UNIVERSITY students are spending their summer helping businesses and organisations affected by coronavirus.

The University Higher Education Innovation Fund and Santander Universities UK are funding 30 intern positions to support firms trying to bounce back from the impact of Covid-19, as well as frontline services helping those most in need.

University of Sussex students have been taking up their roles since July 8 and will be aiding local companies for about two months.

There are roles at the substance misuse service Oasis Project as they deal with unprecedented numbers of new referrals, domestic violence charity Rise and the charity FareShare Sussex, which gives food to vulnerable people and is having to supply three times more under coronavirus.

The roles are a mixture of working from home and on site and are paid at least living wage.

The university team received 450 applications for the advertised roles, and students were keen to help the economy and build-up their CVs.

Emily Hicks, a University of Sussex anthropology graduate, is doing a summer internship at FareShare Sussex. She said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity and I’ve met so many amazing people already. My role is really varied which is nice because I get a well-rounded idea of how everything works and I’m learning so much.

“It feels great to be part of such an important organisation, especially in the wake of the pandemic that has plunged so many more people into food poverty. FareShare’s work is more vital than ever right now, and getting the opportunity to work within such an environmentally and socially sustainable organisation during this time is really brilliant.”

Beth Parry of FareShare Sussex said she was “thrilled” to have benefited from the internship scheme.

“To be able to provide paid work opportunities to new graduates is very rewarding to us and is in line with our mission to support people into work,” she said.

“The programme couldn’t have come at a better time. The organisation has had to make huge adjustments to cope with the additional demand at a time when many of our volunteers had to go into isolation and we are also having to adjust our long-term strategies to account for a more uncertain future.

“This work is all vital to our continued success and we are extremely grateful to the university and their partners for making these internships possible.”

Andrea Wall from the University of Sussex careers centre said: “As well as being an excellent opportunity for local businesses to recruit a new hard-working and enthusiastic member to their teams to help them bounce back from the pandemic disruption, this programme will give our students a paid virtual internship at a time when they may otherwise struggle to find summer work experience and employment opportunities in the current economic climate.”

Employers interested in recruiting interns can find out more on the University of Sussex website.