University’s support for those in need at Christmas
Good causes are receiving support from University of Cumbria staff and students in the run up to Christmas.
They have donated items to local foodbanks in recent weeks, with collection boxes sited around the university's Fusehill Street and Brampton Road campuses, Carlisle and Bowerham Road, Lancaster.
Psychology academics and students in Carlisle have made up 150 food parcels, with support from University of Cumbria Students’ Union (UCSU) colleagues.
Dr Julie Taylor, from the university’s psychology department, said: “I’d read The State of Hunger Report (2019) in preparation for a talk I was going to give to colleagues at the NSPCC about the effects of poverty on child development.
“The report’s findings made for distressing reading, identifying lone parents, those with health concerns and disabilities and working families on low incomes as among the most likely to be referred to a food bank, bringing the issue into sharp focus.
“On discussing the report’s findings with students and colleagues we decided that we would do a Christmas collection. The response has been phenomenal and we’re looking forward to delivering our bags to Carlisle Foodbank this week for distribution in time for Christmas.”
UCSU community and partnership officer Katie Brookes said: “We decided to run a reverse advent style donation drive again this year after the generosity of students and staff last Christmas.
“Sadly usage of foodbanks has risen again this year so it is more important than ever to give something back to the local communities that welcome our students so openly. We want to thank everyone who has donated. As well as supporting Carlisle Foodbank, donations at our Lancaster campus are being given to Morecambe Foodbank.”
University vice chancellor Professor Julie Mennell joined the group last Thursday.
She said: “Our staff and students are a vibrant part of our university family here on campus and play an important part within our communities in Cumbria. It is heart-warming to see how they are pulling together and supporting others who may be in need or who are vulnerable, not just now at Christmas but also throughout the year.”
Undergraduate trainee teachers at the city’s Fusehill Street campus have been supporting CFM’S Cash for Kids appeal, raising £60 by hosting their own Christmas jumper day.
Student nurses from the Carlisle campus have raised a further £76 for Save the Children by wearing their Christmas jumpers during two days of lectures.
Colleagues from the university’s estates, communications and finance teams also took part in the recent Carlisle Santa Dash in aid of Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice, with approximately £100 sponsorship donated by those unable to attend on the day.
The university also hosted its annual Christmas Celebration at Carlisle Cathedral on 9 December.
A retiring collection at the service, which included performances by staff and students from the university’s Institute of the Arts, raised £230 with donations shared between Eden Valley Hospice; Jigsaw, Cumbria’s Children’s Hospice and the Carlisle Cathedral Development Trust.