Welfare and Support Resources
Facebook support groups
The DSC runs a handful of Facebook-based community groups for disabled students, as well as specific groups for intermitting and double-time students.
Groups and messenger chats
Our masterpost is kept up to date with all of the groups we use! You can also contact us to be added to a Facebook group or Messenger chat, or to suggest that a new group be set up.
Cambridge Uni DSC community
The central group is our community Facebook group, which welcomes all students at Cambridge who define as disabled, or who have had a disability previously.
Disability-specific community groups
Please see the masterpost for more information! We have lots of groups, including for example:
– a mental health issues support community group, in collaboration with Student Minds Cambridge
– a chronic pain and/or fatigue community group
– a group for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing students
– a digestive disorder support group
– a ‘neurodivergent’ community group for students with specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia), autism, ADHD, and other types of neurodivergence
– a BME (black & minority ethnic) mental health support group
– a PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) support group
These groups are all ‘closed’, which means that those outside the group can see their membership, but not anything posted in the group. There are also some ‘secret’ groups, including one for students with experience with Personality Disorders – message the DSO on Facebook for more information.
Intermission and double-time Solidarity & Support
We run a Facebook group for students who have intermitted, who have returned from intermission, or who are considering intermitting. It’s a supportive place with over 300 members!
We also run a group for students who study ‘double time’ – aka doing a degree over double the number of years.
Student Advice Service
The Student Advice Service consists of a number of trained professionals within Cambridge SU. You can contact them by email or phone, and they offer appointments in person or by phone or Skype. They can help students with any problem, from academic to personal, and are based in the SU on the 3rd floor of the University Centre.
University Counselling Service
The UCS provides free counselling to all students, including group meetings and workshops.
Disability Resource Centre
All disabled students, or students who think they may be disabled, should get in contact with the DRC as their first port of call. They provide advice and resources, write your Student Support Document with you, help you with Disabled Students’ Allowance, and generally look after your needs as a disabled student at Cambridge.
Nightline (Formerly Linkline)
Support to all students 7pm to 7am in term time. Call them on 01223 367 575 or 01223 744 444.
Cambridge Peer Support
A scheme for offering peer support within colleges, only operates in some colleges.
Tel 08457 909 090; they also have a step free central Cambridge Office with disabled toilet just off Christ’s Pieces.
DSC Library Catalogue
The DSC Disability Resource Library Catalogue contains a list of (online and physical) resources in addition to those listed here. The Disability Resource Library is based at CUSU (17 Mill Lane) and is housed with the liberation libraries of the Women’s Campaign and the LGBT+ Campaign.
The DSC's role in welfare
The welfare of disabled people in the University is one of the key concerns of the DSC. The organisation exists, in part, to provide welfare support to disabled students, and to ensure that disabled students have equal access to welfare services provided by other organisations within the University. Additionally, we aim to help make changes to the organisation of the University and its constituent parts that are beneficial to the welfare of disabled students in particular, and the students and staff of the University in general. Because we operate on both an individual and an institutional basis, if you have any issues, concerns or ideas about student welfare (your own, or more generally) related to disability, and want to get help resolving them, discuss them with others, or campaign on them, the DSC is a great place to start. Our welfare officer, other members of our Executive, or the organisation as a whole may well be able to help you meet your personal or institutional goals, whatever they might be.
If you are experiencing personal problems related to disability, and don’t know how to resolve them yourself, you may, as many of the current members of the campaign have, find it useful to get in contact with other disabled people who may have found or be finding ways to deal with the same or similar problems. Collectively, members of the campaign have lots of experience and practical know how when it comes to navigating life as a disabled student that is hard to come by alone. The campaign can also provide the understanding and solidarity that can make dealing with one’s own welfare issues a lot simpler and less intimidating.
Outside of the campaign, there are a wide range of free welfare services on offer from the colleges, the University, the Students’ Union and other student organisations, as well as services provided by bodies outside the University that students frequently use. At the DSC we want to make sure that all of these services take the disabled students who use them seriously, and make sure they are organised in such a way as to be accessible and useful to disabled students. If you are having any problems with any of these support services, whether it be your tutor, the University Counselling Service or anything else, there are probably people at the DSC who have had similar problems and have some ideas about dealing with them, and as a campaign we can help you to assert your right to be treated equally by welfare services. If you are interested in making changes related to welfare and disability in your college, faculty or any other part of the University you’ll need both knowledge and manpower: the DSC can help with both. If you bring ideas to an open meeting or contact a member of the Executive directly you’ll likely be able to get a bunch of like minded people involved in making the changes you want to see. It’s even possible the campaign is already making efforts in areas you’re interested in. Even if you have no specific ideas, but feel that your or other disabled students’ welfare requirements are not being met as best they could, coming to an open meeting and talking things over with other members of the campaign can be very useful in figuring out how to improve things for yourself and others.
Whilst we usually think about welfare as a personal issue, at the DSC we see our welfare in the context of the institutions and people around us. We also recognise that every time we make changes to improve our welfare as disabled students individually, we assert the importance and promote understanding of the welfare of disabled people in general. Conversely, each time we push for seemingly impersonal institutional changes, these are only meaningful in terms of the concrete effects they have on the lives of real people. Consequently, as a campaign, we see each of our member’s welfare problems, struggles and achievements as tied up with everyone else’s, and believe that acting in solidarity with each other is the main way we can improve the welfare of disabled students.
Student Advice Service