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Struggling students offered free food essentials
Nearly 30 students a day have visited the University of Bradford’s newly opened Food Pantry, where they are given essential groceries and toiletries to help with the rising cost of living.
Student Life Manager Sarah Jones said: “We see a steady stream of students over lunchtime and by the end of the week, there is very little left on the shelves.
“The plan is to cater for as many students as need it and keep the pantry running indefinitely.”
The Food Pantry is open every weekday from 10am to 2pm and students are welcome to choose five items each week from the shelves of food, stocked with essentials such as pasta, rice, tinned goods, cereal and bread.
In its first 10 days, the Student Life team helped 262 students. It’s funded through the University’s hardship fund budget, with supermarket deliveries every week.
Sarah said: “It’s not just about handing food out. We wanted it to be a warm, welcoming space where students can have a chat to talk about what they might be going through. We can then signpost them to other services if necessary.”
Vice-Chancellor Shirley Congdon said: “It saddens me that students, like many other people at the moment, are in need of such support. We are doing everything we can to introduce new ways of supporting students during this period of financial crisis targeted at those who need the most help and find themselves in very difficult situations.
“The Food Pantry is one example of an intervention that also helps us to direct students to other areas of support. Student support initiatives work best when they are integrated and this one certainly is.”
One student who is grateful for the service is Priyanka Jose, who came from India to study for an MSc Finance.
Picking up some cereal, rice, bread and toothpaste, the 34-year-old said: “I haven’t been able to find a part time job and so I’m finding it difficult to afford things. It’s more expensive here than I thought it would be.
“Being able to come here for some food has really helped a lot.”