After asking young adult carers what would make a difference to them on starting university, Carers Trust Wales was able to provide five carers from across Wales with a helping hand going to uni, in the form of a university ‘starter pack’.
The starter packs include many household items that people take for granted – bedding, kitchen utensils, crockery. This means the recipients don’t have to worry about finding the time out from caring to go shopping, and finding the money to buy lots of new things, whilst preparing for moving away from home for the first time.
There are 30,000 young adult carers in Wales and research suggests they are less likely to go to college or university, due to the impact their caring role has on their life. And for those that do go to university, NUS UK research suggests student carers face financial difficulties once they begin their course. The starter packs are one way to alleviate the financial pressure faced by student carers. Carers Trust Wales will be expanding the reach of starter packs next year as part of their ongoing work to support carers in education.
Kieron Rees, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, said, "The challenges carers face are real and substantial, and we’re pleased to do whatever we can to help young adult carers take their first steps into higher education.
"We’re starting to see universities in Wales and beyond begin to recognise the particular needs and barriers faced by carers, and our role is to ensure universities are adopting carer-friendly policies and putting support in place to ensure carers can complete their education."
Carmen Smith, Deputy President of NUS Wales, said "young carers face additional barriers to most in accessing education; and NUS Wales will continue to support and advocate for further assistance for student carers".