Thursday 18 March 2021

All staff email

One year on - a thank you

Dear colleagues,

As we approach the end of term, it is a good moment to reflect on the last twelve months since the first national lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We have collated examples of our coronavirus-related research which has made such an important contribution beyond the University. We have also created an online feature about the support we have given to our students, gathering examples of initiatives where staff have innovated and adapted over the last twelve months.

Without doubt, your contributions go far beyond the examples we have highlighted, but these ‘snapshots’ do bring to life achievements we should all be proud of.

They capture the spirit of our approach over the last year, which has been empathetic and compassionate. I was particularly taken by the heartfelt feedback we’ve had on the support we’ve given to our students. It demonstrates so clearly why all of that hard work is so important.

I would like to thank you for all you have done in these incredibly trying circumstances. Please do take time to look at the different ways, and how extensively, we have responded - we have been so incredibly busy that it can be easy to forget all the inspiration, creativity and collective effort colleagues have put in.

For me, the stand-out reflection is that our community has come together to act for others, whether that’s responding to the needs of students, colleagues, frontline workers, our city or wider societies in the UK and beyond.

We know we can be proud of the difference we have made, be it research into the impact of the pandemic, small acts of kindness that help us make a connection with each other and with our students, reaching out locally and internationally through the Festival of Ideas and online talks, or our commitment to the public good made real through our strong partnerships in the city and beyond.

I appreciate we have accomplished all this while also experiencing our own personal challenges, emotional turmoil and loss of friends, colleagues and loved ones. Not all of these have been linked to Covid. It is with great sadness that we heard the tragic news in the national media about Sarah Everard, the daughter of one of our colleagues. Some of you may not have made this connection, so I’m sure you want to join me in expressing our deepest sympathies. I hope that all of our messages, through close colleagues and the Department, give Sarah’s family a sense of how much our community’s thoughts are with them at this unimaginably devastating time.

We are a strong community and the support we have given to each other has been crucial. This has been a year of immense uncertainty, but the story of our year also demonstrates that we can achieve incredible things when we work together.

Thank you.

Best wishes,