One officer said that shortages tended to be blamed on JCRs rather than the SULucas Maddalena with permission for Varsity.

College Welfare Officers have told Varsity of delays and shortages in the Student Union’s (SU) provision of sexual health supplies.

Student Welfare Officers at two different Colleges have said that shortages have at times resulted in them having to buy supplies themselves for their college communities.

One Officer told Varsity that they have repeatedly spent their own money on pregnancy tests to supplement the SU’s supply.

According to its website, Cambridge SU distributes around 40,000 sexual health supplies to Cambridge students every year. The SU provides college JCRs with monthly packs of condoms, dental dams, female condoms, lube and pregnancy testing kits. Officers can collect up to two packages at a time.

Lizzie Davy, a JCR welfare officer at Queens’ College, told Varsity that there is not enough provision of SU sexual health supplies.

“When I went at the beginning of term, I was given 20 condoms of each type — 60 in total. These supplies would typically last 2-3 weeks in college,” she explained.

Davy also told Varsity that her College’s welfare team resorted to supplementing these supplies with their own budget.

“We have tried to spend our budget on condoms — but condoms are notoriously quite expensive, even in bulk, and the burden of paying falls on my colleague and I individually (we are reimbursed later) which is clearly unsustainable,” Davy said.

Davy described how she has at times “had had young women personally messaging me asking for pregnancy tests because the supply runs out too quickly.”

“I have (more than once) purchased my own pregnancy tests to keep for emergencies where students need them because the SU simply does not give us enough,” she continued.

Davy also discussed how shortages tend to be “blamed” on the JCR, saying: “Unfortunately students don’t realise how interdependent we are with the SU.”

“I don’t think fault lies with one individual in the SU — but what is clear is a need to reevaluate how their resources are being spent,” she added.

Varsity also spoke to another JCR welfare officer at a different college who wished to remain anonymous.

The officer explained how JCRs “can request up to 2 bags [from the SU] but they only ever give us 1 and sometimes they don’t have enough.”

“Last time, we had to wait a couple of weeks to get stuff and it was inconvenient as we needed it for Freshers’ so had to buy our own,” they added.

The officer concluded: “I acknowledge that the SU have a lot going on and do an amazing job but I wish that the service was slightly faster/easier sometimes because it can get in the way as a student who is also busy with lots of stuff.”

Cambridge SU told Varsity: “The Sexual Health Supplies scheme is one of the most important things we do for the student body, distributing around 40,000 sexual health supplies annually, as well as an example of our partnership work with J/MCRs. ”

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“Where the packages do not address the needs of the student community, we encourage J/MCR officers to liaise with us directly on how we can reevaluate and improve our provision,” the SU said.

“We are aware that there were shortages towards the end of last term due to a number of factors, including an increase in the costs of products and certain products not being available to purchase (this was due to a global shortage of those products),” the SU continued.

“This academic year, we have increased the number of products available in the packages to welfare officers, and students also still have the option to come to the SU and collect products individually.”