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In celebration of National Care Leavers week we are sharing Unite Foundations “Guide for out loved ones” created by care experienced and estranged students in the All Of Us community.

This brilliant resource can be shared with loved ones to help explain what it is like to be an estranged or care-experienced person to take some of the load of you explaining everything yourself. We spoke to Ira, a care-experienced student working at the Unite Foundation, about what it is and why it is important.
The Guide for Loved Ones can be read online at

The idea for this guide came from a bad
experience I had with a loved one around my
21st Birthday and feeling isolated during the
Christmas period which followed.

I asked
around about a resource to help me help those
close to me understand the trauma and
difficult feelings I experience around special
occasions and the holiday period and found
that there wasn’t one.

This sparked the
beginning of this resource for loved ones who
want to understand and support their care-experienced or estranged loved one better!

Tina, care-experienced creator

Why did you decide to create the “Guide for Our Loved Ones” live: (Estranged & Care Experienced students)?

The guide was created because a student in our All Of Us community was finding life challenging last Christmas and was trying to explain what having no family/being from a different family background was like at that time of year. Turns out lots of care experienced and estranged students across the UK felt similarly and wanted some support in explaining their situation to their close friends and romantic partners all year round. So Tina Bhartwas came up with the idea of creating an accessible guide that estranged and/or care-experienced students could share with their loved ones (close friends, romantic partners, etc) to help explain to them what it is like being an estranged or care-experienced student.

What’s the aim of this guide and who is it for?

The aim of the guide is to take some of the load of care experienced and estranged students having to explain their background and experiences from scratch every time they want to share it with those whom they are close to. It also is a resource to give those loved ones tools to make them better at supporting care experienced and estranged people. We cover both estrangement and care experience as there is a lot of cross-over and many care leavers and people who have been in some kind of care arrangement also experience family estrangement.

What themes does this guide focus on and why are these particularly important for loved ones to be informed on?

The themes the guide touch on were all chosen by students . We touch on Day to day life at university or college, holiday periods and term breaks, special occasions and important life events, tips for conversations about estrangement or care experience, attachment styles and signposting and support.

Could you give some background on the Change Makers movement? How can people get involved or support this movement?

This guide was made by care experienced and estranged students in the All Of Us community, led by Tina Bhartwas (one of the students in the community), as part of our Change Makers movement.  The movement is a way in which any care experienced student at university or in some form of Higher Education can get support from the Unite Foundation to bring an idea of theirs to life that they think would benefit other students from a similar background. People can get involved by getting in touch with the Unite Foundation at [email protected] or checking out

Are there any other projects you run that you would like to share with our community?

Any care experienced students in Higher Education can join the Unite Foundation’s free community for students and recent graduates at

Another resource IMO created in 2022 that might help you, is our Practical Guide for finding discounts, grants, funding and career opportunities
Please keep an eye out this week for more care experience related posts!

BIG ANNOUNCMENT: This Friday, the 27th at 4.00pm, the new series of our IMO podcast is back! Expect open and honest conversations between Care Leavers with our new host Benita, a care experienced intern at the Children’s Commissioner’s office. More information to come!

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