UEA(SU) has received national recognition for its new dog walking scheme designed to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of students.
The scheme is the first of its kind at a UK university and gained coverage by media outlets such as The Telegraph, The Times, ITV Anglia and Eastern Daily Press.
The scheme has been a hit with students, with first two sessions were booked up in their entirety.
UEA has received £12,000 funding from Sport England through British Universities and Colleges Sport to improve student physical activity, opting to spend part of this on the dog walking scheme.
The scheme allows students to take dogs, loaned by members of staff and volunteers, for walks around campus and to Cromer beach and Thetford forest on funded trips. It will run alongside the widely well-received Pets as Therapy scheme run at UEA to help with mental wellbeing during exam seasons.
Professor Andy Jones of Norwich Medical School recently published his research on the benefits of dog walking. He4 said: ‘Our studies have shown that dog walking helps people to maintain their physical activity levels.
‘In addition to this, it is known that there are a wide range of social and mental health benefits.’
Oli Gray, Activities and Opportunities Officer, said: ‘Around this time of year in particular, university can be a stressful time for students, with many feeling pressure from deadlines, financial worries, or just missing family and friends from home.
One of my key priorities this year is improving students’ mental wellbeing using physical activity but that doesn’t have to mean sport. I’m thrilled to be working in partnership with UEA Active in bringing Navigate Norfolk to campus – an opportunity to get out and get active.
A key strand of that is our weekly dog walks on campus – you can find out more and sign up at ueadiffererent.com!’
Dog walking sessions take place every Wednesday at 2pm.