Bristol students can now sign up to support care leavers and estranged students
The new campaign aims to create a peer support network for care leavers and estranged students
A campaign to support care leavers and estranged students on campus has been launched by Bristol SU’s Care Leavers and Estranged Students Network.
The ‘Care Allies’ campaign, led by the network’s Chair Nadia Sajir, aims to raise awareness of the experience of care leavers and estranged students, and improve their experience by providing support to those who feel isolated and unsupported at the University.
It is estimated that there are 45 care leavers at Bristol University, but the number of estranged students is currently unknown.
All students can sign a pledge to become a “care ally” within the network, and contribute to this support system.
Sajir said: “This campaign is important as members of our network can often be quite isolated at university, not having the support of parents or other family. The aim is to raise awareness of these students’ experiences, but also to provide them with a peer support network on campus.”
According to Government statistics, only 6 per cent of care leavers aged 19-21 go in to University. These students are also twice as likely to drop out than their peers.
In the limited time the Network has been running, Sajir has helped support care leavers and estranged students by securing graduation bursaries. This includes free graduation gown hire, a voucher for a meal on the Triangle and a letter of congratulations from the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Student Experience.
She said: “It’s a huge achievement for a care leaver to complete their degree. And they won’t have family to celebrate with at the end”
During the Covid-19 lockdown, Sajir has also supported care leavers by packaging and delivering 45 care packages for members of the network.