The Volunteering Service exists to connect UCL with other communities across London, primarily by engaging students in enriching volunteering opportunities.
Through our work, students will:
- Develop useful new skills, knowledge and experience.
- Have improved well-being.
- Learn about the role of civil society and how to effect social change.
- Deepen their understanding of their academic studies through engagement in volunteering.
- Become better equipped for the workplace and for life beyond graduation.
- Feel better connected to London.
Additionally, our community partners will be able to increase the impact that they have upon their beneficiaries, and more links between UCL and London’s voluntary & community sector will be created.
What we do
We are a service of Students’ Union UCL, directly funded by the UCL Office of the Vice Provost (Education and Student Affairs).
- We offer a volunteering brokerage, connecting UCL students with volunteering opportunities across London.
- We promote one-off volunteering events.
- We support students to set up and run their own community projects.
- We connect Postgraduate Taught students seeking dissertation topics with community organisations through our Community Research Initiative for Students.
- We create opportunities for our community sector partners to create links with other colleagues across UCL.
As a collaboration between UCL and Students Union UCL, our work is directed by the priorities of both organisations. In particular:
- We use Students’ Union UCL’s ‘125 and Beyond’ strategy as our template for our own planning, and will contribute to all five themes of the strategy.
- We also refer to UCL’s 2034 strategy and the Education Strategy when planning our service. Where relevant, we will also draw upon other UCL strategies, such as the UCL Wellbeing Strategy and the UCL London Strategy.
How we work
Our approach to our work reflects the values of Students’ Union UCL:
- We provide practical support and guidance to students wishing to establish their own volunteering projects.
- Students shape the direction of the service through our Think Tank, student surveys, and through our accountability to elected student representatives.
- We ensure that there’s a large range of options when it comes to volunteer roles, seeking out new opportunities where students tell us there are gaps.
- We deliver a warm, welcoming and responsive service, committed to finding a volunteer role for every UCL student who wants one.
- We make sure students are supported from their first enquiry through to the end of their volunteering.
- We identify barriers to volunteering and work to remove these for students.
- We monitor usage of our service and seek to engage under-represented groups.
- We build good, meaningful relationships with voluntary and community sector organisations across London, supporting them to develop rewarding volunteer roles for UCL students.
- We have high standards, only promoting roles where volunteers are well managed and supported.
- We work in partnership with colleagues across UCL to support students into volunteering and to make links between UCL and the communities around us.
- We are passionate about our work. Volunteering should be exciting, rewarding, and bring different people together.
- We help student volunteers to tell their stories and inspire others to action.
- We help students connect their volunteering with their academic studies and gain new perspectives on the wider world.
- As a team, we have a depth of experience within the volunteering and higher education sectors, and make sure we keep abreast of developments. We draw on this to ensure our programmes are high quality and inspiring.
- We enhance students’ volunteering experience by provision of support, training, information and advice.
- We promote volunteering as a core element of the UCL student experience and publicise opportunities widely across UCL.
- Volunteering can be challenging but should also be enjoyable. We’ll keep in touch with every student volunteer to see how their volunteering is going and offer support where needed.
- We celebrate the achievements of our volunteers through our Awards Ceremony.
- Building links with communities in London is at the heart of everything we do. We strengthen ties between UCL and the communities around us, serving as a doorway into UCL. We have a particular focus on Camden and East London.
- We strive to be one of the best volunteering services in UK Higher Education. We draw on best practice, learn from others, and innovate in creating new opportunities for students and communities to connect.