Bangor University chose national Carers’ Rights Day (21 November) to launch the only Student Carer Policy at any Welsh University and highlight their support for students who are also carers.
Young carers and others will be speaking about their experiences and the support which is available to them at a Carers’ Rights event at the University, in partnership with Action for Children, Carers’ Outreach Service and Gwynedd County Council.
Recognising the challenges for young carers, the majority of whom are not in full time education or employment, the University has several strategies in place to support and raise aspirations of this group.
Delyth Murphy, Head of the University’s Widening Access Centre said:
“As a University, we have been extending the support available to students who are carers over the last four years. Having a Policy highlights to students what is available and also signposts our staff to best practice.
“Young carers are four times more likely to withdraw from their higher education course than other students. We realise that juggling the competing demands of studying and caring can be challenging, that’s why the Policy aims to smooth administration and support, to make things as flexible as possible for these students.”
The University offers £1,000 bursaries to students who also have a caring role beyond that of bringing up children, recognising that they may have extra expenses. It is also the only institution hosting an annual residential course for carers aged between 16-25 with the aim of raising aspirations and providing a taste of University life.
Prof Iwan Davies, the University’s Vice Chancellor commented:
“The University places great emphasis on student care, and we also want to encourage under-represented groups to consider studying for a higher education qualification. I’m delighted to see that we are working to support carers in this way.”
Kaydee Owen comes originally from Gloucestershire and is in the 3rd year of her PhD, having studied earlier Psychology degrees at Bangor. She said:
“Going to university can be a daunting experience for anybody, but as a carer who moved away from home to study, I definitely faced some additional challenges. I think the work that Widening Access are doing to help build a network of carers is a hugely positive step. The centre is very good at disseminating information about local services that can support carers within our age bracket. Receiving this contact and support at the beginning of the semester helps students to integrate a level of support into their university life. Widening Access also offers plenty of opportunities for carers to meet up with one another at the university. Sometimes it is just really reassuring to know that other people are feeling the same anxieties that you are and that those feelings are completely ‘normal’ and ok.”
Third year Psychology student Jan Lloyd-Nicholson from Criccieth also commented:
“It is extremely hard juggling university life and studies with caring duties and roles. The bursary has helped my family and myself immensely while I study at Bangor University. It’s an extra bonus which is much appreciated.”
Kate Cubbage, of the Carer’s Trust said:
“Bangor University is providing the most extensive support to students who are carers in any University that I’ve come across and are to be congratulated.”
The Carers’ Rights event was on Thursday, 21 November, 9.30-12.00 in Neuadd Reichel, Ffriddoedd Road Bangor, in partnership with Action for Children, Carers’ Outreach and Gwynedd County Council