Multi-agency collaboration to manage collection of belongings from student accommodation at Aberystwyth University

04 June 2020

Aberystwyth University, Dyfed Powys Police and Ceredigion County Council have agreed plans to enable students who have left belongings in Aberystwyth University residences to collect their possessions.

As part of its efforts to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, Aberystwyth University has until now instructed students who still have possessions in University accommodation not to travel to Aberystwyth until specific arrangements are in place.

Following discussions between the University and colleagues at Dyfed Powys Police and Ceredigion County Council, plans have been agreed to enable collections over the coming weeks in a carefully managed way, prioritising the safety of staff, students and the wider community. 

Both Dyfed Powys Police and the Local Authority fully support enabling collections now in order to manage numbers of visitors locally prior to a more general lifting of restrictions on movements in Wales. 

Andrea James, Director of Estates, Facilities and Residences at Aberystwyth University said: “Throughout this pandemic, our priority at Aberystwyth University has been to protect our students, our staff and the local community by working tirelessly to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. As movement restrictions are gradually being relaxed we have been looking at how best to enable our students to return to the University to collect their belongings. We welcome the support of the Police and Ceredigion County Council for enabling students to return in a way that limits the risk of infection and avoid a potentially large increase in the number of people travelling to the area when travel restrictions are relaxed.”

Chief Inspector Christina Fraser, from Dyfed Powys Police said: “The Welsh Government regulations clearly state that travelling to collect belongings from student accommodation is permitted and reasonable, if this can’t be postponed and is required to comply with the terms of the accommodation agreement. These arrangements agreed between us and the University have taken into consideration the wider community, as we try to avoid large numbers of people arriving at once, when travel restrictions are lifted further. In light of this we therefore support the work the University has been doing to facilitate students being able to collect their belongings in a proportionate and orderly manner, to ensure that this is done in the safest way possible. Arranging for them to visit in a controlled manner through allocated time slots and with appropriate social distancing measures is sensible - the priority has to be the safety of all, including the local area, and avoiding large numbers of students and family members attending at the same time is key.”

Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council said: “By working in partnership, we can ensure that students can safely collect their belongings whilst also ensuring that we ensure the safety of citizens of Aberystwyth and Ceredigion. We would however like to remind the students and their families who have arranged to collect their belongings that they do not take the opportunity to visit the beach or other beauty spots, which would be considered as unnecessary travel. The sole purpose for travelling to Aberystwyth is to collect their belongings. There will be opportunity in the future to visit the Aberystwyth area.”

Following the introduction of the lockdown, the University took steps to move all its teaching online.

With the Easter break approaching, many students in University accommodation opted to return home where they could continue with their studies online.

Detailed arrangements have now been made that will see students book a date and time for their return through and online portal.

Once a date and time has been agreed, individual students will be able to travel to their University accommodation to pick up their belongings. Should they be accompanied, the University has made it clear this should be with one person only.

The aim is to complete this exercise over a two week period, in a controlled manner, so as to reduce the amount of people coming into Ceredigion at one time.

The University will open Fferm Penglais to offer limited services such as catering and toilets so that returning students do not need to visit the town unless it is absolutely necessary.

University staff will also be on hand to provide support and guidance to students and their parents, during the short time they are here.

Accommodation is also being made available on the Penglais campus so that students making very long journeys do not need to make arrangements for accommodation in the town.