This week YUSU launched their new student pantry in YUSU’s reception. The pantry is stocked with a range of non-food essential products all free and available for students to collect whenever they need.
YUSU President Pierrick Roger explained “The cost of living crisis is still in full force and we have continued to receive feedback from students that they need support. However, we know that accessing monetary support can often get tied up in bureaucracy and red tape”. The idea behind the pantry was to make it as easy as possible for students to access support, especially as the cost of living crisis has seen the price of household goods rise.
The pantry is stocked with shower gel, shampoo, toilet roll, toothpaste, anti bac wipes, baby formula, laundry pods, sexual health supplies, period products and more. Pierrick said “We asked students directly through social media what items they would like to see on the shelves for them to claim” Whilst some products were excluded due to safety concerns Pierrick reiterated that “for the vast majority of the items requested, we have committed to stocking and giving them out to students in need”.
The pantry has already proved incredibly popular with students, within the first days of launching the shelves were almost empty. Pierrick reassured students explaining “We will restock as often as needed and look for more money to finance it if need be. We want students to know that we've got their back and will look to keep this initiative alive as long as possible”.
The pantry comes as students continue to be affected by the cost of living crisis. As well as these non-food essential products YUSU has also relaunched their fruit and root bags campaign. There will be 6,000 bags available overall and students can sign up for a slot to collect a bag on the YUSU website.
YUSU also has other initiatives in place to help students in the cost of living crisis. Currently at Courtyard you can get beans on toast for 60p and the Kitchen @ Alcuin is offering soup and bread for 60p. There is also further support available as Pierrick explained ”Students can also claim food vouchers, digital hardship support and Off-Campus Rent Grants from the University if they are eligible, all of which we have lobbied for at the Union”.
YUSU are planning to keep the pantry open as long as possible as Pierrick explained “The pantry is available to anyone who needs it! To claim any items, just come into YUSU Reception and take what you need. No long forms, no red tape. Just come, take and go!"