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Information for students with caring responsibilities
Many students combine their university studies with caring responsibilities. A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. You may have started University knowing that you would be caring for somebody, however for some, this may be a role you take on unexpectedly part way through your studies. Here at Keele we are committed to supporting students with caring responsibilities. We want to ensure that you can make the most of the opportunities available at Keele whilst balancing university life with your caring responsibilities. Whatever your situation, it's important to let the University know, so that we can ensure you have access to all the right support.
A Dedicated Contact for Students with Caring Responsibilities
Students with caring responsibilities at Keele benefit from a dedicated contact within the Money and Welfare Team, which means you have a central point of contact for any queries or concerns you may have as a student carer. The dedicated contact for students with caring responsibilities is Katy Lockett, who works as part of a team in the Student Services Centre so there will always be someone available to help should you need it.
If you have any questions about studying at Keele and the support available for students with caring responsibilities, please get in touch.
If you would like support and advice prior to your arrival please get in touch with the dedicated contact in the Student Welfare Team, who can answer any questions and concerns you may have and can also help to make any arrangements you need to ease your transition to university. You may wish to make an appointment with the dedicated contact for student carers in your first few weeks at Keele to have an informal discussion about how we can support you throughout your time at University.
We also run a number of events and activities that can help to support you prior to your arrival at Keele:
Once your place at Keele has been confirmed you can choose to be matched with a Keele Mentor who can provide peer support before your course starts. Your mentor can answer any questions you may have about the course and University life and share their experiences.
Keele4All Pre-Arrival Event
You may wish to attend the Keele 4 All pre-arrival event before you start University. The event offers a great opportunity to meet other students new to Keele and will help you get to know the Keele campus. It will also give you the opportunity to meet Student Support staff members who will be able to offer you tailored advice and guidance.
Juggling your caring responsibilities with your university studies can be very tiring and place demands on your physical and emotional wellbeing. It is important that you look after yourself as well as those that you are caring for.
At Keele we offer a range of services to help students who are struggling with personal and emotional issues.
The Student Welfare Team can offer advice and guidance on a range of different issues that you may face at University. If you would like to speak to an adviser you can contact them by phone, email or attend one of the daily drop in services. For more information you can visit the Student Welfare webpages or email email@example.com.
Counselling and Mental Health Support
University can be an exciting time but it can also bring with it stress and challenge. The Counselling and Mental Health service can offer you one-to-one support and appointments as well as workshops and group work.
Disability and Dyslexia Support
If you have a disability, including specific learning difficulties or mental health and wellbeing issues the Disability and Dyslexia Support Team can advise on a wide range of support to meet your individual needs. It is a good idea to contact the team before you arrive at Keele University to discuss any support you may need.
Keele Health Centre
Keele has it’s own GP and Dental surgery based on the Keele campus. Keele Practice serves the whole of the Keele University Campus, Keele village and certain areas in Newcastle.
For more information or to register as a patient visit www.keelepractice.co.uk
Keele Bursaries and Scholarships
Here at Keele we offer a number of bursaries and scholarships to support our students. For more information on what financial support you may be entitled to please visit our Money Advice and Guidance webpages.
If you are a part-time student with caring responsibilities then you may be eligible to receive carer's allowance. To find out if you are eligible visit: www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/overview.
Adult Dependants' Grant
If you are a full time student who is caring for an adult who depends on you financially, you can apply for an Adult Dependants’ Grant. This is additional funding on top of any other Student Finance entitlement. Eligibility is based on your income and the income of the adult dependant, as well as other personal circumstances.
Full time students are exempt from paying council tax. If the only other adult in the property is disabled or severely mentally impaired then the whole property may be exempt. If there are other adults living in the house too then you may still qualify for a reduction. If you have left your own property empty in order to live with and care for someone then you may not have to pay council tax on your empty property. Further information on Council Tax exemptions can be found at: www.gov.uk/council-tax/working-out-your-council-tax.
Every student is allocated a personal tutor who is there to support you with both academic and any personal issues that may arise. Students are invited to initial personal tutor meetings when you start your course, and we recommend that you discuss any responsibilities you have which may have an impact of your studies or your ability to attend classes.
From time-to-time we understand that you may experience difficulties in keeping up with academic work or with attending classes if problems occur at home with the person you are caring for. In these cases, it's likely that your department will ask you to complete an Exceptional Circumstances form, which will allow the school to take into account any difficulties that you may be experiencing and they may be able to offer flexibility in your deadlines and assessments.
If you have clashes between your timetable and your caring responsibilities you should discuss this with your department to see if it’s possible for alternative options to be put in place. It may not always be possible for timetables to be changed, but by talking this through with appropriate staff in your department, other solutions may be available.
As a student with caring responsibilities, we understand that you may find it difficult to attend exams scheduled at certain times of the day. Therefore, if due to caring responsibilities you are unable to attend University examinations on a particular day of the week, or at a certain time of day, you should complete a Caring Responsibilities Form and submit this to the Examinations Team. Please see the Student Records and Examinations webpages for further information.
Support Outside of University
By law, anyone who 'regularly provides a substantial amount of care' is entitled to an assessment of their needs, which will help you find out how you can balance your own health and wellbeing with your role as a carer. Contact the social services department for the area in which the person you're caring for lives to set up a meeting. The assessor will help you to identify and access the support you need.
Support in Your Local Area
Carers' Centres are independent charities that deliver a wide range of local support services to meet the needs of carers in their own communities. All Carers' Centres provide, either by telephone, drop-in or outreach surgeries, the following core services:
- Information and advice - about all issues affecting carers, including benefits, breaks, respite and support services, carer assessment procedures, aids and adaptations.
- Emotional support - by providing opportunities for carers to talk through their concerns, both individually and in group sessions, with staff, trained volunteers and other carers who understand their situation, thus helping to alleviate isolation and stress.
- Community consultation - Carers' Centres can have a strong influence on local policy, planning procedures and outcomes. They can also ensure that the local carers' voice can be linked in to the regional and national decision-making bodies.
To find your local service click here to visit the search engine provided on the Carers Trust webpages.
National Organisations Supporting Carers
Nationally there are a number of organisations that campaign for better support for carers and work to raise awareness, these include:
A Student Carer's Experience
Read about Lauren's experience of studying at university with caring responsibilities here.