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.
Discover our volunteering programmes:
Our largest volunteering programme, Schools Plus, trains university students to tackle educational disadvantage. Volunteers tutor in primary and secondary schools with a high proportion of pupils on Free School Meals and with English as a second language.
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, which works on publicity, social events, training and fundraising. Tutors have access to talks and networking events with partners such as Teach First, which develop their knowledge of educational disadvantage and related careers.
We support pupils to reach their academic potential and break out of the cycle of educational disadvantage
Economic background significantly impacts children and young people’s education, social lives and emotional wellbeing. This inequality occurs in and out of school, with research showing that the parents of children from low-income backgrounds spend less on extra-curricular activities than wealthier parents. Participation in extra-curricular activities like music, dance and sports can have a positive effect on both educational attainment and wellbeing.
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. Activity days include 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.
Branch Up has been running at Oxford Hub since 2011 and at Southampton Hub since 2014. The programme is now expanding in Oxford. We are providing leadership training for older children who benefitted from activity days, so that they can return as volunteers.
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 Bristol, Kingston, Southampton and Winchester thanks to partnerships with organisations who work with isolated older people. In 2015-16, 126 student volunteers supported 150 older people in their local communities.
Through Code Clubs, students support primary school pupils to learn coding skills. This is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference locally and gain practical leadership, teamwork and communication experience. It allows students to learn basic programming or put existing programming skills to use. Volunteers find it rewarding to see the children’s interest and confidence increase.
Our Code Clubs currently run in Oxford, Bristol and Southampton. 80 volunteers support 190 beneficiaries across 7 schools. 100% of our 2015-16 Code Club volunteers would recommend volunteering with Code Club to a friend.
Student Volunteering Week
Student Volunteering Week 2017 took place across the UK in February. Having successfully delivered SVW for multiple years, Student Hubs now acts as a strategic partner, supporting the UK Student Volunteering Network to coordinate the national campaign. We are thrilled to promote social action alongside further and higher education institutions, the #iwill Campaign, the National Union of Students and, of course, thousands of student volunteers.
SVW is a unique opportunity for student volunteers, colleges, universities, charities, social enterprises, businesses and government to collaborate. It is a time to discuss challenges and opportunities in student volunteering, whilst showcasing innovative individuals and projects. Find out more at the SVW website.
View Twitter highlights: #SVW2017
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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 the Better Volunteering, Better Care group.
Across our network, staff and students coordinate a range of community volunteering opportunities which empower young people to tackle the social and environmental challenges they see on their doorstep.
Visit the Hub websites to find out more.