Practical volunteering by students is a key component in our theory of change. Across our network of Hubs, we deliver a range of volunteering projects addressing social and environmental challenges in local communities. Practical social action connects students with the world outside the university bubble and provides the opportunities and skills to make a real difference to their university careers and beyond.


Across our network of Hubs, Hub staff support student leaders through our committee structure to get experience running and delivering volunteering programmes, managing volunteers and working with local community partners, such as schools, youth groups and care homes. Through our programmes and student leadership framework, students develop their confidence, leadership skills and connection to volunteers and their university community.



Discover our volunteering programmes:


Schools Plus


Schools Plus trains university students to tackle educational disadvantage. Volunteers tutor in primary and secondary schools with a high proportion of pupils on Free School Meals and with English as a second language, and support tutoring at local colleges.

We recruit student volunteers who are passionate about their subject and have the potential to be positive role models in schools and colleges. Our comprehensive training programme and ongoing support enable students to develop the necessary communication and teamwork skills for effective tutoring.

Volunteers commit to weekly tutoring sessions during the academic year, and each team of tutors is led by a student coordinator. Tutors have access to talks and networking events with partners such as Teach First, which develop their knowledge of educational disadvantage and related careers.

Schools Plus runs in 5 university cities. In 2018/19 we placed 336 tutors, reaching nearly 800 young people across 176 projects.

We support pupils to reach their academic potential and break out of the cycle of educational disadvantage


Schools Plus Volunteer


Branch Up

Economic background significantly impacts children and young people’s education, social lives and emotional wellbeing. This inequality occurs in and out of school, with research showing that the parents of children from low-income backgrounds spend less on extra-curricular activities than wealthier parents. Participation in extra-curricular activities like music, dance and sports can have a positive effect on both educational attainment and wellbeing.

Branch Up provides free Saturday activity days to children referred to us by social services and/or schools. Groups of university student volunteers act as near-to-peer mentors for the children. Activity days include trips to museums and other local attractions, sports/games sessions, arts workshops and regular visits to the university. We work with the same children throughout the year with a 1:1 volunteer:child ratio, so that the children can have fun, make friends and try new activities that they might not normally have access to.

Branch Up runs at Bristol Hub and Southampton Hub. In 2018/19 we supported 58 volunteers to build relationships with over 70 children through our activity days.

Branch Up Volunteer



LinkAges is an intergenerational volunteering scheme which connects student volunteers to older people in their local community. Across our network, LinkAges volunteers lead activity sessions at care homes, participate in one-to-one befriending and support reminiscence therapy groups for people who suffer from dementia. This interaction reduces loneliness and builds a greater sense of understanding between the generations.

The programme runs in our Hubs in Bristol, Kingston and Winchester thanks to partnerships with organisations who work with isolated older people.

LinkAges Volunteer




Across our network, we provide training for students doing all of our programmes, enabling them to reflect and develop key skills in the social issue they are aiming to tackle. We believe in inducting volunteers well to ensure they succeed in their development during their volunteering and are engaged to become active citizens for life. These trainings include:



Student Volunteering Week

Student Volunteering Week 2020 took place across the UK from 10th – 16th February.

Having successfully delivered SVW for multiple years, Student Hubs now acts as a strategic partner, supporting the UK Student Volunteering Network to coordinate the national campaign.

We are thrilled to promote social action alongside further and higher education institutions, the #iwill Campaign, the National Union of Students and, of course, thousands of student volunteers.

SVW is a unique opportunity for student volunteers, colleges, universities, charities, social enterprises, businesses and government to collaborate.

It is a time to discuss challenges and opportunities in student volunteering, whilst showcasing innovative individuals and projects. Find out more at the SVW website.

Check out what each Hub got up to in SVW 2020 in our blog, or see our highlights on Twitter using #SVW2020.

Visit site »

Across our network, staff and students coordinate a range of community volunteering opportunities which empower young people to tackle the social and environmental challenges they see on their doorstep.

Visit the Hub websites to find out more.