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As a prospective student, the thought of taking care of your own money for the duration of your degree can be seriously daunting.

A recent survey conducted by ‘Save The Student’ revealed that a whopping 8 out of 10 students worry about making ends meet, which in some cases has affected an individual’s ability to eat and study. The Northumbria Students’ Union (NSU) wanted to tackle this important issue, and arranged the Money Matters event to provide students with a helping hand for when money worries start to get the better of you. I went to check it out…

Expecting to enter the Students’ Union (SU) to a sea of exhibition stands, I was surprised when I opened the double doors and saw...nothing. Confused, I headed over to the NSU office, where I was informed that today’s action would take place outside. Before I could say anything further, a few trolley-loads of paper bags appeared by my side, and the entire Sabb Team rushed forward to unload its contents.

Articel _Money -Matters _In Page 350Plucking out a brown paper bag, Vice President and Head of Communications Tom Bromwich excitedly presented the Assessment Survival Pack. Recipes, food and drink products, stationary, a leaflet for a university helpline and some top tips for de-stressing. All of it, free to any student they met on the City Campus. This all sounded great, but I was struggling to see the connection between these handy packs and the financial strain affecting students.

Tom, the chief organiser of Money Matters, explained that since the NSU were unable to control the cost of living in the UK, they had looked for alternative ways to help students who were worried about money. One thing they particularly wanted was to assist students during assessment week, which can be a time of extreme anxiety for many people even without any added financial pressure. 

The NSU top tips for de-stressing would help students to manage any money worries they might have before they took over and affected them physically and emotionally. The provision of free food, drink and nutritious recipes would save students money on food shopping whilst ensuring that they were eating properly. And if a student found themselves in major panic mode at 1AM despite all of these precautions, the university helpline Nightline could offer them some additional support and advice.

Heading outside, armed with handfuls of the 2000 packs that had been made up, the Sabb team used their best ‘market-trader’ voices to spread the message about the freebies they had up for grabs. For a Wednesday lunch time, I was shocked to see so many students milling around, and the Assessment Survival Packs were flying out! The mere mention of a free chocolate milkshake had guys and girls swarming at Tom and his colleagues.

Everybody seemed chuffed to bits with their handouts, and it was great to see so many smiling faces at this stressful time of the year, so the packs were definitely doing their job in the short-term. It might not be much given the financial burden of being a student in 2016, but as one student said – “Every little helps!” 

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