Connections And Contacts For Disabled Students – Choosing A University

pippa wearing white dress with graduation cap and gown in grey, stood up outdoors with trees and river in background, holding black clutch bag and smiling


UPDATE: This post was written and shared in April 2020, during the first lockdown. However, disabled students have found having a point of contact so helpful that I’ve decided to keep it live!

Choosing a university is no quick decision for any student, but when you’re disabled and/or chronically ill, there are dozens of extra factors to consider. It can be surprisingly difficult to find genuine and authentic information on what it’s like to be a disabled student at any particular university, and in my book, University And Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide, one of my recommendations for getting around this issue was to attend Open Days. Not only would you be able to experience the environment you’d be studying in for yourself, you’d be able to meet support staff and chat to other disabled students about their own experiences too.

However, I’m sure it won’t have escaped your notice that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. The country is on lockdown, university buildings have closed, and of course, all events and Open Days have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Completely essential measures that we should all support, of course, but very much not ideal for those young people currently making time-sensitive decisions about their own future… with seriously limited information available.

Whilst universities still have accessibility information and support pages for disabled students live on their websites, my own research over the years has shown that these resources offer only very little insight into what life as a disabled student at that particular university is actually like. It’s worth making clear that disability advisors from each university should still be available to chat and answer your questions throughout this period, but personally, I think the most accurate information about specific universities’ access and inclusion comes from disabled students who’ve experienced these things first-hand.

So, with this in mind, I wanted to attempt a little experiment on behalf of prospective disabled students. Even though the ability to physically visit universities has been removed, there may still be value in reaching out and talking to other disabled students or graduates from the university you’re most interested in applying to. I know it can be tricky to reach out and identify people who can help, so let me lend a hand…

Below, you’ll find a list of UK higher education institutions. For each one, I’ve listed a point of contact. This person will be a disabled student or a graduate from that particular university, who has consented to having their name and contact details shared for you here, so you can get in touch and ask your questions. In this way, I hope this approach will provide an additional source of information for those making these big decisions in these uncertain times. For further insight into questions that may be helpful to ask at this stage, you may be interested in my book, all about going to university with a chronic illness. Plug plug plug.

One quick final point to make before we move onto this list is that each of these contacts are giving their time and energy voluntarily to support those of you who are utilising this resource, and I’d like to thank them wholeheartedly.

Please bear in mind that all of these contacts have health conditions themselves, so do be courteous and patient when reaching out, and of course respect privacy and confidentiality where appropriate. At the end of the day, we’re all supporting each other, and that’s what makes our community so brilliant. Here’s to lifting each other up, and using our shared experiences for the greater good!

UK Universities and Disabled Student/ Graduate Contacts

Aston University

Emma Dobson (Cognitive Neuroscience)

[email protected]


Bath Spa University

Amber Daw (Education Studies)

[email protected]


Bangor University

Bethan Griffiths (Biomedical Sciences)

[email protected]


Birmingham City University

Saima Akhtar (English Lit/ Creative Writing)

[email protected]


Brighton University

Chloe Carter (Geography)

[email protected]


Brunel University

Hannah Frost (Law)

[email protected]


Canterbury Christ Church University

Erica Terry-Rose (Counselling, Coaching and Mentoring)


Cardiff University

Rhiannon Lunney (Physics)

[email protected]


De Montfort University

Charlotte Thompson (Speech and Language Therapy)

Twitter – @SpeechieAtDMU


Durham University

Lorna Reeve (Psychology – Trevelyan College)

[email protected]


Keele University

Pippa Hamilton (Psychology)

Twitter: @pippaR5


Loughborough University

Caroline Appleton (Maths/ Psychology)

[email protected]


Lancaster University

Charli Clement (Politics And International Relations)

Twitter: @charliclement_


Gillian Smith (Linguistics and English Language)

[email protected]


Leeds Trinity University

Chloe Tear (Psychology and Child Development)


