Uni food vouchers get mixed reviews from isolating students

Lottie Wright takes a look at how isolating students have found the university's food voucher scheme

Lottie Wright
21st October 2020
Images: Flickr

According to the The Chronicle's latest figures, there have been over 1750 confirmed coronavirus cases at Newcastle University in the past fortnight. Subsequently, a growing amount of Newcastle’s student community have headed into self-isolation as the academic term begins.

In response to this, Newcastle University announced added support for those affected by the virus, including a greater focus on student welfare, medication delivery and academic help. Alongside these initiatives derives the big old question about student food supply. Nationally, universities across the country have come under much scrutiny on their differing approaches to food packages and vouchers.
With supermarket delivery services limited and delayed in the region, and likewise the issue of communal student kitchens across accommodation, how have Newcastle University addressed the provision of food and safety of their students during the lockdown?  

One off £50 voucher to spend at the Co-op store in the Student's Union

At a glance, the food voucher scheme seems very credible; a one-off £50 voucher to spend at the Co-op store in the Student’s Union for self-isolating students. Very handy if you are struggling to get a slot on the online delivery and a quick form to complete. The voucher is valid for one year from the date it is issued to you but can only be used in one transaction. Simply, be sure to make the absolute most of the £50 when you receive that voucher. 

Although, upon speaking to some self-isolating students who have previously applied for the voucher, things haven’t appeared quite as ‘smooth sailing’. The key issues identified involved: problems with the voucher codes, delays with arrival, and in sometimes, no delivery at all.

A third-year student, who requested the support while in quarantine alone, responded: “It has been disappointing to say the least … when I was isolating, the Uni reassured me they would send it and I’m now out of isolation and still have not been sent the voucher. As a result, I’ve had to spend more money and time getting hold of a delivery.” 

"I'm now out of isolation and still not been sent the voucher"

Meanwhile, another respondent, who was self-isolating in their shared student house, sympathised with the University’s efforts to accommodate increasing requests: “I think so many students are ordering at the moment, the University must be overwhelmed! For instance, my friend has only had half his order delivered because apparently, they were out of stock. I am self-isolating now; I’m not even attempting to order!”

Alternatively, we spoke to someone isolating in catered accommodation, who benefits from onsite staff and delivery to flat, stated: “I tried applying for the voucher today and the codes are expired. This meant I had further complications trying to contact the University, which was quite time consuming!”

Featured images: Flickr

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