Join our place for estranged and care-experienced HE students and recent graduates in the UK to connect, share info, arrange meet-ups and more! You can do things in person or connect online. Within our community, we have an online social network that is free, national, and open to all ages & years of study.
You simply have to be a self-identifying care-experienced or estranged HE student to join the space. We don’t go by student finance definitions and we welcome all kinds care-experience: residential care, LA care leavers, supervision orders, kinship care, adoptees, etc. If you are studying in any kind of Higher Education (HE) and fancy joining us, we’d love to have you join us.
Join the online community
Once you’re in the online social network, you can:
+ chat with other students – dm or group chat
+ share thoughts, give peer-support or ask your own questions
+ arrange meetups, organise games-nights, daytrips, holidays, etc
+ request Unite Foundation resources to help you run virtual and in-person meetups (see below)
+ enter competitions and get freebies
+ have serious conversations or share light-hearted fun
+ make the space whatever you want!
Join us in the community at thisisusatuni.mn.co and download the Mighty Networks app for your iPhone or Android.
What does ‘care experienced’ or ‘estranged’ mean?
• Care experienced: means a person has spent time living with foster carers under local authority care, in residential care (e.g. a children’s home), looked after at home under a supervision order, or in kinship care (looked after by relatives or friends). This includes adoptees/adopted people.
• Estranged: means that a person doesn’t have support from their parents (biological, step or adoptive) due to a breakdown in their relationship.
There are many reasons why someone becomes estranged, which could include (but are not limited to): being homeless/at risk of homelessness, being a victim of domestic abuse by family members, having experienced/been threatened with ‘honour’-based violence or forced marriage or being rejected for being LGBTQ+ or because of life choices which parents disagree with.
Meetup: Create your own Community fun!
Do you have an idea for a meetup, event or activity you want to see take place locally, regionally or nationally for your fellow care experienced and estranged students? You can access funding and support from the Unite Foundation to bring it to life. Read the ‘Create your own fun’ guidance document, then apply via our short form.
Want to know how other students have gone about running their own meetups? Check out:
The Sounding Board
An ongoing roundtable of students and recent graduates who are care experienced and/or estranged and want there to be a community for all care experienced and estranged students in the UK. Members of the group are individuals who campaign and advocate for better support for students like us. We meet regularly with Ira Hakim (Unite Foundation) to help shape the community, both in-person and the online social network.
Want to know more or join us in the Sounding Board? Get in touch.
Raise awareness of the community
Print out your community poster or order more community postcards for your higher education institution, society, organisation or Student Union/Guild/Association via our postcard order form. The flag on the posters is our very own flag, co-designed by students and representing the diverse and dynamic estranged and care experienced community.
These are = our ideas
Latest Research: “What would a fantastic student-led community of care-experienced and estranged students look, and feel, like to you?”. This is a snapshot summary of all the chats and ideas from 2022 with over 170 students and recent graduates. Take a look at our findings here.
These student ideas continue to feed into the creation of the community. Remember, this space is student-led and is always open to new ways of doing things. Got an idea for a group, event or topic? Go ahead and create it yourself or gather others to help you in the community. You can also drop Ira (Student Community Manager) a message if you would like a hand bringing your idea to life.
Why does the community exist?
The community was born in May 2022 because the Unite Foundation received many messages from estranged and care experienced students, as well as recommendations from students in the This Is Us forum, saying they wish they knew other people from similar backgrounds and that some sort of community existed specifically for and by them.
The Unite Foundation has promised to support and sponsor the community long-term. Ira Hakim is the only member of staff from the Unite Foundation who manages the community. Their role is to act as a sort of human-toolkit who can provide a platform, resources, finance, contacts, safeguarding, advice/guidance and anything else needed to bring the community to life.
Signposting & Support
Looking for something else?
- Advice for students? See Signposting & Support
- Are you a member staff looking to support your care experienced and estranged students? Check-out Stand Alone or Propel training and the EaCES Handbook page for HE Staff or email Ira.