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GCU Support for Carers

Here at GCU we recognise and celebrate the positive contribution that carers make to our society and the value they bring to the workplace. We understand that carers face additional challenges and barriers to accessing education and employment and are working towards creating a whole-institutional approach that recognises and supports our staff and student carers.
Below we have some information about the supports we have for our staff and student carers as well as general information about supports in the wider community.


Are you a carer? 

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

Support for Staff Carers


Staff carers are being invited to join the GCU Staff Carers Network

The Staff Carers Network was formed following interest from staff carers during Carers Week in June, when the University hosted a series of events and activities. It has already had some initial discussions to establish a remit and an outline of themes for meetings over the next year.
The network aims to:
• Act as a safe and confidential space for staff carers to share experiences and provide mutual support and advice
• Signpost staff carers to relevant information, events and organisations
• Be a platform for socialising to build and maintain a spirit of camaraderie
• Provide a voice for staff carers to inform University policy and practice.

The network meets every two weeks on MS Teams, with meetings alternating between a focus on a specific topic or theme, and a more informal, social gathering.
The University recognises that staff may have wide and varied caring responsibilities outside of work and may have to balance these with the demands of their GCU role, so the network is a key part of our commitment as a Carer Positive ‘Engaged’ employer to ensure that staff carers at GCU are supported and valued.
A carer is someone who provides unpaid care by looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner, or someone who needs extra help as they get older. It isn't someone who volunteers or is employed to provide support.
To join the network, or for more information on our work on staff carers, contact Adrian Lui, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor:

Support for Student Carers

GCU works in partnership with Carers Trust Scotland who have helped us to understand the challenges experienced by student carers. We are proud to have achieved the ‘Going Higher for Student Carers’ Award, which recognises the work we do to support student carers.
If you are a carer considering applying to the University or you are already registered as a student, please get in touch by emailing Your email will be picked up by the named contact person for student carers who can provide you with more information about the supports available. If you are unsure whether you are a carer, please get in touch and we can discuss your individual circumstances and help you to access support.

Our named contact person for student carers is Christina Kelly, Student Wellbeing Adviser, who is based in the Student Wellbeing Service and can help you to make links with the other teams within the service if required. The Student Wellbeing Service will not share any information about you or your engagement with our service without your permission.

The University has a Student Carer Policy that details the rights and responsibilities of students, staff and the university in relation to student carers.

The GCU Student Wellbeing Team have also produced a leaflet outlining support for Student Carers at GCU. You can also find out more about the experiences of our student carers, at our Student Carers Stories webpage.

What support can GCU offer?

Our student wellbeing adviser, Christina Kelly, is a point of contact for student carers throughout their time at university. Christina is happy to be contacted by prospective students and applicants as well as current students, and can support you in a range of ways:

Applicants are advised to get in touch early so that they can find out about pre-entry supports and opportunities to apply for scholarships.

Christina can provide practical and emotional support to student carers throughout their time at GCU. She is happy for students to contact her at any time, or can also discuss setting up a more regular wellbeing check-in with individual students. We would also recommend signing up to the Student Wellbeing newsletter.

Christina can offer advice, signposting and referrals to other services and resources within GCU and externally. Please visit the Student Wellbeing webpages to find out more about the supports and resources available.

Christina can help you to create a Carers Plan. This document will formally verify that you are a carer and provide a way of communicating with your department about how your caring role might impact on your studies. The Student Carer Plan also provides an opportunity to request flexibility to help you balance your caring role with your studies. Some examples of flexibility that may be offered are:

  • Recognising the need to arrive late or leave early in order to place your cared for person(s) in appropriate daytime care
  • Agreeing periods of authorised absence and making arrangements for you to catch-up on lectures/tutorials missed for reasons relating to caring responsibilities to ensure that you are not at an academic disadvantage
  • Requesting advance notice of timetables where possible to allow you to make necessary alternative care arrangements and recognising that you may not be able to attend academic activities in the event of late changes to timetables
  • Ensuring that you have adequate opportunity to make up missed time e.g. through access to any missed materials, or rescheduling of practical activities
  • Taking account of caring responsibilities on courses which require an external placement.
  • If viable, consideration of a transfer to part-time study (Please note that international students in the UK with a Tier 4 General Student Visa are not permitted to change to part-time study).


