Oxford student Chloe Pomfret with the Radcliffe Camera in the background
Oxford student Chloe Pomfret with the Radcliffe Camera in the background

Student blog: Estranged Students Solidarity Week

Chloe Pomfret is a first year Human Scientist at St Catherine's College. 

This week (27 November to 1 December) is Estranged Students Solidarity Week, and Chloe has written about her experience at Oxford so far, and the support available.

Hi! I’m Chloe (@chlopomfret), a 1st year Human Scientist at St Catz! 
I've been estranged since I was 16. Since it is estranged students solidarity week, I'd like to share the support offered at Oxford for estranged students and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation! While Oxford and Student Finance often use various technicalities to define estrangement, I consider it simply as those studying without the support of their family. There are many different reasons why someone ends up estranged from their family, and no matter how long you have been estranged, it is incredibly difficult.
Getting through an Oxford degree is hard enough, but doing so while estranged is certainly commendable.
Oxford has signed The Stand Alone pledge, meaning they guarantee to provide the following: a vacation residence guarantee if needed, a £3,000 a year Care Experienced and Estranged Student Bursary (CEESB) for UK undergraduates, no cap on the number of counselling sessions you can have, and a dedicated estranged student contact.
In addition to this, the legendary Class Act campaign holds socials for estranged and care-experienced students and has campaigned for greater support here at Oxford. Also, check out 93% Club Oxford to meet others from a similar background! @thisisusatuni is a charity separate from Oxford, hosting meet-ups for estranged and care-experienced students and offering a community to meet others online!
If you are a UK undergraduate and are struggling with finances, please do apply for the CEESB! This can help you pay for essentials like vacation residence and food. If this isn’t enough, every college has funding available to support students experiencing financial difficulties and there is also the central Oxford Financial Assistance schemes that you can apply to.
Oxford Class Act created a financial guide outlining the financial support offered at Oxford and how to access this! Class Act also have an estranged and care experienced officer you can reach out to for support! Your college can also support you financially and with any welfare issues you have. If this doesn’t help, you can also reach out to the staff at Oxford SU, or you can always pop me a message!
Finally, oxlove to all my fellow estranged students here at Oxford.