Winchester Hub launches the Social Innovation Programme

Posted on: 24 January 2020

This week at Winchester Hub, Sorcha worked with IBM to make Winchester the fourth university in our network to offer the Social Innovation Programme to students and community organisations.

The Social Innovation Programme (SIP) is a 6-8 week course where students receive training and support to act as student consultants for local charities and social enterprises. Students work in teams to tackle a challenge faced by the local charity, writing a report highlighting innovative solutions the organisation can then implement.

SIP follows Student Hubs double benefit model, developing students and the community. Students gain skills, experience and insights into social issues and communities benefit by gaining access to new perspectives and resources. SIP aims to reach out to local, small/medium size charities and community groups to offer alternative resources and add capacity, hoping to offer worthwhile solutions that can have a big impact.

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When did the Social Innovation Programme begin?

SIP was piloted in Cambridge and Imperial Hub during Spring 2014. We had such high levels of student and community engagement that by the end of 2014 it had also been piloted in Bristol and Oxford Hub, and then was further introduced to Kingston Hub by the end of 2015. In 2018-19, SIP had 233 students on the programme across Student Hubs, reaching a wide range of charities, social issues and students. It was time to bring it to Winchester Hub!

What has Winchester Hub been doing?

With help from the University of Winchester, Winchester Hub aimed to start SIP with a bang and support 5 local charities to tackle a range of challenges. Have a peek at who was involved in our first ever SIP:

  • St. Johns Winchester provides a community where older people are empowered and enabled to live full and rich lives through quality care and support, housing and friendship. Their challenge is researching and suggesting effective communication tactics to engage younger volunteers in its work helping local older people and exploring the benefits of intergenerational volunteering.
  • Winnall Rock School increases access to the arts in Winchester by providing free music tuition and band workshops for young people. Their challenge looks at engaging under 18s into their programmes and improving communication platforms with their current volunteers. They are also looking to revamp their website and want suggestions for how to improve it and how to fundraise to implement these improvements.
  • Child Health International work to improve the lives of children and young adults suffering from cystic fibrosis, mainly by supporting improved medical services in state hospitals. Their brief is looking to see how they can deliver their message across Europe in a more effective manner and how to redesign their website to spread their message and increase online donations.
  • Age Concern Hampshire works to promote independent living to over-50s in the country. Their brief is to carry out research to facilitate a feasibility study outlining the needs in Hampshire for a ‘help around the home’ scheme. The aim of the project will be to offer domestic support, non-personal care and befriending services to older people in their own homes in celebration of their 35th Anniversary.
  • WinACC aims to help Winchester become one of the country’s first net-zero carbon districts. Their challenge brief is to create a plan to increase donations into WinACC via the Love Miles Levy scheme, whereby individuals can offset the carbon they created by flying. The donations both support WinACC’s mission and plant some trees!

We are also very excited to be working with IBM, where staff are supporting our student teams as mentors. We’ve found in other Hubs that run SIP, this model provides further professional development for students, whilst offering a unique L&D opportunity for professionals. In Bristol, mentors involved come from a local law firm, and range from trainee lawyers to senior operational managers. We’ve seen how this has led to improved outputs and a positive experience for all parties involved in the programme.

With 24 enthusiastic students accepted onto the programme, the Launch Day was incredibly energetic and provided a fantastic start to the programme. All the students, mentors and community partners worked together to break down the briefs and set direction for the weeks to come. IBM Design Lead, Steve, led us through a design thinking workshop to get into the minds of the users and truly understand what journey students will be taking.

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With a successful start to the first Social Innovation Programme in Winchester, we are very excited to see how the next 6 weeks go and what solutions the students come up with.

If you are interested in hearing more about SIP, or have a piece of work that you think students could benefit from working on please get in touch at:

Sorcha Young

Sorcha is our Winchester Hub Programmes Manager. She started her social action journey by getting involved with Bristol Hub when studying at the University of Bristol.

Tags: Impact, Skilled Placements

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