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:

Practical Volunteering

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."

Skilled Placements

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."

University Partners

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."

Rosy Scholes

Just Eat It Coordinator, Bristol Hub

“I left university in my first year due to social anxiety, but coming back and coordinating Just Eat It has boosted my confidence massively. It has completely turned my university experience around. It has opened so many doors for me too, even resulting in some paid work. I would recommend working on a Bristol Hub project to anyone!”


Kane Howden

LinkAges Volunteer, Kingston Hub

“Volunteering with LinkAges has set me up for my master’s. I’ve always had a passion for neurological science, but actually seeing people with conditions like dementia is different. I’ve got even more passion now. If one day I could work out a cure for these types of conditions, volunteering will have been the first step.”



Parent of Branch Up Oxford beneficiary

“My child is a friendly, outgoing and sociable young man. Branch Up has always helped facilitate this. He looks forward to every session. He loves the fact that he has 1-1 contact with his mentor. He has expressed his wish to go to university and wants to be a pianist. He is already working towards this.”


Ben Kahn

Co-Founder, Spiral Skills, SIP Host

“We had heard good things about Student Hubs and thought getting involved with some bright young sparks was a no brainer. The SIP allowed our small start up the capacity to look in depth at a piece of work we needed to do but wouldn’t have time to do otherwise. Working with Kingston Hub was also attractive because we hoped to recruit students as mentors for the people on our programmes.

Overall, it was a very positive experience. The students brought great energy and the process was tailored to our needs. Their report was insightful and we learned a lot from our team about the apprenticeship levy in a national context. The students’ research has already helped us to pitch to Teach First.”


Jane Rich

Managing Director, Cambridge Community Arts, SIP Host

“The SIP gave me the confidence to continue with the initiative which until that stage had only been an idea in my head. By explaining my problem to the student team, I gained a better understanding of what I was hoping to do, even before I was presented with their findings.

After the SIP, I worked with a professional coach who mirrored the information provided by the SIP team. I have now re-organised my business into two halves, applied for charitable status, am currently recruiting, and have my first corporate client.”


Ella Irwin

SIIS Intern at Transition Cambridge

“I worked with Transition Cambridge to revamp their food-related website pages. This involved learning to code websites, visiting lovely community gardens to collect information and presenting this in an engaging way.

The Internship Scheme allowed me to do something worthwhile for the organisation and advance my abilities. I learned how to take initiative, deal with setbacks and restructure my plans. The support from the Cambridge Hub and Transition Cambridge has been brilliant.”


Ali Stripling

Corporate Volunteering & Engagement Manager, ARM, SIIS Host

“Emily has made a significant contribution to the work we do at ARM, developing resources that will have a long-term positive impact in local communities. Emily has needed little support during her six weeks with us and her capability has enabled her to work independently, using her own initiative.

Emily is bright, ambitious and personable. It has been great to see her confidence improve as she has adapted to the team and culture at ARM. Emily has been able to bring ideas and different insights to the projects that she has delivered with us. Emily has completed her work with thought, care and within timescales provided. We have found Emily’s support invaluable.”


Monica Carp

LinkAges beneficiary, Retirement village resident

“I wanted to interact with younger people because I think it’s good for us older folk. I think the whole idea of the Hub and the skills swapping is great. The students teach us about IT and we teach them things like sewing, knitting and crocheting, while having a good chat and a cup of tea. I have very much enjoyed it.”


Ruby Wilson

Schools Plus Volunteer, Southampton Hub

“I started volunteering with Schools Plus at the start of my second year of university, keen to gain experience in the hope of one day becoming a teacher. My role involved helping a class of year two students with their literacy and supporting pupils who were struggling with reading.

Schools Plus has allowed me to gain classroom experience and build relationships with students and staff that have reminded me why I decided to go into teaching. The school welcomed me with open arms and it was tough to walk out of the gates at the end of the year. I am so excited to start my new role as Coordinator of the Schools Plus programme for my university. I hope to help others to enjoy their Schools Plus experience as much as I have.”


Rochelle Watson

SIP Participant, Kingston Hub

“I would like to encourage other students with disabilities to get involved in the Social Innovation Programme. Embrace your disability – your disability is not you. When you take part in opportunities like the SIP, you’ll find that you are capable of so much more than you thought. There is support from Hub staff throughout and they are more than happy to help out on an individual level.”