I am delighted to be writing this blog to launch our 2014-15 Impact Report. As we prepare to launch our freshers campaign for 2015, we also take a few moments to reflect on the past academic year.
2014-15 saw us launch our tenth Hub in Kingston, expand programmes working to address elderly isolation and supporting social services, and reach even more students across the UK through Student Volunteering Week. I’m proud to lead an organisation that helped more than 2300 students volunteer in their communities, set up social enterprises, gain work experience in the social impact sector and provide invaluable consultancy support for local community organisations.
University is a highly influential time in our lives. Attitudes, interests and skills developed at University stay with you for life. That means our efforts are crucial – not just in instilling a sense of civic duty in young people, but also in developing the skills and providing the experience young people need when they graduate and look for their first job in the social impact sector.
The work of Generation Change and Step Up to Serve has been hugely beneficial for the youth social action sector – bringing a variety of providers across age groups and programmes together to make a strong case for investment in youth social action. Many of the students we work with have been involved in social action programmes during their school years – through NCS, Envision or elsewhere. Our opportunities give young people the chance to grow as active citizens, and further develop their skills and insights into social or environmental issues. However, 1 in 5 students still reach university without having any prior experience of volunteering, and this is much higher among students from lower income backgrounds. We’re proud to be able support these students to volunteer for the first time and help them to kickstart a lifelong commitment to giving back to their community.
It is of utmost importance that our work provides progression opportunities for students – supporting their personal development from no engagement to volunteering, and taking leadership roles in making change happen. The launch of our Impact Report coincides with the launch of our refined Theory of Change – testing our ability to provide this progression, support students to change their behaviour and develop their skills – both in the short term whilst they are at University, and when they graduate. We believe we are already doing this, but our improved impact outcomes framework will put this to the test. We will keep you updated throughout this year as we continue to use our data and share it with others across the HE and youth social action sector.
Many thanks to all of our funders and partners and to all of our amazing staff team at Student Hubs. Most importantly, a heartfelt thank you to our inspiring student leaders, who make change happen in their Universities – without you, we couldn’t do what we do.
At the heart of our ways of working is an open and collaborative approach. If you want to join us in this journey to support more students to participate in social action and create a positive impact in their community, just get in touch.