Celebrating 15 years of supporting care leavers, estranged students, young adult carers and sanctuary scholars

How we help students through KU Cares

We are very proud that 2021 marked the 15-year anniversary of KU Cares, our award winning, comprehensive package of support for care leavers, estranged students, young adult carers' and sanctuary scholars at Kingston University.

We are sharing the story of KU Cares and celebrating our students who have connected with us through the scheme. You can follow our campaign on social media and join the conversation by using #KUCares15.

I've been truly lucky because of the support I've received from KU Cares. They offer practical support that students usually go to their parents for and give you that home-from-home feeling. I really love the team.

Georgie Stubbs, midwifery student, estranged from her family

The support offered by the KU Cares team has proved indispensable – they're my biggest supporters. I just know I can always speak to them frankly, no matter what difficulty I'm facing. There is so much support available, so go for it.

Lola Kareem, Sanctuary Scholar

Michael Shakil: Care leaver

Michael had a difficult childhood, growing up in care and moving from school to school. He never thought he would go to university but returned to education in his mid-twenties and graduated in computer graphics technology.

KU Cares supported Michael throughout his education journey and celebrated all of his achievements, which included winning a:

  • Kingston University Bright Ideas Award
  • Festival of Learning 2019 Patron's Award from HRH the Princess Royal.

KU Cares was created by Kingston University in 2006 – initially to support care leavers, then later expanding to include estranged students, young carers, refugees and asylum seekers, who all face multiple challenges to access and have success in higher education.

Through taking proactive steps to identify and remove real and perceived barriers, the KU Cares team and wider University community have helped hundreds of students stay on course, reach their potential and progress to successful graduate careers.

Read Jenni Woods' reflection on KU Care's history

Jenni Woods, Head of access, participation and inclusion

Jenni Woods, Head of Access, Participation and Inclusion

Timeline of KU Cares

Tribute to Emily Hughes

In her role as access and inclusion manager at Kingston University, Emily Hughes was instrumental in developing KU Cares in close consultation with students from those backgrounds.

Over the 12 years Emily worked at Kingston, her approach centred on her belief that all students at university should be supported to succeed. Under her leadership hundreds of students have had their lives transformed through participation in the KU Cares programme.

Emily sadly passed away in April 2020 and is missed by all staff and students who knew her. She was honoured by University Alliance with a posthumous Braveheart Award and with Aim Higher's Outstanding Contribution Award, recognising the impact of her leadership and advocacy for students from the most challenged backgrounds.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions about KU Cares or if you want to find out more about eligibility for support.

You can also visit the KU Cares website for more information.


Get in touch

Charities supporting KU Cares students

  • Action for Carers Surrey supports unpaid carers through specialised support, advice and guidance. They help young adult carers manage caring responsibilities alongside their education and transition into adulthood.
  • Become offers direct support to young people in, and leaving, local authority care through their Care Advice Service. They campaign on a national level to ensure that young people are heard.
  • Stand Alone raises awareness about the experiences and support needs of people estranged from their families. Its Stand Alone Pledge encouraged Higher Education institutions to implement support for estranged students.
  • Student Action for Refugees (STAR) is a national charity of 34,000 students committed to improving the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. STAR campaigns for equal access to Higher Education for asylum seekers.