Estrangement Week

Stand alone pledge

Estrangement Solidarity week 2022 - Monday 21st - Friday 25th November. The aim of this week is to raise awareness of estrangement and start discussion on how we can support students with difficult, or different, family backgrounds. This is open to all students, including those considering estrangement, are estranged, or wanting to find out more on how to support those who are. We also aim to raise awareness of the support on offer at the Guild.

The University is committed to supporting estranged students.

View the University Pledge

We have won an award! 2022

We are so pleased to announce that for the third year running we have been recognised for the work that has been done to support estranged students. This year The Stand Alone Pledge award is for innovation and creativity in supporting estranged students' emotional wellbeing. Particular interest was around the additional counselling support and 'Give it a Go' events which are free to estranged students. These initiatives focus support to enable students to continue studies and around creating community and belonging.

The Stand Alone Pledge Award 2022
The Stand Alone Pledge Award 2022
Exeter Students' Guild Advice team with Vice Chancellor Lisa Roberts.
Meeting Vice Chancellor Lisa Roberts to sign the new 2022 pledge and receive our award.

Estrangement and money, without the bank of mum and dad

Watch and read a case study about estrangement


The Guild and the University are working collaboratively together as 'Exeter Cares' to ensure that students with more complex situations, such as estranged or care leavers are supported. We have a dedicated support worker Claire, has supported many estranged students and is able to answer some of the most common questions people have.

Why do people become estranged from their families?

There can be lots of reasons, but often it is historic abuse, financial and emotional control, religion, violence, sexuality, gender identity - these can form many of the causes of family disagreements and subsequently why students will walk away or are turned away from home.

For these students the fear of, and reality of loneliness, isolation and financial hardship and not having a safe place to return to is always present.

1 in 5 people in the UK will at some point will struggle with family relationships.

Many of the students I support often say “I thought they loved me” or “why can’t they accept me as I am “, and “I am really frightened”.

How do we help?

Claire and the 'Exeter Cares' team, work alongside all these students helping with finances, accessing counselling, and supporting summer/Christmas accommodation throughout their degree and further to give them the stability they need to continue with their studies.

Sudden estrangements are the most traumatic and chaotic as wellbeing is paramount and financial implications need addressing urgently.

We are mindful that celebrations, festivities are never quite the same and the isolation is heightened, and the stigma never leaves them. We aim to provide a supportive, encouraging environment where students are accepted and valued. We have events and regular coffee mornings to provide opportunities for individuals to connect and to access additional University support such as intern placements.

We are so proud when a student who has had no family support graduates and succeeds is truly awe inspiring and I feel honoured to have been able to help them. We also recognise the smaller successes, and our students show us on a daily basis how resilient, strong and resourceful they are.

If you need more information on the support on estrangement, please to reach out for support via

Standalone is the organisation that supports estranged students