Our 5 year plan

If we haven’t met before, the Unite Foundation is a charity that funds a safe and secure home at university for care leavers and estranged students. Our mission is that with a stable home taken care of, Unite Foundation students feel able to access and make the most of everything university has to offer. Our vision is for Unite Foundation students to lead their narrative, instigating changes that improve the university experience for all estranged and care experienced students.

This year, we turn 10 – thank you to everyone who has supported us to get here! As we celebrate this milestone we have been reflecting on our shared achievements to date and looking ahead what we want to see change in the future. 

We have identified four key themes and related goals we will be working towards:

+ Community

For all estranged and care experienced students to feel united by a sense of community.

This will be something that takes shape over time, led by students themselves, naturally. This year we’ll be working with students at universities across the country to identify what ‘community’ means or feels like and how we can begin to facilitate the growth of that on a large scale.

The goal is that estranged and care experienced students feel better connected, become recognised in wider society without stigma and can pull together when they want to, to effect change that will benefit all estranged and care experienced young people at university.

+ A home at university

For all estranged and care experienced students to have the choice to go to university safe in the knowledge that they will have a secure home.

Our students say that having a safe and secure home at university means they can make the most of the full university experience. Our data also tells us that the provision of a home at university – the security it provides and the financial stress it alleviates – has a strong impact on continuation rates for this group of students.

Over the next 3 years we’re going to be increasing the number of scholarships we deliver, launching a pilot scheme to explore new funding models. We’ll be building an evidence base using consistent data to make the case for the provision of a home at university for all estranged and care experienced students.

The goal is that by the 2026 / 27 academic year, free accommodation for estranged and care experienced students is provided as standard support across all UK universities.

+ Removing housing roadblocks

For students to drive change in higher education so that all estranged and care experienced students can secure and maintain a home throughout university and beyond.

Being able to secure and maintain a home through university – and beyond – is challenging for students without any family support. It costs a lot of money and things other students rely on their family for e.g. providing a guarantor, are not straightforward. Some students feel they need to be preparing to secure a home after university, from the day they join.

This year students will be forming the This is Us campaign group. They’ll be telling us what needs to change – they know better than anyone – and be at the forefront of campaign activity, supported by our team.

The goal is for This is Us to become recognised as a credible campaigning group, driving necessary change for all estranged and care experienced students.

+ Bespoke opportunities

To deliver a variety of paid employment opportunities for Unite Foundation students.

Being armed with a strengthened CV, real world work experience and a list of industry contacts is important for those next steps after graduation – one step closer to your chosen career and securing an income to afford your own home.

This year, we’ll be looking to partner up with an organisation who will work with us to provide bespoke, paid opportunities for students on the Unite Foundation scholarship and map out an effective employment model.

The goal is that, by 2026, we will have broadened out our network of employment partners to deliver more opportunities, direct to estranged and care experienced students.

= A home for life

Students are freed up to enjoy everything that university offers and make the most of university life, safe in the knowledge that they have a secure home. 

Everyone is equipped to secure and maintain a home beyond university and throughout their life, armed with practical knowledge and professional experience. 

If you’d like to find out more about us or collaborate with us in any of these areas, Fiona would love to hear from you. Drop her an email fiona.ellison@unitefoundation.org.uk