Practical and structured volunteering by students is a key component in our theory of change. Across our network of Hubs and through our Projects, we deliver a range of volunteering programmes 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, 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 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. They can also run extracurricular activities for pupils in local schools, providing more capacity and support for our school partners and development for young people locally in areas such as music, art, debating and more.
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.
We work in partnership with Widening Participation in our Hubs to reach schools which most need our provision, and work collaboratively to identify opportunities for support and to meet APP priorities.
Branch Up provides free Saturday activity days to 7-11 year old children referred to us by social services and/or schools locally. 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 so that the children can have fun, make friends and try new activities that they might not normally have access to.
Many Branch Up activity days happen on campus, supporting young people’s expectations about university life whilst supporting them to build fulfilling relationships with adults, and support their social and emotional needs. Branch Up runs at Bristol Hub and Southampton Hub.
Empower is a mentoring programme run in secondary schools and colleges which matches young people with a near-to-peer university student mentor. The programme supports young people’s expectations about their futures, their motivation, and enables them to work through challenges or other issues with a supportive mentor. Students are trained by us and matched with a mentee from a local school or college partner, and typically have 6-8 sessions with their mentee across a term.
The programme runs in Kingston and Southampton.
LinkAges is an intergenerational volunteering scheme which connects student volunteers to older people in their local community. 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 at our Hub in Bristol thanks to partnerships with organisations who work with isolated older people.
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:
- An introduction into social issue they have chosen to engage with;
- Safeguarding and Accessibility training;
- Training specific to skills they may need (i.e. providing Schools Plus volunteers with tutoring training);
- Reflection training for transferring their volunteering experience into other elements of their life.
If you are interested in our general training opportunities for your student volunteers or leaders, see our training page for more information.
Student Volunteering Week
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.
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.