Supporting You Through the Living Costs Crisis
Money is getting tight. A quick glance at the news, a trip to the supermarket, or opening your latest energy bill will all tell you things are getting more expensive. After a few big nights out at the start of term, you might be feeling the squeeze, especially with winter drawing in. It’s understandable to be worried, but there’s a lot of support on offer to help you through.
The University Living Cost Support Fund offers non-repayable awards of up to £2000 to all full-time students taking their full entitlement of student loans. These cover living costs such as accommodation, bills, food and childcare, though not tuition fees.
There are also a lot of on-campus resources to help. The University’s Cosy Campus scheme has five spaces across the University with free hot water, washing-up facilities, microwaves and warm, cosy seating so you can eat, socialise and relax without having to worry about energy costs. There are free period products through the Period Poverty Campaign, which are available from the Main Library’s first-floor toilets. Other support includes free showers, free eye tests and contact lens fittings, and an on-campus GP surgery. The Library is no longer charging fines for overdue books, so you won’t be financially ruined by those books you took out last year and forgot about, though you do still have to return them!
If you’re in an emergency, St. Peter’s offers a Well Pack, containing seven meal kits and extra groceries, snacks and treats, along with wider holistic support to help your physical and mental wellbeing.
The Students’ Union also provides a range of financial support, including foodbank vouchers and small emergency loans of up to £100. The Advice Services offer one-to-one meetings to help you figure out ways to better manage your finances. Corridor Coffee Co in the SU have lowered prices, with filter coffee, tea or porridge only costing £1, and jacket potatoes from £2. 532 Bar and Kitchen sell pizzas from £6, with 50% off all vegan and veggie food on Mondays. There will also be a series of free ‘Cosy Nights In’ at the SU with free food and drink, giving you the cheapest evening possible.
Finally, the government can also help. The majority of state support is only for those on benefits, which most students aren’t eligible for, but there is still some aid available. The Energy Bills Support Scheme will take £400 off your electricity bills over the next sixth months, a discount of about £66 a month. This is automatically given to all houses with an electricity connection, so you don’t need to do anything. In addition, if you receive any disability benefits, you should have already received a £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment.
So, while it can be scary keeping on top of the cost-of-living, there’s a lot of support you can access, both on and off campus. There’s no shame in asking for help, and whether you’re in a crisis, trying to manage your money a bit better, or just looking for a cheaper way to hang out, there are plenty of people happy to give you a hand.