Inverness College UHI students offered free breakfast in response to cost of living crisis

Inverness College UHI has launched a breakfast club for students in response to the poverty crisis faced by young people.

All students can now enjoy free toast, butter and jam on campus between 10am and 11.30am, every weekday morning. More than 165 free breakfasts were provided to students in its first week.

The initiative is one of only a handful of college breakfast clubs in the country.

Lindsay Snodgrass, Assistant Principal – Student Experience and Quality at Inverness College UHI, said: “We know many of our students attend college without having breakfast, simply because they can’t afford it. Research shows that eating breakfast not only gives you energy for the morning ahead, but it also improves memory and concentration to support learning, as well as improves your mental and physical wellbeing. We know many students face significant challenges to sustain and complete their studies, so it’s important we do all we can to support them so they can progress on to positive destinations.”

It's just one of several ‘share the warmth’ initiatives at the college, which includes a donation scheme to support students in need of clothing and toiletries. The college is also exploring a ‘pay it forward’ scheme in its canteens.

This builds on existing support available as more students return to campus, with a return to pre-pandemic levels of face-to-face teaching planned for September.

Ruth McFadyen, President of the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) in Inverness, said: “HISA welcomes the introduction of the breakfast club, which will benefit those students most in need, by providing a free breakfast and ensuring they have a good start to the day. This will have a positive effect on their studies and overall wellbeing.”

NUS Scotland recently published its ‘Broke’ report, which looked at the issue of student poverty in Scotland. According to the report, 35% of students have considered dropping out of their course due to financial difficulties. Around 64% said they had experienced mental ill-health because of financial pressures and 60% of students worry or stress about their finances “frequently” or “all the time.”

Support for students’ health and wellbeing remains a top priority for the college. It has a dedicated student support team on campus, with every student assigned a designated member of staff to support them during their student journey. The college also provides tailored support to help students who are care experienced and those who have caring responsibilities, as well as providing extra help settling into college for anyone who needs it.

Tailored learning support as well as 24/7 access to mental health and wellbeing support is also available to students, along with discretionary hardship funding  for those who are experiencing financial difficulties.

The new breakfast club is available across at the college’s main site at Inverness Campus and its Scottish School of Forestry campus at Balloch.