A Students Perspective - Breakfast Club

Hannah Marsh

18 February 2022

Due to the ups and downs of the university experience there is a real potential for mental health to come to the forefront of people’s lives. I myself have struggled immensely over my time here, finally finding my feet this time in my fourth year. I didn’t know I needed Breakfast club as I have now got a secure group of friends and a better understanding of myself, city and the whole university lifestyle. 

However, from going to breakfast club every weekend since mid-October, the tangible benefits both me and my friends have seen every week even when we are nearing the end of our studies and feel very grounded in Leeds is palpable. This is what breakfast club is all about: helping you realise that sometimes everyone needs a bit of help, a space to relax or speak to someone in a comfortable environment. 

One thing which characterises university life is a lack of routine/structure – everyday is different and one has a lot of time to kill (or study). Ironically, my housemate has commented on how Saturday is now the day of the week he has cultivated the sturdiest routine. After going out Friday it can be easy to stay inside all day, ordering a takeaway to attempt to alleviate your hangover - Breakfast club doesn’t allow you to do that. 

You get out the house and are fed good, healthy food with a smile. Theresa and all the other volunteers create a very relaxing and homely environment which feels almost like you’ve gone home for a few hours. This is crucial in alleviating feelings of homesickness which can sometimes plague Saturday afternoons. In mine and my friends experiences it has completely transformed what can arguably be one of the most lonely and depressing days of the week at university, into a wholesome and generally enjoyable day. 

As mentioned previously, though I have benefitted from Breakfast Club in my fourth year, I know that in 1 st and 2 nd year this would have been absolutely integral to my week. It has become a social event where you can meet up/bump into people you wouldn’t have otherwise seen, allowing you to trade of the previous week/night and connect with people outside your friendship bubble. Also, with University culture sometimes so preoccupied with going out and drinking it feels so refreshing to socialise with friends in a safe, relaxing and sober environment. 

Every person I’ve told about/ brought along cannot believe they’ve never heard of it before and assert it’s one of the most important parts of the weekend. This has so much more potential however! With the right promotion and funding this initiative could encompass more vulnerable students, or even those who don’t realise that they’ve been struggling. These are the ones who really need it.

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