Moving into higher education can be daunting. Beth Taswell, Access and Support Officer at KU Cares explains what support is on offer to Young Carers at Kingston University and why students should not be deterred from applying to university.

KU Cares is a programme of targeted support for young adult carers, alongside other undergraduate student groups who may be facing additional challenges outside of their studies. In 2015, we formally established support for this group of students on the scheme as we recognised that a young person with an unpaid caring role for a family member is likely to face additional challenges in accessing and succeeding in Higher Education.

My role as the designated member of staff for young adult carers at Kingston University is to support students from the point of application, all the way through to graduation. I can provide tailored advice and guidance, advocate on a student’s behalf, and ensure that they are accessing all the support that they are entitled to (such as disability, dyslexia, mental health/wellbeing etc.). I can be that point of contact when things feel a bit scary and overwhelming, particularly when they first start at Kingston and are adjusting to a brand new learning environment.

In addition to the pastoral support, we offer a practical package including a £500 young adult carer bursary for every year of study, priority for the Kingston Bursary (additional eligibility criteria apply), and access to Money Advisors to support students with financial difficulties. We also offer the opportunity for flexible stays in university accommodation, particularly for students who are commuting.

Students on KU Cares have priority access to a range of additional opportunities throughout their degree course which can help develop their CVs and enhance their employability:

  • The Head Start programme, which helps students settle in before they arrive
  • Opportunities to become a Student Ambassador
  • KU Cares paid work placements
  • Social and celebratory events

At the end of their studies, we celebrate the student’s achievements with a meal and also cover the costs of their graduation ceremony.

For more information about KU Cares, please see our website or email [email protected]

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