Hello I’m Sara
I owe so much to the Widening Participation Team
Moving to a new city to start university isn’t easy, especially for a young care leaver with no parental support.
To achieve the Quality Mark Universities had to put in place support that met their needs. Not all of it needed to be direct support, by signposting Sara towards Unite Access’ Accommodation Scholarship Kings College London’s Widening Participation Team made the world of difference to her time at University.
“Some students have the blessing of having their parents supporting them prior and during their time at University. On the other hand students like myself, as a care leaver, are not as fortunate. Despite the opportunity to still attend University, in particular Kings College London, making the transition filled me with anxiety and envy towards the more fortunate students. This was due to feeling that I was embarking this journey alone, thus I had little to no expectations regarding the help I would receive, or whether I would be provided any at all.
“Three months prior to my place at Kings College London being confirmed I was contacted by the Widening Participation Team at King’s, who informed me about the support I will and may be able to receive before, during and after my time at King's. They suggested I apply for the Unite Access and Accommodation Scholarship, which would ensure my accommodation would be covered for three years in an en-suite, single room, located in a lovely Zone 1 area, with all my utility bills and WiFi covered. Further more I would be rewarded £4000 a year, for three years.
“someone had understood and invested in making my future as bright as any other young adult”
6.5% of care leavers resort to using a payday loan whilst studying
“When I had successfully been accepted for the scholarship I felt like I had won the lottery! I no longer felt the fear, anxiety and envy towards other students and moving to University. For once, I felt like all the extra physical and mental work I had put in, had been acknowledged and rewarded by not only the opportunity to study at King's, but also in the sense that someone had understood and invested in making my future as bright as any other young adult, who is determined to succeed and give back.
“Once I arrived at the accommodation, I was welcomed by friendly staff and security. Inside my room I had been provided with a 'Student Survival Kit', which contained all the essentials I needed to cook with, and various other bedroom equipment. It felt like Christmas over the first week I was settling in, due to the amount of things being provided by the Unite Team. I can certainly say the care services and support provided by King’s College London had exceeded my expectations. I feel confident, and secure to commence with my education after all the help and support put in place by King's. I cannot express any more how incredible King's College London's Widening Participation Services have been, and particularly by the work of the Widening Participation Officer who I was lucky enough to have been in contact with throughout the three months before moving to London. Her support was outstanding, I was consistently informed of any information or changes, spoken to regularly, and above all made to feel like a priority in contrast to my previous experience with other services.”
The Quality Mark is now closed but care leavers looking for information about higher education should visit www.propel.org.uk