Students at South West College have been enjoying free meals at campuses in Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh recently as part of a new initiative to help mitigate the continued increase in living costs that students across the region are facing.

The Winter Warmer campaign, supported by funding from the Department for the Economy, provides hot food options along with a hot drink or bottled water and is available to all college students in the each of the campuses and can be redeemed upon presentation of a valid student ID. Free meals are available at breakfast or lunch on alternate days and research has long shown a connection between good nutrition and increased concentration and productivity levels in the classroom environment.

A report recently published by the NUS-USI reveals that one third of Northern Ireland students have skipped a meal because of the increased cost of living, while 7% have accessed the support of a foodbank.

Commenting on the Winter Warmer campaign, South West College Principal and Chief Executive, Celine McCartan, said;

‘We recognise that these continue to be very challenging times for many students across each of our campuses. Household bills continue to increase and so do the costs facing young people in education across Northern Ireland. The Winter Warmer campaign offers students a regular, free, nutritious hot meal which is appreciated by many. I want to thank College staff who have been actively supporting this over the past number of weeks.

The health and wellbeing of our students is very important at South West College and we continually seek ways to help alleviate the financial issues that can also have a negative impact on mental health and physical wellbeing

Celine McCartan
Principal and Chief Executive

Sharon Pritchard, Student Engagement and Support Manager, added;

"The response from students to the Winter Warmer campaign has been hugely positive. The free meals are available to all college students regardless of their financial circumstances. We want to ensure that every student can have at least one hot meal per day to provide them with the fuel needed to actively engage with their studies and coursework as well as helping them maintain good overall health and wellbeing and we know from our conversations with students that this support is very much appreciated.

For further information on the Winter Warmer campaign at South West College, please contact Sharon Pritchard

Photograph caption:

Students Aisling Burke, Croiadh Monaghan, Sara McClelland and Caoimhin Cauley avail of the hot drinks and snacks at the Erne Campus in Enniskillen as part of the South West College Winter Warmer campaign which is open to all students in the college.