In partnership with the University, we’ve formed a Cost of Living Working Group to focus on what additional support we can provide to you during these challenging times.
We’re here to support you during your studies. We have launched our ‘acting on cost’ programme, which focuses on increasing the provision of money management workshops, action on hygiene poverty, free breakfasts from our Venues, and subsidised clubs and society access.
The University has also committed an additional £500,000 to support students to provide direct financial support to those in need, such as subsidised food options at catering outlets, increased numbers of meaningful student work placements, and support for students who are experiencing digital poverty.
We are pleased to announce the following range of support is now available:
Free Cereal and Toast
The Students’ Union provides free cereal and toast at Ember and Verve. At Verve, you can access this Monday to Friday (8am until close) and Saturday (10am until 5pm). At Ember, you can access this Monday to Friday (10am until close, except on Tuesday where it will operate from 10am to 6pm) and Saturday (5pm until close).
Free Period Products
There are free period products available at our Students’ Union venues - Squeezebox, Ember toilets (women’s, men’s and disabled), Students’ Union office toilets (women’s and men’s), LRV toilets (women’s and disabled), our Students’ Union Reception and Verve.
Access to your student experience:
The Students’ Union now operates a range of free events for you to engage with, and details can be found on their website.
Funding is also available for students to join Students’ Union-run clubs and societies. Reach out to the Union by emailing email@example.com to find out more.
Extended Opening Hours
Our flagship Catalyst building is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can access spaces that are safe, warm and conducive to studying.
Buy What You Need
A zero-waste section is available at our College Road and Leek Road Students’ Union shop, allowing you to buy in quantities that your budget allows. Call in for more information.
At our Stoke-on-Trent, London and Lichfield campuses, there is a rollover hotdog stand with a range of hotdogs for just £2.50, providing an affordable food option on campus to eat in, or grab and go. Halal, vegan and vegetarian options are available.
‘Too Good To Go Scheme’
The University and the Students’ Union have signed up to the ‘Too Good To Go Scheme’ to ensure good food gets eaten and is not wasted. Every day, delicious, fresh food goes to waste at cafés, restaurants, hotels, shops and manufacturers - just because it hasn’t sold in time. The Too Good To Go app lets customers buy and collect Magic Bags of this food directly from businesses at a great price. Signing up to the scheme means minimal food waste across the university and food provided at a reduced price. The scheme will roll out at the University on Monday 9 January, initially in Stoke-on-Trent, and Stafford and London will follow within weeks. Download the app here for the most up-to-date information covering our campuses and your local area.
One Staffs Cafe
The One Staffs Cafe meets every Thursday from 6pm to 7.30pm in Catalyst Hall, The Catalyst building. The Cafe is designed to “bring cultures and communities together as one.” This is an opportunity to meet with other students and build connections and networks in a relaxed environment. Drinks and biscuits are provided. The first meeting of 2023 will be on Thursday 19 January and each week will have a different theme - Thursday 26 January will be a celebration evening for Chinese New Year. Keep up to date with the goings on of the Cafe by following them on Instagram.
Every Wednesday, from 12pm to 2pm, we have a Unitemps and Careers stand in The Catalyst, where our team is on hand to help you gain part-time employment with local employers and refine your CV and practice interview skills. In addition, the Careers and Employability team is organising a Jobs Fairs with employers on campus to support part-time and full-time employment options during Semester Two. This includes a Digital Jobs Fair on Thursday 16 February 2023 and a mid-year Jobs Fair on Tuesday 14 March 2023, both in The Catalyst.
We are also providing paid meaningful student work experiences, whatever your level of study, and we are now extending our paid work placement provision to allow more Level 5 students than ever before the opportunity to access part-time paid work experience to deliver further financial sustainability. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clothes Swap Shop and Tabletop Sales
The Students’ Union is holding Clothes Swap Shops and Tabletop Sale events around campus during Semester Two. As part of the Great Donate programme, the Students’ Union is developing relationships with a range of local charities to ensure that any items left over after these events are donated to charity.
We are working with our catering outlets to provide subsidised Staffordshire Oatcakes for our students and staff. This means you’ll be able to purchase a hot meal at a reduced rate, and those that are able can donate funds to pay forward for others. Further details on this will be communicated once the scheme is up and running.
Personal Hygiene Products and Washing Vouchers
We’re working with our student support team to make personal hygiene products and washing vouchers available free of charge for students. Further details on this will be communicated soon through our student communications channels.
We are making additional investments to provide grants for devices to help students improve their digital access and a package of support to enhance digital and employability skills. This may include improving access to hardware or prepaid Wi-Fi dongles. We will share details about how to apply once the scheme is available.
In the meantime, from short-term and long-term laptop loans to access to external funding for equipment, we are here to help. Find out more here.
Supporting Your Mental Health
We know that money concerns may impact on your mental health and so it is important to remember what support we can provide to support you whilst you are at University.
Togetherall - This service is completely anonymous and provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors. Using Togetherall will not affect you accessing face-to-face mental health support provided by the University. To join the supportive online community, simply go to https://togetherall.com/en-gb/ and sign up with your university email address. You then choose an anonymous username for your time on the wall.
Free Financial Advice and Support
The University provides free financial advice and support to every student through our partner, Blackbullion. To access this for free, register using your University email address. The platform is full of practical financial education, and additional sources of funding to help you develop your money skills and confidence and start growing your financial wellbeing.
The learning covers 80+ personal finance topics, such as credit scores, saving and investing, including ethical investments and risk management. There’s information about scams, emergency funds and subjects to help you prepare for life after your studies, such as tax and pensions. You’ll also find tools to help with your money, like a budget calculator and student loan repayment estimator.
Blackbullion can also help you find additional funding through scholarships, bursaries, and other funds you might be eligible for. Some of these are offered by us, as well as by other organisations too. So head over to the Funds section to see what you might be eligible for and apply.
Further Sources of Financial Assistance
If you’re struggling financially and worried this could impact on your ability to continue with your studies our Student Success (Support) Fund might be able to help you. Details on who can apply and how can be found here.
In addition, the Horizon Fund exists to help you in times of financial hardship, funded by donations from generous supporters of the University, who believe in our mission to transform lives and create better futures. You can apply for a bursary by clicking on the following link click here.
The Students’ Union has developed some useful information for students on money saving tips, access to funding and a range of free initiatives across our campuses. To find out more click here.
And finally, if you need any help and support, online or in person, but are unsure who you need to speak to or where you need to go… contact the Student Connect team.