Cost of living - managing your finances while attending college

With the cost of living increasing, many are looking to be more careful with their money.   

What financial support is available at college?

There’s a range of financial support and bursaries available at City of Oxford College for eligible students.   

These bursaries allow students with financial barriers to access everything they need to attend college and thrive on their course. They may be used to pay for essential travel, meal credits, books, equipment or childcare.   

They are discretionary and the amount received will depend on individual circumstance and financial need.   

We also have financial bursaries for 19+ students still available.   

Travel support – getting to and from college

If the cost of travel is affecting your ability to get to college, we may be able to help!  

If you live three miles or more from the nearest Activate Learning campus offering your course, you may be eligible.   

You may be able to use your travel bursary for travel passes or travel expenses. Please refer to financial support and bursaries for more information regarding travel bursaries.  

Eating at college and local food banks in Oxford

We've put together a list of food support at college and locally in Oxford. 

Eating at college

Breakfast Club,  8.15 to 9am only

In support of our students and ensuring they start the day with something in their stomachs, we have put together an offer which is free to select at any of our Recharge main outlets. The strict bit: This is to be used only once per day, Students must select one option, Student lanyards must be worn and the options are not transferable for other items.

Just say “Breakfast club offer” when asking for your selected option.

Breakfast Club – choice of each option

Option 1

  • Standard Cup of Tea or Americano Coffee – Bottle Water
  • 2 Slices Toast (Spread/Jam)

Option 2

  • Standard Cup of Tea or Americano Coffee – Bottle Water
  • Cornflakes/Rice Krispies – with Milk ( Dairy/Soya available)

You may be eligible for free meals (breakfast or lunch) at college.   

Please refer to financial support and bursaries for more information regarding meal credits.   

Oxford Food Hub at City of Oxford College

At City of Oxford College, we have the Oxford Food Hub available each Tuesday. We work alongside our community partner, Oxford Food Bank, to provide surplus food to students and staff.   

It is discreetly located in the entrance to Fray, and everyone is welcome to take what they need. You can expect fresh produce and baked goods.   

Local larders and food banks in Oxfordshire

In Oxfordshire, there are community fridges and larders, food banks and support groups located across the city.   

Many provide free or low-cost food in Oxford. Please look at the following map for locations of all food services in Oxfordshire.  

Community fridges in Oxford

Community fridges are open to all and aim to reduce food waste. They collect surplus food and offer it free to those who want it.   

Community fridges in Oxford include:  

  • South Oxford Community Centre (OX1 4RP) - Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 12–2pm   
  • St Barnabas Church (OX2 6BG) - Every day, 9am –6pm   
  • St Peter and St Pauls Church (OX2 9JY) - Every day, Monday to Saturday, 10am–4pm and Sunday, 11am–2pm   
  • Marston Giving Garage (OX3 0PR) - Wednesday, 10.30am–12.30pm, and Saturday, 11am–1pm  
  • Christian Life Centre (OX4 2AF) - Wednesday, 3–6pm   
  • Blackbird Leys Community Centre (OX4 6HW) - Thursday, 10am–2pm  

Community larders in Oxford

Community larders are low-cost food clubs, open to all. They aim to reduce food waste.  

Members pay £3.50 or £7 each week to receive 10 or 20 cupboard items and usually receive free fruit and vegetables additionally.   

These items can vary each week, but costs remain the same. Please check the local larders website or Facebook page before visiting as opening times can vary.  

Community larders in Oxford include:  

  • West Oxford Community Centre (OX2 0BT) - Friday, 4–7pm   
  • Cutteslowe Community Centre (OX2 7SX) - Wednesday, 2–4pm   
  • St. Peter & St. Paul Church Hall (OX2 9JY) - Thursday, 3.30–5.30pm   
  • Barton Neighbourhood Centre (OX3 9LS) - Tuesday, 2–7pm  
  • St Clement's Family Centre (OX4 1DA) - Monday, 2.30–5pm   
  • Rose Hill Community Centre (OX4 4HF) - Tuesday, 2– 4pm   
  • Blackbird Leys Community Centre (OX4 6HW - Wednesday, 3–5pm  

Community food support groups in Oxford

There are many support groups in Oxford that help with food poverty. They can offer emergency food parcels and other support and useful information.   

Most services you can self-refer and there are also grants you can apply for via Oxford County Council.   

Support groups include:  

  • Feeding the Gaps  
  • Oxford County Council   

Please look at the following map for locations of all food services in Oxfordshire.  

Other support in Oxford: 

The Gatehouse at St Giles 

The Gatehouse at St Giles offers a welcoming environment for homeless or poorly housed people. It gives access to free Wi-Fi, support and signposting to relevant agencies, as well as having food and drink available. There is a clothing bank once a week. 

Available to anyone over the age of 25, The Gatehouse is open Monday to Saturday for drop-in sessions from 5–6pm. 

Located at St Giles Parish rooms, 10 Woodstock Road. They can be contacted on 01865 792999  or online via The Gatehouse at St Giles website. 

Agnes Smith Advice Centre 

The Agnes Smith Advice Centre offers free confidential advice on financial, welfare and benefit concerns. 

Drop-in sessions run on Monday and Thursday from 10am–12pm. 

Located at 96 Blackbird Leys Road, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, OX4 6HS. They can be contacted on 01865 770206 or via the Agnes Smith website. 

Refugee Resource 

Refugee Resource provides social and practical support to refugees and Asylum seekers. 

Drop-in sessions run on Tuesday and Thursday from 11am–3pm. 

Located at The Old Music Hall, 106-108 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1JE. They can be contacted on 01865 403280 or via the Refugee Resource website. 

Sourcing sustainable fashion

Looking for sustainable fashion that’s eco-conscious and budget friendly? Check out:   

  • Vinted  
  • eBay  
  • Depop   
  • Facebook Marketplace   
  • Charity shops  

Are you concerned about money?

If you are concerned about the cost of living and could benefit from support, please contact Student Support.    

We’re here to support your studies and make sure you have everything you need to attend and thrive at college.