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Student Carers

Many students combine their studies with caring responsibilities. At Northumbria we understand that your caring role may provide additional challenges to you throughout your student journey whether that be before, during or as your preparing to leave your studies with us. For student carers there are a range of services available through NU Belong to support you during your student journey to and whilst at Northumbria.

At Northumbria we define a student carer as:

A student carer is a student who cares unpaid, for a friend or family member while they are studying who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

Everyone’s caring role and circumstances are unique to their situation, you could live with the person you care for or you might live away from them, you might not even be aware that you are a carer.

You could be a carer if you:

  • Constantly worry about a family member or relative?
  • Provide emotional support on the phone?
  • Travel home at weekends to help look after someone?

The university recognises that balancing caring with your studies at school/college and the transition to university, means you may face some unique challenges on your journey to university. As such, we have a dedicated member of our outreach team who can provide information and advice to support you from deciding if university is right for you, through to applying and transitioning to university.

As a student with caring responsibilities, you would likely be eligible for one of our supported entry schemes. These schemes offer a range of support and opportunities, to help students throughout their journey to Northumbria University. In addition to the information and support provided through the scheme, successful completion of one of the supported entry schemes enables students to earn supported entry scheme points, equivalent to UCAS tariff points, when applying to Northumbria university. 

For more information about these schemes and to apply, please visit our supported entry scheme webpage.

Northumbria University is a member of the North East Raising Aspiration Partnership (NERAP), a collaboration of the five universities in the North East of England, working together to support young people to think about their futures and how higher education can help them reach their goals.

The partnership offers a progressive programme of support for young carers:

Choices Together the perfect opportunity to discover all about being a university student and what Higher Education could offer you in the future. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t thought about college or university – everyone is welcome! You can join the programme at any point from Year 7 up to Year 13 and can work with us throughout your educational journey. Sessions run from October-July and include both on-campus and online events. For further information about Choices Together, please click here.

Students with caring responsibilities wishing to find out more and visit the university, should get in touch to discuss arranging an individual campus visit, which will also provide you with an opportunity to find out more about the bespoke support we offer for student carers.

We are here to support you throughout your journey to university and are able to provide information and advice for carers on an individual basis throughout the application process.

If you are currently holding an offer with us and require any support or have any questions about the transition, such as finding accommodation or financial support, further information about this support can be found below or please do get in touch.



How we can help whilst you study with us?

The Student Inclusion Team, based within Student Life and Wellbeing, is a key point of contact for Student Carers within the University whilst you study with us.  The team offers advice on a range of issues and has a dedicated Wellbeing Practitioner who can advise on welfare, financial, academic and health matters and act as a referral point into other support services within the University. Here are the ways we can support you through NU Belong:



Northumbria University offers a bursary of £2000 from the University’s Access to Learning Fund (Hardship Funding) as a fast-tracked application to ensure you are financially supported during your studies. Following an appointment with your dedicated Wellbeing Practitioner you will be sent an application form to complete in the Student Portal. If you are eligible for the Carers Bursary, your £2,000 award will be split into 3 payments across the academic year, the amount and dates of these will be confirmed once your application has been approved.

Eligibility criteria is based on the university definition of a carer. To receive the Bursary, you will need to provide a letter/evidence from one of the below sources that confirms your caring role as well as a recent bank statement which clearly shows your name, account number and sort code.


  • Proof that you were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance before you started your course, (first year students only)
  • A letter from a Professional Carer’s Support Organisation/Social Worker
  • A letter 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. 

To arrange an appointment to find out more about whether you’re eligible and the evidence required please make use the contact details outlined below.

NU Belong provides a designated named contact within Student Life and Wellbeing for student carers. They can assist you if you are experiencing difficulties, have any concerns and are unsure on where to go for help. Whether you have academic, funding, wellbeing or personal concerns, your designated contact can offer guidance, support and referrals into other University services if required. Our aim is to ensure that our students receive the right advice and support from the right people when needed.

Your designated contact from the Student Inclusion Team will also contact you once a term as a commitment to offering the opportunity for a 1 -1 appointment. These are not mandatory but 1 – 1 time can be beneficial for students to discuss any specific worries or concerns, an opportunity to reflect or set future goals, or as an opportunity to simply chat through how you are getting along.

NU Belong will promote opportunities, initiatives and events aimed at enhancing your student experience, engagement and empowering you towards success. Students are able to agree to receive communications on these from the Student Inclusion Team as part of the online enrolment but can also opt-in at any point.

We also encourage student carers to engage with their local carer’s organisation, who can offer a range of advice and guidance and support on caring. You can find out who your local carers organisation is by entering your postcode on the Carers Trust website here, there is also a list of organisations at the bottom of the page.

Run in partnership with Newcastle University and Newcastle Carers, the group gives an opportunity to share experiences with other student carers across the city. If you’re interested in attending then please contact the Inclusion Team (details below) to find out more.

Northumbria University Services:

Counselling and Mental Health

Disability and Dyslexia

Graduate Futures

Students Union


Sources of Support outside of the University:

We recommend that student carers contact their local caring organisation to find out about support and guidance available to them, a list of local organisations can be found below.

Durham Carers

Gateshead Carers

Newcastle Carers

North Tyneside Carers

South Tyneside Adult Carers Service

Sunderland Carers

If you’re unsure about which organisation is local to you then visit the Carers Trust website here and put in your postcode to find local services

Mobilise is an online service supporting unpaid carers. Empowering those that care to thrive.

How they can help you:

  1. Sign up for weekly carer content - Practical advice, tips and content to help each other care and thrive.
  2. Receive a free guide to caring – their short email course signposts you to support, and helpful advice for carers.
  3. Browse their Guides to Caring - from managing someone's personal care to supporting someone with a mental health diagnosis and everything in between.
  4. Speak to someone - Book a free call with their carer support team - here for you seven days a week, including evenings.
  5. Browse their blog for inspiration and support.

In addition to the above local carers organisations there are also national caring organisations that can provide useful advice and guidance.

Carers Trust - Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring.

Carers UK - National Charity with a range of advice and support

Props - Improving the lives of families affected by alcohol and drug abuse

Hope Support - offers online support for students with a close family member who has a serious illness. Amongst other things, they can offer advice on leaving home, living away, dealing with responsibilities, home visits and staying positive. Hope also offer fortnightly chat sessions for university students through their online service. This can be a good way to meet other students who are experiencing similar emotions to yourself.

Which? Elderly Care - offers independent and practical advice for people who are caring for elderly parents or other relatives.



How to Contact Us:

Current students can enquire via their Student Portal. If you are not a current student and you would like to contact us please use this form and we'll be in touch 

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