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We spoke to Debbie Hastings and Chloe Langham, Beacon House coordinators, about their first year in the new space open for students, staff and the general public.

“It’s worked exactly how it was supposed to.”

Since the doors opened, it has been very popular with students as a learning space. During assessment times it’s full. And even at quiet times, we’ve still had people coming through which is lovely.

We get a lot of staff in the café and over the past couple of months, we’ve started to see a lot more of the general public. The reception area there is a good information point; we’ve got everybody coming in and out. It’s really worked how it was supposed to.

People ask all sorts of questions there – from directions and opening times to where they can eat and talk. The general public want to know what the building’s about. A lot of lost property turns up there too!

Now more non-University visitors are getting to know the place, they are spreading the word and more of the general public are coming in to the café. It’s definitely going in the right direction.

Buzzing with activity

“Events really bring the building to life.”

Who studies at Beacon House? A complete mix of students, across all courses and year groups. And it’s not just a space to work – there’s a range of support, from study skills workshops to individual help for writing reports.

Apart from desks and study space, there’s a huge amount of activity at Beacon House. The three open days have gone extremely well; weird and wonderful student-led sustainability projects pop up in reception; and a range of stalls regularly promote opportunities to staff and students.

You can buy a student card, talk about wellbeing support and services, find a job with the Temporary Staffing Service, or take a tour of the University. Staff and students both use the meeting rooms, and there’s scope to broaden that out further outside of term time – the space could be promoted to local businesses, alongside in-house catering.

We want to use the space a lot more; it’s in such a good location. I’d like to see more events here. They really bring the building to life.

Going green

Beacon House was developed with a strong focus on sustainability and that’s continued to go from strength to strength.

Source Café sells a range of organic and vegetarian food, as well as reusable Keep Cups. You’re walking on carpets made from recycled fishing nets, and staff ensure energy use is efficient.

This year everyone in the building is also taking part in the Green Impact award; fulfilling a range of actions to improve sustainability in their work. The team are already generating great ideas, from battery recycling to lower use of printers.

What do students say? 

“It’s very convenient for me; right next to my house and close to the shops so I can buy lunch.”
“It’s modern, clean and I really like that it’s not completely silent.”
“Nice atmosphere, nice work environment.”
“I like to be able to bring in my food. It’s a light, open and bright space, which keeps me more awake!”
“It’s relaxed. You can still speak; it’s sociable and close to Uni.”
“There’s usually quite a bit of space. It’s a nice layout.”
Tell us what you think via our suggestion boxes, email [email protected], or have your say online with #BeaconHouse.

Beacon House in numbers

Items handed in to Lost and Found: 970

Strangest item found: two tubes of toothpaste

Busiest day in the study centre: Sunday 8 January with 379 students

Busiest time in the study centre (on average): 3:30 pm.


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