Date published: December 13, 2018
University of Salford is a Winner at the Stand Alone Awards 2018
A couple of weeks ago, to coincide with National Estranged Student’s Solidarity Week, Salford won the Stand Alone Excellence and Innovation Award in the category ‘Mental Health’. Stand Alone is a national charity that supports students estranged from their families at university.
Salford has one of the highest number of estranged students in the UK. Estranged students are young people who are studying without the support or approval of a family network. This year, for the first time, we asked students at registration if they were estranged from their family and we had 359 students telling us they were.
Student Inclusion & Diversity Manager, Arron Pile explains: “These student face significant barriers, many have experienced homelessness, severe financial issues and must prove their estrangement to be assessed as independent to receive the full student loan. On top of this family break ups can lead to stress and poor mental health”.
In 2016 the University, led by Student Experience & Support was one of the first in the UK to sign the Stand Alone Pledge, a public commitment to improving support for estranged students. This must be demonstrated in four areas – transition to University, accommodation, financial support and mental health & wellbeing. Stand Alone have demonstrated through research, the impact of putting targeted support in place has on helping these students achieve their very best at university.
Since then we have been a sector leader in supporting estranged students, and even hosted their conference around well-being in February of this year. The award was given to Salford for the development of our innovative P.A.U.S.E group (People at University Separated or Estranged). This is a student led group, that offers a non-judgemental environment where students with little, no or negative family support help other estranged students, providing emotional support and friendship to each other.
Brogen Harrison one of the P.A.U.S.E group student leaders said: “Being a part of “PAUSE enables me to feel less invisible, but also more accepting of my family circumstances. Receiving the award from Stand Alone reinforced those feelings and gave me a sense of achievement and fulfilment. Something as simple as peer-support helps estranged students in so many more ways than one and this award confirms that. PAUSE has so much more potential and together we can help both current and future estranged students feel less isolated and empower them for their journeys beyond university”.