The Great British Bake Off judge Dame Prue Leith has got behind Queen Margaret University’s (QMU) initiative to provide a hot meal and social activities for students struggling with the cost of living.

The scheme, Thank Goodness It’s Thursday (TGIT), is a weekly initiative to support students with escalating costs.

Run from the food court at the QMU campus in Musselburgh, TGIT gives people a hot meal, a two-day meal pack with a recipe card to cook at home, and an evening of social activities.

Lecturers and professional services staff dish up at least one soup, one hot main dish and hot drinks to attendees, giving them options for different dietary requirements.

Dame Prue, the university’s chancellor, has been so impressed by the initiative that she has been keen to support it and also made a donation to help pay for the food being dished up.

Dame Prue said: “Giving cash-strapped students good food and a good time is such a great initiative.

“QMU puts students at the heart of everything it does, and I am proud that the institution has created a socially engaging foodie event that helps contribute to our students’ overall sense of wellbeing during the cost-of-living crisis.

“What has been really inspiring is the team of staff volunteers who have emerged from all different areas of the university who are serving food, cleaning tables, sourcing food for the meal packs and creating activities to entertain students.

“It certainly helps to re-enforce the sense of kindness, community and belonging we cherish at QMU.”

Dr Kat Lord-Watson, senior lecturer in initial teacher education and organiser of TGIT, said: “TGIT has been very well-received and, although we’re sad it is needed, we are very happy that we’ve been able to help so many students.

“We have had some wonderful student feedback, with many of them telling us they look forward to Thursday night.

“We’ve also had lovely comments about how TGIT helps them feel connected to their fellow students, staff, and our wider campus community.”

Grace Allan is a first-year student at QMU and uses the TGIT initiative regularly.

She said: “We are really lucky that QMU has made this available for students because some universities are not doing anything like this.

“We’ve enjoyed the food, but we also like coming along to join in the social activities like the crafting, the quiz and the games night.

“There’s a great community feel at the event and it’s really nice to get away from studying.

“We love TGI Thursdays.

“It takes the pressure off and it’s something to look forward to.”