The Mancunion

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Outraged students compensated with vouchers

Students have criticised Sanctuary Students, whom they pay £145 a week to in rent


Students are outraged after being offered £20 retail vouchers as compensation for disruption to their water supplies for a period lasting over 10 days.

Residents at Denmark Road Sanctuary Students accommodation first experienced water outages on Monday the 5th of February, leaving them with any water for cooking, cleaning, or washing, before being provided with bottled water and subsequently water from a tanker lorry.

Frustrated students were still experiencing problems by Friday the 16th of February, when water supplies were interrupted again without any prior warning.

Sam McMillan, Director of Sanctuary Students, initially said that “residents at the Denmark Road scheme will be receiving a compensation payment” but residents received an e-mail on Friday the 23rd of February stating that they would be receiving the compensation in the form of a £20 voucher which could be spent at various retailers.

The decision has sparked anger amongst students who have criticised Sanctuary Students for the method of compensation and for their general communications with residents before, during and after the water outages.

Tess Angus, a Denmark Road resident, said: “I’m outraged. I don’t want to redeem a voucher for my ‘co-operation during this period of disruption’. We’re not children that behaved well and deserve a reward. We’re adult paying customers who are entitled to compensation for the loss of service and stress it caused.”

Matt Edwards,a Politics and Sociology resident who lives at Denmark Road, added: “I think it’s a joke to provide shopping vouchers in place of a refund. To give us a voucher for “co-operation” is laughable when we were kept in the dark by Sanctuary Students. This really just adds insult to injury.

“A £20 voucher costs them less than £20 to buy in bulk. £20 is less than a days rent, and they’re giving it to us as a thanks for cooperating. We didn’t have water for days, there was inadequate communication and their handing of it was dire. We deserve more than some £20 gift card.

“We are adults in a contract with them. We are paying a fee to them. They shouldn’t be treating us like children and rewarding us for good behaviour. It’s disrespectful, patronising and does nothing to redress any of our grievances.”

Adam Rogers, a first-year Pharmacy student at Denmark Road, added: “If I’m being honest, a £20 voucher doesn’t really cut it. We were without water for a week.

“I wonder if we would get the same treatment if we weren’t students?”

Residents at Denmark Road, hosting University of Manchester students but is run and managed Sanctuary Students, pay £145 per week for a single en-suite room.

Initially, there was confusion over whether or not the problem lied with the accommodation management or the water provider but Sanctuary Students offered to provide students with compensation.

Sam McMillan, Director – Sanctuary Students, said: “To support residents during the disruption, we paid for a rolling programme of water tankers to refill the water system manually, provided pizzas for each student, issued bottled water and offered alternative washing facilities. We also ensured extra staff were available 24 hours a day and provided regular direct updates as the work took place.

“Having liaised with the University, and taken into account the level of support offered, as a thank you for their co-operation during the disruption we are giving each resident a £20 voucher in lieu of the short-term loss of service.”