‘Surprise’ as hard-hit University of Buckingham students resort to food banks

Stock image of a food bank
Stock image of a food bank

Cash-strapped students at the University of Buckingham have been using hundreds of food bank items such as tinned soup and cereal in the last year.

MK Food Bank, which provides food parcels for people to ‘get back on their feet’, said it was ‘surprised’ to receive requests from students in need.

But the private university, which charges £17,000 a year in tuition fees, stressed almost a third of its pupils are from the ‘lowest social class’.

The university’s deputy vice-chancellor, Alistair Alcock, said: “Some of our students find that sometimes they are short of money.

“We have our own food bank and the majority of donations for students come from individual retailers.

“Many donations are of fresh produce which helps to supplement students’ diets in a healthy way when they don’t have much money.

“We also distribute items from Milton Keynes Food Bank, which we are very grateful for.”

Mr Alcock emphasised that the items would otherwise be binned because they ‘do not meet the requirements’ to be distributed by charity to the public.

He added: “It is certainly not the case that all our students are affluent.

“Around 30 per cent of our students come from the lowest social class. Increasingly we are welcoming students who live locally, and up to an hour’s drive away, who choose to come here because they can’t afford to go away to university and can save on living costs by doing a degree at Buckingham in just two years.”

On its website, MK Food Bank says its aim is to ‘ensure no child or adult goes to bed hungry’.

Its project manager, John Marshall, said: “We were surprised at first when we heard there were students at Buckingham University going hungry. But once we realised there was a need, we were happy to help.

“A lot of our food donations come from Buckingham town so it is nice that we can give something back.”