Group of people putting their hands on top of each other. Credits: Mica Asato via Pexels
Group of people putting their hands on top of each other. Credits: Mica Asato via Pexels

Students supporting students: Oxford Rainbow Peers

Students play a major role in supporting and encouraging each other at Oxford, which has been particularly evident during the pandemic. The Student Peer Supporter programme is an integral part of the University's welfare provision, including dedicated Rainbow Peers. 

Dr Tim Knowlson is the University’s Peer Support Programme Manager and shares more about the essential role students play in supporting and encouraging one another on a day-to-day basis.

Introducing Rainbow Peers

Rainbow Peers were created as a safe space for students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community to discuss their identity, support other students and explore university and societal themes and issues. These include but are not limited to prejudice, coming out, and going home for the vacations. It is a place where intersectionality can be explored in relation to access to welfare services, peer support and listening to others.

Finding the right supporter 

Rainbow Peers promote an inclusive space for students to discuss running and promoting welcoming welfare events in their respective colleges, departments and divisions. The programme also connects students from across the collegiate university to a Rainbow Peer most appropriate for them, after receiving a list of active Rainbow Peers to choose from and speak to.

Supporting all students 

The Peer Support Programme seeks to better equip students in their role as supporters, enabling confidence in supporting their peer and working closely with college, departmental and divisional welfare representatives. The service signposts students to other professional support networks and services as appropriate, but exists with the premise that sometimes, students might prefer to approach a peer for support in the first instance.

Learn more on the Peer Support page of the Oxford Students website.