Volunteering opportunities

Joining a community means giving back – and getting a great deal in return. There are volunteering opportunities to suit everyone.

Coronavirus and volunteering - FAQs

We have collated advice below on things you should consider, and where to find opportunities. As always, if you have any questions about volunteering, email volunteering@uwe.ac.uk

Am I still allowed to volunteer?

Yes. Even if you need to or wish to stay at home, you can certainly still volunteer – see lots of opportunities linked below!

You are also allowed to go out to volunteer as long as you are following national guidelines regarding restrictions and safety measures. 

You can visit the NCVO website for information on staying safe whilst volunteering in England.  

To keep yourself and others safe, you should also:

  • let someone know where you are going
  • ask the organisation you are volunteering with about their safety protocols and risk assessment and ensure you are following any directions given
  • make sure you don't take on too much – it's often better not to offer than to let someone down

Vaccines and volunteering

Organisations are doing all they can to keep their service users safe, and you should be aware that you may be asked to demonstrate that you have been vaccinated against coronavirus in order to volunteer, particularly if you will be working closely with others. 

It’s a good idea to consider in advance whether you will be able and comfortable to share this information so that you are prepared if you are asked.

How can I volunteer virtually (online or by phone)?

There are lots of ways to volunteer from home. You can:

  • sign in to UWE Bristol Infohub using your UWE Bristol student email address and password and search for ‘Volunteer from home’ options – this will be updated regularly
  • check in on family, friends and neighbours by phone.

If you’re not sure where to start, or have a specific skill you want to share to support a charity, then why not contact the Volunteering Team for help? You can email us at volunteering@uwe.ac.uk.

I’m not able to volunteer – is there something else I can do?

Many charities are facing unprecedented demands for their service, as well as staff and volunteer absence. If you are able, consider donating to a charity you support.

Fundraising and encouraging others to make donations will make a huge difference to charities struggling at this time. Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and many people are facing financial insecurity, so please try to be sensitive with your requests.

Micro-volunteer with an online site like Free Rice or Zooniverse. With just a few minutes here and there you can volunteer with thousands of people around the world. Make a difference together for fundraising, research or social action.

One-off volunteering

Only got a few hours to spare? No problem. Many local organisations welcome volunteers for a day or less – with no ongoing commitment.

Explore one-off volunteering opportunities (InfoHub login required).

"One-off events are a fantastic way to volunteer, as you are able to give as much time as you can afford to. The feel good factor of working hard for a whole day is fantastic!"

Amy, one-off volunteer

Amy one-off volunteer

Opportunities by sector

Whether you want to totally immerse in your course subject area, or mix things up and explore a different avenue, there are some really exciting sector-specific opportunities. Think about the skills you want to gain and what fires your imagination – then start connecting.

Some of our sector picks are below, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, don’t worry! There is a full list of all our opportunities on Infohub (login required), or you can contact the Volunteering team for more advice.

"Art + Power really helped me to gain valuable knowledge, confidence and experience. They are a very supportive organisation and I’d definitely like to be involved more and support them in the future."

Phoebe, volunteered with Art + Power

Phoebe volunteered with Art + Power

UWE Bristol volunteering projects

We run a range of projects around Bristol for you to get involved in. Get stuck in working with other students and your local community, gaining CV-enhancing experience and hands-on skills as you give back. Projects take place during the autumn and spring terms, and are designed to fit around your studies.

Professional creative volunteering

Experience counts. Do something great and use your skills to support a charity in areas like photography, film, graphic design, illustration, web development or branding.

Timings are arranged to suit you and the organisation, for up to ten weeks. Typically, you'll work on a real brief related to the skills you want to develop. You'll also get the chance to network with other creatives in the organisation and produce work for your portfolio or CV.

To find out more, get in touch with volunteering@uwe.ac.uk.

Telephone befriending

Telephone befriending is a form of volunteering which provides emotional support for people who are socially isolated. It can be done from home and does not take much time commitment – it can involve volunteering for less than an hour a week. 

