We support students to take part in and lead a wide range of social action opportunities in their communities. In 2017-18:


students took part in one of our opportunities.


of students had not been involved in social action before.

Our biggest area of growth was within our skilled placements offering, where we saw a 37% increase in the number of students completing a skilled placement during the academic year. There is a high demand for this type of activity from students who seek quality opportunities to apply their learning and skills to real workplace situations. Community organisations are also keen to make use of students’ insights and skill-set to add capacity to their work.

Students’ most commonly listed these motivations for getting involved with Hub activities:

Improving things / helping people






These motivations are consistent with previous years, however more students cited ‘part of my university course’ as a motivator for engaging, which reflects our work with universities to embed social action in the curriculum.

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 think that being involved in the Hub has enhanced their university experience.



of Social Impact Internship Scheme interns agreed they gained valuable work experience and developed their professional skills during their social impact placement.

Students leave Hub programmes better equipped to solve social and environmental issues, whether in the workplace or as volunteers.

We also found that 90% of volunteers feel that we offered them access to opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have had. 88% think that the Hubs introduced them to people they wouldn’t otherwise have met. Finally, 91% of students would definitely recommend getting involved to a friend.

Spotlight on: Social Innovation Programme

"The last time I previously worked was in 2015, so I didn’t want to leave my course and not be prepared for work life. It was perfect because the programme gave flexibility around being a parent and studying. For me the appeal of being able to learn different skills and have exposure to new experiences was great.

Although being a parent comes with responsibility it shouldn't discourage students who are parents from engaging in different opportunities which will enhance their personal and professional development. Doing SIP and Empower has really helped with my own self esteem, which has helped me in so many other areas including being a parent. It’s nice for children to see their parents learning and their parents professional life to raise their aspirations. This is a great opportunity to learn transferrable skills, and it’s really empowering. "

Rochelle, SIP participant and Empower volunteer, Kingston University

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. 97% agreed they benefited from student expertise and perspective.



of community partners reported that student volunteers increased their capacity to reach organisational aims.



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 and interest in their studies.



of Social Impact Internship Scheme hosts said they gained greater access to intern talent and their intern added value to their organisation.



of youth partners agreed or strongly agreed that the near-to-peer relationship benefits the children with whom our volunteers have worked.

Spotlight: Social Impact Internship Scheme

"We have been looking for new ways to develop and had identified important areas where we needed to do some work but were unable to find the staff capacity. Looking at the Student Hubs internship programme it seemed that this was one of the needs they were trying to address while giving students valuable skills, which we were very happy to contribute to.

We have gained insight from information we knew was valuable but just did not have the time to look into. The interns were very motivated and had clear interests in social impact and in gaining a range of experiences. They were very willing and able to learn quickly and picked up the ethos and purpose of the organization in a short time."

Self Injury Support, Bristol Internship Scheme Host

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 increased by 11% this year. We continue to scale our project and develop new initiative in response to local need.

Our one-off volunteering opportunities also gave 602 students the chance to get a taste of volunteering, many of them for the first time.

Skilled placements


students supported to undertake social consultancy placements during term time.


86 interns placed in 60 charities and social enterprises this summer.

This year, we have been able to significantly scale our skilled placement offering. The number of students participating in our skilled placements increased by 37%, which allowed us to work with 41% more community partner organisations than in 2016-17. We have done this through growing our Impact Labs programme and running a Young Trustee programme in Oxford.

Project incubation


student projects incubated.


of projects launched.

In 2017-18 we have continued to offer support to early stage ideas which aim to tackle social and environmental issues, incubating 48 new student projects. Across the network incubation takes the form of structured Social Enterprise programmes in Winchester and Oxford, and tailored support in other Hubs. Over the last year we have particularly focused on ensuring new projects are both responsive to the need that exists in local communities, and collaborative in their approach to tackle these. This has been emphasised as criteria for our Social Enterprise Awards, and also encouraged through the running of open events bringing together key stakeholders from across the community to discuss solutions to a particular issue. Find out more in this blog about Southampton’s One Community Forum.

In addition, we collaborated with the UK Student Volunteering Network and the NUS to run Student Volunteering Week 2018. Students and staff from 47 Higher and Further Education Institutions registered 232 events and activities between . Together, we celebrated social action under the theme of ‘student civic engagement’ and supported more students to participate in a range of activities. Learn more about our involvement in SVW 2018 on our blog.