BOLTON’S hospitality industry may be shut as the town struggles to get a grip on its coronavirus infection rates ­­— but students arriving in the town will still be able to socialise over a restaurant quality meal for just £1 thanks to innovative take on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The University of Bolton is offering its students, living in student accommodation, a food service from Tuesday to Friday, where they can order a ‘hot, wholesome and healthy meal’ from the catering department, to be delivered to the doors of the university’s halls of residence.

And on Fridays, they can enjoy a take-out night with the university paying for meals from a selected restaurant to help the local economy.

The £1 per meal will be donated to Bolton Hospice.

Vice-Chancellor Prof George Holmes told The Bolton News: “We came up with idea as soon restrictions stopping people from eating inside a restaurant came in.

“Students who are coming to the university outside the borough would normally go out together for a meal.

“We thought about how we could help them socialise in their own bubble ­— their flat ­— whilst enjoying something different and something nutritious.

“We have restaurants at the university but they are closed, and are just providing takeaway simple snacks to comply with regulations We have three chefs on duty who would cook 1,200 lunches everyday.

“So it made sense to provide this, the labour is already paid for and students desperately want decent food without wanting to spend a lot of money.”

Meals will be delivered to the Orlando Village, the university hall of residence, by van with one flat at a time coming out to collect the food. Those not living in university halls can opt for a click and collect service.

This Friday, students can opt to have a traditional fish and chip supper from Olympus, and next week the providing the restaurant will be Rama Spice in Atherton.

Prof Holmes said: “The Student Union President thinks the idea is brilliant. It keeps them safe, keeps them nourished it is low cost for them, keeps them out of the town during this time.

“They will have meal which they can all sit round and eat together and socialise inside their bubble.

“We are fortunate that our halls flats are for six.”

The scheme will operate until additional restrictions imposed on the hospitality industry in Bolton are lifted.

It forms part of the university’s work to make the campus covid-secure for students. This week a marquee, providing good ventilation, was erected on campus for students, with individual tables two metres a part, so they would not have to keep going back to their accommodation during the day to eat.

Speaking about the measures to keep students and staff safe on campus, Prof Holmes said: “You walk around it and you will not find anything like it anywhere else.”