Student health and welfare is a top priority at Somerville. On this page, you can meet our welfare team and find out about the different resources we have to make sure you are supported at every stage of your time here.

Below, you can find out more about the different kinds of support on offer at Somerville, and meet our wonderful welfare humans.

Welfare at Somerville - An Introduction
Welfare at Somerville - An Introduction

Welfare Officer

The college is fortunate to have its own Welfare Support and Policy Officer in the person of Jo Ockwell. Jo takes the lead on all student welfare matters – both in providing frontline support to individual students and helping shape the college’s welfare policy. She is also the college’s Disability Co-ordinator and, as such, the first point of contact for students with disabilities.


The College Nurse is available in college every week day during term time for general medical advice. Please refer to her office, Darbishire 16, for her consulting hours. You can email the Nurse via

Students also have access to two college doctors who work at a GP surgery less than two minutes’ walk from Somerville (see ‘Registering with a Doctor’, below).


In an emergency, the Porters’ Lodge should be contacted in the first instance, either by telephone on 01865 (2)70600 or in person.

If you suspect the presence of intruders, you should immediately report this to the Lodge, who will contact the police. Other matters that you need to report to the police should also be reported to the Dean (e.g. assault, theft).

If you require rapid medical advice, please contact your GP surgery or phone 111. In a medical emergency, please phone for an ambulance on 999. If possible, a friend or someone on your corridor should also notify the Lodge.

You should make yourself familiar with the fire regulations posted on your staircase and in your room. You will be required to attend a fire safety briefing in College at the beginning of your first year. You must vacate your room when the fire alarm sounds, including for fire drills which are held at least twice a year, unless you have been notified in advance that you do not need to evacuate. You must not re-enter the building until told to do so.

The NPCC’s Stay Safe campaign provides useful information on staying safe in the event of an armed attack within College. Somerville, in conjunction with the University and authorities, is doing everything it can to prevent such an eventuality, but the following video nonetheless provides a useful reference.

Watch the NPCC’s ‘Stay Safe: Run, Hide, Tell’ campaign

Registering with a Doctor

Somerville has a relationship with the Jericho Health Centre (, and our students are recommended to register there if they wish to have ongoing medical support during term-time. The Somerville College doctors at the Jericho Health Centre are Dr Fiona Boyle and Dr Paul Ch’en

Please note, if you are a UK national, you will be eligible automatically for NHS healthcare. If you classify as an overseas student, you may or may not be eligible to access all services provided by the NHS depending on your residency status. Information on the NHS is available at  

The Somerville College Nurse is also available to offer healthcare advice and holds consulting sessions at Somerville every day during term time (see above for details of how to book).

Dental Care

The College has agreed limited dental cover with David Le Tocq at 31 Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2NZ. Further details can be obtained from the practice’s website at Please note that, depending on your residency status, you may not be eligible to access all services provided by the NHS, the State-run service covering all aspects of healthcare in the UK.

Personal Tutors

All students have a Personal Tutor with whom they can discuss any problems, both academic and personal. The Welfare Officer and Senior Tutor can offer advice and practical support. In addition, each student has an annual meeting with the Principal, which is an opportunity to discuss academic and non-academic matters alike.

Junior Common Room Support

Every new student arriving at Somerville gets their own College ‘mother’ and ‘father’ – older students who act as mentors when you first arrive. And that’s just the start of the JCR’s welfare work. Our students are a supportive bunch. The JCR Welfare Officers’ doors are always open to students with any sort of problem, while our Peer Supporters(whose members are trained by the University Counselling Service) are available to help you with advice and support from someone who’s been there. The JCR also elects a Disability Officer, an Ethnic Minorities Officer, an LGBTQ+ Officer, and a Women’s officer to represent these groups in the college and advise students on any concerns.

Junior Deans

The Junior Deans provide welfare support to students outside of office hours. The Junior Deans live in College, and one of them is on call every evening, night and weekend during full term. They are available to support you through a crisis. Their role also includes ensuring that the needs and interests of the College, and of all our members, are respected.


We recommend Togetherall. A free service where support is available 24/7 from anywhere via a web browser.  All you need is an active university e-mail address (select “I’m from a University or College” when you register). Togetherall offers online discussions moderated by mental health professionals, as well as self-learning courses and resources.  It is a safe space for students to help manage mental health and wellbeing issues such as struggling to sleep, feeling low, stressed or unable to cope. 


Counselling at Oxford is offered to all students free of charge by the Oxford University Counselling Service, which is the best funded of its kind at any UK university. They offer individual and group sessions to help you overcome any difficulties you are going through. Oxford is also one of the few UK University counselling services which can refer you to a psychiatrist if you require this extra support.

You can choose to see a counsellor either in college or at the service’s offices, which are located within 10 minutes walk of the college. Our college counsellor, David Anderson, sees students one day a week in college during termtime. You can contact David by emailing You can also approach the University Counselling Service directly if you would prefer. Visit their Web page here.

Whichever route you opt for, your attendance will be treated in confidence.

Cycling Safety

Cycling in Oxford is a very good idea as it often trumps cars and buses as the fastest way of getting round the city. Research has also shown that the more people cycle, the safer it becomes. Please visit and for more information about how to keep yourself and your bike safe.

Personal Security and Safety

Safety and well-being are taken very seriously at Oxford. Advice on personal and property crime prevention, staying safe on nights out and who to contact in an emergency is available on the Oxford Students website. In particular, you are reminded to:

  • Register personal possessions that have serial numbers such as laptops, mobile phone and cameras on Immobilise, the National Property Register.
  • Put laptops in a locked drawer when they are not being used, even if you just leave the room briefly, particularly if your room is on the ground floor and your desk is near an open window.
  • Back up work on a USB stick which is kept in a separate location, or use a cloud-based storage facility such as DropBox, Microsoft Cloud or iCloud.
  • Consider using a tracking service in case any of your devices are stolen, such as Prey Project.

Security Services can be reached 24 hours a day at 01865 (2)72944 or (2)89999 in an emergency. Incidents can also be reported online on the Security Services website (

Student Union Resources

The University’s Student Union also provides welfare resources, headed up by an elected full time Vice-President for Welfare. Their support includes resources specifically for LGBTQ+ students and members of minority groups.

Oxford SU Website