Volunteering Services Unit

contact: John Braime, Volunteering Services Unit


1. The Volunteering Services Unit (VSU) is a joint project of UCL and UCL Union. It is one of the largest volunteering departments in UK Higher Education and, as such, students wishing to get involved in community activities have a great deal of support and advice on offer.

2. Our surveys consistently show that students who engage with volunteering gain new skills, build their confidence, and make new friends. In many cases, volunteering can enhance their academic experience, either by enabling them to apply their learning in a practical context, or more generally by improving their well-being and sense of connection to UCL.

3. There are four main strands to the VSU’s work:

  • Community Partners – we place students with 400 different charities and other volunteering organisations across London. Our network allows us to offer students a great deal of choice in volunteering. www.uclu.org/volunteers
  • VSU Student Led Projects – we also support students to set up and run their own community action programmes. We provide a supervisor, access to facilities such as printing and room bookings, and students can also apply for up to £750 to run their projects. www.uclu.org/volunteers/innovations-programme
  • One–Offs – for students who do not wish to make an ongoing commitment, we offer a schedule of one–off volunteering activities. www.uclu.org/volunteers/one-off-volunteering
  • Global Citizenship Voluntary Sector Programme - is a two-week academy about working in the voluntary sector, open to second and final year undergraduates as part of UCL’s Global Citizenship Programme

4. In addition to these three areas, we organise a wide range of training and events for UCL student volunteers. We also have provided advice to UCL academic departments on links with community organisations. We work closely with UCL’s Public Engagement Unit, particularly with support for post–graduate students.

December 2014