NUS reports university unions increasing food aid to tackle cost of living

University unions are intervening to assist students in coping with the escalating costs of food.

Some cities have implemented measures such as free breakfasts, community kitchens, food pantries, and vouchers to address the issue, while others are considering expanding these forms of assistance.

NUS research indicates that one in three students are able to sustain themselves on £50 or less per month.

Both the English and Welsh governments have announced increased funding to support financially struggling students.

BBC Newsbeat visited Swansea University, where the student union has been conducting a trial of weekly free breakfasts, providing tea, coffee, toast, and croissants.

“I’ve cancelled Spotify,” says third-year student Paige Stott, emphasizing her focus on affording the essentials. She has increased her hours at a part-time job, as she finds the cost of food has significantly risen.

“I’m limiting my purchases to the essentials like cereal, milk, and bread. Even chicken is too costly, so I’m avoiding it for now,” said the student.

I had to cancel my Spotify subscription, and I can’t afford new clothes at the moment – everything has become more expensive,” said the student.

“I decided to live at home,” says Trystan Thomas, a first-year medical student, highlighting his awareness of students supporting one another.

“I’m managing fine personally, but I’m aware that others are facing challenges. Prices have gone up, particularly for fruits, vegetables, and protein. Eating healthily has become more difficult,” he adds.

Lucy Thomas, also a first-year student, decided to live at home, which is a 30-minute commute.

“I’ve cut down on my outings and try to reduce driving because petrol prices are high. Moreover, university parking charges £4 per day,” she explains.

“Living at home means my mum takes care of a lot – I do contribute a bit weekly, but she handles all the food shopping,” says Lucy Thomas.

“I have a lot less to worry about compared to if I were living independently,” explains Lucy Thomas.

Esyllt Rosser, the president of Swansea student union, reveals that staff members grew concerned that some students might skip meals, including breakfast.

According to Esyllt Rosser, the president of Swansea student union, implementing small measures to alleviate these pressures can significantly impact a student’s day without requiring substantial funds.

“We strive to strike a balance between what is achievable for us and what will have the greatest impact.

We are also engaging in discussions with the university regarding travel and heating bursaries and other significant cost-related matters,” she adds.

Swansea University mentioned that it has a student finance team dedicated to offering guidance and conducting budgeting workshops. The university also manages the hardship fund, and for the current academic year, the assessment criteria have been reviewed in response to the rising living costs.




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By Ryan

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