Essential Food & Toiletries Grab Bags Available For All Students

This week the City of Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College has launched a new initiative where all students can pick up a grab bag and help themselves to essential food and toiletry items.
The Covid-19 pandemic has left many families struggling due to mass job losses as the furlough scheme reaches its end. Food poverty in England is reaching an all-time high.
Grab bags have been created so that any Sixth Form College student can pick up non-perishable items such as cereal, tea, long-life milk, pasta, tuna etc. All items have been carefully selected so that well-balanced, nutritious and full meals can be made. Alongside this, there are toiletries and sanitary products available, basic items that can be quite costly to large families.

A dedicated room has been set up and the idea is that students can go along to help themselves to what they need, when they need it and that they are able to take as much or as little as they require. They are also able to make multiple visits and a member of the student support team will be there to answer any questions. This service is available to all Sixth Form College students.

From the 15th June, the college is now able to invite more students back into the building, under guidance provided by the government. Senior management and Safeguarding staff wanted to be prepared for every eventuality.

Joanna Finn, Safeguarding Officer commented “We are aware that families and students circumstances may have changed over the course of the pandemic. We needed to be prepared to support all of our students, so we have selected food and toiletries that we know are essential.”

The Sixth Form College have also provided food vouchers to those students who are entitled to free school meals throughout lockdown. They are now extending support over the summer holidays to first-year students and will continue to support second year and level two students until the end of the academic year on the 10th July.

Claire Gaygan, Deputy Principal and Designated Safeguarding Officer says “Initially the government was not planning on providing free schools over the summer break, however, the college was already making plans to continue to support our students during the holidays. We are delighted to hear that the government has taken a U-turn on this decision.”

Manchester United and England Footballer, Marcus Rashford, recently wrote a letter to the government asking them to reconsider the decision of not providing free school meals during the summer holidays. On the back of this campaign, the government has made a U-turn and agreed to provide eligible students with free school meals throughout the summer holidays.

This campaign really struck a chord within the college community. His sentiments certainly reflect the college ethos of a ‘caring community’. Staff were fully supportive of his initiative.

The Sixth Form is communicating with all students and their parents to make them aware of our grab bags and that all students are welcome to use the service.