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Estranged Students Solidarity Week

Are you not in contact with family? This is referred to as ‘estrangement’. It’s Estranged Students Solidarity Week this week, 23-27 November!

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Estranged Students Solidarity Week is run by Standalone, a charity which supports people without family contact. Check out their Twitter feed this week for updates #WithEstrangedStudents as well as on Queen Mary's Advice and Counselling Service's Twitter and Facebook

What is estrangement?

Many students at Queen Mary are not in contact with family, or have limited contact. Lack of family support can cause serious challenges with practical matters such as accessing funding and accommodation, which can adversely impact on studies. It can bring a sense of feeling like others don’t understand your situation, and that you need to manage everything on your own, which can lead to isolation. 

A blog posted written by one of our Counsellors about studying without family support explains more.  

You might be interested to listen to other people’s experiences of estrangement on the Standalone podcast. 

What support is available at Queen Mary?

You aren’t on your own.

Queen Mary has taken a pledge with the charity Standalone to support our estranged students. There is lots of support available throughout your course to help you get the funding you are eligible for, to help you find accommodation, and to support you academically and emotionally. 

If you are in the process of separating from your family, we can support you through the transition to living independently and try to help you minimise the impact on your studies. 

There is information on the Queen Mary Advice and Counselling Service website about the confidential support available for: 

You are invited to contact the Advice and Counselling Service confidentially and let them know about anything you would like advice or support with, and they will be happy to help you. 

If you would like to meet other students without family support, Advice and Counselling are launching a Queen Mary Independent Students Support Group. The aim is to provide a safe and confidential space for students who are studying without family support to meet together, share experiences of university life and offer each other support. The group will run online for eight weeks from the end of January 2021, on Tuesdays at 11am for one hour. Participants are expected to attend all eight sessions. The group will be facilitated by two staff members from the Queen Mary Advice and Counselling Service. If you are interested in joining the group, please complete a short form as soon as possible and the facilitators will contact you to arrange an online appointment.   

I am not an estranged student – what can I do?

The Estranged Students Solidarity Week theme this year is ‘Be an ally to estranged students’. We can all step up as an ally and make a big difference. For example, normalising conversations about estrangement, being conscious of the language you use, and thinking about your friends at times of the year which may be more challenging without family support, for example university holiday periods. Standalone has some useful tips on being an ally. Maybe your friend doesn’t know about the support available at Queen Mary, and you could let them know that they can contact us.