On the 30 November the Coping with the Cost of Living Event took place in RUSU, 3sixty. The event featured talks and workshops throughout the day.
There was a ‘Coping with the Cost of Living’ panel talk with Pro-Vice Chancellor Elizabeth McCrum, RUSU President Sheldon Allen, Student Financial Support Services Matt Daley and the RUSU Money Advice Susie Mellor. Students also had a chance to meet their Money Support Services, attend a Money Worries Workshop and a How to find a part-time job session run by campus jobs.
One of the key messages from the event was that if you’re struggling financially or worried about money, then the best thing you can do is talk to someone and not suffer on your own. Pop into the Carrington Building where you can chat to a member of the Student Financial Support or Student Welfare Team or visit RUSU and speak to someone from their Money Advice Team.
If you weren’t able to attend the event, do not worry. We’ve written up some of the key takeaways from the Coping with the Cost of Living Panel Talk to highlight some of financial resources and funds available to you:
If your money worries are impacting on your mental health:
- Visit the Guidance and Support pages on Essentials and complete the Student Wellness Check to help you identify the right support for you.
- Book and appointment with the Student Welfare or Counselling and Welfare team.
- If you’re not ready to speak to somebody in person yet, then the mental health charity Mind have a selection of resources to help with the worrying aspect of money problems.
If you are in need of some money advice:
- Visit the Cost of Living pages on Essentials, and make sure to read the University’s guide to making the most of your money at university.
- The Digital Support Fund is a support fund to help students with the associated costs of online learning and study. There are limited grants of £400 per student, designed to provide financial support towards internet connectivity, specialist software as well as IT related study equipment costs. The £400 can be used as a contribution to buying a laptop and peripherals (mouse, keyboard, extra monitor, router, dongle etc.) or for paying broadband bills. Visit Essentials to find out how to apply for this fund.
- The RUSU Money Advice team are available both in-person and online. You can book an appointment via their online form, or attend one of their online or in-person weekly drops-in sessions. Visit RUSU’s Money Advice pages for more information about the support systems available.
- The University is partnered with Blackbullion, an online platform that offers free online educational financial support for Reading University students.
- Citizens Advice Reading offer a free and confidential service open to everyone. Their team are trained to advise on wide range of problems, including utility bills and cost of living advice, debt and money problems.
- Charities such as StepChange offer telephone and text services to provide financial support, and their online debt advice service is available 24 hours a day.
If you find yourself in need of urgent financial support:
- Come and speak to the Financial Support Team. They have student support funds that you can access to help you with any urgent support you may need. Email email@example.com, visit their offices in the Carrington building, or book a face-to-face appointment online. They can help with emergency funds, supermarket vouchers and essential products.
- If you find yourself faced with an energy bill that you cannot afford, then visit RUSU’s Money Advice team. They can provide the role of a debt advisor and assist with negotiations with your energy company.
These are just a few of the many ways the University and RUSU can support you financially. Make sure to visit the Cost of Living pages on Essentials for more information.
If you feel you need support but feel unsure what schemes are available and which is the right one for you, then check out our blog on four ways you can access financial support.
The University and RUSU’s joint task force
This Cost of Living event was part of the University’s and RUSU’s Cost of Living joint task force. The University and RUSU are working hard to support you and your finances.
A meeting of the University Executive Board in November approved a total of £365,179 in funding for initiatives including: ‘supporting the Warm Welcome’ low-cost breakfast, expansion of the supermarket e-vouchers scheme and Essentials Cupboard, the introduction of a bursary for commuter students, supporting RUSUs new student opportunities and societies events funds, a graduation bursary and removing resist fees for this academic year. This is fantastic news and will help boost the work of the taskforce to ensure you can access a variety of support if you need it.
Keep an eye on Me@Reading and our social channels for updates on new initiatives.