Crankstart - Volunteering | University of Oxford

Crankstart - Volunteering

Volunteering is a central component of the Scholarship Programme. The Programme aims to encourage applications to the university and to promote the benefits of Higher Education, so many of our Scholars choose to help with admissions and outreach activities. You can, however, also undertake community volunteering instead.

Crankstart Scholars are asked to complete a minimum of 25 hours of volunteering each year, but many Scholars achieve 50 hours or more. You can complete your hours either in term time or during vacations. Last year Crankstart Scholars participated in a wide range of activities including helping at University and College Open Days, working with the homeless, supporting the elderly, and returning to schools to talk about their Oxford experience.

Oxford Hub

I absolutely loved my volunteering. I really enjoyed helping prospective university students with their applications and interview techniques.

Scholar studying Physics, St Anne's College

Oxford Hub are a charity that support Scholars in finding volunteering opportunities and they offer a wide range of programmes in and around Oxford that Scholars can get involved with. They also help Scholars to find volunteering opportunities in their local area, as well as running group volunteering sessions for Crankstart Scholars.

You can contact scholars@oxfordhub.org if you would like to arrange a one-to-one meeting or have any questions. 

Frequently asked questions

What counts as volunteering?

Admissions, Access and Outreach

Volunteering activities that encourage young people to apply to Oxford or higher education can count if they are paid or unpaid. The University’s Undergraduate Admissions Office (UAO) employs students to help with lots of projects such as Student Conferences, Teachers Conferences, local school engagement, and the UNIQ summer schools. Contact your college’s Outreach Officer or Department/Faculty Administrator for more information about outreach opportunities in your college or subject.

Community volunteering

This encompasses a wide variety of opportunities including Schools Plus, OxGrow, fundraising activities, working with charities, conservation projects, summer schools, and many more. The expectation is that these activities are not paid.

You can complete your volunteering hours either in term time or in the Vacations.

What doesn't count towards my expected hours?

  • Any unpaid internship, whether supported by a Crankstart Internship Bursary or not
  • Canvassing for a political party
  • Volunteering for clinical trials (either paid or unpaid)
  • Any form of College role, for example a JCR Welfare Officer
  • Time spent organising events with the Crankstart Scholars Council

Fundraising activities only count when you are actively involved in the fundraising activity, for example the actual hours spent running a marathon would not count, but any hours spent on committee work (for example, arranging the marathon/competition/event itself) would count.

Can I volunteer abroad?

Yes, but we recommend that you focus the majority of your volunteering towards projects either in Oxford or your local home area. Volunteering projects undertaken abroad are unlikely to meet the volunteering specifications for the scholarship, but do speak to us if you have any queries or concerns.

Can I claim for any expenses incurred whilst volunteering?

Unfortunately we are unable to reimburse Scholars for any expenses incurred whilst volunteering. However Oxford Hub will reimburse for travel expenses within Oxford on of their projects. For more details please visit Oxford Hub's Accessibility page.

Where can I get help with finding a volunteering activity?

For community volunteering questions, or any advice about the opportunities advertised on their website, contact Oxford Hub at scholars@oxfordhub.org.   

For information about admissions and outreach opportunities in your college or subject, speak to your college's Outreach Officer or your Departmental/Faculty Administrator.

You can sign up for weekly email bulletins about volunteering on the Oxford Hub website.

When do I have to complete my hours?

You have the full academic year and vacations to complete your 25 hours of volunteering, including the Long Vac up to the end of September (even if you're a finalist).

What happens if I don't complete my hours?

We appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to complete your volunteering hours for a variety of reasons. If you are struggling to undertake 25 hours of volunteering please get in touch with us as soon as possible at crankstartoxford@admin.ox.ac.uk so that we can discuss your circumstances and options.  

I'm a Clinical Medic/on my Year Abroad/suspending. What do I do?

You aren't required to complete your 25 hours of annual volunteering if you are in your clinical years of the Medicine course, on your Year Abroad, or if you have suspended.

If you are struggling to reach the target hours for any reason, please contact the Crankstart team at crankstartoxford@admin.ox.ac.uk.