17 Mar 2021
Kindness by Post at UCLMS
The arrival of a new year alongside a pandemic coming back to life in full force was a sharp new beginning for first years and a complete change in scene for those in older years. Medics4Medics was introduced to the new first year cohort via a Zoom freshers fair, and its peer navigators have mostly interacted with different members of RUMS online. Starved of the physical contact and presence that the RUMS community once felt en masse, it was in a discussion on loneliness and how this has been intensely heightened by the pandemic that Kindness by Post for UCLMS was conceived.
The idea was simple - if we can’t see people in person and we’re all at home, let’s just post each other stuff instead. It was inspired by Niraj who is involved with a charity (coincidentally called Kindness by Post!) aiming to break down barriers of division and loneliness through sharing of gifts and messages of kindness. We thought to ourselves, well it works for them so why not here?
As a result, we got to work promoting the idea among the RUMS community. A surprise boost in awareness was from our Student Success Advisor Katie Bailey, whom Shambhavi spoke to on the phone as she checked up on first-year wellbeing. We mentioned the scheme that we had in mind to her, and she got to work reposting our promotions on her social media and spreading the news via phone call. We came up with the idea to make it Christmas themed, and thus a system of sending cards to random members of the RUMS community was born, in a fun yet confidential way.
We had intended to conduct some research on this using the pre- and post- forms that we sent out to students involved, and had even consulted Dr Mann who spoke at our loneliness event on the best ways to do this. However, we had to forego this as we realised that due to the difficulties posting cards and letters due to London being placed back into Tier 4 restrictions that this would need to be put on hold.
Overall, we know that it had difficulties in executions, but we found this to be a fantastic way for the people who sent and received cards to build bonds and foster friendships in challenging times, as well as a great learning experience as a committee to run a scheme of this scale. In future, we aim to enhance the scale of this by working closely with other societies and welfare, as well as repeating this over upcoming holidays. We’re excited to encourage kindness in UCL, so please stay tuned!