After weeks of hard work and meetings, President, Precious Onyenekwu Tatah and the rest of The Students’ Union’s Presidents Team is delighted to share an update on their campaign to support students who may be struggling to meet the financial demands of accommodation payments, due to the impact of COVID-19.
The team has been informed that many students have lost jobs as a result of recent developments, meaning that they have lost a big percentage of their income, which would help them to pay rent. A lot of students have also returned home, meaning that they are no longer using their accommodation, but are still paying rent.
To help with this, the team led by The Students’ Union President, Precious, sent a specific NUS detailed letter to MPs in Bristol and put together a template letter that students can send to their landlords, to help open any discussions.
We are delighted to confirm that the team has already received responses from; Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West; Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East; and Thangam Debbonaire, the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing and MP for Bristol West.
As well as these responses the team has had a virtual meeting with Darren Jones, who has committed to writing a letter for any students in his constituency that reach out to him via email, has confirmed that he will bring this up at his weekly meeting with other MPs and has given the team some more recommendations regarding this issue.
Thangam Debbonaire has confirmed that she has written a letter to the Secretary of State for Local Government, Housing and Communities, Robert Jenrick, where she has asked if measures of support can be put in place to fairly share the responsibility of unused student accommodation. Thangam Debbonaire also emphasised that she is supporting the call for a hardship fund for university students, is supporting individual students in her constituency and is also keeping in contact with NUS. The team is also in the process of arranging a virtual meeting with Thangam Debbonaire to discuss this work further.
Kerry McCarthy has also encouraged students in her consistency to reach out if they need support and she will offer them any support that she can.
Since the work that the team has done, we have received feedback that these steps have helped in starting conversations and that some landlords are looking into options to help students.
The Students’ Union is proud to support the Presidents Team as they continue to ensure that the voice of the UWE Bristol student community is being heard. If you have a question or idea, please contact the team here.
If you would like to view the letter that you can send to your accommodation provider click here.