Sheffield pledges support for students estranged from family

23 May Sheffield pledges support for students estranged from family

Young people who are estranged from family or leaving care are set to receive additional support in higher education thanks to new funding awarded to the University of Sheffield.

The funding is part of a scheme launched by the Unite Foundation, which is offering free accommodation for students estranged from family at the University of Sheffield.

Students who are interested in being part of the scheme while studying at Sheffield can apply through the Unite Foundation website at

The funding follows Sheffield’s recent pledge to strengthen its current and future support for students who are care leavers or estranged from family.

Working with the charity Standalone, the pledge recognises the University’s commitment to provide help in four key areas where estranged students feel the lack of family support the most: finance, accommodation, access and transition, and mental health and wellbeing.

Amongst the additional support, Sheffield has designated staff to provide information, advice, and support on the finance available to students. The University also provides enhanced bursaries and scholarships, available to both undergraduates and postgraduates.

Specialist staff at the University provide bespoke support to help students secure year-long accommodation. Students living in University-owned accommodation are also supported 24/7 by Sheffield’s Residence Life team.

Students are offered a peer mentor from their academic department who is in the year above. The mentor acts as a friendly face and a source of support to ease the transition into University life. The Student Advice Centre in the Students’ Union also provides independent and confidential advice to students who are estranged from their families to support their transition to university.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education at the University of Sheffield, 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.

“As a university, we have a long history of supporting people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve success in applying to university and studying with us.

“We’re also working in partnership across the Sheffield City Region with fellow universities, colleges, local authorities, charities, and the Higher Education Progression Partnership to support children in care, care leavers and young adult carers. Estranged students are now benefiting from much of this support and we are pleased to pledge ongoing support for this deserving group.”

The University of Sheffield has a longstanding commitment to widening participation and each year works with over 500 local and regional schools and colleges and engages with over 40,000 outreach participants across the UK. Over 90 per cent of young people undertaking the University’s sustained outreach programmes have no family history of higher education and Sheffield’s record in this area makes the University one of the leading Russell Group universities for widening participation.

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