University Covid crisis: Muslim student stuck in self-isolation served ham sandwiches

Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt

First year students stuck in self-isolation in university halls in Edinburgh have been served out of date food as coronavirus outbreaks disrupt the start of term.

One Muslim student at Pollock Halls, a catered accommodation block at the University of Edinburgh, was repeatedly served ham sandwiches and bacon crisps - both non-Halal foods.

Others have complained of supplies being poor quality, food arriving late, and even some items having passed their use by date.

Earlier this week, the head of the National Union of Students warned young people were "trapped" in quarantine in at least 30 universities across the UK, living in "disgusting conditions".

Leila Peacock is one of the students stuck in Pollock Halls.

She is Muslim and can only eat Halal food but has twice been delivered ham sandwiches and bacon crisps, despite alerting catering staff to the issue.

She says she's paid around £8,200 to live in the catered accommodation but is being delivered cold food that she is unable to eat.

Ms Peacock likened it to something "you'd get on a school trip" and said the food "can't get you through the day".

A sample of the food delivered to students.

Students living in the block have set up a campaign group called 'Pollock Prisoners' in a bid to get the university to recognise their situation.

Group organiser Tess Bailey described the situation as "baffling" and "quite simply, dire".

"We're getting ourselves into a world of student debt to pay for this food [...] we're in catered accommodation and we're getting out of date bread rolls," she said.

Darcy Culverhouse, who helped launch the group, is worried other students are putting themselves at risk to bring friends in isolation, food from outside.

Students have complaint after receiving 'out of date' bread rolls 'for breakfast'.

In a statement, the University of Edinburgh said staff are "working hard" to support students stuck in isolation.

"University staff are working hard to provide care and support - including mental health support - for all students who are required to self-isolate by the Scottish Government.

"Catering staff will provide three meals a day for all students living in University-provided accommodation.

"These meals are available in vegan and gluten-free options to ensure that all dietary requirements are met."