Early Christmas cheer as retail giant donates £500 to Students' Union community pantry



 Early Christmas cheer as retail giant donates £500 to Students’ Union community pantry. 

Southern Co-op has generously donated £500 worth of vouchers to Solent Students’ Union (Solent SU) to help ensure students have regular access to food and basic living essentials. 

Solent SU opened their community pantry in November 2022 to help students who are struggling financially, as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. It is stocked with a wide range of basic living essentials, such as dry foods, tinned goods, and toiletries. 

Food was cited as one of the most significant cost pressures for students experiencing financial difficulties, when surveyed by Solent SU. 

Jignesh Kiree, VP Wellbeing at Solent SU, said: “Southern Co-op’s heartwarming donation to our SU Exchange is a huge boost for our community pantry and will help us to bring a wider variety of items for our students, as well as ensuring the pantry is fully stocked during opening hours. 

“The partnership between Solent SU, Solent University and Southern Co-op stands as a true testament to the positive impact that can be achieved when individuals and organisations work together with a shared sense of purpose. 

“We are incredibly grateful for Southern Co-op's support. Their donation is a tangible sign of their commitment to our community and to the wellbeing of our students and on behalf of Solent SU, I want to thank you to everyone at Southern Co-op.” 

Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability and Communications at Southern Co-op, who is part of the Department of Business and Law’s Business Advisory Group at Solent University and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in July 2022, secured the £500 voucher donation for the SU Exchange. 

Gemma said: “Our food store and Funeralcare teams are based in the heart of local communities, which means they come face-to-face with the extreme challenges facing people every day. As a Co-op, it's important that we do what we can to help people through this cost-of-living crisis. 

“We hope our donation to the SU Exchange will help support any Solent University students who are struggling and provide some relief from the pressures they may be experiencing during these uncertain times.” 

Professor James Knowles, Vice-Chancellor at Solent University, said: “It’s great to see the business community joining the Students’ Union and Solent University in supporting the students during these challenging times. 

“We know students are worried about the cost-of-living, and although we are lucky that Southampton is a relatively affordable place – it was named as the third most affordable city in the UK for students (NatWest, 2022) – we don’t want these concerns to prevent any student from reaching their full potential – so we work as hard as we can to make sure our students have the information and support they need.” 

Students are encouraged to speak with the student funding team at Solent University if they are struggling financially to determine the support available to them, including a range of bursaries and scholarships. 

Solent SU are still accepting donations for the SU Exchange from the community. This can both be a physical donation of items or a financial donation. More information on the SU Exchange can be found on www.solentsu.co.uk. 

Notes to editor: 

- Data within this press release was collected in-house by Solent Students’ Union. 

- Solent University student data outlined in the press release has been taken from the Student Life Survey 2022/23 report, which evaluates the data collected from over 800 Solent University students throughout the academic year. The full report can be found here. 

- The SU Exchange is a community pantry/food bank dedicated to help Solent University students only.