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This term’s Social Hackathons took place over the February reading week, with 5 charity partners, 73 students and a great deal of problem-solving. In case you missed our social media updates during the week we are giving you a run-down of how they went.

Social Hackathons are problem-solving and solution creating events that give UCL students first-hand third sector experience and the unique opportunity to devise solutions to current problems faced by our charity partners. Students across all degree levels and different areas of study volunteered to help 5 diverse not-for-profits in need. Each hackathon gave the volunteers an insight into problems affecting different communities.

If you want to find out more about Social Hackathons, read about all our previous events and sign up to our newsletter to hear about how to get involved in our next series! 

Monday - Eye Heroes

The first hackathon of the week saw our volunteers working with Eye Heroes, a charity that helps fight avoidable blindness through volunteer-led interactive workshops.

Volunteers were tasked at improving Eye Heroes communication channels, including a review of branding and messaging, all with the access for visually impaired people at the forefront.

During the day volunteers used research to create informed ideas to improve the recruitment of volunteers, schools, and increase in the number of online workshops. The host was impressed by the results and excited at the development of a more engaged online community for young Eye Heroes!

Tuesday - WONDER Foundation

Tuesday saw volunteers tackle a complex topic with enthusiasm that led to impressive results! 

WONDER Foundation work with women-led partners towards a future where women and girls are empowered to make informed life choices. After hearing about the problems they face volunteers were tasked at looking at how do young people access information of migration to make informed decisions and how to get resources to youth workers in low-bandwidth countries.

Wednesday - Empathy Action 

Our charity partner Empathy Action needed support in transitioning an in-person empathy simulation to a digital platform. 

To kick off the day volunteers were invited to take part in a live empathy simulation; delivered by an actor we heard the story of a young refugee and we walked in their steps, making choices through zoom polls as we went. After a moving morning volunteers were asked to collaborate on enhancing and altering the programme for a digital audience.

From the use of virtual reality software to using pre-recorded delivery, volunteers presented ideas to the host to consider in developing the programme further. We are excited to see how Empathy Action implement these and look forward to being involved again!

Thursday - Kentish Town City Farm 

Thursday was farm day as we met with our charity host Kentish Town City Farm and hear about their need for a new fundraising initiative to fill a large gap in their funding target, but not before we met some of the local residence including rescue donkeys Nora and Dora!

After some research time teams took to collating an ideas board and presented these back to their host for feedback. Blown away by the creatively the host selected two winning fundraising concepts to develop in the second half of the day. 

We are excited to see these ideas be bought to life in April when all volunteers have been invited to the farm to celebrate their success in launching a fundraising product! 

Friday - Salusbury World

The final hackathon of the week was hosted by refugee and asylum seeking charity Salusbury World and focused on the challenges that Covid-19 has thrown up for their educational mentoring project. 

Working in teams volunteers were tasked at looking at how to improve online mentoring sessions and evaluate current communication tools to investigate how to better support mentees. 

The host was impressed with all the ideas presented that could significantly improve both the quality and quantity of their mentoring sessions – and lead to more young refugees and migrants feeling supported and hopeful for the future!

Thank you to all volunteers that took part in this social hackathon series! Your enthusiasm and dedication to the tasks allowed charities to take away tangible and valuable ideas to implement. 

Inspired to join our next Social Hackathons? Don’t miss our announcements and subscribe to our newsletter to find out when the next one will be held. You can also support charities anytime from home - check out our virtual volunteering roles here