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Kingston University launches coat drive initiative to support students through winter months

Posted Friday 25 November 2022

Kingston University launches coat drive initiative to support students through winter months The Kingston Hill coat drive was organised by Maria Brent (pictured left), senior lecturer in social work

As the temperatures start to dip, staff at Kingston University have been coming together to help students get ready for winter by donating warm clothing for a series of coat drives being held across its campuses.

The initiative, which is part of the University's commitment to giving students a helping hand during the ongoing national cost of living crisis, has seen staff gift coats and other cosy clothing which has then been made available for students to choose and collect for free.

More than 250 warm items donated by staff, including coats, jumpers, scarves, hats and gloves, were snapped up by students who attended the University's latest coat drive at Kingston Hill this week. It follows on from a similarly popular event held at the University's Knights Park campus last month.

Senior lecturer in social work Maria Brent, who organised the Kingston Hill coat drive, said it was an example of the way the university community could come together to help ease some of the challenges students might be facing as a result of the rising cost of living. "Many of our students studying nursing and social work tend to be mature students who may have children and other caring responsibilities and are trying to manage increases in mortgages, rent and other household bills," she explained.

"We were keen to do something to help bring them a little extra warmth during winter and take away the expense of something they might have otherwise needed to buy."

Staff across the University were quick to get behind the initiative, delving into their wardrobes and donating bags full of items. Social work and nursing lecturers also contributed an assortment of books related to students' course work.

"The enthusiasm we have seen from academics and teaching staff to reception and facilities colleagues all keen to get behind the initiative has been exceptional," Mrs Brent said. "It's been wonderful to see the University community come together to do what it can to support students and fits nicely with the festive spirit of sharing and giving."

Children's nursing students Jenny Seager and Grace Keartland-Hough were among the students who turned up to sift through the clothing and make the most of the generous gesture. "It's nice to see Kingston University helping students with the cost of living crisis in this way," Jenny said. "It's a really supportive initiative and is definitely appreciated at this time," Grace added.

Associate Professor Dr Hilda Mulrooney, who played a key role in getting the first coat drive up and running, alongside Dean of Kingston School of Art Mandy Ure, said the success of the two events is testament to the efforts made by staff. "'We all recognise the challenges of the cost of living crisis for our students and we want to support them however we can," she said. "It's great to see that following the first event at Knights Park, staff are chipping in to run additional successful events. All of these events have been a real team effort and we really hope they help."

Items remaining after the Kingston Hill campus coat drive are being donated to Alzheimer's charities.

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