• Three students two standing togther and one on their own
20 Nov | Call to Action | News

Estranged Students Solidarity Week

21-25 November 2022 - This week we join the charity Stand Alone in their annual campaign known as Estranged Students Solidarity Week. The University of Lincoln’s Widening Participation Community of Practice have teamed up with the Eleanor Glanville Institute to raise awareness of family estrangement and promote the support available here to estranged students.

To be estranged means to have no, or limited, contact with one or more family members. Estrangement can occur for a range of reasons. Sometimes people are rejected by their families, for example, because of their sexuality or gender identity. Sometimes an individual chooses to stop contact with one or more family members due to abuse or neglect. Some students become estranged from family just because they choose to go to university against their family’s wishes.

Within our society, which places such value on family bonds, estrangement carries considerable stigma.  Recent news stories surrounding Meghan Markle’s estrangement from her father and siblings highlight this stigma and judgement. Students who experience family estrangement can face specific difficulties such as being unable to ask a parent to be a guarantor which can make securing university accommodation difficult. As we approach the Christmas vacation, a time traditionally spent in the company of family, the challenges of loneliness and isolation may also arise.

For students experiencing family estrangement, support is available. The University of Lincoln affirmed its commitment to estranged students by signing the Stand Alone Pledge in 2019.  Digital Student Life created a video based on research carried out with estranged students here at Lincoln. Our Student Support team have created a dedicated webpage detailing the support available.

To support this campaign, we’d be grateful if you could:

  • Have a look at the resources and events being offered by Stand Alone
  • Read this open letter from an estranged student
  • Help us to promote the support available to estranged students here at Lincoln by sharing this information with colleagues and students as appropriate
  • Social media users can show solidarity with estranged students and help to raise awareness by using the hashtag #withestrangedstudents in their posts.
  • For staff members who have personal experience of being estranged from their family the support offered by Stand Alone may also be useful to you. You can find out more by visiting https://www.standalone.org.uk/about/