The process of getting a Student Carer Plan is:

  1. Email or to request a meeting.
  1. You will be invited to a confidential 1:1 meeting to discuss your caring role and how this impacts on you at university. You will also be advised about other supports available at GCU and from external providers.
  1. Christina will draft a Student Carer Plan (see attached paperwork) and send it to you to check over before anything is shared with your department. No confidential information about your caring role will be included in the plan; this will only provide information about the impact on your learning and engagement with university and advise what the department could do to support you.
  1. The Carer Plan is then shared with your personal tutor/year leader who will advise what they are able to do to accommodate your needs. Please be aware that academic departments may be limited in what flexibility they are able to offer, e.g. you still have to meet the learning requirements of the programme/professional bodies that oversee your programme.
  1. You can update your Carer Plan at any time if your circumstances change.


Christina is also happy to support students to participate in activism to raise the visibility of student carers and help you to have your voice heard. Please get in touch if this is something you would be interested in getting involved with.

At GCU Students' Association there is an a representation group for Student Carers. The Student Carers' Group exists to represent the interests of all Student Carers studying at GCU. The Student Carers Officer with GCU and GCU Students' Associations to enhance the student experience of students with caring responsibilities.

The officer team can be contacted at . Find out more by joining the group at GCU Students' Association

GCU Students' Association Student Carers Group

At GCU Students' Association there is an a representation group for Student Carers

The Student Carers' Group exists to represent the interests of all Student Carers studying at GCU.

The Student Carers Officer with GCU and GCU Students' Associations to enhance the student experience of students with caring responsibilities.

The officer team can be contacted at and find out more by joining the group at GCU Students' Association

The Student Carers Officer 2020-21, Abbie Stone, recently participated in an interview with the University's Carers Contact Christina Kelly. You can read a transcript of the interview.

GCU Students' Association are currently looking for a new Student Carers Officer! You can find out more at the GCU Students' Association Webpage.

GCU Carers and the Common Good Award

At GCU, we recognise the incredible contribution that unpaid carers make to individuals and society. We believe that the role of a carer supports the development of skills and attributes that are valued within communities. Therefore we recognise and reward this informal learning through The Common Good Award. To find out more about this award, please e-mail with your name and student number and someone will get back to you with more information about how to sign up.

Student Carers Support on the Common Good Podcast

Our Student Wellbeing Adviser and institution lead and contact for Student Carers spoke on the Common Good Podcast about the support available for student carers at GCU. This is available on Soundcloud and Spotify, and through our Student Carers Podcast Transcript

Funding for Student Carers

SAAS have created this document specifically for Student Carers to advise on what funding might be available to you.

You can also speak to our Student Funding Team who can advise on what funds could be accessible for you.

Some student carers may be able to claim Carers Allowance. See the section on ‘Who can claim Carers Allowance’ on this helpful Carers UK factsheet.

Events for Student Carers

Glasgow Caledonian University host a number of events for our student and staff carers throughout the academic year. 

We are in the process of establishing plans for the Carers events below and would love to hear your suggestions!

Carers Parliament – 4th – 7th October

Carers Rights Day – 25th November 2021

Young Carers Day of Action – 16th March 2022

Carers Week – 7 – 13th June 2022

Scottish Young Carers Festival - August 2022

The GCU Wellbeing Team also offer a range of different groups and workshops to students and staff at Glasgow Caledonian University to enhance their mental health and wellbeing. Find out more at our Webinars and Online events webpage.

Hearing your experiences

Throughout the year the Student Wellbeing Service work both across the University and with external partners to gather the experiences of student carers to gain a better understanding of your needs whilst at University. Please see below for ongoing research projects and outcomes from previous research projects.

Student Carers Stories

Feedback from student carers has indicated that it would be helpful to include student carer stories on our web pages to help illustrate their experiences. If you would be interested in sharing your story, please go to our Student Carers Stories webpage.

Student Carer Officer Survey

Our Student Carer Officer, Abbie, has been working with Carers Trust Scotland’s Young Adult Carer Advisory Group. Over the past 8 months, this group of young adult carers has been planning lots of fun and informative events to reach as many people as possible. This year's theme is "protecting young carers futures" and is focusing on helping young carers to overcome barriers to getting to university and other positive destinations,.

Abbie would like to hear from student carers to get an idea of what would have been helpful when transitioning to university.

Abbie has created an anonymised form so that the voices of student carers can inform this campaign and improve support for carers throughout university.

All questions are optional so you can write as much or as little as you want.

Carers Trust Scotland Covid-19 Experiences Research Outcomes

Carers Trust Scotland has conducted a survey of young carers (aged 12 to 17) and young adult carers (aged 18 to 25) in Scotland to find out how they have been impacted by Coronavirus.

