The support offered to students who have previously been in care has been significantly enhanced thanks to the generous support of the Unite Foundation. They have pledged to provide accommodation scholarships to support care leavers or estranged students for 3 years of undergraduate study.

The University of Westminster welcomes students from diverse backgrounds and is committed to supporting local authority care leavers and young people estranged from their families in their successful transition into higher education and independent living.  However, accommodation remains a hugely significant hurdle because it is the largest cost a student needs to meet outside of their tuition fees, and comes as a particular challenge for those studying in London.

“Being able to offer accommodation scholarships to care leavers and estranged young people will help to eliminate this financial burden for a number of our students,” explains Student Advice Manager Claire Firmin. “This in turn will make it far less likely that they withdraw from, or suspend their studies as well as raising their attainment levels by enabling them to cut back on the long hours of paid work they undertake to support themselves.”

Many care leavers and estranged students who join the university with little or no family support face a lack of advice, social capital, financial and emotional help that so many others are lucky to take for granted.

Through this new partnership with the Unite Foundation, the University of Westminster can support even more students to make the most of university life and achieve their full academic potential.

The Unite Foundation supports young people with academic ability and ambition for whom access to a secure home is particularly meaningful, including students who have previously been in care. Helen Arber, Manager of the Unite Foundation said of the partnership: “We are happy to work with the University of Westminster to help increase the support available to care leavers and estranged students so that they are able to make the most of the educational opportunities available to them.”

The University currently offers care leavers bursaries towards living expenses, dedicated career mentoring, counselling, mental health advice and a range of pastoral support. Furthermore, in 2016 our Vice-Chancellor pledged to support StandAlone, a charity which supports and raises awareness about adults that are estranged from their family or children.

One of the other ways in which the University has committed to supporting care leavers is through our Christmas programme which provides students with free accommodation, a three-course meal and activities in central London for 25 students during the holiday period.

If you are inspired by the aims of the project you can make a huge difference by donating just £65 to provide a positive festive season for a young person without family or a home to return to in the holidays.

Get in touch on 020 7911 5741 or e-mail to find out more.




Fern Pearson

Fern Pearson

Alumni and Development Assistant at University of Westminster
Fern Pearson

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