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Support for student carers

We are committed to supporting students with caring responsibilities.

Who is a carer?

Carers Trust defines a carer as "anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.”

Your caring role may be a short term commitment, for instance looking after someone following an accident, or it could be a long term responsibility. While caring can bring lots of positive and rewarding aspects, it can also bring some challenges, particularly alongside studying.

Juggling caring responsibilities with studying, possibly work and other commitments, can be challenging and is likely to put additional pressure on you. Caring may also have an impact on your financial situation, your own physical and mental health, your academic attainment (you may find yourself missing classes and deadlines), your relationships and social connections, your identity and your aspirations for the future.

The information on this page details the support we offer to carers studying at MDX, how to access it and who to contact at the University if you want further advice or guidance.

Your main contact

We realise that coming to university can be overwhelming, especially if you have caring responsibilities.

Your first point of contact for support is Carol Ferguson. She can tell you more about the support we have available to student carers at MDX and help you plan your academic studies alongside your personal commitments. Prospective students with caring commitments are also welcome to get in touch.

It can also be useful to let your personal tutor and your academic team know about your caring responsibilities. Doing so will allow you to plan your studies accordingly.

We recommend reading through the support available to you when you start university or when you become a carer. Even if you don't feel you need support right now, knowing it's there for when you do can be very reassuring.

A message from Carol

"I'm here to help you successfully combine and manage your caring duties and study and have the best experience possible at University.

If you have any questions or would like an initial chat about the support we could offer, please get in touch. I would love to hear from you."

  • Internal support and services

Self-care support

As a carer, you might find that your needs tend to come second but you also need to take care of you so you can be in the best position to provide caregiving services.

Make sure you're registered with a doctor (General Practitioner), that you're regularly engaging in activities that connect you with likeminded people, that you are keeping physically active, and that you're eating and sleeping well.

We have a number of useful self-care resources available to help you get started and use our #TeamMDX wellbeing toolkit to find ideas and tools to keep yourself well.

We also have a number of exclusively free general online wellbeing support apps and platforms for you to engage with.

Image shows female student playing with a black Labrador - one of the MDX help dogs

Carers CommunityImage shows Carers Community Logo

If you are looking for a free app to specifically provide you with information and support around caring, download Carers Community, a national app for carers.

Carers Community is a resource dedicated to supporting the tens of thousands of unpaid, informal carers across the UK. They aim to provide carers with a wide range of curated, safe, trustworthy and reliable sources of information and news as well as providing a community of like-minded people so that you can support each other.

Through topic-based groups they provide and link you to information that is relevant to you – so if you care for someone with dementia, there is a group for you.

Being a carer can be difficult, lonely, frustrating, rewarding, entertaining, demoralising and so many other things. The one thing being a carer isn’t, is simple. We hope that Carers Community will help you in your role.

Counselling and mental health

Managing caring responsibilities alongside other commitments can be challenging. Our Counselling and Mental Health team are available to support you to manage any challenges which might arise during your studies.

They're available through a call back service, where you can speak to a member of the team within 48 hours, and through self-referral.

Managing your studies

It's not uncommon for students to take time out to care for friends, partners or family. If you think this applies to you then we encourage you to speak to a member of your academic team who can work with you and the Progression and Support Team to discuss your options.

We also have further information around changes to your studies, interrupting or withdrawing on Unihub

Financial support

Speak to our Student Welfare Advice Team to see if there is any additional financial support which you could be entitled to.

Study support

We have a number of study support services to help you throughout your time with us including:

Library support

Every programme has a dedicated Librarian and Subject Liaison Librarians to ensure you have the resources you need. They can teach you how to use your resources and tools through in-class training, online chat and by offering one-to-one appointments on campus and on Zoom.

You can see what you have access to by looking at the My Subject – Library Guides. Just choose the subject and have a look.

MDXSU events and activities

MDXSU aims to make all activities accessible for students, including those with caring responsibilities.

This term, all their activity will be taking place online which means you can engage from the comfort of your own home. They're also working with student groups to support online events; ensuring activities are free, or at a minimal cost.

Whilst we all continue to work remotely, explore the MDXSU collection of student resources.

MDXSU Advice Service

Should you need any academic support throughout your time at University, MDXSU runs a free, independent Advice Service for all students studying at our Hendon campus.

We can support you in a range of academic issues and provide guidance on non-academic issues.

Speak to one of our Advisers

Image shows two female students standing next to a male student as they chat

Student communities

MDXSU has seven student communities who support different groups of students depending on their individual circumstances.

Our Student Parent & Carer Community, for example, is specifically for students who have parental, childcare or caring responsibilities whilst studying. This community can help you meet other students in similar circumstances and get your voice heard whilst influencing lasting change at Middlesex.

