Up to 20 students at University College Cork are availing of a food bank service on a weekly basis.

The UCC Students' Union founded the food bank in response to the financial hardships expressed by students due to rising rents and static levels of student grant aid.

Rents in Cork City increased by 7.1% last year alone and according to the most recent figures published; the average monthly rent paid by tenants renting in the city now stands at €1,177.

With a growing student population of over 20,000, many students attending University College Cork find themselves having to access private rental accommodation - with some forced to pay rents ranging from €200 to €300 per week.

Members of University College Cork say this is forcing students into poverty, and some are left unable to cover their living costs.

UCC SU are taking action - in the form of a food bank - which runs on a weekly basis.

Here students have access to food, donated by local charities.

UCC Welfare Officer Naoise Crowley says the freeze on SUSI grants since 2012 has also had an impact and that current grant levels do not reflect living costs.

This coupled with the rental crisis in Cork City, the Student Union says is driving some students into poverty.

The UCC SU food bank is attracting up to 20 students per week, but according to the Students’ Union that number is growing, week-on-week.