Dr Richard Simpson MSP supports student carers Going Higher in Scotland

Dr Richard Simpson MSP is backing a new campaign to recognise and help students who are balancing higher education with unpaid caring for a loved one or friend, who due to illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Carers Trust Scotland’s new Going Higher in Scotland campaign is calling on universities in Scotland to provide more support to unpaid student carers. There are currently no national records of how many student carers there are in higher education – they are a hidden group.

Research published by Carers Trust has shown:
• Half the days spent at college or university were affected because of caring. This could be coming in late, leaving early or absence for the whole day
• Young adult carers are four times more likely to drop out of college or university than their peers
• Two in five juggled paid employment on top of their studies and caring responsibilities, suggesting financial support was not sufficient.

With Going Higher in Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland is asking universities to:
Identify the number of student carers attending their university
Support all student carers throughout their education to ensure they maintain good mental health, complete their course and achieve the best grades possible
Report on student carer progress in the institution to showcase the university’s achievements.

Going Higher in Scotland aims to make universities and student bodies more aware of the carers studying with them so they can ensure they’re providing appropriate support when needed and helping the carer achieve their potential. Carers provide an essential service to society but often face difficult choices when trying to juggle studying, work and their caring responsibilities. Higher education can help carers improve their circumstances and life chances, and they shouldn’t be disadvantaged because of their caring commitments.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“I am pleased to support a campaign which puts student carers first. Carers should not be denied the opportunity to go into higher education because of their responsibilities at home.

“I hope that Universities across Scotland will agree with me that it is vital to provide the support needed for people who deliver unpaid care, to look after their loved ones, and implement the recommendations made by Carers Trust Scotland.

“I plan to raise awareness by promoting the campaign on my social media platforms and support Going Higher in Scotland further by signing a parliamentary motion lodged by my colleague Jayne Baxter MSP, acknowledging the launch of the campaign.”

Florence Burke, Carers Trust’s Director for Scotland, said: “Carers who have the opportunity and ability to go into higher education should not be negatively impacted because of their caring responsibilities. It’s time for student carers’ voices to be heard. The Going Higher in Scotland campaign wants to see student carers being put at the forefront of the higher education agenda in Scotland.”

Further information:

Lindsay Clydesdale, PR & Communications Manager, Carers Trust Scotland – 07791 230 261: lclydesdale@carers.org

Notes for Editors

About Carers Trust Scotland

• Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
• In Scotland, we are the largest provider of comprehensive carers support services, reaching around 40,000 adult carers and more than 3,500 young carers from all groups and communities, through a unique network of independent carers centres and young carers services (Network Partners) throughout Scotland.
• We work with these Network Partners to improve support, services and recognition for carers.
• There are an estimated 30,000 young adult carers in Scotland but we believe that there are thousands more who are hidden carers and are not being supported by services.
• For more information visit www.carers.org/scotland and http://www.carers.org/goinghigher