We support students to take part in and lead a wide range of social action activities in their communities. In 2016-17:


students took part in one of our opportunities.


of students had not been involved in social action before – up from 25% in 2015-16.

This shows a greater improvement in the targeting of our offerings to students who had not previously been involved. It supports our mission to mainstream social action, with more students involved than ever before.

These motivations were the most frequently reported by students:

Improving things /helping people






Students were able to choose multiple motivation reasons when completing an application form. This year's findings will influence our programme design and marketing. We will continue to provide opportunities for students to create tangible impact that aligns with their values and contributes to their personal and professional development.

Our Outcomes

For Students

Taking part in our activities has a transformative impact on students' skills, confidence and wellbeing:



improved their ability to work with others to make change.



improved their ability to lead others to make change.



increased their confidence in approaching challenges.



of volunteers reported that being involved in the Hub has enhanced their university experience.



of Social Impact Internship Scheme participants agreed they gained valuable work experience and a useful insight into the social impact sector.

Students leave Hub programmes better equipped to solve social and environmental issues.

The skills and perspectives students develop through social action help to prepare them for life after university.

We also found that 99% of volunteers feel that we offered them access to opportunities they would not otherwise have had. 96% think that the Hubs introduced them to people they would not otherwise have met. Finally, 73% of students would definitely recommend getting involved to a friend.

Rachael’s Story

"Being involved in Branch Up for almost 5 years has definitely developed my communications, leadership and organisational skills. Through various roles, I’ve learned to prioritise and juggle responsibilities. I’ve also really improved my confidence. Taking charge is now second nature for me. I feel totally comfortable getting up in front of a group of people, which used to make me very nervous. Next, I’d like to be involved with a similar programme as a trustee or in an organisational role."

Rachael Griffiths, Oxford Hub, Branch Up Coordinator, DPhil Oriental Studies

For Community Partners

Our social action programmes support students to have a transformative impact in their local communities. Student involvement results in improved outcomes for user groups:



of our community partners benefited from specifically engaging students. 98% of our community partners saw a positive change in their beneficiaries.



of volunteers noticed a somewhat or definite positive change in the beneficiaries.



of Social Innovation Programme partners reported that beneficiaries definitely benefited from their organisational engagement with student consultants.


of Schools Plus partners reported that Schools Plus definitely improved pupils’ confidence, attainment and interest in their studies.

Branch Up


of Branch Up partners agreed or strongly agreed that Branch Up gives the children access to opportunities they would not normally have.



of Social Impact Internship Scheme hosts agreed that user groups benefited in some way from the organisation working with a student intern.

We recognise that some of these figures are lower than in previous years. It can be challenging to gauge the impact of projects that involve less contact time with beneficiaries. Going forward, we hope to deliver additional training to volunteers and work with both community partners and the wider sector to develop more effective ways of monitoring volunteer impact. Visit the Future section to learn more about our priorities.

Bristol Best Tuition’s Story

"Volunteer tutors from the university are helping us to provide high quality teaching and reduce student-tutor ratios. The majority of pupils that come to Bristol Best Tuition are from very deprived backgrounds and Black and Ethnic Minority groups. They can’t get private tuition and often don’t have enough space to study at home.

Schools Plus is breaking the divide between Clifton, the affluent University of Bristol area, and Easton, the area in which Bristol Best Tuition operates. The university students bring their skills to support the community. They get to know local young people and the challenges they are facing. At the same time, Schools Plus helps pupils to learn and see that university students are also diverse. I strongly believe that we should keep investing in young people’s skills."

Khalif Noor, Founder and Project Manager, Bristol Best Tuition

Our Outputs

Student-led volunteering


students volunteered through one of our


long-term community projects.

The number of students engaging with our long-term volunteering opportunities continues to rise across the network, thanks to the scaling of existing projects and development of new initiatives in response to local need.

Our one-off volunteering opportunities also gave 433 students the chance to get a taste of volunteering, many of them for the first time. This is reflected in the increased number of students who told us that they have not engaged with social action prior to finding their Hub.

Skilled placements


students supported to undertake social consultancy placements during term time.


interns placed in 46 charities and social enterprises last summer.

This year, the number of students participating in our skilled placements increased by 12%. Where previous years have seen us scaling these opportunities significantly across the network, this year Hubs have focused on consolidating programmes whilst maintaining steady growth.

Project incubation


student projects incubated.


of projects launched.

Whilst we saw a decrease in the total number of projects incubated (down from 78 last year), we have continued to see an increase in the proportion that are launched (up from 49%). This reflects an increase in staff time dedicated to supporting students to get existing ideas off the ground. It demonstrates our prioritisation of quality and impact over quantity of projects.

In addition, we collaborated with the UK Student Volunteering Network and the National Union of Students to run Student Volunteering Week 2017. Students and staff from 60 Higher and Further Education Institutions led 298 events. Together we celebrated social action and supported more students to participate in a range of activities. Learn more about our involvement in SVW 2017 on our blog.