Queen’s Belfast giving out free breakfast to support students in cost of living crisis
The free food includes fruit and cereal bars
Queen’s Belfast University and the Students’ Union is giving out free breakfast to support students amid the cost of living crisis.
Over 500 Queen’s students collected free breakfasts in the SU yesterday, according to the SU president, and the scheme will be available three days a week between 8.30-10.30am. The food includes porridge, fruit, and cereal bars.
Queen’s says the free breakfasts scheme will run for two weeks (yesterday, today (9th Nov) and tomorrow, and Tuesday-Thursday next week), and there are “plans to follow with up with additional support to students and staff such as access to food to prepare on site across campus.”
Emma Murphy, Queen’s Students’ Union president, told The Tab Belfast that the current plan is to start to provide food in kitchens across campus that students can access, after the two-week period of free breakfasts. Emma told us: “Depending on demand over the next two weeks I can see whether it is something we will lobby the university to continue next semester as well.”
Writing on Twitter yesterday, Emma said: “We’ll be back again … to support students with the #CostOfLivingCrisis, with food, info and to get their feedback on areas that are affecting them most”.
Along with this, Emma tweeted images of students collecting bags of free breakfast food, and a board where students wrote suggestions of what QUB and the SU can do to support students during the cost of living crisis.
Suggestions, written on sticky notes and stuck to the board, include “free bus”, “cheaper pints”, and “free uni merch”.
Last month it was announced that thousands of Queen’s University Belfast students will receive one-off payments of £400 from the university, as part of an £8 million package to help support staff and students through the cost of living crisis, to be paid later this academic year.
Speaking about the free breakfast initiative, Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer said: “The free breakfasts offered in tandem with the Students’ Union are part of a wider package of measures to ease the cost-of-living pressures on our students. The free breakfasts will run for two weeks with plans to follow with up with additional support to students and staff such as access to food to prepare on site across campus.
“Plans are in place to distribute £150 to each student and £400 to those from low-income households at the end of January as part of a £7.9m funding package, and we continue to consider ways we can provide practical support.”
Students’ Union President Emma Murphy welcomed the plans and said: “The Students’ Union is delighted to be hosting the free breakfasts, supported by the University. We have been working closely with the University to ensure appropriate interventions are put in place to support students during the Cost-of-Living Crisis and this is just one of the initiatives we have planned over the next few months to mitigate the impact of the crisis on our students.
“This includes the one-off payment to all students, announced recently by the University. But as always, more needs to be done and it should not be the responsibility of a Students’ Union or a University to address the huge challenges students are currently facing. Our politicians need to step up and take responsibility as students are once again being failed by our lack of a functioning Executive.”
Featured image: Parkway Photography via Queen’s University Belfast
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