Student-led volunteering is a key component in our theory of change. Practical social action connects students with the world outside the university bubble. It offers them the opportunities and skills to make a real difference today, as well as in their future lives and careers.
Across our network of Hubs, student leaders run a range of volunteering projects. They address challenges such as social isolation amongst older people, educational disadvantage, homelessness and food waste.
Student Volunteering Week
Student Volunteering Week 2016 took place from 22-28 February. It was our 15th year and biggest celebration yet. We’re delighted that SVW has become a fixture in many college and university calendars, with over 100 different institutions running more than 600 events with students in 2016.
Led by the Student Volunteering Network with support from Student Hubs, SVW 2017 will be taking place from 20-26 February. It is a unique opportunity for student volunteers, colleges, universities, charities, social enterprises, businesses and government to collaborate, discuss challenges and opportunities, and showcase innovative individuals and projects. Check out the Student Volunteering Week website to find out more.
Get involved: #SVW2017
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Discover our volunteering programmes below:
Our largest volunteering programme, Schools Plus, trains university students as tutors and mentors for primary and secondary school pupils from low-income backgrounds.
We recruit student volunteers who are passionate about their subject and have the potential to be positive role models in schools. Our comprehensive training programme and ongoing support enables them to develop the necessary communication and teamwork skills for effective tutoring.
Volunteers commit to weekly tutoring sessions during the academic year, and each team of tutors is led by a student coordinator. Each Hub also has a Schools Plus Committee, and those students work together on publicity, social events, training and fundraising. In addition to general skills development, tutors have access to talks and networking events with partners such as Teach First, which develops their knowledge of educational disadvantage and careers in the education sector.
We support pupils to reach their academic potential and break out of the cycle of educational disadvantage
One in three children are currently living in poverty in the UK. For children and young people, economic background has a significant impact on their education, as well as their social and emotional well-being. This inequality occurs both in and out of the school classroom, with research showing that the parents of children from low-income backgrounds spend less on extra-curricular activities than wealthier parents. ‘Softer’ cultural experience and participation in extra-curricular activities like music, dance, and sports can have a positive effect on both educational attainment and well-being.
Branch Up provides free Saturday activity days to children referred to us by social services and or schools. Groups of university student volunteers act as near-to-peer mentors for the children during fun and engaging activity days on Saturdays, including trips to museums and other local attractions, sports/games sessions, arts workshops, and visits to the University. We work with the same children throughout the year with a 1:1 volunteer:child ratio, so that the children can have fun, make friends, and try new activities that they might not normally have access to.
LinkAges is an intergenerational volunteering scheme which connects student volunteers to older people in their local community. Across our network, LinkAges volunteers lead activity sessions at care homes, participate in one-to-one befriending and support reminiscence therapy groups for people who suffer from dementia. This interaction reduces loneliness and builds a greater sense of understanding between the generations.
The programme began in Oxford and has since grown to our Hubs in London, Southampton and Winchester thanks to partnerships with organisations who work with isolated older people. In 2014-15, 48 student volunteers supported 92 older people in their local communities.
Stop Orphanage Volunteering Pledge
Student Hubs does not support volunteering in orphanages abroad, whether undertaken by organised groups or individuals for short or longer periods of time. We pledge not to advertise these to our students and we will endeavour to ensure that such opportunities are neither facilitated nor promoted within our organisation.
We believe in the power of volunteerism and we support student learning experiences and overseas volunteering opportunities that strive for the highest standards of child protection and best practice for ethical engagement.
If you’re a student and passionate about this cause please sign the petition calling for the end of orphanage volunteering.
If you’re a higher or further education institute please add this pledge to your website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list of supporters.
This pledge has been designed with our partners at the Better Volunteering, Better Care group, which the LSE Volunteer Centre is a supporting member.
Across our Hub network, we co-ordinate a diverse range of community volunteering opportunities which empower students to use their time, energy and passion to tackle the social and environmental challenges they see on their doorstep – from tutoring disadvantaged school pupils to supporting elderly residents, or cultivating community gardens and volunteering at art galleries.
Visit the Hub websites to find out more.