Manifestos for Change

What is Manifestos for Change? Manifestos for Change is Stand Alone's new offering for student unions. After successfully working with colleges and universities to improve estranged student support through our Stand Alone Pledge, we felt it was time to include student unions in this important work, ensuring the estranged students and their issues are on the agenda of student representatives. By participating, student union officers and staff will work with Stand Alone to identify how their current provision helps estranged students, and where they might improve their support and activities across the four key areas outlined in our framework (coming shortly): welfare, wellbeing, representation and activities. We will keep in touch with participating SUs to support their progress.

Who are estranged students? Estranged students are students who have ceased contact with a key member (or members) of their family. There is information on definitions of estranged students at UCAS, Student Finance England, Student Awards Agency Scotland, Student Finance Wales, and Stand Alone.

However, you may also work with students who are experiencing other forms of estrangement (such as a mature parent who is estranged from their children or someone estranged from their spouse). While these students are not defined as estranged students for the purposes of financial support, they are still important to include in your student association/union's activities and campaigns.

Similarly, if you work with students under 18, some may be experiencing the early stages of estrangement.

Getting Started! If you are interested in participating in Manifestos for Change, use the framework to help assess how your current provision is beneficial to estranged students across the given area, and where you might want to work with Stand Alone to improve. This can be done between SU officers, staff and estranged students if you have a means of working with them at this stage. Stand Alone are also happy to support this process where required. Once you have an understanding of how your current provision works for estranged students, prepare to fill in the participation form below to outline which will form the basis for your Manifesto for Change.

Getting Involved! Having identified the strengths of current provision and some opportunities for growth, fill in the participation form. Stand Alone will work with you to finalise what has been submitted and form a Manifesto for Change. Manifestos are valid for two years, during which time Stand Alone will keep in touch to help share best practise and support your work, with a review taking place after the first year to explore the progress being made. If you require any assistance with this process email liam.mccabe@standalone.org.uk and we can arrange a meeting to discuss your ideas.

See which student unions are already involved

What else can SUs do to support estranged students? Student unions have several ways you can support estranged students. Being conscientious of certain holidays that can have an adverse effect on estranged students and signposting them to appropriate support services is a powerful way of showing them you understand and care about their experience. This can include:

Mother's Day/Father's Day. Given the difficulty of relationships between many estranged students and their parents, these events can bring back bad memories or draw estranged students' minds back to challenging relationships.                                                                                              Christmas and other cultural and religious holidays. Such occasions are often family focused, and estranged students likely see their friends and fellow students return to family homes for the festivities. This can be difficult, as it reminds estranged students of their own difficult relationships, and isolating if they find themselves alone for that period.

Stand Alone also fully encourages student unions to participate in Estranged Students Solidarity Week in November, where you can help raise awareness of estrangement, its effect on students, and get involved with national campaigns and events.

Student unions come in all shapes and sizes, so we encourage you to speak with your staff, officers, and students about what they'd like to see from you. Small and large student unions alike can use the Stand Alone website and post links to our resources, such as the podcast and the guide for estranged students. You can also signpost to other departments in your institution like the Student Support and Wellbeing area – or other groups like Estranged and Care Experienced Students.

What resources does Stand Alone have? We have resources on our Estranged Students Solidarity Week page which you may find helpful:

Thank you for your interest in the Stand Alone Manifestos for Change! We have created this page as a starting point for discussions in your student union, and to provide you with the resources you need to consider your current provision for estranged students. We appreciate all student unions work differently so there is no one size fits all guide to the support and advocacy you offer. As such, we hope our materials have something for everyone, we are confident that Manifestos for Change works for colleges and universities alike, across the nations of the UK, and Stand Alone are happy to help you figure out what works best for you and your students. We hope to hear from you soon!

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