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FOOD FORUM

An extraordinary meeting of the Facilities Committee:

Tuesday 18th February 
7pm in the Torrington Room

This special meeting will focus only on food & catering matters. 

We have received lots of emails to the suggestion box about food recently, so the managers of our catering operation want an extra opportunity to talk directly with residents.

If you would like to attend this meeting:

1. Email warden@connaught-hall.org.uk so we know how many chairs we need.

2. Please come prepared to tell us:
• One thing you like about the food or catering service, that you would like to stay the same. What is the best thing about the food or catering service in Hall?
• One food or catering thing we do that you would like to see improved. What is the worst thing about the food or catering service in Hall?
• One thing you would like to see us do, that we don’t do at the moment. 

We’ll go round the room at the start of the meeting and ask everyone to tell us these three things.

If you can’t attend this meeting, you can email Joe Mason (Senior Member) with any points you would like to see discussed: joe.mason@connaught-hall.org.uk.

And of course you may continue to provide feedback via the suggestion box: suggestions@connaught-hall.org.uk.

From the Warden to all lower ground floor residents: Hygienic use of toilet facilities

I wrote to you just over a week ago with an offer of help and support in case you are feeling stressed or unwell at the moment. I particularly mentioned eating distress because we have noticed that there has been frequent soiling of the toilet facilities on your floor with vomitus, first before Christmas, but worse this term.

No one has asked for help so far, although of course that offer remains open and will remain open for the rest of the year. I have included a copy of my last letter with this one in case you misplaced it before.

The soiling of the toilet facilities, however, has become a greater problem. This must now stop immediately.

As well as vomitus in and around the toilet, we have seen toilets blocked with paper and sanitary products – and even a toilet brush. This is very unfair on other uses of those facilities, extremely unpleasant for the cleaners, and poses a hygiene risk, particularly in view of our recent outbreak of diarrhoea & vomiting. This can only be deliberate: sanitary products and toilet brushes do not put themselves into the toilets. And whilst all of us at Connaught Hall will do our utmost to help and support anyone who is experiencing mental or physical health challenges, we will not allow the continued deliberate soiling of toilet facilities.

Please follow this guidance:

  1. Place any sanitary products for disposal in the bins provided.
    Do not put them in the toilet.

  2. Use the sanitizer spray provided and a small amount of toilet tissue to clean the toilet seat before use (if you wish to).
    Do not put layer upon layer of tissue on the toilet seat, as this causes blockages when it is flushed away.

  3. If you have an accident and soil the toilet seat or the area surrounding the toilet, please use the cleaning spay and some toilet tissue to wipe it up and then flush away the tissue.
    Do not leave faeces or vomitus on the seat or around the toilet.

    Cleaning spray has now been provided, so there is no excuse for leaving a mess.

  4. After you have flushed the toilet, use a brush if necessary to clean it. Do not use a brush while there is still tissue in the toilet bowl.

  5. If you notice any soiling of the bathroom or toilet facilities, please report it immediately:
  • Phone reception (extension 8200) and tell them what the problem is; and
  • Send an email to suggestions@connaught-hall.org.uk so we can build up a record of exactly when this is happening. This should help us to track down the person responsible.
  • If you have any suspicion of who might be responsible, please talk to me in confidence.

I hope this is clear. Allow me to stress again that if you are experiencing problems right now, we will do our best to help and support you. Provided there is not more soiling of the toilet facilities, there will be no disciplinary repercussions. If, however, this mess continues to be a problem, I will have no option but to pursue this as a disciplinary matter, for the sake of all the other residents on the lower ground floor.

As always, please contact me if you need any help, advice, or further explanation.

From the Warden to all lower ground floor residents: Looking after your wellbeing & welfare

We know that coming back to college after the Christmas break can be a really stressful time. Academic stress from exams and coursework deadlines, as well as the stress of making plans for accommodation next year, adds up and can take its toll on your personal welfare – sometimes in ways you couldn’t have predicted.

Recently, we have noticed frequent evidence of vomiting in the early evenings in the female toilets on your floor. We’re worried that someone might be feeling distressed and we want to help.