Find out more and sign up for free

  • External sources of support 

Barnet CarersImage shows Barnet Carers logo

Barnet Carers offers support to any adult in the Borough of Barnet who cares for another person. They can help you access the local services that are available to you and help support you in your caring role.

Speak to Carol Ferguson to make a referral into Barnet Carers and explore other support available to you, or if you prefer, you can refer yourself.

Being registered with Barnet Carers means that you will be provided with up to 12 months of one-to-one support to ensure that your support needs are being met on an ongoing basis.

Registering also means that you can access support such as the Emergency Card Scheme which will provide reassurance that those you care for will be looked after in the event that you are suddenly unavailable.

Complete an online Carers Needs Assessment or book a telephone Carers Needs Assessment to help you to develop a Support Plan to address your key needs.

Register as a carer

External Support

  • Carers Trust have lots of resources and advice on anything from legal support and knowing your rights, through to wellbeing and mental health
  • Hope Support offers online support for students with a close family member who has a serious illness. Amongst other things, they can offer advice on leaving home, living away, dealing with responsibilities, home visits and staying positive. Hope Support also offer fortnightly chat sessions. This can be a good way to meet other students who are experiencing similar situations to yourself. Read this support guide for more information
  • Which? Elderly care offers independent and practical advice for people who are caring for elderly parents or other relatives
  • Mobilise run virtual events for people with caring responsibilities, and have created a weekly planner with tips
  • The Mix have a variety of resources for young carers to use and refer to during COVID-19, as well as a crisis messenger if you need someone to talk to
  • Yacbook are an online community and resource space led by young carers, and have resources on how to look after yourself
  • Rethink Mental Illness have information and resources for carers of those with severe mental illness.
  • Further Support

    • Work & career

      Your rights in work (Carers UK) – guidance about your statutory rights as a working carer

      Employment rights (Working Families) – information to help you understand your rights at work

      Protection from discrimination (Carers UK) – if you are looking after someone who is elderly or disabled, the law – under the Equality Act 2010 – will protect you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities.

      Support in work (Carers UK) – as well as your statutory rights in work, there might be additional support you can access to help you juggle work and care.

      Boosting your skills (Carers UK) – taking on the challenge of a new course can be a great way to find an interest outside of your caring role, which is especially important for your sense of identity and to boost your skills and confidence.

    • Flexible working & work-life balance

      Flexible working for carers (Carers UK) – how flexible working could help you

      Carer Passport – can help to improve and embed identification, recognition and support for carers in the day-to-day life of an organisation or community.

      Balancing work and caring (PDF download, Working Families) – comprehensive and easy-to-read 44-page guide including your rights at work, finding & funding care, get your energy back, and useful contacts.

      Tips for negotiating flexible working (Working Families) – employees have a right to request flexible working, but there is no right to be given flexible working and employers can turn down requests if they have a permitted business reason.

      · Mental health & relationships

      You and Your Wellbeing - free online course (Carers UK) – designed to help you build strategies to maintain your physical and emotional wellbeing whilst caring.

      Coping with stress and depression (Carers UK) – guidance on support, self-help and treatment available

      Coronavirus guidance for carers (Carers UK) – regularly updated with the latest guidance

      Your relationships (Carers UK) – social relationships, you and your partner, and caring for a parent.

    • Physical health

      Let your GP know you’re a carer (Carers UK) – your GP (General Practitioner) and primary care team can provide you with invaluable support, advice and information.

      Register as an unpaid carer with your GP (Carers UK) – letter templates to help you register as a carer with your GP

      Flu vaccinations (Carers UK) – taking the seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and the person you care for from flu.

      Improving nutrition (Carers UK) – 6 out of 10 carers worry about the nutritional intake of the person they care for. Here are some practical tips and advice on improving nutritional intake, plus nutrition resources from Nutricia and Carers UK, and videos of carers’ real experiences of caring and eating well.

    • Practical & financial support

      Practical support (Carers UK) – getting care and support, managing someone’s affairs, planning for emergencies, etc.

      Financial support (Carers UK) – help with benefits, health costs, debt, household finances, pensions and NHS continuing healthcare

      Technology & equipment (Carers UK) – discover products and equipment that could help make life as a carer easier.

      Factsheets (Carers UK) – PDF downloads on things like carer’s allowance, attendance allowance, assessments and housing.

    • Helplines & local support

      Contact Carers UK – guidance for unpaid carers via telephone helpline or email

      Support where you live (Carers UK) – find local support and connect with carer groups in your area.

      Carers UK forum – a welcoming online community of carers where you can share what's on your mind, day and night, with people who understand.

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