University of Essex charging students £220 for 14-day food supply

University of Essex bosses are slammed for charging students £220 for 14-day food supply package while they self-isolate in Covid quarantine

  • Amy Lovatt, 24, was isolating and university told her to purchase £220 package 
  • University also has ‘essentials’ food box for £52 but items can be found for £36
  • The £220 food package has since been reduced to £100 for 14-day food supply 

The University of Essex has been slammed for charging self-isolating students £220 for a 14-day food supply package. 

First year student Amy Lovatt, 24, who was in isolation after someone in her social bubble fell ill, asked university bosses how she could get food delivered and was told she should order the food package from Essex Essentials. 

The website is run by the university and sells everything students may need while living away from home – including a packet of eight hangers for £5 and a laundry basket for £20. 

The quarantine food packages are available for ‘self-isolating students only’ and include breakfast, lunch and dinner for 14 days which are hand-delivered to students.   

The University of Essex has been slammed for charging self-isolating students £220 for a 14-day food supply package

First year student Amy Lovatt, 24, who was in isolation after someone in her social bubble fell ill, asked university bosses how she could get food delivered and was told she should order the food package from Essex Essentials. Pictured: The University of Essex

Ms Lovatt, who is studying creative writing, said: ‘I e-mailed the university about getting food and their response was to suggest the meal plan. I did specify I only needed a few items so in the end I contacted someone on social media and they had to go and get them for me.

‘Other students say they spend just over £30 a week on food so the cost of the meal plan is ridiculous. Considering the costs I already pay, for reduced access to learning, some food wouldn’t bankrupt them.’

The university has since lowered the price of its 14-day food supply to £100. It also offers an ‘essentials food box’ which costs £52 and includes items such as breakfast cereals, tinned vegetables and Pot Noodles.  

All of the items in the essentials food box can be found at Sainsbury’s for just £36.78.  

A spokeswoman for the university said it was doing all it can to help and support students during an unprecedented period. 

The university has since lowered the price of its 14-day food supply to £100. It also offers an ‘essentials food box’ which costs £52 and includes items such as breakfast cereals, tinned vegetables and Pot Noodles

All of the items in the essentials food box can be found at Sainsbury’s for just £36.78

She said: ‘We have a wide range of support available to students who need to self-isolate, and we have put an enormous amount of work into ensuring they have regular contact and support from our well-being team; access to uninterrupted learning and teaching; as well as access to a diverse range of food options.

‘We are ensuring our students can access and choose between a wide variety of options for their food shopping and this includes negotiating delivery slots with local supermarkets with COVID secure delivery, arranging for deliveries from local shops and publicising all local take away options.

‘Our essential food boxes and food plans, which we are providing as close to cost as possible, are just one part of the very wide range of options available to our students.

‘We work really closely with our Students’ Union and will always listen to their feedback and work with them to find the best way to support our students at this time.’

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