What are your caring responsibilities?
I care for both my mum and brother. My brother has Asperger's and physical difficulties. My mum has mild depression and hoarding disorders. My caring involves me having to be a social aid for my brother and having to be the "mum" with the chores and organising.
Reality: 25% of all carers in the UK are supporting someone with mental ill health and 14% care for someone with a learning disability or autistic spectrum condition
Why did you choose nursing?
I always wanted to be a nurse because my mum was one! Going to university was never on my mind however, as I had a lot of difficulties in school.
How did you hear about Kingston and the support we offer for young adult carers?
I had never heard of KU Cares before, but when I applied to study at Kingston I was invited to join Head Start, which is the umbrella programme that supports the transition of all students from Widening Participation backgrounds. Through ticking the 'Young carer' box on that application, I was then contacted by the KU Cares team (who provide support and advocacy to care experienced, estranged and young carer students) to discuss my caring circumstances.
How has the support provided by KU Cares helped?
They helped me so much to access university after I was initially rejected and sent into Clearing. The Admissions department weren't aware of my caring circumstances and how that had affected my college study, but with the advocacy of KU Cares I was eventually offered a place. KU Cares also told me about the £500 Young Adult Carer bursary too, which has helped me to travel home more frequently to visit my family.
I attended Head Start, which is a three day residential Summer School which helps new students transition into university life. Through this scheme, I have met so many friends and it definitely helped me to settle into university. I have also become a student ambassador, working on outreach projects with local schools.
Richard Stiff, BA(Hons) Social Science, 1979