Ulster University Social Work Students working to support the Churches Trust Pantry Project to tackle Food Poverty in the North West.

Now in its fourth year, the Stand Up for Social Work Society at Ulster University donated their contributions from their Christmas foodbank campaign to the Churches Trust at a Hamper Handover event in the Great Hall, Magee. Social work students at Ulster University are committed to supporting community engagement projects and building positive, sustainable relationships with local communities and charities.


Each year the fundraising commences in week six of the semester with five weeks to fundraise, purchase food, build hampers and donate to the Churches Trust to distribute to the people of the North West. Every year the success of the campaign centres on the generosity of all staff and students on the Magee campus with the Stand Up for Social Work Society students as the driving force. The Pantry project feeds over 2400 people a year with the ethos of community giving to community. Last year we had a phenomenal response from staff and students, and this year we had the highest amount of fundraising ever. In addition to over 150 hampers the students were able to provide a cash donation of £1400.00 to the Churches Trust. An outstanding effort for five weeks of intense fundraising through Crowdfunding, raffle tickets and the generous donations from businesses from across Northern Ireland.


Staff and students prepare for our guests to arrive.


Staff and social work students presenting cheque for £1400 to Churches Trust.

Food bank use in Northern Ireland has increased 13% in 2019 (Trussell Trust) with families feeling additional pressure during the school holidays when children are missing out on school meals. The impact of delays in Universal Credit continues to put unacceptable pressure on individuals and their families. Denise MacDermott (lecturer) commented ‘We are immensely proud of the contribution our students are making to families in the North West, but this should not be happening and is certainly not a long term solution to fighting austerity and poverty in Northern Ireland. We need our politicians to get back to talking to each other and creating a fair and inclusive society for our citizens.’

Fiona Fagan (CEO, The Churches Trust) – ‘ We are overwhelmed by the support we receive each year from the social work students at Ulster University. To achieve all this in five weeks is amazing. We don’t receive and funding from the Government and this donation today will have a massive impact on supporting local families.’


Hamper HQ – getting the hampers ready.


CEO Fiona Fagan addressing the crowd in the Great Hall, Magee.

The students would like to extend a huge thank you to Brittany McCormick (aka the singing nurse) who performed at the event and to everyone who donated raffle prizes to help our fundraising campaign including the Odyssey Trust, Tommy Hilfiger, McAtamneys butchers, Sam Conley fitness, Brunswick Superbowl, Amici Italian restaurant and ASDA.