In for a penny, or staying in with £50?

After the recent increase in students testing positive or self-isolating, the University has offered Co-Op food vouchers.

Gabbi De Boer
7th November 2020
Nothing strikes more joy in a cash-strapped student than money. Add to this a 10 to 14-day isolation and you’re onto a winner.

With many students testing positive for coronavirus and more self-isolating, the University rolled out a£50 food voucher, entitling students to products from Newcastle University’s Student’s Union Co-Op, delivered in 10 minutes.

The gesture has been well received by many across campus. Due to rising Coronavirus cases in Newcastle itself, supermarket delivery slots are as easy to spot as unicorns. 

According to SaveTheStudent, the average student’s grocery spend is £100 a month (or £25 per week). According to this data,the voucher should buy enough food to cover the average student’s two week isolation. Naomi Oosman-Watts, Head of Strategic Projects for Student Services, said that both the University and Student’s Union “have pulled together and put in a huge amount of work to create an excellent package of support”, which is reflected in both the voucher and also other areas such as regular wellbeing phone calls.

Is it too good to be true?

Cracks started appearing in the form of apocalyptically low stock. It seemed that the demand for vouchers was so high, the Co-Op struggled with stock levels almost immediately. With over 1,500 Newcastle University students testing positive and more isolating due to the virus, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Those who received the voucher in time had to be quick. If left too long, there was little choice in available products. This left some unlucky students waiting until either the end of their isolation period or after it had finished receiving their voucher. Speaking on the demand of the vouchers, the university has said that they have “distributed more than 1,000 vouchers” so far.

Though the University has put forward solutions to the upcoming problems, it is still to unveil whether these responses are as effective as intended.

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