Univer­sity of­fer­ing rent-free cam­pus space to food firms

Ed­u­ca­tion: De­ci­sion sparked by suc­cess of Jamie Oliver deli

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY DANIEL BOAL

Robert Gor­don Univer­sity has launched a search for north-east food en­trepreneur­s who could fol­low in the foot­steps of Jamie Oliver by set­ting up shop on cam­pus.

The univer­sity is seek­ing lo­cal traders who may want to boost their busi­ness at its Garthdee cam­pus, and is of­fer­ing the use of sev­eral out­lets to com­pa­nies rent­free.

The move comes as part of a plan to of­fer more di­verse food choices to stu­dents and staff.

In Jan­uary, the Garthdee in­sti­tu­tion be­came the world’s first univer­sity to host a branch of Jamie Oliver’s Deli on cam­pus, serv­ing up break­fasts and lunch to hun­gry stu­dents.

And fol­low­ing pos­i­tive feed­back about the in­crease in di­etary op­tions avail­able, the univer­sity is appealing to other com­pa­nies who might want to set up shop.

Bill Somerville, di­rec­tor of es­tates and prop­erty ser­vices, said: “We have made the de­ci­sion to tar­get small and lo­cal busi­nesses to see if there would be any in­ter­est in run­ning a con­ces­sion out­let.

“We have sev­eral out­lets we are pre­pared to of­fer on a rent-free ba­sis, giv­ing ac­cess to the rel­a­tively cap­tive mar­ket of 1,500 staff and 10,000 stu­dents.”

The move has been backed by RGU’s stu­dent union, whose pres­i­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and democ­racy, Ur­sula Ojiji, said: “I think this is a wel­come de­vel­op­ment, which puts the needs of stu­dents for­ward and con­trib­utes to the pro­mo­tion of lo­cal busi­nesses on cam­pus.”

Univer­sity bosses say the project also sup­ports the aims of the Sus­tain­able Food City Part­ner­ship Aberdeen, which is a global ini­tia­tive that tack­les is­sues in­clud­ing poverty, obe­sity and diet-re­lated ill health.

A spokes­woman said: “The univer­sity is com­mit­ted to pro­duc­ing sus­tain­able, lo­cal and re­spon­si­bly sourced food, as well as re­duc­ing waste and the eco­log­i­cal foot­print of the food sys­tem.”

“We have sev­eral out­lets we are pre­pared to of­fer rent-free”

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