For young adult carers, accessing higher education can be challenging. The University is offering scholarships to support students who are balancing caring responsibilities with their studies.
For a young person responsible for caring for an ill or disabled parent, coming to University can be a tough decision.
Often feeling guilty for leaving home, young carers hoping to become students face additional financial concerns. The Sarah Hawkins Scholarship is available to help them meet living costs and other expenses incurred as a result of their caring responsibilities.
Scholarship recipient Paige Caudy (Social Work, second year) has been caring for her mum since she was 15 years old. She hopes to become a children’s social worker after graduation.
Like many young carers, she wanted to study close to home but was concerned about how she would manage when she got to University.
'The scholarship has helped me in many ways,' she says. 'Because I don’t drive, it has helped with travel costs so that I can take my mum to her appointments. She has panic attacks in crowds of people so we have to take a taxi to all her hospital appointments.
'It’s also helped with living costs and allowed me to take time for myself and get my social life back.'
'When you are a carer that’s the most valuable thing that people can give you.’
Professor Saul Becker, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Social Sciences, is the world leader on research into young carers. In the past 25 years he has informed policy, law and practices in the UK and globally. He has a personal passion for improving the lives of young carers, having cared for his grandma in his teens.
Saul defines a young adult carer as someone aged 18-24 who is responsible for caring for a parent, friend or relative (other than their own children) with physical or mental health conditions.
Part of his research examines the problems young adult carers face at University with combining caring and studying duties. He has found that as many as 29% of young adult carers will not finish their studies and 56% will experience difficulties at University.*
‘Research indicates that appropriate support within education establishments is essential for giving young carers a platform for going forward into adulthood.
'We need to ensure that they have the best educational opportunities available to them despite their caring responsibilities.
'Helping young adult carers feel valued really matters for those whose caring roles are often invisible. The scholarship is a small way we can help these students adapt when they come to University. It’s a way of levelling the playing field to give them more of a chance and that’s really important.'
Find out more about Saul's research.
* ‘Young Adult Carers at College and University’ by Dr Joe Sempik and Professor Saul Becker, Carers Trust.