Breaking through barriers
Through your donation to the Hallam Fund, two new schemes are launching which will support estranged students and student carers at Sheffield Hallam University.
The Estranged Student Transition Fund and The Carer's Emergency Travel Fund will both launch this September to coincide with the beginning of the new academic year.
The Estranged Student Transition Fund will support first year students during their move from home to University. For many students this is a stressful time full of uncertainties. But for those students who are unable to call on the practical, emotional and financial support from family, this move can pose some huge challenges. The introduction of the new fund will ensure that estranged students will not have to worry about finding the money to hire a removal van or buy new pots and pans - instead they will be able to focus on settling in, meeting new friends, and making Sheffield their home.
Alex Moreno is in her second year studying operating department practice. Alex has been estranged from her family for 13 years. Alex said: "Luckily, when I came to university I was able to adapt to independent living quite fast, however, financially I found the move a struggle. The biggest problem was having to afford transport to my clinical placement and buying new household items. Most students from regular family homes wouldn't need to worry about this as many have the support of their parents. The fund is a great initiative and will allow new students who are estranged to focus on starting their new lives in Sheffield without having to worry about money."
The Carer's Emergency Travel Fund will be available to students who have caring responsibilities who need to travel home at short notice. Being a carer is a difficult job made all the more challenging as student carers do not receive a Carer's Allowance when in full time education.
Autumn Beard is a student carer in her second year of a nursing degree. Autumn cares for her sister and her step dad. She said: "At the moment all my loan is going towards paying for my accommodation, books and travel costs to and from my placement. I don't have spare money I can put aside for an emergency, so money is a constant worry for me. In the past there have been occasions where I was needed at home but couldn't go because I didn't have the money to pay for the train ticket."
Statistics show that 45% of student carers struggle with mental health issues and Autumn feels the new fund could help alleviate some of the stress that goes along with being a student and a carer: "I think the new Emergency Travel Fund will give me and others the peace of mind to know that if something did happen we would be able to go home immediately. Mental health and wellbeing is so important for student carers because if you're struggling to cope, your uni work is going to suffer and you won't be able to do your job as a carer."
These two funds have been developed through workshops and focus groups with students to determine where donations would be best placed to make the biggest impact on student's lives.
If you would like to find out more about how your donation is helping to support students from disadvantaged and non-traditional backgrounds click here.