Alexandra’s Awareness Campaign

Added Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Alexandra’s Awareness Campaign

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I am grateful for:

The ability to love and how much I care about others.


Alexandra Scarlett Wilshaw was a young woman who experienced life with intensity, its highs and lows, and challenges. She tragically died last year by suicide. 

Alexandra read Maths at Durham University and was a member of University College. She inspired many through her blog, volunteered with Castle Community Action, participated in the cheerleading squad, loved her family and friends, and reached out to many.  

Last year, the College and Alexandra’s family established a fund in Alexandra’s name to help promote awareness of anxiety, depression and the risk of suicide, and better ways to cope with these issues.

We have had an incredible response to the Alexandra's Awareness Campaign, and the College would like to thank everyone who has donated to the campaign for their support. After a year of running and fundraising for the campaign we would like to take this opportunity to update you on the campaign's progress, and let you know where we will be directing the funds raised so far. 

It is our intention to create a video that can be shown to all new students as part of the annual Freshers' Week programme, which will form part of the different inductions in the various Colleges. This will cover serious messages such as self-care, how to help others, and signpost various sources of support. As this will be for new students it will seek to get these key messages out there right at the start of a student's time at Durham. It can also be used later by sports clubs, societies, and in departments, to follow-up in mental health training. This will create something which can be used for a number of years, and will be of lasting benefit. 

A proportion of the funds will be used to fund the training and support for peer support groups. Peer support can be invaluable in a university context, but it is really important that student volunteers receive the appropriate training in listening, signposting, and boundaries, and that students have confidence in the approach. There are two possibilities.

Student Minds is a national charity, student-led, with established peer support programmes.  They offer training, supervision and provide a structured workbook for the sessions.  There were two groups this academic year, at the University level, which allows for a little more anonymity than a College-based approach.  We could invest in the expansion of this scheme. 

Durham University already has an established network of JCR committees with Welfare Reps.  At present the Welfare reps and their teams take on a large amount of informal peer support.  We may decide to invest in their training and supervision, to a provide a network of peer support within the College environment, trained and supervised by Counselling Service staff. 

We will be consulting with students and staff on the most appropriate way to proceed, and whether to begin with a pilot in University College for the academic year 2019/20.    

Both the induction film and peer support initiatives will be of great help to a number of students, and help signpost those most in need to help whilst educating the wider student community. The Counselling Service will be taking forward these developments with us, to ensure we get the best possible results from your donations.

The campaign continues to be open, and we are continuing our fundraising efforts. I would like to thank everyone once again for their support, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at, To help support the campaign please visit our online giving page:


Durham Castle Society

Durham University