Free rent offer for NHS student heroes

As a thanks to medical students for their work on the COVID-19 front line

London, UK: A poll of 1,000 medical trainees across the UK has revealed that among the quarter (24%) who were called upon this year to take up an early placement, the average amount of extra hours worked for the NHS was six and a half hours per week. Cumulatively, they contributed an additional 99,225 hours per week to help fight the pandemic.

In recognition of these extraordinary efforts,, the world’s largest student accommodation marketplace and The Student Housing Company, a leading provider of student accommodation in the UK, announce that 20 student accommodation rooms across four cities (London, Birmingham, Lancaster and Plymouth) will be made available for free to medical students for the 2020/21 academic year. 

The initiative was launched as a way for the two companies – who help students find and provide student accommodation – to say thank you for the phenomenal work contributed by medical students on the COVID-19 frontline. Any medical student who will be studying in the academic year of 2020/21 on a university course in the UK can apply for a chance to live rent-free for the academic year. 

To enter the draw, medical students need to complete the form on: The application window closes at midnight on 31st August 2020, and the 20 rooms will be allocated at random from the medical students who have entered. 

To kick-start the initiative, a group of medical students were asked to share their experiences from the COVID-19 front line or to explain other impacts the pandemic had on their studies: 

Lazarie Wright, a final year student doctor, said,

Covid is a new disease and I – as a trainee doctor – was learning about it from scratch at the same pace as a consultant who’s been in the hospital for years.

Sara Sekhon, a student nurse, said

I’m really proud of my cohort. We were the cohort that got asked, 6 months before graduating, to put our “big boy boots on” and deal with extraordinary challenges.

Kirsten Panganiban, a student nurse, said

To be given free accommodation would really really help. On top of working for the NHS I also had to have a part time job to cover my bills.

The research also revealed significant concerns among medical trainees for the academic year ahead:

  • Over half (55%) of all medical trainees report that their summer finances have been negatively impacted by the pandemic
  • 64% are particularly worried about their finances, going into the next academic year
  • 70% are worried about the impact the pandemic has had on their studies
  • 68% are worried about working on placement in hospital next term

Dan Baker, General Manager, EMEA at, comments:

The hardwork and dedication of medical students has been evident throughout the fight against COVID-19. We regularly speak and hear from students about what matters to them, and one thing that comes up is the worry about financial pressures of university. This gesture is to say thanks for their work, and hopefully will set those who get a room up for a comfortable 2021/21 academic year to focus on their studies.

Richard Brenner – Operations Director, Europe for The Student Housing Company, adds:

We have all had it brought home to us just how important our NHS workers are, and how often they go above and beyond the call of duty. In this initiative, we hope to also show support for the NHS workers in training, who have either gone straight in at the deep end during the pandemic, or conversely feel their studies have stalled and they now face a struggle to get up to speed.

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