College JCRCs have been left without cash after an £800 a term grant was not available in the first two and a half terms of this year due to a “technical fault”.
The grant from Jane Grenville, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Students, was only permitted to be spent by the colleges on non-alcoholic events.
This had left many colleges having to divert money to accommodate this loss; whilst also trying to save enough for next year’s Freshers’ Week as the future availability of the grant was uncertain.
Many colleges had been left with limited funds and Matt Jenkins, Derwent JCRC Chair, described how, “we had to print in black and white rather than colour because we couldn’t afford it.”
Jenkins continued by saying that with the loss of the grant for most of the year, “we couldn’t even buy prizes for our bar quizzes.”
“We would have liked to have subsidised Club D events throughout the year but they have had to come out even – with some making a profit while others making a loss [because of the confusion around the grant].”
Grenville blamed a technical fault for the reason the grant had not come through.
“There was an admin error – I thought the money had been released earlier in the year and discovered that it had not through a conversation with a JCRC Chair.
She added that: “It was brought to my attention by a JCRC Chair during a college visit with the Vice-Chancellor earlier in the month that the money hadn’t been sent out. I quickly rectified the situation..”
Kallum Taylor, Vanbrugh JCRC Chair, commented that events such as a “beach trip to Scarborough” are being planned with the extra cash they now have available.
However, Vanbrugh College have fared better than some of the other colleges in coping with the lack of funds. This is due to the large amount of external funding they have been able to source and receive this year.
“We had to print in black and white rather than colour because we couldn’t afford it“
Derwent JCR Chair
Deals with the 659 Taxi company and the bar Monty’s have brought it additional revenue which they have been able to use to cope with the £2000 deficit over the last two and a half terms.
Taylor stated that Vanbrugh was the “first college to look at external funding sources.”
Vanbrugh received £1,500 from 659 Taxis this month, while also taking money from Monty’s through a range of advertising.
Damian Allinson, the Sponsorship representative on the Vanbrugh JCRC, commented that: “This is the way forward, when I first came to the committee it was only drinks deals, but I think the current situation is better.”
“There is so much potential and it is not all about finances, we do get a lot of benefits from Monty’s as well.”
Tim Ngwena, YUSU President, praised this new funding initiative: “I think its key for any college to adopt a broad range of funding sources to resource their activities. It only stands to make sure the events are sustainable in the near and distant future.”
Grenville has now promised that this year’s grant will be in place very soon and also in future years. This has left the College JCRCs with an unexpected surplus of cash to spend in the last half of this term and following into next year.
Taylor added that this was a “safety net” for them and emphasised that “for the first time in three or four years, Vanbrugh events are making money.”
Jenkins concluded by saying that: “We now have a freshers’ week that is not financially constrained and we are able to reimburse the JCR from throughout the year – something we weren’t sure about before.”
Ngwena added: “The University has to make sure that the colleges who don’t have this ability due to their size or available resources are given support either through financial support or cost savings which the University has access to.”