One of Sheffield’s newest student residences is in line for a top national award - which will earmark it as one of the most caring during the COVID-19 crisis.

LIV Student Sheffield, the £33 million development on Sheffield’s Ecclesall Road, heralded a new era in university accommodation when it opened in September 2019.

The 14-storey block has 586 en-suite rooms, sleek study, living, dining and kitchen spaces, a sky garden, cinema, gaming and karaoke rooms and a gym.

It has been shortlisted for Best Private Halls of Residence 2020 in the National Student Accomodation Awards.

This year, say organisers Property Week, entrants will also be judged on how they supported students through the pandemic.

LIV Student Sheffield’s general manager Emily Clarke said: “Getting to the finals of this prestigious award is not only recognition for the style and quality of our site, but also the huge efforts we have gone to to keep students safe and supported during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our first ever residents came to Sheffield in September 2019 expecting to study, have fun and form lifelong friendships. The virus changed everything. Staff had to find new ways to support them and have been doing that ever since. I am very proud of how staff and students have adapted.”

LIV Student Sheffield responded swiftly to the spring national lockdown.
A COVID-safe environment was created and students who couldn’t travel home were offered free extensions to their stay.

This academic year, students securing rooms were given flexible terms in the event of course dates changing or their arrival being affected by international travel restrictions.

Staff have organised wellness activities ranging from reading groups and online yoga to mindfulness sessions and organised virtual events including quiz nights to maintain a sense of community. Virtual cookery classes are also planned.

Regular bulletins give updated advice on regulations, symptoms, self-isolating and testing and students have been signposted to mental health support and medical help.

John Kenny, chief executive of LIV Student Sheffield owner and operator Valeo Management Europe, added: “We have shown great leadership by adapting and expanding all of our services to support students, and introducing a wide raft of COVID-19health and safety measures, to keep them safe through this extremely challenging time.”

Winners of the Student Accomodation Awards will be announced on December 9 at a live-streamed virtual event replacing Property Week’s annual conference for the student accommodation sector.