Why we have pledged support for students estranged from their family

julieaHi, my name is Julie and I’m an Outreach and Widening Participation Manager at the University of Sheffield. Why do I love my job?  I love the fact that I get to help young people achieve their dreams every day I come to work!

With my team, I run lots of outreach projects to help inspire and equip young people to consider university and to make a successful transition to study in Higher Education (HE for short!). The young people I work with come from families where parents have not previously studied in HE and they may live in areas where going to university is lower than the national average. All young people who are able to study in HE should have the choice to do so and our work helps to make that idea a reality.

One of my projects works to support young people who may have no family support to help them to achieve their ambitions. These are young people who (for many reasons) are estranged from their parents and family. You may be surprised to know that there are over 9000 young people who are estranged from their family currently living in the UK! For these young people, achieving their ambitions of going to university, or even considering it, become really difficult. Especially where daily challenges of finding a safe space and acquiring the many simple things we usually take for granted are so great.

This is why I’m delighted and really proud to have worked to pull together information from colleagues across the University of Sheffield about the fantastic support we provide to these young people. I recently submitted this evidence to the national charity Stand Alone as our University of Sheffield Pledge.

The Pledge was signed by Professor Wyn Morgan, the Vice-President for Education at the University of Sheffield, who said:

“We’re proud to pledge our support for an initiative which helps some of the most vulnerable students in higher education. We believe that people from all parts of society should be given the opportunity to fulfil their potential regardless of their backgrounds or personal circumstances, so we’re delighted to be part of this project which helps with that.”

The Pledge is our commitment to provide ongoing support, such as additional finance support, support with accommodation and support for application, transition and student wellbeing. This support really does make a difference to help young people who really deserve a break to achieve their dreams of studying for a degree with us!

You can find out more about the Pledge by visiting the Stand Alone website on the following link. And then you’ll understand why I love my job!


The Stand Alone Pledge website

The University of Sheffield support for estranged students website

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