Here in Hall, the Senior Members and I are used to listening to residents’ worries and concerns. As Warden, as also in my other career as a medical doctor, I have many years’ experience of helping students like you deal with a whole array of issues, from self-harm and problems with food to relationship breakdown and revision problems. The Senior Members have all received mental health awareness training, including eating distress. We are here to listen, to understand, and to guide you to the best sources of help.

Conversations with us are confidential: the Senior Members might need to tell me about something if they’re worried, but we will only contact anyone outside the team if we consider that you are in immediate danger. So you really can come and talk to us about absolutely anything.

You can read about what we do and how we can help at www.connaught-hall.org.uk/pages/welfare/support.htmland there’s more about us in the Resident’s Handbook (http://handbook.connaught-hall.org.uk).

If you would like our help with something:

  • email me for an appointment – warden@connaught-hall.org.uk (I have some time available on Sunday evening this week);
  • come to an open office sessionopenoffice.connaught-hall.org.uk;
  • text me (if you want to be anonymous) on 07 907 753 894;
  • contact Joe, the Senior Member for your floor – joe.mason@connaught-hall.org.uk – or Vikki, if you would prefer to talk with a female Senior Member – vikki.easton@connaught-hall.org.uk; or
  • ask reception to call the Duty Senior Member between 6pm and 9pm any evening (or overnight in a real emergency) – you don’t have to tell the security officer what the problem is; just say you really need to see the Duty Senior Member.

If you’re distressed about something but not ready or willing to speak with one of us yet, please consider checking out or calling one of these sources of external help:

Mental wellbeing

SAMARTIANS

Talk things through with a trained volunteer on the phone, by text, or at their Central London branch (9am-9pm): 46 Marshall Street, London W1F 9BF Central London branch: www.cls.org.uk

08 457 90 90 90  -  www.samaritans.org.uk  -  Text: 07 725 90 90 90  -  jo@samaritans.org.uk

LONDON NIGHTLINE

Student volunteers offering telephone support

020 7631 0101  -  Skype: londonnightline  -  www.nightline.org.uk

THE MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION

www.mentalhealth.org.uk

MIND

Support, information, and lots of advice leaflets on their website

www.mind.org.uk  -  0300 123 3393

Eating distress & food problems

B-EAT

www.b-eat.co.uk

NATIONAL EATING DISORDERS ASSN

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of us. We really do want to help.

From the Warden: CCTV to be installed in pantries this week

Sadly, I receive many complaints about food being stolen from the pantry refrigerators. A very small minority of residents are responsible for this, I know, but I still find it quite extraordinary and very disappointing that adults at some of the best higher education institutions in the world engage in such petty theft.

We already have one tested, effective method for detecting food thieves. But its efficacy depends upon the technique being kept secret, and it is very time-consuming for staff, so we cannot operate that method all the time. That is why, from this week, we will be placing mobile CCTV cameras in the pantries. Some cameras will be hidden; others will be more visible as a deterrent. Not every pantry will be monitored all the time: we will rotate the cameras between different places.

Anyone who is caught stealing food will be subject to disciplinary action.

I am very disappointed that it has proven necessary to take this step. I have argued many times against installing CCTV in common rooms, pantries, and the bar because I very much dislike infringing your privacy in this way. But the number of complaints recently has made it plain that we simply must do something more.

Ideally, we shall not catch anyone stealing food: much better that those responsible simply stop doing it! For sometimes, your fellow residents keep food in the fridge because they are unwell and can only muster an appetite for certain foods, or because they have special dietary requirements. They might have to go hungry if someone else takes their food, whether we catch the thief or not. And whatever the reason for having food in the refrigerators, it is really upsetting (and can be expensive) to find it stolen by someone else.

So please only take food or drink from the fridge if you bought it.

I thought it important to write to you about our new CCTV initiative because you may wish to dress or behave differently when using the pantries if you know you may be being recorded. We have ensured that clear signs are displayed to remind you that CCTV may be in operation.

As always, come to an open office session (openoffice.connaught-hall.org.uk) or write to me if you have any concerns or if anything is not clear.

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