London School Of Economics

Cassandra Lovelock (Care Policy and Evaluation Centre PhD)

[email protected]


Newcastle University

Beth Stephenson (English Literature)



Nottingham Trent University

Ella Shipley (Health and Social Care)

[email protected]


Dani Olver (English Literature – Arts And Humanities)

Instagram: @littleredflyer


Open University/ Distance Learning

Rebecca Harland

Twitter: @rharland


Oxford Brookes University

Morgan Shaw (Business and Management)

Instagram: @morganshaw380


Plymouth University

Paul Hackett (Chemistry)

Twitter: @PaulLHackett


Queen Mary University Of London

Carol Raphael (Materials Engineering)

[email protected]


Royal Academy Of Music

Lily Frascina (Music Performance)

[email protected] 

Royal Holloway

Leah Rachel (Philosophy)

[email protected]


Royal Veterinary College

Zoe Thorp (Veterinary Medicine/ Bioveterinary Sciences)

[email protected]


University College London (UCL)

Amie Humphries (Conservation)

[email protected]


University of Aberdeen

Charlotte Orr (Geography)

[email protected]


University of Bath

Suruthi Gnanenthiran (Chemistry)

Twitter: @suruthiii


University of Birmingham

Harriet Eades (Neuroscience)

[email protected]


University of Bristol

Amy Couch (Biochemistry)

[email protected]


University of Buckingham

Charley-Anne Gordon (Law)

[email protected]


University of Cambridge

Hazel Nicholson (Geography)

[email protected]


University of Derby

Jeena Randhawa (Psychology)

[email protected]


University of Dundee 

Rebecca Maitland (History/ Politics)

Instagram: beccam_279


University of East Anglia

Jenni Pettican (Drama)

[email protected]


University of Exeter

Louise Toller (Medical Sociology – Research)

[email protected]


University of Glasgow

Charlotte Orr (Geography)

[email protected]


University of Hull

Chloe Carter (Geography)

[email protected]


University of Kent

Chloe Archer (French and Religion Studies)

[email protected]


University of Leeds

Verity Martin (Physics)

Instagram: @chronically_studying


University of Leicester

Rebecca Linnett (Health Sciences)

Twitter: @rebeccalinnett


University of Oxford

Amy Mason (Maths)

Twitter: @amymariemason


Danni Watts (Law)

[email protected]


University of Portsmouth

Melissa Haworth (Psychology)

[email protected]


University of Southamptom

Paul Hackett (Marine Sciences)

Twitter: @PaulLHackett


University Of St Andrews

Rhiannon Lunney (Physics/ Maths)

[email protected]


University of Stirling

Hope Murray (Business Studies)

[email protected]


University of Sunderland

Laura Northmore (Media Production)

[email protected]


University of Surrey

Harriet Eades (Psychology)

[email protected]


University Of Sussex

Emily Bailey (English)

[email protected]


University of Warwick

Ellie Upton (Film and Television Studies)

Twitter: @Ellie_Upton_6


Mehar Singh (Education Studies – Social Sciences)

Instagram: itscomplicated21


University of the West of England (UWE)

Camilo Pires

[email protected]


University of York

Pippa Stacey (Psychology and Education)

Twitter: @lifeofpippa_


York St John University

Anna Thirlaway (Early Childhood Studies)

[email protected]


Amy S (English Language and Linguistics)

Instagram: @amylivingwithme

Amazingly, we also have an anonymous Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessor on standby over on Twitter and happy to take your questions. You can tweet them here!

If you’re a disabled student or graduate from the UK who could be a point of contact for any university not already covered in this list, please do get in touch! Drop me an email with your name, university and course of study, and the contact details you’re comfortable with being shared: this could be your email address or a social media handle. Many thanks in advance!

Other Helpful Resources

Hope you find this resource helpful, and here’s to your own university adventure! Please do pass this resource on to anybody who may benefit from it, and be sure to check out my debut non-fiction book, University And Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide too. You may be interested in my Personal Statement Support Service as well!

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