The findings are important and represent the only national base of evidence on how young carers and young adult carers in Scotland have been impacted by Coronavirus. 

The results are extremely concerning. They show increases in stress, and a steep decline in mental health among young carers and young adult carers. They also highlight how the pandemic and lowdown has negatively impacted on young carers education.

Here are some headline findings:

  • 45% of young carers and 68% of young adult carers in Scotland say their mental health is worse as a result of Coronavirus
  • 71% of young carers and 85% of young adult carers in Scotland who responded to the survey were more worried about the future since coronavirus
  • 58% of young carers in Scotland say their education is suffering as a result of Coronavirus
  • 74% of young carers and 73% of young adult carers in Scotland who responded to the survey say they feel less connected to other than they did before the pandemic.

You can find out more about the survey and its findings by visiting the Carers Trust website. the Carers Trust have also produced a poster with key findings from their research. 

Student Carers at GCU can receive support from the Student Wellbeing Service, the Wellbeing Adviser who is the named contact for Student Carers at the University, or from external support services detailed below. 

Feedback During Summer 2020

During 2020 we asked our Student Carers to tell us more about their experiences of lockdown and the impact of Covid19. We have collated their responses below: 

Impact of Covid 

  • 87% said it made it more challenging
  • 6% said it made it a bit easier
  • 6% said there was no impact
"Covid-19 has meant I don't have the same help from others (family, friends, nursery for childcare) due to lockdown measures. Getting time to study in peace has been impossible.
Having to break lockdown rules to see how my gran is doing as I worry what she’s up to when I’m not there
The flexibility of distance learning has been helpful and there has been no pressure to be on campus
I have found myself being more stressed as I am now worrying about caring and earning money but if I earn money I put my gran at risk. 
Have a flurry of assignments, But the deadlines have not changed. The impact of caring for kids and one with special needs whilst preparing them for P1 is not considered at this point
Found it extremely difficult to manage coursework/assessments whilst at home and being unable to "switch off" between caring duties and university
It's made things more challenging"

What would help under a blended learning model?

"I feel this would help as I wouldn’t have to rush to get into university everyday as the travel can be quite stressful after getting everyone at home organised. So blended learning will help with stress level
I think being online is a great help as it means I am able to care while listening into lectures… so if I missed any I would be able to go back into them and listen at more convenient date
As a student nurse I am to attend placement all year (full-time hours) and I just don't know if this is going to be possible.
Acknowledgement from the department about the fact that I am a primary carer for a special needs child.
Having access to documents that are read to you, providing students with software like Read and Write which reads documents, converts to audio etc. 
Flexible timetables for parents and Carers that don’t require a doctor’s note
More personal support"

General Comments about Support 

"Time is always an issue and life commitments vary at short notice due to health changes and appointments for the people I care for. I often have little to no control of when I will be needed at short notice. Allowing carers to spread out some coursework over the summer would help as full time uni is exhausting and then you have all this time during the summer. Even giving essay assignments out a few months prior to the start of term so that they could be completed early would be fine or letting us complete them later.
I think you already do a really good job
Fully online flexible learning would be ideal if it was well designed but this isn't possible due to the type of course I'm studying as it has a large practical element.
Just that I would endorse 1) ongoing and permanent option of distance learning, 2) proactive training/education of academic teaching staff on what caring involves and what it costs students emotionally, socially, physically, psychologically, financially. 3) anti-discrimination education re stigmatising carers and people with unseen disabilities or health conditions.
GCU has been so supportive and encouraging- the academic staff, finance staff and Christina Kelly. There is so many options available, it is so encouraging just knowing it’s there.
I wish lecturers and guidance would take the carers statuses more seriously. Although I have a carers assessment in place it isn't taken seriously.
Promote the support available more as I wasn’t aware of the support for a while
Wanted to thank university for help they gave me last year"

External Support

GCU work closely with external partners to enhance the experiences of student carers. Below you can find some information regarding some online mindfulness sessions with our partners at East End Community Carers, and some research from Carers Trust Scotland into the experiences of student carers during Covid-19. 

New online module for Scottish universities supports student carers.

Carers Trust Scotland and The Open University in Scotland have joined forces to help improve support to thousands of student carers in Scotland, who are studying alongside providing unpaid care for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

Carer Aware is a new online training module which has been developed by Carers Trust Scotland and The Open University in Scotland with funding from The Scottish Funding Council. The module will help university staff to better understand the challenges faced by many student carers and provides guidance on how to improve support for these students at university.

