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University community comes together to support students in need during Covid-19

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Published on 17 July 2020

Sir David Bell KCB, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Sunderland
Sir David Bell KCB, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Sunderland

The University has provided many bursaries and packages of support to its students since the pandemic began. Faced with increasing demand, and the prospect of continued disruption over the coming months, the University’s Development Office has launched the COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund.

Sir David Bell KCB, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University, says: “The COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund is a vital response to the financial difficulties being faced by many of our students as a result of the pandemic. Through the generosity of our partner Santander, which has contributed £11,000, and the University’s own £30,000 contribution, the Fund is off to a flying start.

“We have also raised, in a very short time, over £7,000 from alumni and other friends of the University. Now, I am inviting our own staff to join me in making a donation. The size does not matter as every bit will help.

“From early conversations, I know that many staff will want to contribute, even as their own finances are under some strain as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. That speaks to the big-hearted spirit of everyone who works at the University of Sunderland.”

To find out more about the University of Sunderland’s COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund, go to the Development Office website HERE.

Lily Dooks, 23 from Keighley in West Yorkshire, is studying MA Advanced Dance Performance

"I was halfway through my MA when lockdown hit. We were advised to be with our families and continue our course remotely; something very challenging for a fully practical course on many levels.

"Finding any work at this time to support myself through my studies was impossible, as was applying for any other external help such as Universal Credit.

"Receiving the money from the Hardship Fund really felt like a lifeline to me; it meant that I could keep up with my rent and bills for my flat, and I was able to focus on completing my Masters without the immediate worry of eviction. Thank you to the University."

Kennedy Obohwemu, 37, from Nigeria, is in the first year of PhD Public Health

"As a self-funded international student, I rely heavily on the proceeds from income at home to pay my tuition fees.

"The COVID-19 pandemic virtually crippled the economy back home, making it extremely difficult to make ends meet.

"Businesses have been shut down and it will take quite a while for things to return to normal. The COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund was so important, as it provided me hope just when all hope seemed lost.”

To find out more about the University of Sunderland’s COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund, go to the Development Office website HERE.

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