Widening Access Initiative (Retention and Success) – Commendation
The LOTUS Project (Linking Opportunities To University Support) was set up in 2015/16 to enhance and raise awareness of the support that exists at Manchester Metropolitan University for students estranged from their families orwith caring responsibilities. Membership of the group comprises staff from widening participation, student financial support, Student Union advice centre, careers and employability and academic staff. Research from Standalone, a national charity supporting estranged young people, revealed Man Met has more estranged students (as defined by Student Finance England) than any other institution in the UK (225 in 2014/15). Through the LOTUS group, and in consultation with students, Man Met has introduced a range of initiatives to identify and support estranged students in partnership with Standalone. The project has worked with students who are balancing their responsibilities as carers alongside their studies, to identify ways of supporting them whilst at university. The project has also built on the existing good practice with young people from a care background and care leavers to produce a programme of bespoke interventions.