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2020 Student Support Fund

 March 11, 2021 | Simon Jenkins

Thanks to the amazing support of over 500 supporters, both through the crowdfunding platform and other means, we met and exceeded our target of £150,000 raised in support of students facing financial difficulty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This past year has been challenging for so many in our student population, with one colleague reporting that in her 25 years’ experience on Leeds University Union’s help and support team, she had never before seen the level of financial hardship, desperation and fear that she witnessed last summer. 

Alumni and friends of the 2020 Student Support Fund helped us to award over 470 hardship grants ranging in value of £100 to well over £1,000, to help students face the immediate financial challenges they faced over the past months.

These grants were awarded to student in the most urgent need, including; those who have faced losing their home or have struggled to afford to put food on the table due to the loss of employment. International students who have had difficulty returning home or carers self-isolating with vulnerable family members. Your support provided a life-line to these students, who may otherwise been left in real crisis.

One mature student, who lost their two part-time jobs during the Covid-19 lockdown was left without any money to pay his rent. Without a family support mechanism to fall back on, and no part-time work they feared that they would have to leave University. They were awarded an emergency grant which they said: “reduced my stress and anxiety and gave me the space to breathe again and the hope I could stay at University”.

The pandemic left Shainah Wigglesworth (above) unable to afford basic necessities such as food and bills – and the grant she received from the Student Support Fund proved a lifeline at this critical time: “Without this support I might easily have had to drop out of my course at the last hurdle, just down to money,” she said. “The grant also gave me access to the internet which really helped when writing my dissertation.

“Without these donations, I wouldn’t have completed my degree. As a young woman from a working class background, it had always been my dream to graduate from a Russell Group University. Thank you for helping me reach that dream; now I get to think of an even bigger one!”

In this video, LUU Welfare Officer and Leeds graduate Sophia Hartley shares the stories of students, like those mentioned above, who your support really helped at this time of crisis – and thanks you on their behalf.