Care leavers and estranged students, Managing your money, Student Finance, Student housing advice

Meet Paula, the key contact for care leavers and estranged students

Paula, our dedicated contact for care leavers and estranged students, gives a warm welcome to new and returning students and explains the support available…

My name is Paula Barker and I’m the dedicated contact for care leavers and estranged students at Cardiff University. I’m based in the Advice and Money Team within the Graduate Centre (3rd floor) at the Students’ Union (walk up the stairs of the Students’ Union on Park Place and the entrance is to the right). If you disclosed that you were a care leaver on your UCAS application, then you’ve most probably heard from me a few times by now. If you didn’t disclose, or if you are estranged and haven’t had the opportunity to disclose, please do get in contact with me. My e-mail address is or my phone number is 029 2087 9371.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to welcome all new and to say welcome back returning students!

My role within the university is very unique as I am the dedicated first point of contact for any student who has been estranged from their families. This could mean that you have been officially through the care system, or if the estrangement happened later in your teens, you might not have had any dealings with Social Service whatsoever.

Some of the things I can help with are:

  • Support with applying for student funding, including making an application and liaising with your funding body if there are any problems
  • Assist you in managing your money while at university
  • Support with academic related issues including liaising with your academic department / course tutors
  • Assist with any housing issues: finding accommodation, problems with landlords etc
  • Sign-posting towards other Cardiff University services
  • Applying for additional sources of funding such as the Financial Contingency Fund and charitable trusts
  • Or simply just someone to talk to if you need to


A reminder about the Care Leaver Bursary

If you have applied for the Care Leaver Bursary, then I will be in contact soon to let you know when the cheque is ready for you to collect. For those of you who haven’t applied for the bursary, I would encourage you to do so.

The eligibility criteria:

You must be a full-time undergraduate student, started your course in September 2012 or later and be eligible to receive funding as a “home” student. You also must have a recent history of being in care or estranged:


  • having been in Care for  6 months from the age of 14 or
  • having been in Care for 3 months from the age of 16 or
  • have been irreconcilably estranged from my parents or guardians between the age of 16 and leaving school or FE College (these will be considered on a case by case basis)


  • have been in care/estranged in the last 10 years

The value of the award is £3,000 and is usually paid: £1,000 in the first year, £750 in each subsequent academic years and an additional £500 in the final term of your degree, if you are on a 3-year course. All you need to do is complete the application form that’s available on the intranet and include evidence of your care leaving/ estrangement status. Alternatively, give me a call to discuss your situation and I can e-mail you an application form.


See our video: ‘Support for care leavers and estranged students studying at Cardiff’

Contact me

If you want any further information please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me:


Telephone: 029 2087 9371.


Aiden from Voices from Care has been in touch and issued the following invitation:

Voices From Care Cymru are holding their second coffee afternoon on 18th of October at the Little Man Coffee Shop in Cardiff ( Ivor House, Bridge Street, Cardiff, CF10 2EE). This will take place between 2pm and 4pm.

We are inviting all care experienced young people who are at university to come along for afternoon coffee. This aims to provide a social space for students, while offering advice and support and introducing Voices From Care Cymru.

Voices From Care Cymru is a charity who work with care experienced young people from across Wales. Voices From Care Cymru offers a wide range of services and support to care experienced young people including:

  • Opportunities to Influence the care system in Wales
  • Opportunities to participate in activities and events with their care experienced peers
  • Getting involved in youth forums
  • Accessing advice and support
  • Travelling across the UK
  • And much more!


The School of Social Sciences has also been in touch:

Care leavers and Estranged Students in the School of Social Sciences,

I am Rhiannon Evans, and I am a senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences. I am interested to see if students in the school who are care leavers or estranged would look some additional provision or support. This might be a regular coffee mornings with other students who are care-leavers or estranged, but ideas are welcome. Please get in touch with me at Please note that all names will be kept confidential and will not be shared with any other staff or students.


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Best wishes,

Paula, Advice and Money Team.

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including:Advice & MoneyCareers & EmployabilityCounselling, Health & WellbeingDisability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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