking policy which allowed students to arrive 90 days late with no charge, provided on-hand support from the Nido team if they did arrive after 90 days and removed any obligation to pay if they did not get a visa or a place at university.
While students have always taken centre stage at Nido, 2020 has been the year that ethos was truly put to the test, with our staff going above and beyond to adhere to it. We are pleased to confirm that they absolutely did — and that their achievement has been recognised via Nido receiving three prestigious awards; Property Week’s Operator of the Year Award, Property Week’s Private Halls of Residence of the Year Award and The Class of 2020 Resident Wellbeing Award.
The monumental challenge of dealing with such an unprecedented health crisis is by no means over, of course. But to win three awards has given us a much-needed morale boost and spurred our determination to become the global leader in welfare-focussed PBSA.
As we enter 2021 and all the challenges the year will no doubt have in store for us, we would like to wish our students, staff and investors a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.