My names is Claire and in my role I support a variety of underrepresented students to help support them to achieve. Many of the students I support are estranged from their parents/families.
Estrangement solidarity week raises awareness of those students and the University’s pledge to support those students financially and pastorally.
Why do people become estranged from their families?
There can be lots of reasons, but often it is historic abuse, financial and emotional control, religion, violence, sexuality, gender identity are many of the causes of family disagreements and why students will walk away or are turned away from home.
For these students the fear of, and reality of, loneliness, isolation and financial hardship and not having a safe place to return to is always present.
1 in 5 people in the UK will at some point will struggle with family relationships.
Many of the students I support often say “I thought they loved me” or “why can’t they accept me as I am “, “I am really frightened”.
How do we help?
I work alongside all these students helping with finances, accessing counselling, and supporting summer/ Christmas accommodation throughout their degree and further to give them the stability they need to continue with their studies.
Sudden estrangements are the most traumatic and chaotic as wellbeing is paramount and financial implications need addressing urgently.
I am mindful that celebrations, festivities are never quite the same and the isolation is heightened, and the stigma never leaves them. We aim to provide a supportive, encouraging environment where students are accepted and valued. We have events and regular coffee mornings to provide opportunities for individuals to connect.
For me, when a student who has had no family support graduates and succeeds is truly awe inspiring and I feel honoured to have been able to help them.
If you need more information on the support on Estrangement please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Standalone is the organisation that supports estranged students https://www.standalone.org.uk/about/