To help alleviate concerns for students worried about being able to afford enough food throughout the summer, Dearne Valley College (part of the RNN Group) has extended its Free College Meals and discretionary meal support throughout July and August.
Free School Meals support was previously only available during term time, but a recent successful campaign from Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford saw government funding extended throughout summer so schools can continue to support children and their families that need it most.
While colleges have not received official guidance to follow suit, Dearne Valley College recognised the difficult circumstances many individuals and families have found themselves in throughout the COVID-19 crisis. They decided to not only provide support to those who qualify for Free College Meals under the government criteria, but also extend discretionary support to other students who they identified, or who identified themselves as needing support with affording food. Across the RNN Group’s three colleges (Dearne Valley College, Rotherham College and North Notts College), 560 students will receive two cash instalments to fund essential nourishment.
RNN Group Head of Student Support and Safeguarding Laura Reid said it is partly due to COVID-19 that they have been able to fund this much-needed support. “As students’ travel costs reduced due to Coronavirus, we’ve been able to reallocate a portion of our bursary, allowing us to provide support where it is more needed. We decided to extend our meal support because we acknowledge that students and families may be experiencing increased hardship since the lockdown.”
Laura continued: “Where people have been struggling we’ve sent out Tesco vouchers and we are also in the process of trying to buy some other supermarket vouchers to be emailed out via electronic codes rather than having physical cards, which means we can get help to people quickly rather than waiting for payments to be set up, which can take time to process. This support is so important; it not only means our students are getting the meals they need, but it also helps alleviate the pressures on local food banks too.”
Don’t forget, the Welfare Team are available all throughout summer to support with all kinds of issues including mental health, abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol, extremist behaviour and much more.
If you would like to speak to the welfare team please email email@example.com.
If you need support with student finance please call 01709 513355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.