Estranged, independent and foyer resident students

Over the years, we've helped support lots of students who are estranged from their families. How could we help you?

If you're estranged from your family then there's a range of support on offer at Liverpool John Moores University. In this video Phil Bakstad explains more. Phil is our dedicated member of staff for estranged students. 

Support for estranged students

If you're estranged from your family, there's a range of support we can provide:

Financial support

The John Lennon Imagine Award

A yearly bursary of a minimum of £1,000

The John Lennon Imagine Award is a non-repayable bursary, which might be available to you if you are estranged from your family and you choose to study at Liverpool John Moores University. Also, in some cases, the bursary may be available if you have lived in a Foyer or other supported housing scheme and you choose to study at Liverpool John Moores University.

This bursary is given to you in addition to the financial support you will receive from your local authority and any Student Finance you may be eligible for (your grants and loans). The John Lennon Imagine Award is available for each year of your course, on attending a yearly-update meeting. 

You will need to provide evidence of your status as an Independent Student. We can assist with what evidence you will need to supply to both your funding body and to the University. So if you are unsure, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Student funding – proving estrangement

For your funding body (for example, Student Finance England) to award you the appropriate amount of funding, most estranged students will be required to provide  evidence of their personal circumstances. This evidence will demonstrate that the estrangement is genuine and your circumstances are not likely to change in the foreseeable future. Typically, this can be a letter from a professional who has been aware of your circumstances, such as a teacher, college tutor, your GP, Support Worker or other professional person. Liverpool John Moores University can advise you about what evidence might be appropriate in your circumstances and can provide support in gathering such evidence.

Your funding body will normally ask that you prove your estrangement for each year of your course. Again, the University can support you with this. Just speak to our specialist staff within Student Advice and Wellbeing Services.

If you are granted independence on the basis of estrangement, your funding body will not take any parental income into account when assessing your eligibility for student funding.


365-day accommodation is available for you in Liverpool John Moores University partner accommodation, should you wish to access this. We can advise you about the type of accommodation that would be most suitable for you, so please contact us prior to making your accommodation application. We can also arrange for you to visit any partner accommodation you are interested in before you make your final decision. 

One-to-one support

We understand that you may not want, or need, any extra support when you arrive, and this might remain the case for the length of your studies. However, here is a guide on what support you could receive from Phil Bakstad, the dedicated member of staff for estranged students at Liverpool John Moores University: 

  • We will support you when you apply for student funding, including making an initial application and gathering appropriate evidence to support your application as an Independent Student, liaising with your funding body about your student finance and managing your money while at university 
  • We will work with you and any other supporting agencies (for example, your foyer or supported housing scheme) to ensure a smooth transition to university and, when necessary, we will liaise with them on your behalf
  • We will develop a package of support that suits your needs including support with Study Skills and a mentor, should you wish
  • We will provide support with academic issues including liaising with your academic department/course tutors
  • We will signpost you towards other Liverpool John Moores University services, such as the Graduate Development Centre and LiverpoolSU
  • We will help you to apply for additional sources of funding, such as the Student Support Fund and charitable trusts
  • We will be there if you need someone to talk to 

Frequently asked questions

Got a question? You might find the answer below. If not, please contact Phil Bakstad using the contact details at the bottom of the page.

Faq Items

How do I apply for support?

I'm estranged from my parents. I'm not sure if I want to live in student accommodation. What other options are available?

What current students think of our support

If you’re curious about what our students think of the support we offer, take a look at this video:

Contact the team

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Phil Bakstad using the form below or call us on 0151 231 3149.

Send us a message


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