We’ve seen time and time again how difficult the pandemic has been for students.

Across the UK, students have wasted over £1bn on empty accommodation, worrying about how to get out of housing contracts. Students have been pushing themselves harder than ever to complete degrees from environments unfit for study. Final years are struggling onwards only to face the bleakness of the current state of the graduate market.

You deserve better. Take action now!


Take action now

#1. View the campaign on social media #DurhamDemandsBetter

#2. Write to your MP

#3. Share the campaign on social media #DurhamDemandsBetter

Support and resources

#1.Advice on tuition fee complaints

#2.Covid 19 Recovery Fund - Durham University

#3.Student support: Contact your Student Support team by selecting your College from this list

#4.Counselling Service - self refer by emailing counsel.service@durham.ac.uk

We’re campaigning to achieve justice for students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In February 2020, we wrote to Michelle Donelan MP, Minister of State for Universities, asking her to take action on behalf of student renters, offering rebates or greater support to UK landlords and accommodation providers to allow them to support students financially. You can read the letter here: https://www.durhamsu.com/articles/update-from-ewan-open-letter-to-the-uk-government

Almost two months later, we received a response. It was not good enough. You can read Michelle Donelan’s letter here.

The UK government has not gone far enough to support students through the pandemic, and the impact upon your education, finances and mental health has been severe. We have identified five main areas where students have lost out due to the government’s mishandling of the pandemic:

Financial hardship
The government has pledged a mere £34.56 per student to hardship funding through Covid-19. (SOURCE: Michelle Donelan Housing letter). This is compared to an average of £1621 spent by each student on unused accommodation since the start of the pandemic. (SOURCE: UK university students wasted £1bn in a year on empty accommodation | Student housing | The Guardian)
Graduate job market
Michelle Donelan told us that the government are adding a ‘Skills Toolkit’ to the national careers website, so that students can get ‘work ready’. (SOURCE: Michelle Donelan letter to students, Durham University website). This puts the onus on students to find a job in a market that has been destroyed by the government’s mishandling of the pandemic. We know that it’s not your fault.
The government has done nothing more than encourage accommodation providers to exercise compassion towards students (SOURCE: Michelle Donelan Housing letter). We urge the government to take action to provide financial support for students who have lost out on money spent on housing that they couldn’t use.
Mental Health
The government continuously praises the resilience of students (SOURCE: Michelle Donelan letter to students, Durham University website), but has done nothing to offer further support to university and local authority services that are completely overwhelmed by the impact of the pandemic.
Support for postgraduate students
The government has stayed quiet on the effect of the pandemic on postgraduate students.

We have taken multiple steps to try and achieve justice for Durham students over the past twelve months. You can read about other initiatives, like the Student-Landlord Pledge, here.

But now, we need your help.

If you agree that the government’s support for students has not gone far enough, join us in adding your voice to this campaign. Write to your MP and share this campaign far and wide.

Durham demands better.