MIL-OSI New Zealand: Powering students this winter

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Source: University of Canterbury

30 June 2022

Isolating and recovering from Covid-19 at home is extremely difficult without heating and ventilation. University of Canterbury students isolating at home due to Covid-19 can keep warmer for longer, thanks to a new grant helping pay power bills during the winter months.

  • UC recently launched a Winter Warmth Fund, which provides financial support for students with Covid-19 or who are a household contact.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 – Good Health and Well-Being

The University has recently launched a Winter Warmth Fund, which provides extra financial support for students with Covid-19 or who are a household contact. The fund contributes to power bills for those living in private houses and who split the cost between their flatmates or family members.

Over the last five months a team of staff volunteers have been delivering essential provisions to students with Covid-19. Through these welfare calls they identified a need for extra support during the colder months. “We learnt that students were worried about bills and staying warm if they had to stay at home, it’s been a big concern” says George Haswell, Kaihapai Oranga | Health and Wellbeing Promoter at UC.

Eligible students are identified when they notify the University they need to isolate, and the grant depends on the number of students in the household. The UC Welfare team has been focusing on equity and ensuring those who need it the most are prioritised.

“We knew Covid-19 would have a long tail, and planned ahead to ensure students get the support they need, especially during exams and assignments”, says Haswell. “With the cost-of-living crisis, and lower quality of student housing, we wanted to be ready to support students in advance, so they can focus on getting well and back to their studies.”

The response from students has been overwhelmingly positive. “They often don’t know this type of support is available, but are very happy to find we can contribute towards their power bills,” he says. “It means a lot to the team of volunteers that we are able to support students in this way, especially at this difficult time of year.”

“We’re incredibly grateful to the University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA), and teams across the University for supporting this project and ensuring students can stay well over the colder months.”

The Winter Warmth Fund is available until the end of August to University of Canterbury students across the motu. 

Media contact:

  • Email: media@canterbury.ac.nz Ph: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168

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