Caring Students Launch Foodbank to Support Peers in Need

20 December 2019 | College News, Student Life

Compassionate students at City College Plymouth have set up a foodbank to help others who are struggling to make ends meet.

A group of Access to Higher Education students felt compelled to help one of their peers after learning she had been coming to lectures hungry and they started bringing in items of food for her. At a similar time, Gemma Hutchings, Access to Higher Education Programme lead, had learned about a student who had been forced to leave a lecture early to attend an appointment at a local foodbank.

Gemma said: “On learning that two of our students were struggling in this way, we realised it was very likely that others would be in similar positions. This is when we came up with the idea of a foodbank on campus.”

Student liaison officer Chaz Talbot said the number of students visiting the foodbank has risen quickly, but those able to donate have responded well to the growth in demand.

Chaz said: “More students have been coming to the foodbank for help, but we have also seen a huge increase in the amount of food being donated. The students have really taken to the project and we are rapidly running out of space.

“We noticed that several of our students were hungry, worried about how they would feed their families and sometimes missing classes because of this.

“While it is terrible that there is even a need for this, we are proud of the way our students have responded to the plight of others.”

Lecturer Lindsay Hovvels, who teaches on the Access to Higher Education, Health and Social Care course, said: “Students are struggling more and more to make ends meet. I am impressed with how well it is being run and managing the foodbank will be included as a part of the course from September.”

While the foodbank was a scheme set up by the students, the College has recognised the financial hardships experienced by some of those enrolled on its courses. City College Plymouth is committed to ensuring education is accessible and affordable for all. Many of its courses are funded by the Education Skills Funding Agency, so are free to full-time students aged 16 to 18, and adult students might be entitled to means-tested support. Funding is also available to help cover the additional costs of their study, including course equipment, uniform, meals, childcare and travel, and the College provides its students with a free breakfast as part of its Healthy College mark.

The Student Funding team will be happy to help and advise potential students on all funding matters. Call 01752 305110 or e-mail

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