Our programmes are shaped and run by students who are passionate about making a difference in their local communities and inspiring others to follow their lead. Here are some of their stories:
Sam, Bristol Hub - Code Club
Sam was a volunteer for Code Club in Bristol, which supports primary school children to learn how to code through structured activities.
"Seeing the excitement when the pupils finish their first project was fantastic. Explaining something so useful in a fun environment like this is its own reward, but the enthusiasm the children have for learning makes it extra special. Regardless of the direct coding skills we teach, the logical approach to problem solving code clubs brings will be useful across many other disciplines, while the confidence gained in general computing skills will be invaluable in later life."
Melek, Oxford Hub - Branch Up
Melek volunteered with Branch Up in Oxford, which provides activity days for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
"I was on the Branch Up Committee as the Kids’ Officer. I liaised with children and their parents, helped to ensure that activity days ran smoothly and worked with my team to grow the project.
Through this role, I have developed skills and a better understanding of how the care system works. I would definitely like to continue volunteering when I leave and I would recommend being involved with Oxford Hub to other students. Branch Up is fairly small but growing quickly, which means there is a lot of room to create a direct impact on young people."
Alice, Kingston Hub - Schools Plus
Alice was a volunteer with Schools Plus in Kingston, tutoring a school pupil in English on a weekly basis.
"I love being involved with Schools Plus. I'm building a relationship with the student I tutor, I’m more confident in my knowledge and it’s confirmed my aspiration to be a teacher. At the end of each tutoring session, the lead teacher asks me questions and says that the kids have been asking if I'm coming, which is lovely. I was quite shy before I came to university, but Schools Plus has helped me talk to new people and I now feel more like a part of the community here."
Laura, Winchester Hub - Youth Theatre
Laura set up and led Winchester Hub’s Youth Theatre project in 2015-16.
"Youth theatre works with children in the local community to teach them creative arts through extracurricular workshops.
As project coordinator, my leadership skills developed, especially through the responsibility of running a team. I’ve found the role really challenging, because there have been various new elements of the role, particularly the organisational and behind the scenes work that was unfamiliar to me before. It’s been a really useful development of my skills to engage with that. I’m now employed by a company called Perform which runs workshops for children."
Freya, Cambridge Hub - Social Impact Intern
Freya sits on the Cambridge Hub committee and took part in our 2016 Social Impact Internship Scheme.
"Acting as Cambridge Hub's Communications Officer has developed my interest in the voluntary sector, so I was eager to apply for the Social Impact Internship Scheme. I was drawn to the framework of the programme, which provides training, support and allocated positions. I was happy to be placed in a communications role at Step Up To Serve, which facilitates the #iwill campaign, working with over five hundred cross-sector partners to change the face of youth social action in the UK. My colleagues were extremely welcoming and gave me responsibility from the start. For instance, I helped to run a steering group meeting with representatives from Teach First, Team London and the NUS, and produced national PR material. During my placement, I was fortunate to meet a range of impressive people and work with a supportive, enthusiastic team. It was a great experience that boosted my confidence in my professional abilities and knowledge of the voluntary sector."
Ellie, Bristol Hub - SIP Consultant
Ellie was a student consultant on our Social Innovation Programme in Bristol.
"Through the Social Innovation Programme, I’ve had the chance to work with One25, an amazing local charity that supports women vulnerable to or trapped in street sex-work. We’ve researched the possibility of the charity opening a self-sustainable, food-related enterprise to equip One25’s women with employability opportunities and transferable skills. The Hub has really exposed myself and other students to prominent social issues that need to be addressed in our local community. I would recommend this programme to anyone interested in going beyond campus life and making a tangible difference in the society around them."
Cassie, Kingston Hub - Empower
Cassie was supported by staff at Kingston Hub to start up Empower, a mentoring programme for teenage girls in local schools.
"The idea for Empower came from a conversation with staff at one of our partner schools, who had noticed that some female pupils weren't working to their full ability because they believed that their job prospects were limited due to gender roles. Now, Empower sends female university students into this school as mentors to work one to one with these pupils. I faced some time-constraints when setting up the programme, but I worked with the Kingston Hub team to reach small targets regularly. I am proud of our progress and we have received very positive feedback so far. I am looking forward to rolling the scheme out into more schools next year."
Strong university partnerships are crucial to our success - we work with departments across universities to collaborate and maximise impact. Here’s what some of our partners have to say:
Liz Stuart, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Winchester
"The University has just celebrated 175 years of delivering values-driven higher education. One of our core values is social justice and we aspire to be known as the university for social justice. The Winchester Hub plays a central part in our efforts to live out our values. It provides our students with a rich variety of opportunities to change the world for the better and a supportive environment in which to engage in volunteering which challenges them and widens their horizons.
The Hub helps develop habits in our students which will last their lifetimes, habits which focus on the wellbeing of others and social transformation. These habits will inform both their professional and their private lives. The Hub has quickly become part of the beating heart of this institution and we look forward to many years of partnership."
Therese Reinheimer-Jones, Head of Careers and Employability Service, Kingston University
"The introduction of Student Hubs to Kingston University has diversified the offer for our students and allowed us to capacity build in some really critical areas.
Kingston Hub has plugged into what lies beneath our diverse student body and that is the desire to find out more about how they can make a difference and a passion to make change in their University, local community and essentially their own lives and future beyond Kingston.
Schools Plus has offered many students with a thirst to teach or support young people the chance to realise this in a school that is in their local community. Social Impact Careers offers the chance to get behind the scenes of a sector that many of our students want to know more about and with Kingston Hub we are now able to grow the information around social entrepreneurship and offer real life insights into what this means whilst showing our students that they may already be working in their community as a real change maker and a social entrepreneur in the making!
We look forward to year two of Kingston Hub and all of the developments on the great work already started."
Dr Caroline Bucklow, Senior Knowledge Exchange Officer, Research Services - University of Oxford
"The University of Oxford has worked closely with Oxford Hub over the past four years to encourage our students to become involved in social enterprise, as an extension of Student Hubs’ work in encouraging active community engagement.
Student Hubs has been a key partner in the Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership, supporting students at both the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University to set up and develop a wide range of social enterprise initiatives and to build links with community enterprises across the City and beyond.
We have found the enthusiasm and dedication of the Oxford Hub staff invaluable in shaping our student Social Enterprise Awards Scheme to meet the needs of our very diverse student population, while strengthening our own engagement with the community."