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The much-loved Porters at Lucy are the first port of call in College and always happy to help

The ever-popular and ever-present Porters at Lucy Cavendish College are the first point of contact on arrival. Their roles are many, and they’re known to turn their hands to almost anything if needs be, but their day-to-day tasks include reception services, booking in visitors and contractors and issuing keys to students as they welcome them into the community. When students arrive in Freshers’ Week they provide transport and assistance with their belongings and show them around their accommodation.

They also act as an essential communications hub, answering calls, sorting post and packages, and helping students with any queries they may have.

The Porters provide essential security services for the campus, manage the fire cover and emergency procedures plan and deliver training, as well as providing first aid and mental health support. 

And if you needed to borrow one of the College bicycles, which are essential for getting around in Cambridge, the Porters’ Lodge is where you’d come. The Porters will always help maintain and fix bicycles - mending a puncture or fixing your brakes if you run into problems.

But most of all the Lodge is a friendly place where students can come for a chat at any time.

“The support provided by the Porters is amazing. They are always happy to help you with anything you need.”

“The feel of the College is friendly, and some of the most insightful conversations were impromptu discussions at the Plodge with John.”

Have your roles changed during the pandemic?

Yes very much so, we’ve had to adapt our rosters to enable us to provide continual cover, and we’ve reduced staffing to single manning working twelve hour shifts instead of our usual eight hour shifts to enable us to have resilience should any of us have to isolate. We’re also providing extra support to the students who may have to either quarantine or self isolate, often delivering meals to them, taking post and packages and in the first instance delivering an isolation/quarantine kit made up by the Housekeeping department.

Although overall we’re seeing less students, we’re finding more just want to come in for a chat and seek reassurance that they are safe and supported during this difficult time. 

Message to the Porters during the first lockdown: 

“Dear Porters, Your presence in college has always meant a lot to us but is especially important now. It feels safe knowing that you are looking out for us. A friendly face has never been more important. Thank you for being on the front line." 

Unsurprisingly the level of post and packages has increased significantly.

What’s the best thing about your job?

This is a question that I have been asked many times during my time here at Lucy and my answer has always been the same..quite simply the best part of my job is walking with our students looking very smart in their gowns, leading the precession alongside the Praelector to the Senate House on the day of their graduation. 

We always wait for them to come out clutching their hard earned degree certificates and congratulate them. This is a day of very mixed emotions with tears (and that’s not just the students!) of both joy and sadness as it also signifies the end of their time with us and saying goodbye as they go on to pastures new can be like saying goodbye to one’s own children. We’ve known some of our students for many years. 

What makes Lucy Porters the best in Cambridge?

This is easy to answer as we see our role here as primarily being here to support our students, providing support and assistance wherever we can. We are  always available for a chat at any time, providing support or a shoulder to cry on, giving reassurance when needed and often advice. If on graduation day we have played even a small part in their successful journey navigating the twists and turns of what is Cambridge University then we have succeeded in our role. 

What do you love best about the lucy community?

Lucy houses a very diverse community with students coming from all over the globe. it’s a very inclusive community also but most of all it is a friendly community and that makes coming to work here a joy.

Find out more about other facilities at Lucy

Find out more about our staff at Lucy

*Please note the picture of our Porters was taken in November 2019