Christmas means togetherness and community, help us share some magic for those who are alone on Christmas day.
Christmas will always be about the family coming together, which is why this year, we are committed to sharing a little love and making a difference to those of us who don’t have a family to make their Christmas’ what they should be. We want to raise as much money as possible, to send a Christmas gift to students who are irreconcilably estranged from their families and will be alone this Christmas. Help us share a little love and make a huge difference to someone who needs it this year.
What with everything that’s happened this past year, everyone deserves to have an extra special Christmas. For many of us, Christmas day means spending time with our family, opening presents and enjoying a large meal. Unfortunately, Christmas also highlights those in our community who do not have these luxuries, those who won’t have Christmas dinner, a present to open or a family to spend time during the festive season. This year, we are reaching out to ask for donations so we can send our estranged students a gift this Christmas.
Our University is not unique in having students in difficult and unprecedented situations. But what does make us unique, is our overwhelming sense of community spirit, support and generosity shown by our staff, students, alumni and partners who have always ensured that we CAN make a difference to others.
Estrangement as a student
What does estrangement mean for a student? Estranged students are young people studying without the support and approval of their parents due to a breakdown in their relationship – this might be their biological, step or adoptive parents, and sometimes their wider family members. Going through university as an estranged student can be difficult if there is very little support. To get our support, they would generally be under 25 years of age and to get support from SLC the estrangement will need to be longstanding and irreconcilable.
Research indicates that abuse, and particularly emotional abuse, is a key cause of family estrangement, alongside clashes of values and beliefs and mismatched expectations about family roles. More specifically, issues connected to honour-based violence, forced marriage and family rejection of LGBTQI+ and transgender students are common. There are also a proportion of estranged students who have been disowned for pursuing education against the wishes of their family or extended family network and shockingly over 30% of students from this study had registered homeless or had considered registering homeless before their courses began.
We as a University, and our alumni and supporters who are connected to us, can only do so much to help our brilliant students. Our newly introduced Estranged Student Bursary is providing much needed financial support to students who are irreconcilably estranged from their families. We are so grateful to everyone who has made this possible. The introduction to the bursary has also meant that we can identify more students who have come forward to share their story and apply for support.
In addition, Swansea University has recently received an award from the charity Stand Alone for the work we do to support our estranged students. This reward stands testament to the incredible work our Money@CampusLife team do and the generosity shown by our supporters, who've enabled us to be where we are today.
How will the money be used?
Every single penny will be used to purchase gifts for our estranged student community. With the restrictions on face-to-face contact, your donations will be used to purchase as many Amazon Christmas shopping vouchers as possible and sent to the students in the most identified need. These vouchers will be a lifeline for many of our estranged students this Christmas, not only giving them much needed support but ensuring that they know that they aren’t alone this Christmas’ If we receive enough donations where we go beyond our target, we will increase the value and/or quantity of the vouchers.
Our fabulous money@campuslife team at Swansea University (who do incredible work all-year-round to support our students through financial hardship via the Student Hardship Fund. Supporting carers, care leavers, young students with no living parents, carers and estranged students in difficult circumstances) will be Santa’s elves and make sure we can help as many students as possible.