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Student Carers

Do you provide unpaid support to a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health illness or an addiction could not manage without your support?

Many students combine their university studies with caring responsibilities.  The University is aware that student carers can face additional challenges when trying to balance their caring responsibilities with the demands of their course.  In light of this, the University offers additional advice and support for student carers to help you meet these challenges.  Many of our teams work together across Northumbria to look at what we can do to help.  We also work closely with partners outside the University such as Newcastle Carers who are able to offer a wide range of advice, support and activities for adult carers.  

Student Life and Wellbeing provides professional advice and support to all students in a range of areas, including disability issues, counselling and mental health support, finance, wellbeing issues, international student support and faith issues.  Within the Wellbeing and Mental Health Team, we have an allocated Practitioner who provides a consistent point of contact for our students with caring responsibilities.  Your enquiry can be referred to the allocated Practitioner through a number of routes.  You can access this support by:

  • Telephoning +44 (0)191 227 4127 or emailing (if you are a prospective student)
  • Logging an enquiry through the student portal (if you are a current student)

Please see below for the types of support/advice we can provide. 

Academic Issues

There may be times when it is difficult to balance your caring responsibilities with the demands of your course, such as attending a timetabled session or keeping on top of your academic workload.   In this instance, you would be required to let your Faculty know and speak to your module or personal tutor so that they can understand the issues you are facing and offer advice on how to catch up.  

If you will have difficulty attending a timetabled session because of your caring role, either on a one-off or a regular basis, you will need to let the University know you won't be able to attend.  Students studying at Northumbria can find out more information on the student portal

When planning your un-timetabled study hours, please be aware that City Campus Library is open and staffed 24/7 in term time, and the Coach Lane and Law Practice Library offer generous opening hours.  You can find more information here.

The University also has a procedure in place whereby you may be able to apply for an extension to submitting work if unforeseen, unpreventable circumstances lead you to struggle with assignment deadlines.  More information for students studying at Northumbria can be found on the student portal.  

Financial Issues

A caring responsibility can often mean you face additional financial pressures during your studies.

Carer’s Allowance

Full time students are not eligible to receive Carer's Allowance, so if you have been in receipt of this please be aware that it will cease once you start your course.  Part-time students can continue to receive Carer's Allowance provided they meet the full eligibility criteria. 

Support from Northumbria University

At Northumbria University we offer our student carers an individualised financial advice and support tailored to their particular circumstances.  This could include:

  • A finance check to ensure you are accessing all of the standard student financial support you are eligible for
  • Potential additional financial support from our Access to Learning Fund (depending on your circumstances)
  • Advice on other money related issues such as budgeting and council tax
  • Advice on the financial implications of a programme change (transfer/interruption etc) 

Please be aware that the University’s Access to Learning Fund offers a specific, shortened application route for UK student carers.  When applying to the fund student carers:

  • Are treated as a priority group
  • Have a shorter application form
  • Have fewer documents required
  • Are more likely than other students to qualify 

In order to apply, we need your completed application form, a copy of your most recent bank statement and evidence of your carer status.  We can accept either proof that you were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance before you started your course, (first year students only), a letter from a Social Worker/Professional Carer’s Support Organisation or from a GP/other Medical Professional.  Please note: the evidence should relate to you as a carer rather than to the person you care for.  If you have any questions regarding evidence, please get in touch (see methods outlined above). 

For more information or, in order to apply, please contact an Inclusion Practitioner using one of the methods outlined above.  Your application will be set up and completed through the student portal, following a discussion with an Adviser.

Part-time work

You may find that having caring responsibilities limits the opportunity you have to find work that fits around your studies and other responsibilities. If you are able to work part-time or you are looking for flexible work, our Careers and Employment Service can offer support with this. The Service has an online jobs website, which allows you to search for vacancies targeted directly at students. For further information about the support available to you and details of other places to search for vacancies, please visit our Careers and Employment Service either online or in person at Student Central in the Library.

Personal and Health Issues

Juggling your course and your caring commitments may mean that it is difficult for you to find time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, to socialise, exercise, eat well or relax.  When this situation is ongoing, it can lead to you feeling stressed, depressed and/or burnt out.

You may find it helpful to talk your situation through with an Inclusion Practitioner who will be able to suggest some referrals for support.  The types of support we may suggest could include: 

Counselling and Mental Health Support

If you feel you might want or need some support with a personal, emotional or mental health issue, once you have enrolled at Northumbria University, you can access support from Counselling and Mental Health Support.  The team offer a range of services, including one-to-one appointments with Counsellors or Mental Health Professionals, self-help materials and therapeutic workshops on a range of topics including Social Confidence, Getting Things Done, Stress and Mindfulness. 

Support from Newcastle Carers

Newcastle Carers is a local independent charity working citywide to provide dedicated confidential information and support to adult unpaid carers who are caring for someone living in Newcastle.  They offer:

  • Information, advice and guidance
  • Drop-in information and advice sessions
  • Carer Cafés
  • Carer Support groups  
  • Complementary therapy
  • Counselling
  • Training
  • A chance to have your say
  • Small grant - Carers Wellbeing Fund
  • Telephone support service - Listening Link

Newcastle Carers also have a dedicated Young Adult Carers Worker, supporting 18-25 year olds with a caring role. Support is flexible and tailor-made to suit your needs and, even if the person you care for lives outside Newcastle, student carers may still be able to access this support. There are groups available to meet other people in a similar situation.  Find out more about dedicated young adult carer support.    

The charity also offer specific advice and guidance on taking a break from your caring role.

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