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Instant Access Hardship Fund 

For those in need of immediate financial assistance

The Instant Access Hardship Fund is available for students in need of immediate financial assistance during the Cost of Living crisis.  

It doesn’t matter which College you belong to, and this funding is available in addition to the University’s existing Student Support Fund. 

What is the Instant Access Hardship Fund for?

The Fund is there to ensure that you are able to buy essentials – particularly food – until further support can be considered by the Student Funding Service, or while you are awaiting funds from another source.  

Support for other essentials, such as travel to/from campus or a placement, or to pay for a prescription, can also be considered. 

Who is eligible for the Instant Access Hardship Fund?

Any Durham University undergraduate or postgraduate student is eligible, including students who have suspended their studies. Those who have not yet been able to complete the registration process and are therefore unable to access their maintenance loan can also apply. 

How do I apply?

  1. Speak to the Student Support contact at your College.
  2. Show that you have insufficient funds to purchase essentials (this could be shown via a mobile banking app or cash machine mini statement).
  3. Sign a declaration that you are in financial need.
  4. The College staff member will use their discretion to provide an appropriate amount of cash and/or vouchers.
  5. You will need to confirm receipt of the award and that you agree to your details being passed to Student Funding Service and the Student Money Adviser. 

Why do my details need to be passed onto the Student Money Adviser?

The Student Money Adviser is there to help. The current circumstances may make managing your money more difficult, so we strongly encourage discussion with our money expert about your financial situation and the help available to you.  

How much money will I receive?

The following options will be considered by the Student Support contact at your College:  

  • a voucher for Tesco to the value of £25   
  • and/or campus catering vouchers (number to be decided by the College) to the value of £6.25 
  • and/or up to £50 cash. 

Cash can be given at the College’s discretion to assist with the following non-food essentials:  

  • travel to/from campus 
  • gas/electric (if ‘pay as you go’/top-up meter) 
  • prescriptions.  

When and where can I spend campus catering vouchers?

If you are a member of St Chad’s or St John’s, please ask staff about their alternatives to catering vouchers.  

Members of catered Colleges can exchange a voucher for a servery meal at their own College. Those belonging to self-catered Colleges can use their voucher at one of the catered Colleges, or for any product within one of the following retail cafés that serve hot food: 

  • Circolo Restaurant (Palatine Centre) 
  • Cafe & Clubroom @ Maiden Castle 
  • Zing Kitchen (Teaching & Learning Centre) 
  • Fusion Restaurant (Durham University Business School). 

Please note that no change will be provided if the transaction amount is less than £6.25. 

Opening times for retail cafés can be found via the website. 

College mealtimes are generally: 

  • breakfast 8am-10am 
  • lunch 11.45am-2pm  
  • dinner 5.30pm-7.30pm  

Please also note that mealtimes do vary between Colleges, are often slightly earlier at weekends, and are impacted by events such as formal dinners.

How many times can I ask for help?

The Fund is intended as a short-term solution and should not be relied upon for long-term support.  

However, depending on the outcome of your conversation with the Student Money Adviser, you may be able to seek further support after your initial application. In this case, the Student Money Adviser will contact the College to make the request. 

Will you keep a record of my application?

Colleges will maintain a spreadsheet of awards which will be shared with Student Money Adviser and the Student Funding Service. This is to keep a record of spending and also so that further support can be offered where needed.