Student Hubs' work aims to have a double benefit - on the students who take part in our activities and the communities in which they take place.

This evaluation aims to understand Student Hubs’ contribution to the experiences of our volunteers, community partners and local beneficiaries. In addition to assessing these outcomes, it explores the impact that Student Hubs has on universities.

Whilst Student Hubs has undertaken its own impact reporting for the past 6 years, this year’s evaluation was designed and conducted by The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC) as an external evaluation and validation tool, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Big Potential grant. The evaluation ran from September 2015 to June 2016, covering the 2015/16 academic year. It was led by a steering group comprised of TSIC staff and Student Hubs staff - Francis Wight, Network Development Director and Rachel Tait, Network Operations Manager - who met regularly throughout this period.

This evaluation included:


Equal Opportunities forms completed by 1,197 student volunteers at the beginning of their engagement with Student Hubs; online feedback surveys using a 4-point scale (Definitely, Somewhat, Not Really, Definitely Not) completed by 371 volunteers after joining one of our community projects; and feedback surveys completed by 64 out of 254 community partners. The response rate was 32% among volunteers and 25% for community partners.

Case Study Interviews:

Student Hubs staff gathered 56 case studies from volunteers and community partners in order to provide more detailed and nuanced qualitative evidence. Some are included in this report. Video interviews with 5 community partners, 8 volunteers and 2 beneficiaries across 3 programmes - LinkAges, Schools Plus and Youth Theatre - were also captured.

Our Theory of Change

In other words...

We offer students the opportunity to actively engage with social and environmental challenges, in their local, national and international communities.

Our approach is based on the ‘double benefit model’: all of our activities are designed to benefit both students themselves, and their local community. This approach is aligned with the 6 quality principles developed by the social action experts, Generation Change and Step Up To Serve.


We challenge students to critically engage with the issues they are tackling, and to become leaders for the causes they are passionate about.


We were established by students, for students, and student leadership is at the core of what we do: all of our Hubs are led by student committees.


We are committed to ongoing monitoring and evaluation in order to prove and improve the impact of our activities.


Our range of activities ensure that students are able to progress from one challenge to the next, further developing their skills and confidence as social leaders.


Our Hubs are tailored to the needs of each University and its student body, ensuring that student social action becomes a core part of the student experience.


We encourage students to reflect on their social action activities as they progress through university, critically engaging with causes and self-evaluating their personal impact.

Our Outcomes

For Students


More able to work with others to make change.


More able to take the lead in achieving change.


More confident in approaching challenges.


Improved student experience.


Changed life/career plans to continue to tackle social issues.

For Community Partners


Community organisation benefits from student perspective/expertise.


Student involvement increases capacity for community organisations to reach their organisational aims.


Student involvement results in improved outcomes for user groups.