Crankstart - Volunteering

Volunteering is something many Crankstart Scholars find contributes to their university experience. With so many ways to give back, you’re sure to find something that both enriches your time at Oxford and benefits those around you.

Crankstart Scholars are encouraged 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 in Oxford or during vacations in your local area. Each year Crankstart Scholars participate 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. It is a scholar's responsibility to source their own volunteering activities, but there is one-to-one help available to those who need it.

Recording volunteering hours

Scholars should log their volunteering hours via their University Self Service page, accessed through ox.ac.uk/students. You should record all of your volunteering data for each academic year (1 October to 30 September) no later than 31 October, after which you will no longer be able to add or amend any volunteering records for the previous year. More details on how to log your hours can be found in the FAQs below.

If you have any problems recording your volunteering please get in touch via crankstartoxford@admin.ox.ac.uk.          

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 home 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. 

Where do I start?

If you’re not sure how to get started with volunteering, don’t panic! It’s really easy to get involved and find an activity that you’ll enjoy. Here are our tips to get started:

  • Think about what inspires you. Do you enjoy sharing skills and knowledge? If so, consider tutoring. If you prefer being hands-on, an hour of picking up litter in your local area every fortnight will get you to the 25 hour target. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a chore – it can be social, enriching, and fun!
  • Check what counts. If you’re unsure whether an activity will count towards your hours, and you can’t find the answer in the below FAQs, you can drop us an email.
  • Reach out to local organisations that may need help. This may be as simple as showing up, or sending an email. If you would like assistance with reaching out, or making connections, Oxford Hub can help. Your fellow scholars may also know of places across Oxford and the wider UK who are looking for volunteers.
  • Get stuck in! We hear so many wonderful stories from scholars each year about how much they have enjoyed their volunteering. There is sure to be something out there to make you feel the same.

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, including the Long Vacation.

What doesn't count as volunteering?

  • 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, including Dreams2Success
  • Time spent training for a role, or travelling to an activity

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.

When should I volunteer?

You have the full academic year and vacations to reach your 25 hour target, including the Long Vacation up to the end of September (even if you're a finalist).

How do I log my volunteering hours?

When you log in to Self Service as a Crankstart Scholar you should see a 'My Volunteering' menu at the top of the screen. Selecting this will bring up a summary of the volunteering you have recorded so far via Self Service. To add a volunteering record, select the current academic year and click 'Add a new record'. Once you have entered the relevant details, click save and a new volunteering record will be created. You can also copy, edit, or delete a volunteering record by clicking on the + option at the start of a volunteering record and selecting either copy, edit, or delete. 

Does my volunteering have to be in Oxford?

No, you can volunteer wherever is most convenient for you. This can be in Oxford during term time, at home during the vacations, online, or anywhere!

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.

What happens if I'm not able to volunteer?

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. We will never remove a scholarship from a Crankstart Scholar as long as they remain eligible for the financial support, so you will not lose your scholarship if you cannot complete your hours.

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

You aren't asked to volunteer if you are in your clinical years of the Medicine course, on your Year Abroad, or during a period of suspension from your studies.