Care leavers and estranged students


Care experience and estranged students 

This page is for students who have care experience or are estranged. Estrangement means students that have come to university without the support of a family network. You can identify as these groups even if you have not registered this with the university.

We hope this page will help you to find out the support available to you at university, connect with likeminded students and find information related to you all in one place. If you have any improvements for this page, information that you think would be useful on here or have an idea you would like to suggest to help care leavers and estranged students, please get in touch with our WP & Outreach coordinator, Ancha Joof [email protected]

Welcome to your Students’ Union! What is UEA Students’ Union?

If you’re starting a degree or postgraduate course here, you’ll automatically become a new member of UEA Students’ Union. We are led by student officers, who are democratically elected by a ballot of all UEA students each year. You can view the current student officers we have HERE. The elected student officers determine the direction of the SU and they represent students on a large and diverse set of issues, many of which change year on year. They lead campaigns to create positive change and allow students to shape their educational experience. We recommend getting in touch with the relevant student officer if you have any issues or have suggestions for improvements to help your university life.

Here is a list of some of the things the SU does:

Professional support and advice on academic, welfare and housing issues to individual students, as well as running our own housing bureau, Home Run.

Extracurricular activity on campus. We run and support over 60 Sports Clubs and 200 Student Societies.

buddy(su) peer support project to help students transition and make friends at UEA

Two entertainment venues, the LCR and Waterfront.

Support and recruitment of course representatives 

Peer support groups and events

There is a peer support group for care experienced and estranged students. There are eight specific peer support groups for students to share their experience in a supportive environment. You can find out more and sign up HERE 

The SU run meet up events for care experienced and estranged students. These are usually during welcome week in September and January. You can find out about these on our events pages HERE

Support for you – Who is who!

We believe there is no such thing as a ‘silly question’. If you aren’t sure about something, please get in touch!

We have an email address for all current and incoming care experienced and estranged students to contact if you would like to find out about support or have any queries. You can also get in contact if you want to talk about your experience or if you have any suggestions for what you would like to see at UEA. This email is [email protected] and the person on the other side of this inbox is Liz Ferguson from UEA Outreach team.

Student support has a range of support for you, from academic help to wellbeing and counselling services. You can find out about all the options available to you HERE. Student services also have a named contact specifically for care leavers and estranged students; you can contact Lucy Smith at [email protected]

You can also get in touch with Ancha Joof at the SU if you have any questions about the peer support group or events. You can also talk to Lea if you have any worries about joining a club or society – [email protected]

External support outside of UEA 

As well as the support available to you at UEA, there is also free support available from organisations in Norwich and around the country:

Norfolk County Council Support 

BECOME - helping young care leavers to believe in themselves and to heal, grow and unleash their potential -

StandAlone – support for people who are estranged from their family or children. Our primary objective is to break down the stigma around estrangement and support estranged people in their daily lives.

Student Finance 

UEA offers a Care Leaver and Estranged Student bursary of £2500 per year to eligible students. The full details, including the eligibility criteria, can be found on the bursaries webpage HERE. Students are assessed automatically for the bursary according to information provided by Student Finance England.

Students who are irreconcilably estranged from their birth or adoptive parents, and are not receiving financial support from them, can apply to be assessed for independent student status with Student Finance England. If independent student status is awarded, this means the household income of the student’s parent(s) will not be taken into account to calculate the maintenance loan. The charity Stand Alone has a really helpful guide to this HERE 

If you have concerns about your finances, you could have a chat with one of the student finance advisers in STS. You can access the online referral form on My UEA HERE or email the team at [email protected]