Do you spend time looking after or helping a friend, partner or family member due to illness, disability, frailty or addiction? The care you provide may be personal, practical, emotional or supervisory and is unpaid. If this applies to you then you are a carer.
You are not alone.
It may feel as if the default image of a student is still one of a young ‘carefree’ individual, but students with caring responsibilities are estimated to make up between 3-6% of the student population.
We recognise that trying to fit studying around your caring responsibilities, not to mention work and other commitments can be challenging. Below is some information you might find useful, including an overview of what support is available at Sheffield Hallam and who you can speak to if you are finding things difficult.
What support can I get?
We have a Student Carers Facebook page where you can chat with other carers at SHU as well as a regular email newsletter about relevant opportunities, events, and support to help you make the most of your time as a student. We can also help you to navigate the different support services within the University such as funding issues, financial hardship and money skills from our colleagues in Student Funding; Careers and Employability advice; Student Wellbeing; the Library's distance learning support; as well as help to access external support such as Sheffield Carers Centre.
Carers support plan
We offer a Carer’s support plan which aims to provide flexibility to support you to manage your teaching and assessments. This might include requests to extend deadlines or changes to your seminar groups– for more information about this get in touch with Emily, Robin or Kate.
Who to tell about your caring responsibilities
It might be helpful to tell someone about your caring responsibilities before you start your course, particularly if you anticipate that there might be issues around lateness, attendance or meeting your deadlines if something unexpected happens. University staff will try very hard to support you on your course if they are aware that there are problems.
As a SHU student you will have a Student Support Adviser linked to your course team. This person is your key contact for any course related issues, and they can talk to you about the kind of on course support that is available at Sheffield Hallam. You can find out who your Student Support Adviser is by contacting Hallam Help.
If you feel you would like to talk to someone outside your course team in the first instance, then you can seek help from the named contacts for students with caring responsibilities. They can provide you with space to talk about your situation and can help facilitate support for you within your faculty. See below for details about how to get in touch.
Finally, the Student’s Union Advice Centre is separate from the university and can see students about course issues, legal issues, student funding, benefits, debt and housing. If you think you would feel more comfortable speaking to someone outside the University about your situation, then you could start by speaking to someone at the Advice Centre. As they are independent of the University, the Advice Centre is also able (in certain situations) to represent students who feel they are not getting the support they need from the University.
Get help from our service
Getting support for yourself
There is evidence to show that caring responsibilities can influence carers own health and wellbeing. We want to make sure you know about the range of services and organisations available to support you.
Medical Centre – we have our own doctor’s surgery on Surrey Level 1 where students can register with a GP
Student Wellbeing – this service offers specialist counselling, mental health, and faith advice to all students, as well as self-help resources, guided self-help, workshops and 1-1 appointments.
Sheffield Hallam Active – offer a range of sport, health, and fitness services, including gym facilities. They also run a social sport programme of fun, non-competitive sport taster sessions
Sheffield Carers Centre - is a group of local services offering advice, information, and support groups. They can support you to understand the social care system, your rights as a carer and provide information about benefits and other financial matters.
The Sheffield Parent Carer Forum - an independent group of parents and carers of children and young people (0-25) with special educational needs and disabilities. They bring together parent carers from across Sheffield to provide mutual support, exchange information, and influence policy and practice.
Sheffield Young Carers - Offers group and one-to-one support, as well as trips and outings where you can have a break from your caring role. This is open to carers aged 21 or under living in Sheffield.
Togetherall – have a group dedicated to parents and care givers.
Support within the University
The majority of UK and EU students are entitled to student loans to cover the cost of tuition fees. Full time students are also entitled to loans to help with living costs.
Your student loan entitlement is worked out on your household income from the previous financial year. This might be problematic if you have taken on caring responsibilities within the last year or so and your financial circumstances have changed considerably as a result. In this case it is possible to request a “current year assessment” from your funding body (e.g. Student Finance England) in order to take into account your new financial situation. You can get advice on this and any other issues you might be facing with your funding body, by speaking to our Student Funding team
The Student Success Scholarship is available to undergraduate students and is designed to help you succeed at Sheffield Hallam. The scholarship includes a series of financial awards from £600 to £2,100, students with caring responsibilities are one of the priority groups.
External financial support
As a student with caring responsibilities, you may be able to claim other government funding or state benefits, depending on your circumstances. For information and advice about this contact the Students Union Advice Centre.
Carer specific funds such as the Family Fund provides grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people. They can help with essential items such as washing machines, fridges and clothing but can also consider grants for sensory toys, computers and much needed family breaks together.