Staff at the ‘Tech’ are putting their hands in their pockets and larders to help feed cash-strapped students.
It’s part of an initiative, which has helped 20 learners on average, at the North West Regional College (NWRC) over the past two years.
David Kinnaird, Director of Learner Services said: “NWRC continues to implement a responsive and supportive approach to those learners who are affected by financial hardship.
“We adopt an ethos of care to each learner in this regard throughout the teaching and support areas of our college, and this is best highlighted through our annual Student Welfare Supplies initiatives which involve the generous charitable donation of non-perishable items from College staff which include food and toiletries.”
The gesture follows the revelation that between 2009/10 and 2014/15 money available via student Hardship Funds at local Further Education Colleges reduced by £1.3m.
But a spokesperson for the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) told the Sentinel that over the same period, when taken together, the two main sources of support - Further Education (FE) Awards and college Hardship Funds - increased.
A DEL spokesperson stated: “The two schemes combined – the amount of money given out to students in 2009/10 was £6.83m whereas by 2013/2014 this had increased £7.40m.
“Therefore, over the same period, there has been a net increase of £0.8million for student finance support. The main reason for the reduction in the Hardship Funds is the corresponding increase in funds available to FE Awards both of which are applicant led.”
Mr Kinnaird said the local College was grateful for DEL’s support.
“The College acknowledges and is grateful to DEL for the level of financial support which is provided to our learners each year,” he said.