Helpful Guides

HOPE have created this fantastic guide for students who are supporting ill or disabled family members. It is written by young people and offers tips for students in similar situations.  

The Open University offers these free online modules for carers and for managers supporting carers in employment.

Carers Trust Scotland

Carers Trust Scotland is the largest provider of carers support services in Scotland. GCU has been working in partnership with Carers Trust Scotland for the past few years to help us work towards the Going Higher Award and ensure we are doing our best to support student carers. Find out more about their research and the Going Higher Award here:

Find out more about the Going Higher Award that GCU achieved in 2017 and what we must continue to do to ensure good practice. 

Find out how you can support the Carers Trust’s work to support student carers in Scotland – this includes useful information about how students and campaigners can get involved.

To find out more about what they do, please visit their webpages.

Carers Scotland

Carers Scotland can help by giving advice, information and support. Their webpages are a great resource for information.


Mind work to ensure people look after their mental health. They have local carer support groups that can be a huge help for people. Visit these webpages for up to date information.

Carer Services

Carers UK and the Carers Trust have directories which can help you find out what services are available in your area. 

Here are some examples of carer support services. We will continue adding to this section – please let us know if you would like to see a particular service listed here.


Carers of West Dunbartonshire

Carers of West Dunbartonshire provide a number of resources to support carers. Support includes advocacy work, emotional and financial support, learning opportunities and more. There is also a Carers of West Dunbartonshire Introduction Booklet which outlines the support offered available. 

GCU's contact for Student Carers, Wellbeing Advisor Christina Kelly, participated in an interview with the Carers of West Dunbartonshire. To find out more you can view the interview online.


Glasgow East End Community Carers

Working in partnership with others, Glasgow East End Community Carers empower carers by providing them with support and resources to improve their quality of life and develop the skills necessary to become more confident in their caring role.



North Lanarkshire Carers Together

North Lanarkshire Carers Together aim to make a positive difference to the lives of carers in North Lanarkshire through the provision of information alongside our carer representation and campaigning work. 



Lanarkshire Carers

Lanarkshire Carers is a resource for carers across Lanarkshire to access information, advice and a range of direct support services. Working with and for carers, Lanarkshire Carers has a highly skilled and experienced team. They have centres in both Hamilton and Airdrie, supplemented by Carer Support Workers who operate from within locality social work teams and outreach venues across Lanarkshire.

Which? Elderly Care

Which? Elderly Care is a source of free and independent information and advice on care choices for older people across the UK. It's a not-for-profit branch of Which? and will always be completely free to use. 

Glasgow Health & Social Care Partnership

Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership provides a range of community health and social care services for children, adults and older people within Glasgow City. Some services cover the entire NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Board area. The services are either directly provided by the Partnership or purchased by the Partnership from another provider/contractor of community health and social care services.

You can find more information on how to:

There is also information for carers on the Glasgow website or the carers area of Your Support Your Way Glasgow.

The National Wellbeing Hub

The National Wellbeing Hub for the health and social care workforce has been launched. This includes resources for unpaid carers. This is a ‘front door’ to the wide range of support and wellbeing resources available in Scotland.

Housing Options Scotland

Housing Options Scotland can offer excellent support in this are for those looking to secure appropriate, secure housing (aimed at disabled people, older people and veterans).

Young Scot: Young Carers Package,Carer's Allowance and the Young Carers Grant

Find out how to apply for the Young Carers Package, Carer's Allowance and the Young Carers Grant. Hear stories from other young people on their experience of being a carer and get loads of info on caring for someone.

Aye Feel

Find information about how to look after your emotional wellbeing, support from organisations around Scotland and tips on how to promote a positive mindset at Young Scot's Aye Feel webpages. Check out the #AyeFeel tag on social media for the latest updates.

Shared Care Scotland – Short Breaks in Strange Times Directory

To help carers and their families have some time-out from their caring routines while other supports may not be available, Shared Care have pulled together a collection of ideas, resources and activities which we are calling – ‘Short Breaks for Strange Times’.  These include everything from online courses, virtual museums, exercise programmes, read-alongs, and websites for children and young people, as well as support services that are delivering online.

Information for carers using NHS services

the NHS have dedicated online resources with information for carers using NHS Services.

Lanarkshire Carers: Wellbeing Library

Lanarkshire Carers have created an online Wellbeing Library with self-care videos. These short videos are designed to give you a short break away from your caring role and to help you cope better with life as a carer. These are particularly helpful when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Make sure you take the time to look after yourself.