City of Newcastle improving food security for students

27 Oct 2023

At a time when the cost-of-living crisis in Australia is forcing some students to forgo basic necessities, City of Newcastle is providing funding to help alleviate the problem.

The University of Newcastle Students’ Association (UNSA) was selected to share in a pool of more than $600,000 from City of Newcastle's annual grants and sponsorships funding for a grocery hub, giving the food-insecure and vulnerable weekly access to non-perishable groceries and essential sanitary items.

More than 60 applicants were successful across 12 grants and sponsorship funding categories, including Community Support Grants, which will provide assistance for an employment clinic for newly arrived migrants, a community garden, a First Nations surfing program as well as theatre performances and concerts.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the funding supports initiatives that contribute to the social, cultural, environmental and economic life of the city.

"The grants and sponsorships program sustains our vision of making Newcastle a liveable, sustainable, inclusive, global city," Cr Clausen said.

"Local and visiting students make up an important part of our community and we want to make sure they have enough food on the table so they can focus on pursuing their higher education goals.

"City of Newcastle's funding program is open to anyone who's looking to make our city a better place."

University of Newcastle Students' Association President Georgie Cooper said City of Newcastle's grant has allowed them to expand their outreach efforts and cover a larger population in need.

"This funding is helping to mitigate the most severe impacts of the cost-of-living crisis for 3,000 vulnerable young residents in Newcastle, especially those living in the western corridor around the Callaghan campus," Ms Cooper said.

"A study by University of Newcastle researchers found that 48% of students are food insecure, and consequently experience poorer mental health and academic performance. UNSA surveys conducted in June this year revealed almost half of students accessing food relief programs have a weekly grocery budget of under $20.

"Our grocery hub ensures students can access up to five items for free each week. Thanks to City of Newcastle funding, we can supply diverse, healthy, nutritious, in-date and culturally appropriate food items, rather than relying on donations from individuals and rescued food of sub-optimal quality."

For more information about City of Newcastle's Grants and Sponsorships program visit