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)

Young carers on tour!

This is a programme of events for young carers and young adult carers to visit different university campuses and employers across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Swindon and beyond.  All transport is provided free of charge. See below for the list of events which will be updated regularly throughout the year.


When? What? Where?
Saturday 17th February This campus visit aims to develop communication skills, as well as showing you what and where students study. Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe
Saturday 24th February Employer visit to Woburn Safari Park, where you will learn what it is like to be a zookeeper. Woburn Safari Park
Tuesday 2nd – Thursday 4th April Attend YCDT’s Young Carer’s Conference at UWE Bristol, and stay for two nights in local college accommodation. You will learn how to compare universities and their courses, whilst meeting other young carers. University of West England, Bristol

See the flyer below for more information. To sign up for any of our Spring 2024 events, please follow the link to the registration form here. 

If you have any questions, please contact:

Testimonials from our Young Carers on Tour creative residential.

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):

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 University of South Wales University of Creative Arts
Application Support ✔️
Named support ✔️ ✔️ (at Somerville College)
Inclusive support plan ✔️
Bespoke tours for prospective young adult carer students.
Young carers bursary ✔️ (OBU Young Carers Bursary) Each college has its own support team, so check the relevant college website for further information. ✔️ The School of Biological Sciences offer a £500 one-off bursary to those eligible.  ✔️ USW Young Carers Bursary
Study coach referral & regular study meetings
Continued links with external agencies  ✔️ (support to access Work Experience with GO Wales)
Specific programme/pre-study support courses ✔️ (A Priority group for selected subject taster days at Christ Church College)  ✔️ (A Priority group for Reading Scholars)  ✔️ (A Priority group for USW Summer School)
HEI support page links Oxford Brookes University  Somerville College, Oxford

(contact other colleges for further relevant information)

 Bucks New University  University of Reading  University of South Wales University of Creative Arts

Table correct as of September 2023.


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:

Young Adult Carers Bucks

  • Oxfordshire:

Oxfordshire County Council

Be Free Young Carers

  • Swindon

Swindon Borough Council

Swindon carers

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.