Three per cent of Notts students have relied on food banks during the pandemic

Many students are finding themselves hungry and with no other option

The National Union of Students conducted a survey that found university students in England have been relying on food banks throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

It found that 61 per cent of students say that coronavirus has had an impact on their income, with nine per cent of students admitting to having used food banks and institutional hardship funds during the pandemic. Many students have sought support in some form and even thinking beyond the pandemic, three in four continue to say they are concerned about their ability to manage financially.

The Nottingham Tab’s Instagram conducted a poll and found that three per cent of students in Nottingham had relied on a food bank during the pandemic.

One student at University of Nottingham, who wished to stay anonymous, shared their experience with us: “I can’t live at home because it’s not a good environment for me and I’d already committed to living in this student house. Finding someone to take over my room would not have been an option in this pandemic, as more people are living at home this year.

“On top of that, I lost my job back in September as an online tutor. I missed loads of lessons due to my rubbish mental health over the summer, but the company still paid me. I mistakenly used that money to pay my rent, thinking it was leftover from my last SFE payment. The tutoring company realised their mistake and asked for the money back.

“I explained this to my boss and they suspended my account. I paid them back as soon as I could from my first Universal Credit payment in October, but this left me with no money for food or bills that month. I dodged my housemates and watched my cupboard quickly empty. Around the same time, my housemate tested positive for coronavirus.

“I ended up crying to the absolute angel who called me from Track & Trace. They called Nottingham Women’s Centre who sorted me out with a food parcel.”

Larissa Kennedy, NUS National President, said: “These results lay bare how widespread financial struggles are amongst the student body. It is astonishing that three in five students have been affected financially by the pandemic yet it has taken until now for the government to offer any meaningful support.

“Students deserve better than having to rely on foodbanks for their next meal, or being unable to pay their rent because they cannot find employment. Our student finance system is broken, as students have to work alongside their studies to be able to afford essential bills. With lots of the jobs students would ordinarily do disappearing, many are struggling.

“The pandemic has highlighted these fundamental injustices in the education system and now we need action from governments across the UK to find a solution. Students urgently need more financial support because access to education should not be a postcode lottery.”

No-one should be put in this awful situation, so if you do feel that you need some extra support, here are a list of places that you can get the help that you deserve.

Apply for The Student Hardship fund at UoN – find out more information here.
• Apply for NTU Undergraduate Discretionary Hardship Fund – find out more information here.
The Trussell Trust – East & West Nottingham Food bank.
• Student Minds – find support.