Supporting staff and students tackle the cost of living on campus

Becoming a Right To Food University means working to ensure that we protect our students from food insecurity and that access to nutritional, affordable and sustainable food is paramount across our food services. 

Ahead of our one year anniversary (26th February) and as part of National Student Money Week, we celebrate what we have achieved against this mission and look forward to some exciting projects that will do even more.  

Cost of living meals 

A number of initiatives are underway already – most notably the £3 meal deal on campus. Starting as a hot meal, served in our Rutherford Dining Hall with a choice of salad or vegetables, but moving on to include a grab-and-go deal in outlets across campus has proven to be extremely popular. We have now sold over 60,000 meals since November 2022.   

With such a diverse range of affordable food options, students at the University of Kent can easily access nutritious and delicious meals without breaking the bank. The £3 Cost of Living Meal scheme has been widely praised by students, who appreciate the university’s efforts to support them during challenging times. Recent graduate Kieran Webb said: “Now that I’ve graduated, one of the biggest things I’ve missed was a £3 cooked meal. I felt too proud to ask for help when it came to eating and my budget, so this helped make sure I was well fed at times when I was really struggling. Glad to see it’s still going and is clearly getting used plenty by current students.” 

In addition to this exciting meal deal expansion, the catering team have reduced hot food price on average by 20%. Through reducing food waste, collaborating closely with our primary food supplier, simplifying operations, and managing food expenses effectively, prices across campus have been significantly reduced. 

Giving Week generosity 

Alongside the £3 meal deal and reduced prices across our catering outlets, we kicked off our anniversary week with a special free breakfast for students on Monday 26th February. This event was funded by the generosity of staff, students and alumni at last year’s Giving Week, which raised £18,000 to provide meals for students facing hardship. Check out the event on our Instagram page.

Zaid Mahmood, Students’ Union President at Kent says: ‘Kent Giving Week 2023 raised money that would directly help in tackling food insecurity on campus. Being a Right to Food University, this is a critical mission for us as an institution because no student should go hungry and be disadvantaged in their university career. These giving week meals will ensure that the most disadvantaged and impacted students are supported during their time at The University of Kent and are set up to thrive in their academics. We want to thank every single person that donated to support this cause, the impact of this initiative will change the lives of so many students!’

As well as supporting over 350 students with a free hot breakfast, the money will help provide meals and other financial support for students who need it the most thanks to a collaborative approach between the university’s student support and wellbeing services and Kent Union.


Our student led gleaning project, ran in partnership with Produced in Kent, has also given students the chance to access free fresh produce. Our student volunteers go to local farms to pick surplus food and veg that would otherwise go to waste. As well as redistributing it to those in the wider local community who need it, the volunteers also get to take home some of the produce for themself.  

Find out more about the project and sign up to become a volunteer now.