Josh - supported by UWE Cares

Josh (not his real name) is a care leaver studying at UWE Bristol. Below, he shares his story about his childhood, coming to university and the support he received from UWE Cares.

I was placed in foster care aged ten

“For me, growing up had its difficulties. I was placed in foster care when I was ten after revealing to a supply teacher that I was being abused and beaten by my parents. The life that ensued wasn't pleasant. I had a tough time dealing with the situation, and lacked a role model and someone to show me the qualities expected of a young adult.

I had to double my efforts at school

"I enjoyed secondary school but had to double my efforts and work really hard because I missed a lot of school and was not at the academic level of my class mates.

"Despite my upbringing, I actually think having a 'chip on your shoulder' or a less than normal upbringing isn't a bad thing. It gives you a sense of self-drive and great desire to make something of yourself. I think that lacking school early on only makes you more determined to prove you're capable. I also think life is what you make it, you can either slump to the bottom or play the hand you've been dealt. 

I've had lots of support from UWE Cares

"On the whole, I didn’t have many concerns about coming to UWE Bristol. I had been a Royal Marine for five years but wanted a new challenge. I had to find out what my financial situation would be. Knowing I would receive a bursary from UWE Cares greatly eased the pressure of not having biological parents to rely on or support me.

"I have received lots of support from UWE Cares. I used the bursary to pay for accommodation deposits upfront. Without this, I would have found it difficult to pay for housing. I was given the opportunity to speak at an NNECL conference as a panel member and realised a lot is being done nationally to support care leavers to access university. It's nice to know someone has your back should you need help and that people really do care!

"Don't be afraid to make use of the UWE Cares service as it is here to help you. Yes, be independent and make good choices but if you do need advice, seek guidance from those who specialise in helping students who have experienced difficult circumstances like UWE Cares.” 

How UWE Cares can help

Find out about the UWE Cares package of support and how we can support carers, care leavers and estranged students.

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