Student food bank scheme could roll out nationally

Alicia Robinson, right, with food bank volunteer Hiromi Kuramochi
Alicia Robinson, right, with food bank volunteer Hiromi Kuramochi
  • Major supermarkets have agreed to donate food
  • Other universities have expressed an interest
  • Scheme could be rolled out nationally

A kind-hearted undergraduate has managed to get major supermarkets to donate food for hungry students.

Alicia Robinson, of the University of Buckingham, has set up a scheme to reach out to students who don’t have enough to eat.

‘Our aim is to reach out to students who may not have all the food they need. People really shouldn’t be without food.’

Alicia Robinson

She is piloting the service in Buckingham, with the aim of rolling it out to larger institutions.

Three other universities have already expressed an interest.

Much has been written about the hardship faced by students nationally, as they struggle with increased debt following the hike in tuition feels.

Now Alicia, from Guyana, has managed to persuade large supermarket and restaurant chains, both locally and further afield, to provide food free to students.

The 33-year-old, who is studying economics with applied computing, said: “The aim of the food service is to reach out to students who may not have all the food they need.

“I have had informal talks with other, larger universities and I know it’s an issue in larger institutions.”

Alicia came up with the idea through her church, the Faith Dimensions Ministries Pentecostal Church, which has set up a food service to help people in need in Milton Keynes.

While working as a PA there, prior to starting her degree course last year, she learned how to approach companies for aid.

Alicia said: “Faith Dimensions Ministries had a dream and actualised their vision of providing food, clothing and housing for those in society who are overlooked and living on the fringes.

“People really shouldn’t be without food.”

Alicia, pictured right, is being helped by other student volunteers including Hiromi Kuramochi, pictured left.

As part of the scheme, she is also offering tips to students on nutritious eating and cooking.

The university’s acting vice-chancellor, Alistair Alcock, said: “Although we have students from wealthy families, some of our international students have only been funded by a large number of family members joining together.

“There are also an increasing number of students from the local area, Buckinghamshire, who choose the university because the only way they can afford to do a degree course – which is two years in Buckingham – is to live at home, as it’s cheaper than going elsewhere for three years.”

“We are keen that the experience of this pilot project be used by other universities.”