string(6) "durham"

St Aidan’s livers-in are being fed reheated food and living with mould

They have detailed what they have called ‘poor quality’ food and accommodation in an open letter to the university


Livers-in at St Aidan’s college are currently being fed reheated food from Hild Bede, as their kitchen is temporarily not in use due to building works on college grounds.

The university is currently building its Central Production Kitchen on St Aidan’s grounds to cater for formals at self-catered colleges further up the hill, and St Aidan’s students argue they have been hit hard, saying they “will see no benefits to the sacrifices being made”.

As a result of building work essentially rendering St Aidan’s own kitchen out of order, St Aidan’s students, Liv Eren and Fern Kennard, have penned an open letter to the University Executive Committee (UEC), encouraging other Aidan’s students living both in and out of college to sign.

This letter calls out what Aidan’s students feel was poor quality food this term, cooked in the College of St Hild and Bede, and then driven across Durham to be reheated at the college.

St Aidan’s students say they are being “sidelined for the promotion of other colleges, devaluing our community and making students feel isolated and invaluable” according to the open letter to the university.

Not only do students say only the food being reheated has a detrimental effect on the quality of the food, the students are also reporting mould, plastic and even hair on and in the food they are being served. Students detailed seeing mould on the bread rolls on 15th January, 2023.

The aforementioned mouldy bread roll

The serious nature of this “poor quality” food is emphasised by the reports of students becoming ill after consuming the food, meaning they may be forced to miss seminars and lectures vital to their degrees due to illness. It is also proving difficult and concerning for those struggling with disordered eating, as smaller portions or absence at mealtimes may now be overlooked where it may have previously raised concerns, as a number of students say they are now skipping meals due to the quality.

The open letter also highlights “rising divisions” seen within the college by students, as there are clear divides appearing between those who can afford to order takeaway food or buy food to cook in corridor kitchens, and those forced to eat the food provided. Students say they should not be having to source food from elsewhere, as three meals a day are included in their rent at a cost of £2500.

Hair in the pasta

The open letter also highlights “rising divisions” seen within the college by students, as there are clear divides appearing between those who can afford to order takeaway food or buy food to cook in corridor kitchens, and those forced to eat the food provided. Students say they should not be having to source food from elsewhere, as three meals a day are included in their rent at a cost of £2500.

Hair in the pasta

“Becoming more and more unbearable, there’s heating issues all through the college, not just the houses, there’s mould it’s generally deteriorating, but this combined with the kitchen and the lack of decent quality food we’re getting, just further highlights and instigates a general negative feeling amongst students”.

The demands from the students include:
1. £1000 compensation for Livers In, for the poor quality of food this term.

2. A set deadline for a return of a working St Aidan’s own working kitchen, and further compensation from the University if this deadline is not met.

3. A timeline from the University for improvements to the college’s own accommodation.

4. A representative of the UEC to explain to the St Aidan’s JCR in person why St Aidan’s has been treated this way.

The university has been contacted for comment. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Rushford Court to become Durham’s eighteenth college ‘in the longer term’

• Another Charity Fashion show? Explained by the Cuth’s Charity Fashion Show Team

• Dry January really isn’t as bad as you think, listen here to what Durham students have to say