We can help you find a charity that interests you and help you apply to call one of their service users on a weekly basis, for a friendly chat and check in, boosting their morale and wellbeing. Charities include those working with older people in nursing homes, people with learning disabilities, young people or people who have experienced abuse. 

Training is provided as well as support from staff members.

Email volunteering@uwe.ac.uk to find out more about which organisations are looking for telephone befrienders.  

Volunteering in schools

There are lots of ways you can support your local schools. Some ideas are below – you can find schools and organisations looking for these volunteers on Infohub.

Book Explorers

Become a Book Explorer and support Primary School pupils with their reading next term. Volunteering as a Book Explorer is a fantastic way of improving your interpersonal and communication skills, as well as gaining valuable experience in a primary school.

As a Book Explorer, you will help children with their reading, encouraging them to engage with the story and develop their understanding of the characters.

You will also explore and talk about their future selves and ambitions, sharing your own journey into Higher Education.

Book Explorers will take place every Wednesday afternoon in March in 2022 and we plan to hold our training event on either 9 or 16 February 2022.

To get involved apply using the online application form and if you have any questions you can email volunteering@uwe.ac.uk.

Forest School Volunteer

At Forest School, children explore the woods and outdoor spaces, finding out about the plants and animals we share our world with. They can climb trees, make dens or rope swings, fish or forage. They can also make wonderful perfumes and potions; sit and listen to nature; learn how to use tools; have campfires and lots more. Free play is encouraged and any activities reflect the seasons and encourage appreciation of the woodland around them.

As a volunteer, you can gain experience supporting children's learning in a completely different setting. You will learn about the risks and how to manage children outside, as well as having a great deal of fun at the same time.

For this role, volunteers should be prepared to commit to volunteering between two to four hours per session for at least nine months.  

If you are interested in volunteering at the Forest School please email volunteering@uwe.ac.uk.

One-to-one Tutor

One-to-one tutors support young people facing socio-economic disadvantages to achieve a meaningful level of academic attainment, opening doors into education, employment or training. You can expect to be trained and supported as a volunteer tutor, and work with pupils to increase their subject knowledge, confidence and study skills. Some organisations also run online tutoring, so that you can tutor from home.

If you are interested in volunteering as a tutor, please email volunteering@uwe.ac.uk.

English as an Additional Language (EAL) home tutor

EAL tutors will work with our partner, Jacari. This is a student charity providing home tutoring for disadvantaged children aged 6 to 16 who don’t speak English as their first language. You'll work with the child and their family to help improve their learning ability and English confidence. You'll be the essential link between a child and their (often new) community.

You will be given specialist training, as well as ongoing support and resources from Jacari.

This is a special role which will involve building a close relationship with a child and their family. Jacari ask that volunteers are prepared to commit to volunteering one hour a week (plus planning time) for at least six months, with breaks for school and university holidays.

If you are interested in volunteering at Jacari, please email volunteering@uwe.ac.uk.

"I found the experience both enlightening and useful. I would urge any student who is considering a career in education, or who wants to strengthen their CV with some meaningful volunteering, to take the opportunity to volunteer with local schools. "

Schools Programme Volunteer, UWE Bristol Volunteering

Schools Programme Volunteer UWE Bristol Volunteering

International volunteering

The UWE Bristol Go Global team have identified trusted global volunteering providers who offer safe, ethical, good value, and positive outcomes for both student volunteers and communities.

International volunteering projects

Think Pacific

Virtual Internship 

The UWE Go Global Team are working in partnership with Think Pacific to offer you an exciting and meaningful travel-free International Volunteering opportunity. Think Pacific Virtual Internships take place online using the same IT equipment as your online lectures. 

