Care Leavers - student experiences

Don't just take our word for it

On this page you'll find quotes from past and current students about their experiences of the Care Leavers' Service and of the Care Advisory Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) group, along with a couple of films we've been involved in making with looked after young people and care leavers.

SSTAR Awards

Care Leaver Support Worker Nadine Johns won an UPSU SSTAR (Student and Staff, Teaching and Representation) Award for Outstanding Support Staff of the Year. Voted for entirely by students, the award recognises staff members who have made an exceptional difference to students’ experience at the University. Nadine received four nominations. 

Care leaver student experience - Cheri Duffett

I got help and support with my course. I had an enabler to help me with taking notes. This wouldn’t have been made possible without the Care Leavers' Service.

Cheri is now part-owner in a contract packaging and distribution business, as well as working for a teaching agency allowing her to teach part time.

Edward Larter, BED Primary Education Computing and ICT

The care leavers service has supported me though the transition into university life. This support means that I have made more friends through the CAKE group and am enjoying my time at university.

One minute, four stories, one life

In March 2014 we supported a small group of young people in care to showcase their everyday lives through a short film they created and produced themselves.

Facilitated by film maker Allister Gall, it aims to give an insight into the lives of the young people we support.

Tectona voyage

During the summer of 2014 and 2015 care leaver students took part in an adventure sailing voyage aboard the Tectona.

Watch the film about their experience.

Student comments

"For students from a stable background, family and friends support the transition into university but for a care leaver this support can be non-existent. The CAKE group provides this. Students make the decision about how much they engage in CAKE, some for initial guidance and then not again, and for some it’s an invaluable source of support throughout University. It provides a safe place to share experiences. What makes it work is the support and guidance from both staff and students, the more students share experiences the more staff understand the difficulties in a care leavers life. For me the CAKE meetings are the only place that I have shared my experiences while at University. Personally hearing stories from others inspires me to work towards enabling more looked after young people go onto university."
“Within the CAKE meetings you are able to meet people that are in the same situation and going through the same journey as you. You are part of a team so if you have any problems, queries or just need a simple chat then you can get hold of them easily by email, making an appointment or by popping up to the office if its urgent. As well as this within the CAKE meetings you are given the opportunity to hear about opportunities within the University, also information that could make your experience at University easier and smoother. Also at these meetings you will make new friends including students that have been part of these meetings for previous years that can help you with any queries."
“What I like most about CAKE is the friendly warm inviting environment. CAKE enables me to speak to other people in a similar situation as myself about issues that I maybe having, this enables me to feel part of a community and has allowed me to settle into University life much better. I also like the friendly relaxed environment in the monthly meetings as it makes the meetings a pleasure, this is greatly helped by the way that it is run in such a way that everything is fun.”

Care leavers - student experience

The care leaver support officer is genuinely the most helpful person I have ever met, you'll never know how much it means to me that you've helped so much. Thank you!

Our students appreciate the help we give them.

Students based at other sites

If you're a Plymouth University student at Peninsula Allied Health Centre (PAHC) at Marjon, Somerset College in Taunton, or the Knowledge Spa in Truro you can get in touch with us by using the Plymouth contact details. 

We may be able to offer a face-to-face appointment at your place of study.