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The university catering department are to hold a trial of next year’s catered accommodation. The trial, which will last a week, is expected to be a small operation in comparison to the final offering, providing a very restricted version of the service to a limited amount of people.
Tim Holmes, the university’s Food Operations Manager, told SCAN that the trial aims to “test the menus on offer, to allow people to sample the food and hopefully get feedback on what they think. We want to see if there is a big enough choice available.”
Around 25 people will be involved in testing the scheme, which involves “a selection of people involved with the catered accommodation scheme”, including principals of colleges as well as college officers and some LUSU officers. Next year’s pilot scheme will involve a significantly higher number of people, raising questions about the size of the trial, although it appears the trial is more about choice and quality than infrastructure and service.
Holmes was able to give SCAN further information about the food offering that will be available, confirming that students participating in the scheme will only be able to eat at County Diner and Barker House Farm. He added that “the idea was to have one location in the north of the campus and one location in the south. Places like The Venue are not suitable for this as they don’t have kitchen facilities.” It was also confirmed that the scheme will involve a set menu for each day, although the extent and the size of the menu still remains unclear.
Next year’s catered accommodation offering will be provided on a pilot basis in Cartmel, County and Lonsdale colleges. It is apparent now that the choice of colleges is related to the availability and proximity of the two catering locations.
Prices for the catered accommodation next year are expected to be in the region of £6.60 per day for just two meals each day: breakfast and dinner, with students expected to use existing self catering facilities for lunch. Based on this pricing, catered accommodation would add an extra £1405.80 on to the total accommodation cost for a year, which is rising by 1.9% next year.
Some students still feel negatively about the scheme. Ben Showell, a third year student from Lonsdale, said that “the menu will have to be varied, considering the lack of places to choose from to eat,” while Vaishali Vaghela, a first year student, said she is concerned that “some ethnic minorities might not be catered for by the scheme.” Rory Sands, of Pendle, added that “it is possible students might miss meal times, in particular breakfast – this might cause problems for some.”