Alice Lundy, a sociology student at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), has used her time at university to develop and promote the opportunities and support available for future disabled students.

Alice Lundy, aged 20, is in her final year of a sociology degree at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU).

Alice has Dystonia, a neurological condition which causes muscle spasms and contractions. The condition means she needs to use a walking frame or wheelchair.

Having studied A-levels, Alice discovered the support available at university for disabled students when a member of staff from CCCU gave a talk at her sixth form. Alice was told about learner support plans and the Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA).

Alice says, “I’ve always wanted to study sociology at university, but I thought my disability could have affected my ability to go because I didn’t know if I could do the independent living side of it.”

The DSA fund has enabled her to access specialised equipment for her disability. She says, “It’s fantastic to be able to access that and be on a level playing field with your peers.”

She’s now sharing her knowledge of disability as a SEND PP student ambassador with the Kent and Medway Progression Federation (KMPF), as part of a project funded through Uni Connect.

The project, which launched in the summer of 2022, is designed to raise awareness of the support on offer to disabled students at university, in partnership with KMPF’s four partner universities: the University of Kent, the University of Greenwich, Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) and the University for Creative Arts (UCA).

Alice is part of a small team of SEND PP ambassadors who support the creation and production of disability-related materials and resources for young people across Kent and Medway.

She completed an internship in the summer to put together a report about maximising opportunities at university.

More recently, the team has produced a bespoke guide to Higher Education, designed specifically for disabled students.

Alice says, “The guide will give disabled students an easy way of finding information. They won’t have to spend hours searching. It’s all there for them, in one place. If I’d have known universities were as supportive as they are when I was at school, it would have been so helpful.”

Alice is now proactively contacting schools about going in to do student talks with a specific focus on disabled students’ support.

She says, “I’m keen to make sure other students know that support is there. The earlier you apply, and sort out DSA and learning support plans, the better.”

She adds, “I love what I do, and being able to help students who potentially don’t even know they need support – such as those with mental health conditions or a learning disability like dyslexia. They need to have the confidence to say, ‘This is me, this is what’s going on – I can still do this really well if you support me’.”

Alice adds, “Sometimes having a disability makes you a bit conscious about what you’re doing. But if you’ve got the right people around you can get through that, and you can do well at university.”

Alice is currently completing a dissertation on Disability in Higher Education policy and is President of the Disabled Students’ Society. She has also recently been voted in as President of the Student Union and starts in the role in June.

Lucy King

26 Apr 2023

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