THE University of Bolton has spent more than a million pounds helping its students in the aftermath of the fire at the Cube.

Affected students were each given £500 in cash as well as free accommodation and food after the devastating incident in November.

Vice-chancellor George Holmes told The Bolton News that the university requested more cash than the banks had in its stocks.

He said: “Many of the students didn’t even have their own bank cards or their own credit cards. They were still in the building. Even their basic clothes, cosmetics and toothpastes were still in the building.

“We took the decision to help them in every way we could. So we set up a situation where they all had a bed for the night. They all had hot food provided. That went on for three weeks because some were staying in hotels for longer. We paid for that.

“When we went to the bank on Monday morning and asked for just over £100,000 in actual cash, which the banks didn’t have in stock, we had to get that money ordered and organised. So every student got £50 on the first afternoon and the other £450 when the banks got enough cash."

Assessments were suspended for the hundreds of affected students and around 50 new laptops were ordered for them.

The university also provided counselling support for the students.

Student union president Ansh Sachdeva said he could not have asked for support from the university.

He thanked Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham who met with affected students at the university today.

But he said some students are still recovering from the distress they experienced that night.

He said: “Every student has different problems and different issues, and everyone takes different time to recover but I’m glad to say that most of the students are doing well and they have recovered and everyone has a place to live and they feel more settled. They have been provided more support by the university for their education and everything has been in place.

“It was really distressing, it was really difficult to digest that something like this has happened in the place they live. Our priority was the mental health and the accommodation and food. And they were provided regular support with it. Every student has a place to live."

The government has refunded much of the money spent in the aftermath of the fire to the university.

Mr Holmes said the university is hoping to recover some of its spending from insurers.

He added: “It was a mammoth task which we took on willingly because they’re our students but we actually had no responsibility ultimately because they were in private landlords. But I feel morally and in terms of the right thing to do that we should act as we had done. But it did cost the university a fortune."