The Internship involves around 100 hours of learning, professional mentorship, cultural activities and project work for an important charity, entrepreneurial business, NGO or Government Ministry in Fiji. You can choose your focus and spread your internship over 4, 8 or 12 weeks. For more information and to apply, see the UWE Bristol Virtual Internship information

This programme is open to all students, and eligible students can apply for the UWE Bristol Employability Bursary. Successful applicants will have their £495 programme fee fully funded by the University. Students who are not able to apply for the Bursary can take part in this activity at the discounted rate of £395.  

In-person volunteering in Fiji

In-person volunteering in Fiji is unavailable in 2022 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Think Pacific have a range of residential volunteering programmes available in Fiji. Participants will become part of island life and take part in volunteer work in education, sports, or building/engineering projects which are requested and overseen by the local community. Think Pacific work closely with the Fijian government and are important partners on Fiji's National Development Programme. 

Play Action International – Uganda volunteer project

This project is unavailable in 2022 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Volunteer for a four-week project to build a playground for a school or community in need in Uganda and give children their childhoods through play. 

DAIGO – Daughters of Africa Foundation (DOAF)

This project is unavailable in 2022 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Take part in volunteering opportunities as part of Daughters of Africa Foundation's grassroots development projects in Africa. Projects include health and first aid, sports rehabilitation, publishing, eco-building and museum archiving.

Project Zulu

Volunteer to take part in school education development projects in the township and rural areas of Madadeni and Dundee, South Africa. Opportunities are available in South Africa and the UK including teaching, engineering, computer science, health, film and journalism and much more. 

Apply for an international volunteer project

You will need to apply directly through your chosen organisation's website. Your application will be assessed by the individual organisations. Successful applicants wishing to secure global funding support will receive it on a first-come, first-served basis.

UWE Bristol Employability Bursary

Providing you meet the eligibility criteria, all of the international volunteering programmes above can be part-to-fully funded by UWE Bristol via the UWE Bristol Employability Bursary.

Contact us

For any queries regarding international volunteering opportunities, email the UWE Bristol Go Global team on goglobal@uwe.ac.uk.

Nakita's international volunteering experience

Nakita Hedges, LLB(Hons) Law, volunteered with the African Prisons Project (now Educating for Justice). She tells us about surprising things she encountered whilst volunteering, and times where she felt she'd really made a difference.

The Students' Union

The Students' Union organises a series of one-off action days in the local community for teams of student volunteers working in partnership with voluntary organisations and charities to make a difference.

View upcoming opportunities on The Students' Union at UWE website.

You can also get involved in a wide range of sustainability, conservation and biodiversity volunteering through the Green Team. these roles are very low commitment, so perfect for a busy timetable. Find out more about the Green Team and sign up to the newsletter.

Interested in fundraising? Looking to use your business skills or to try an enterprise activity? Last year the Students' Union RAG team raised over £90,000 for charity! Check it out.


Get in touch

If you have any further questions about volunteering, please email volunteering@uwe.ac.uk, or get in touch another way.

Further information

Please see further information below about volunteering.

I didn't sign up in Term One. Can I still volunteer?

Yes. We have volunteering opportunities available all year round. Search on InfoHub (login required) or contact UWE Bristol Volunteering for advice and support.

Can I take a break from volunteering during university vacations?

The organisations understand that students need to take breaks for holidays and during exam periods. The most important thing is to tell them in advance so that organisations can plan around you. Our UWE Bristol Volunteering Projects and Schools Programme stop over the holidays.

How long will it take until I can start volunteering?

It often takes longer than people think to organise volunteering. This is because volunteer managers are very busy and they will want to arrange suitable training and inductions for you. Six weeks is quite a standard time to start volunteering but it could be longer if the organisation requires a DBS check.

What if I don't like my volunteering role?

Volunteering is a two-way process. If you are not happy in your role, it is important to talk to the organisation you are volunteering at, or contact us. It might be that they can help to make it a better experience for you. Although you are expected to show commitment, you do not have to keep doing something that you don't enjoy.