Young carers

Information about higher education support for students who are young (adult) carers

Who is a ‘young carer’?

A young carer is someone under the age of 18, who helps, unpaid, look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition, misuses drugs or alcohol or is unable to care for themselves or anyone else. (The Childrens Society)

Young adult carers are young people aged 16–25 who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction. (Carers Trust)

Applying to university

The UCAS students with caring responsibilities page is full of information including:

  • Who is a carer?
  • young adult carers
  • what support is available to carers in higher education?
  • four tips for carers who want to go to university
  • where to get more information and help
  • Fran’s story
  • students with parenting responsibilities
  • other organisation links.

Support available for young (adult) carers as offered by some local higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs):

The table illustrates some of the support available at a few institutions. However the information below is not necessarily their complete package. Therefore we recommend that you check with individual institutions to discuss the range of support available for young carers.

Support Offered Oxford Brookes University University of Oxford Buckinghamshire New University University of Reading Abingdon & Witney College New College Swindon
Named support ✔️
The Compass toolkit includes interactive activities, quizzes, lesson plans, information and links designed to help young carers to make informed decisions about their future education and careers. The resources can be accessed by any student from any region.
Each department offers different support. For example the Biological Sciences department offer a £500 one-off bursary to those eligible. If you would like to chat with the student advice team then please contact them via this page Reading University Student Union
The college Equality and Diversity Report says, ‘specific support is offered to young carers and looked
after children and we liaise with other agencies to support students with safeguarding concerns’. The college work closely with Swindon Carers.
Inclusive support plan ✔️ ✔️
Bespoke tours for prospective young adult carer students. ✔️
Young carers bursary ✔️ ✔️
Study coach referral & regular study meetings ✔️
Special Late Cards (permits late arrival during first lesson due to caring role) ✔️
Independent study (when absence is communicated in advance) ✔️
Extensions on assignments ✔️
Laptop loans ✔️
Continued links with external agencies ✔️
Specific programme/pre-study support courses Reading Scholars (yr12)
HEI/FEC support page links Oxford Brookes University Abingdon & Witney College

Table correct as of August 2022


The UCAS website has information about the types of financial support you might be eligible for and suggested questions to ask when you visit a college and/or university. Access the page here: scholarships, grants and bursaries.

The Children’s Society also have information about how to manage your money and bills as a young carer. Access the page here: financial support for young people.


Take a look at our webinar below to find out about life as a university student and young carer. 


As a young (adult) carer you will already know that blending study and caring isn’t always easy but completing an apprenticeship is definitely NOT impossible and a choice that can have advantages.  ‘Action for Carers’ offer lots of tips and advice on their website:

Apprenticeships and caring

Take a look at our webinar below to find out more about ‘A day in the life of a young carer apprentice’.

Local Authority (LA)/Regional support:

Local councils and carers services are often able to support young carers in a number of different ways. The links for different services in each region can be accessed by clicking the links below:

  • Berkshire:

Windsor and Maidenhead Council,

Bracknell Forest Council,

West Berkshire, WokinghamReading Councils

TuVida: support for carers in Reading & West Berkshire & Wokingham

Slough Council

Slough Young Carers

  • Buckinghamshire:

Buckinghamshire Council

Young Adult Carers Bucks

  • Oxfordshire:

Oxfordshire County Council

Be Free Young Carers

Swindon Borough Council

Swindon carers

Young carers on tour!

This is a programme of events for young carers and young adult carers to visit different university campuses across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Swindon.  All transport is provided free of charge.

Details about the next event will be made available soon. In the meantime, why not take a look at the photos below from our recent young carers residential which took place in August 2022 at Buckinghamshire New University.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Testimonials from our Young Carers on Tour creative residential.

Know your rights!

Watch the recording below to find our about your rights as a young carer, delivered by Young Carers Development Trust.


Sidekick is a confidential helpline for young carers in the UK aged between 13 to 18, and up to 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities. Messages can be sent at anytime, about anything that’s bothering you as a young carer.

The opening hours are:

  • Monday – 9.30 am to 7.30 pm
  • Tuesday – 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
  • Wednesday – 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
  • Thursday – 12.30 pm to 7.30 pm
  • Friday – 9.30 am to 4 pm.

Young carers can text 07888 868 059, Email: or click the link below for further details.

You may also be interested in…

Termly Newsletter Sign Up