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It might come as a surprise to know that around nine percent of the student population here at UCL – or over 3000 people – self-define as having caring responsibilities for a minor or an adult.

Over the past year or so, we have pushed UCL to re-evaluate its treatment of student parents and carers; as a result of union pressure, a review has been launched to provide a series of recommendations for university management to implement in order to better support this demographic. We’ll be using the opportunity to push for better financial support and subsidised day care and sessional childcare nurseries, as well as regulatory changes, for example to ease the process for students to take interruptions for maternity or paternity leave.

We’ve already won a commitment to expand the nursery – but there’s far more to be done, and a number of us in the sabbatical officer team and looking at ways to launch a more comprehensive, grassroots campaign to really apply the necessary pressure to the university. If you would like to be involved, please do get in touch or look out for it in the union’s communications with you.

In addition, the union hosts an active Facebook group for students to meet, socialise and plan activities.

We also have nominations open for a part-time Officer for Students with Caring Responsibilities. This role is a voluntary, part-time position designed to support the student parents and carers community at UCL, from representation on committees, to organising and supporting relevant campaigns and hosting events for the community.

This post is supported by the full-time staff members and sabbatical officers at the union, and we are also looking into ways to support with the financial costs that may be required to arrange childcare provision in order to take part in officer activity. Please do consider running for this position, as the post is currently vacant but has a great deal of potential.

We also encourage you to contact one of the sabbatical officers if you have any feedback or issues you think ought to be raised relating to your caring responsibilities.

Our Welfare Officer, Aiysha, can be reached at wi.officer@ucl.ac.uk, Justine our Women’s Officer at w.officer@ucl.ac.uk and me at ps.officer@ucl.ac.uk.