Bank offers free puppy sessions in branch to soothe stressed students

Pup into ‘Bark-lays’: Bank offers free puppy sessions in branch to soothe stressed students

13 November 2019
  • Students find first term of university the most financially stressful
  • Almost two thirds (64 per cent) run out of money by the term’s mid-way point
  • Nearly half of students (44 per cent) aren’t sure where to turn to get help with managing their money
  • Barclays is trialling puppy sessions in branch to help soothe stressed students, as well as streaming it on Barclays YouTube channel 

New research from Barclays has revealed that money worries are negatively impacting students’ anxiety levels (61 per cent), mental health (55 per cent), sleep (52 per cent) and even relationships (34 per cent) as a huge 83 per cent admit that they worry about running out of money during their first term.

In fact, more than two in five students (41 per cent) revealed they find managing money one of the most stressful parts of their whole university experience and worryingly, 44 per cent of students said they don’t know where to go for guidance when they have worries about their money, potentially adding to their stress. 

However, help is at hand as Barclays has today announced that it will be holding a trial of a new service offering students the chance to attend free puppy sessions in branch. During the sessions, students will be able to cuddle and play with a litter of puppies, which studies have shown can be instrumental in reducing stress levels1. At the same time, they can receive practical guidance on how to budget effectively for student life, or overcome any of their money worries with one of the Barclays Money Mentors2  team, a specially trained group of money experts dedicated to helping people across the country take control of their money.

The service is being trialled in the Barclays branch at St Ann’s Square in Manchester, with sessions available between 12pm and 3pm on Thursday 21st November. However, students (and dog fans everywhere) who aren’t able to attend the session can still de-stress as the puppies will also be live streamed on Barclays YouTube channel.

The sessions are being trialled after research from the bank revealed that despite three quarters (76 per cent) of students beginning with the best of intentions and setting themselves a budget while at uni, two fifths (39 per cent) completely run out of money during their first term. Of those, well over half (64 per cent) had emptied their bank account by the term’s mid-way point and 10 per cent had even splashed all their cash after Freshers’ Week, with the whole term still ahead of them.

The vast majority (94 per cent) of students admitted they needed to supplement their student loan during their studies, with part-time term-time work being the most popular solution (41 per cent) followed by borrowing from parents (35 per cent).

It has also been revealed that as well as leaning on the bank of Mum and Dad to tide them over, over half (52 per cent) of students also rely on their parents and family back home for much-needed financial advice.

Pip Landers-Letts, Head of Youth, Student & Graduate Propositions at Barclays said:

“Moving away from home to attend university is a hugely exciting time but too many young people are having their experience affected by money worries. Our research found that nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of students admit they thought it would be easier to manage their money at university than it is so we want to make sure that when they need help, there’s a clear place to turn – and that is why we’ve introduced both our Money Mentors service and our new trial of the puppy sessions. We hope the service will help reduce students’ stress levels and encourage them to open up to us about any money concerns they might have, within a safe – and fluffy – space.”

Students in Manchester can visit Barclays, 17 St Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7PW on Thursday 21st November 2019 between 12pm and 3pm. Spaces in the sessions will be limited for the safety of puppies and humans alike, and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Those wanting to tune in remotely can head to the Barclays YouTube channel on Thursday 21st November 2019, where one hour of puppy play will be streamed live from 11am-12pm and looped thereafter for anyone seeking to de-stress.

Pip Landers-Letts, Barclays’ Head of Youth, Student & Graduate Propositions offers some top tips to students to help them stay in control of their spending:

  1. Try not to get caught up in the hype of maintenance loan pay day at the start of term and go on an expensive spending spree. If the temptation is too much, or if you struggle with sticking to a budget, transfer the money into an easy-access savings account and ‘pay’ yourself an allowance every week/month.
  2. You may have laughed at your friend’s 3kg bag of pasta in Fresher’s week, but bulk buying of ingredients is often cheaper than buying food in smaller volumes. Batch cooking will also save you time in the long run, and remember that these meals don’t have to bland and boring – social media has plenty of cheap and healthy meal inspo!
  3. Need a fancy dress outfit for a party? Before you go and buy a new costume (and probably never wear it again) ask your friends if they have anything you can borrow. Consider also making your own outfit – ask local supermarkets, restaurants and shops for any of their used cardboard boxes, and let your creativity run wild.
  4. Dreading yet another expensive takeaway night? Host a dinner party with a twist where everyone has to bring along food from the ‘reduced’ section of the supermarket – you can get some great bargains, safe in the knowledge you’re stopping unnecessary food waste too!
  5. The journey home at the end of term may seem a way off, but booking your travel tickets in advance can save you money. It also won’t leave you scrambling around for cash at the end of term, when prices are typically higher, worrying that you won’t be able to get yourself home. Consider also registering for travel alerts with travel operators, who will notify you when the cheapest tickets go on sale.
  6. Want to budget like a pro, but spreadsheets aren’t your cup of tea? You can sign up to Pingit for free and use the app to set up 5 jars to help you split your budget your money into smaller pots. Not only can this help you keep track of your spending as you just need to switch your card to the jar you want to spend from before you hit the checkout, it’s a straightforward way to make sure your party budget doesn’t eat into other areas like food or trains home. You can also prevent that long list of IOUs by requesting and sending payments through Pingit – so no more chasing your housemates for their share of the milk, bills and loo roll!