The Volunteering Service exists to connect UCL with other communities across London, primarily by engaging students in enriching volunteering opportunities. We are a service of Students’ Union UCL, directly funded by the UCL Office of the Vice Provost (Education and Student Affairs).
Volunteering is a big part of the culture at UCL. It can help students feel more settled in London and at UCL, whilst introducing them to new people and new experiences. Students regularly tell us how volunteering improves their well-being, helps them develop new skills and enhances their experience of their degree.
We work with departments in every faculty to support their students into volunteering. Here’s how we can help:
We have plenty of volunteering roles on offer that will give students new perspectives on their academic studies. We produce subject-specific information sheets at the start of each year and have fresh opportunities coming in each week – we can let you know whenever anything relevant comes in. We also deliver talks about volunteering in departments throughout the year.
In addition, we can organise one of our 'Building Bridges' events in your department, bringing together staff, students and community organisations to design new co-curricular volunteer roles.
Our Student-Led Volunteering Programme enables UCL students to organise and run their own community projects across London. This year, we’ve supported over 70 such groups. Many of these projects have sprung up from UCL’s academic departments and faculties. For example, Citizenship & Crime, Mathomaniacs, Meducate and Schools Book Club were set up by students in Laws, Maths, Medicine and English respectively. The Volunteering Service provides support, advice, training and funding, and can help new student groups put their ideas into action.
Volunteering and student employability
Our surveys of UCL students show that they feel more employable and develop useful skills through volunteering. Similarly, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement found that 51% of recent graduates said that previous volunteering had helped them to secure employment.
Together with UCL Careers, we run termly ‘Volunteering and Your CV’ workshops to help students reflect on their volunteering experiences and identify what useful skills they’ve learnt along the way.
Volunteering and student well-being
Volunteering can help students meet new people, feel more settled in London and at UCL, and improve their self-confidence. We want to get people talking about the well-being benefits of volunteering. In our annual student survey, 76% of our volunteers said that volunteering had improved their well-being, citing a sense of satisfaction, opportunities to meet new people and the chance to feel part of the community.
Community Research Initiative for Students
The Community Research for Students (CRIS) is a new initiative creating research partnerships between UCL departments, Postgrad Taught students and community organisations. The students can use the research as part of their dissertation, as well as getting the experience of collaborating with another organisation and producing research that will be put to good use.
Connecting you with London’s voluntary and community sector
More broadly, if you’d like to involve London’s voluntary and community sector with any aspects of your teaching or research, then please do get in touch. We have formal links with around 450 different charities and community organisations, and regularly send out requests to collaborate from UCL colleagues.
We're here to help
If you'd like to find out more, please get in touch with our Partnerships Manager, Oliver Peachey.