Podio Preston spoke to Kailash Parekh from the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Preston to find out about the Preston’s Promise community group’s initiative to provide hot meals and food for international UCLan students unable to return home due to the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown.
‘’Around 1,000 of UCLan’s international students are currently receiving donated food packages so they can cook their own food after their lockdown plight was uncovered by a local community group Preston’s Promise. The students, who have been unable to return home during the coronavirus pandemic, are facing poverty, with some unaware they could have been accessing UCLan’s hardship fund during this time.
Local group, Preston’s Promise, was alerted to the issue due to its involvement with students for Ramadan. When students began to report health and wellbeing issues including isolation and depression, the charity raised the issue with Preston City Council, who in turn contacted UCLan with the assistance of the Lancashire Resilience Forum. As a result, a team from UCLan is now working with the students to ensure they are receiving welfare support, including access to the hardship payments, worth £200 every four weeks.
In addition over 300 students daily received one hot meal a day thanks to an initiative led by Preston’s Promise, and involving Preston City Council and the Preston Faith Covenant. The initiative began on Saturday (9 May) and continued for 16 days until Eid. Some of the students have taken to social media to express their gratitude for the meals, which are being donated by benefactors from the Preston Muslim Community, Local Hindu mandirs, Guru Nanak Gurdwara and Preston Minster.’’
Preston’s Promise are continuing to provide food packs for students and are looking for volunteers to help with packing bags and loading vehicles.