Family life at Wolfson
As a mature College, Wolfson welcomes applications from students of all ages, including those with partners and children. College regularly hosts events for families to ensure they feel part of the Wolfson community, and both partners and children are very welcome to enjoy the College grounds, eat in the dining hall, and take part in College activities.
There are five two-bedroom Family Flats which are suitable for an individual or couple plus one or two children. Only one partner needs to be a current Wolfson student. As the Family Flats are self-contained accommodation, the College does not provide cleaning. Further information can be found on our accommodation webpage.
For couples without children, there are larger rooms in some of the houses, or double studio flats and large double flats in the accommodation blocks. These rooms all have double, king-size, beds. If both residents are Wolfson students, shared sets in some of the accommodation blocks can combined to create a flat. The College can move the two single beds into one bedroom to create a double bed, leaving the other bedroom as a separate study.
Accommodation for couples and families is limited and we cannot guarantee to accommodate all students. The earlier you are able to meet the conditions of your offer, the sooner you will receive a prompt to apply for College accommodation. The University Accommodation Service also provides a range of accommodation options across the City for families and couples at subsidised rates.
- Partners in College
Residential partners of members of the College, whether living inside or out of College grounds, are encouraged to take part fully in College life.
All social and sporting facilities are available to residential partners who register as an Associate Member of WCSA, and all social and sports events that are free to Wolfson members are also free to residential partners.
Residential partners should obtain a Catering Card from the Porters' Lodge, which will also grant them access to the back gate of College. Users of the College Gym must register personal access to the gym annually, and because residential partners don't have a personal University Card, they may obtain access to the gym by borrowing a guest card from the Porter's Lodge when they wish to use the gym.
Residential partners also have access to the Library study space; please write directly to Laura, the Librarian, to receive a temporary access card. Whilst the library is a quiet space, children are welcome, and our librarians are working to build up a collection of children's books.
- Food and dining
Children are welcome in the dining hall for all informal meals (three meals a day, including weekend brunch), and there are four highchairs available for use on request. There are always multiple options available, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free choices, and menus can be viewed online in advance. Partners can obtain a catering card from the Porters' Lodge, which can be topped up using the UPay app.
Children and partners are also encouraged to enjoy our coffee shop in the Club Room, where there are pool tables, cakes, drinks, and cold food; the catering team are always open to new ideas and food requests, and food prices are discounted for students in the canteen. For more information, including dining hall meal times, and menus, please visit the food and dining webpages.
The Wolfson Staff Committee and Students' Association meet regularly to discuss provision for families within College, and to ensure that there are events on offer for the whole College community. Wolfson hosts family meals, such as a children's brunch, where families are invited to get to know one another and enjoy a communal meal, with children's toys, craft activities, and games on offer.
The College also host seasonal events, such as a children's Christmas party with entertainers, games and a visit from Santa, as well as family garden parties. The College family flats also organise their own communal family dinners and activities.
Families are encouraged to enjoy the College grounds, and are welcome to use the gardens for games, picnics, relaxation, or even dinner using the College BBQ. There is a student vegetable patch, and the gardening team and society encourage partners and children to help with this, and to take part in interactive garden tours. Tennis rackets can also be borrowed from the Porters' Lodge for a game in Wolfson's newly refurbished tennis court.
Outside the College gates, the College is surrounded by green space, close both to the multiple parks and play areas within the city, and to the more rural Granchester Meadows, with its pubs, tea garden, and river-side picnic locations.
- Getting around
The College is within easy walking distance of the town center (around 15 minutes by foot). However, families with small children might like to take advantage of the Universal Bus Service, which stops outside College, and links Eddington with West Cambridge, the city centre (Queens College/Silver Street), the railway station and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (including Addenbrookes). Buses run every 15 minutes Monday to Friday, and students can purchase tickets at reduced rates.
Cambridge is also set up for cycling with safe cycle lanes and routes throughout the city. Advice about the purchasing of bikes can be sought through the Cambridge Student Union, or our Wolfson Student Society, WCSA. See Wolfson's Find Us page for more information about transport.
Family networks and welfare support
The University Childcare Office oversees the facilities and assistance offered to University staff and students with children. You can also sign up to receive their newsletters as well as joining their Facebook page.
Additionally, SPACE supports Parents and Carers who are members of the University of Cambridge, and provide family buddy schemes and workshops where they can meet other studying parents, in addition to providing activity resources for children, and details of play schemes, and parks around the city.
The Students' Unions' Advice Service (SUAS) and the University Counselling Service (UCS) also provide free and confidential support for students who are pregnant, have had a baby or have decided to adopt; see here for more details.
We offer extra support for students with family responsibilities and health challenges. The Wolfson College Nurse, Sally Maccallum, is also on hand to offer both mental and physical advice in regular drop-in sessions on the College site.
Prospective students with families and partners are welcome to contact our Student Recruitment Officer, Caroline Banerjee, with any questions, or to be put in touch with a current Wolfson family.
There are several sources of funding specifically for students with families, which are detailed below. Students are also encouraged to check the general financial support available to all Wolfson students.
- Parents’ Learning Allowance
The Parents’ Learning Allowance is worth up to £1,915 a year (non-repayable) in 2023-24, depending on household income. It helps with course-related costs for students with dependent children.
- Adult Dependents' Grant
If you have a husband, wife or partner, or another adult family member who depends on you financially, you may be eligible for an Adult Dependents' Grant of up to £3,354 a year (non-repayable) in 2023-24. The amount depends on household income.
- Childcare Grant
The Childcare Grant is for full-time students with dependent children in registered or approved childcare. The amount payable depends on household income and actual childcare costs. The maximum available is 85% of weekly childcare costs up to a maximum of £188.90 a week for one child, or £323.85 a week for two or more children (2023-24).
- Cambridge University Childcare Bursaries
UK students may apply to the University's Central Childcare Bursary Scheme for support with childcare costs.
Non-UK students may apply to the University's Central Childcare Bursary Scheme for EU and Overseas Students. The information and application forms for these two bursary schemes have now been posted online on these pages. You can also request a chat with Liz Bland, Student Finance Officer, room SG5 in Selwyn Gardens House or someone from the University Childcare Office.
- Wolfson College Hardship Fund
Students can apply for support through the Wolfson Hardship Fund. Apply using the Wolfson Hardship Fund application form.