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Let’s celebrate National Care Leavers Week 26-30 October

Have you got experience of being in the care of a Local Authority? We recognise that your experiences may mean you are very capable and resilient, but nevertheless it can be challenging coming to university without family support, particularly during the pandemic.

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If you recently left the care system, you may be unsure where to get any support you need, now you are living independently.

Support at Queen Mary

The good news is that there is lots of support for you at Queen Mary. This is confidential and is explained on the Advice and Counselling Service website. It includes having access to a dedicated Welfare Adviser throughout your course, to help you with practical and financial matters, so that you are more able to focus on your studies. Navigating university life can be difficult, and sometimes it’s useful to have a member of staff who you can ask any questions to: even if we are sometimes not the right people to help, we will find out who is.

It is up to you whether you want to take up the support, and if so, whether you contact us now, or later on. If you contact us now, we will keep in touch with you throughout your course at particular points in the year, for example to remind you about applying for financial assistance, support during the exam period, and with news about events that may be of interest.

Financial Support

Here are some ways that a Welfare Adviser can help you manage your money:

  • ensuring you are getting all of the income you’re entitled to
  • helping you apply for Student Finance as an independent student
  • planning your budget so you know how much your income and expenses are
  • helping you apply to the University Financial Assistance Fund – you can apply during the academic year, but importantly as an independent student you can also apply during the summer vacation for help with your living costs when you won’t receive any Maintenance Loan

Advice and Counselling also have useful guidance on their website:

Undergraduate Funding guide (and a separate version for Medical and Dental students)

Additional Sources of Funding guide

Budgeting guidance and money saving ideas

Financial Assistance Fund information

Emotional Support

Our Counselling website has lots of information and resources to support your wellbeing. There is a specific page about sources of support during Covid-19.

If you would like one to one confidential Counselling, you can contact us.

One of our Counsellors is publishing a blog post on Friday 30 October about going to university without family support. This will include information about a new Independent Student Support group which we are setting up.

Careers Support

As an independent student, you have the option of having a dedicated Careers Consultant at the Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre throughout your course. A Careers Consultant can give you one to one advice and help with building your work experience and skills throughout your time at university, to optimise your employment opportunities once you graduate. You can either contact Careers yourself, or if you attend an appointment with a Welfare Adviser, we can make a direct referral to Careers for you.

Study Support

Adjusting to a university style of teaching and learning can take time. And this year you are also adjusting to learning online. There is information on the Advice and Counselling Service website about study support at Queen Mary.

External support

IMO is a voice for young people with experience of being in care. It is somewhere you can share stories, experiences and achievements, get and give advice.

Sign up to the IMO Virtual Careers event 4-6pm on Weds 28 October

Isabel's Voice is a charity which supports young people to access relevant services. On their website you can type in the name of your Local Authority and see what support they offer to people who have left the care system. A Welfare Adviser can help you liaise with your Local Authority if you would like support with this.

Estranged and Care Experienced Students (EaCES) in the UK have written a handbook by students, for students, with lots of information about a wide variety of topics.