University of York Students' Union (YUSU)

Volunteering Projects

We have a wide range of volunteering projects avialable. Click below to find out more.


Babylon sends student volunteers into schools to promote language learning and share cultures with 7-11 year olds in local York schools. We run languages sessions in the form of small group sessions during school, lunchtime clubs and after school clubs. This year we are really excited to continue on the success of our first cultural workshop! If you have a GCSE in a language or would like to share your culture then please get in touch and we’ll help you get involved!

Edible Uni

We are a volunteering project turning unused green spaces on campus into edible gardens for everyone to enjoy. We grow a variety of fruit and vegetables and are currently expanding to growing mushrooms. Everything we produce is free for anyone to pick. We have gardens in multiple locations across both campuses, so you are never far from being able to pick the fruit and vegetables you helped produce yourself. Everyone is welcome and there is no need for any experience in gardening.


Inkwell is project which allows students to help children develop their literacy and creative writing skills through a number of different workshops and afterschool sessions, in a fun and informal way. Our main objective at Inkwell is to foster a love of learning and writing in as many children as possible in a way that is tonnes of fun for both the children and the volunteer. Opportunities to help out with Inkwell are varied and can be as flexible as you would like; from one off classroom assistant roles at our library sessions, to helping out weekly in-school sessions or even mucking in and helping us make the various resources we need to keep the project running (cardboard painting galore!). This project is fantastic for anyone looking to devote time to a scheme that really benefits the community and is ideal for students looking to enjoy creative and fun out-of- studies activities and/or gain experience working with children.


KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) is a sports and activity session for children with disabilities where children and volunteers participate in playground classics, sports and parachute games to name a few. With occasional help from other societies we are also able to have yoga, trampolining, juggling and music sessions amongst others.


Working alongside Anthony Nolan, we help recruit people to their register, helping to link potential donors with people who desperately need a stem cell transplant. York Marrow started in the York base of the Hull York Medical School, but is now growing across the University of York, and is just one of the Marrow groups that have been working tirelessly since 1998, in 44 different universities across the UK.


Minds in Motion is an award winning community group run by students at the University of York to help support people with dementia and their carers. There are three main projects within Minds in motion: Wednesday sessions at Ebor Court, Harmony Café and Life Stories.

During term time, we hold weekly voluntary sessions with the residents at Ebor court. During these sessions we run various activities including: arts and crafts, reminiscence, dance and movement, singing, gardening and restoration and interactive music. The workshops are held at Ebor Court nursing home at 1.15pm - 2pm every Wednesday and taxis are pre-booked for volunteers from the University.

Harmony café is a dementia friendly café run monthly by student volunteers on a Saturday afternoon at St Aelred’s Community Centre. The café aims to provide a comfortable and friendly environment for people with dementia and their carers. As well as offering a range of activities such musical entertainment, a buffet and a raffle, Harmony café provides an opportunity for people to socialize and gain support. The café runs for two hours and is an excellent way to spend a Saturday afternoon whether volunteering or attending as a guest.

Life stories is a volunteer project pioneered by York City council that uses minds in motion volunteers. Volunteers are paired with a resident from Woolnough House with the aim to document their fascinating and vibrant life stories. How these are documented is up to the resident and their volunteer, and can range from writing a book to creating a chronological photo album. Volunteers visit Woolnough House once a week for an hour session of discussing the resident’s lives. Life stories also helps residents build relationships with their care workers and volunteers and improves their communication


The Music Education is a student run volunteering project. We run musical workshops in primary and secondary schools across York. These workshops involve samba and African drumming, ukuleles, kazoos, singing workshops and many more. Last term we ran over 100 workshops. We also have projects with the elderly in care homes and dementia cafes, as well as a new mental health project. Next term we plan to set up another project in York hospital. We do these workshops free of charge for everyone, making sure that music is accessible for all. If you are interested in volunteering, just send us an email or join us on our Facebook group to get involved with workshops. You don't need to have any experience in music or teaching, just join a workshop to see what we do!


Nightline is a confidential listening service run by students, for students, of The University of York and York St. John. We also offer free sexual health supplies and information on a number of topics.

We’re always looking for new volunteers to join us here at York Nightline. There are two ways you can volunteer for us. The first is by training to be a York Nightliner, which will enable you to take calls in our flat in Heslington. Alternatively you can get involved by becoming a Friend of Nightline, where you’ll assist our Public Faces in promoting the service and organising fundraising events.

It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, arts or science degree, or whether you’ve got any experience in active listening – all we look for is commitment and enthusiasm for providing the service.


NightSafe volunteers provide immediate support and signposting to intoxicated or vulnerable students and primary support and referral for anyone else in need of assistance on the YUSU club nights

You may have seen NightSafe volunteers on nights out in our very fetching orange hi-vis jackets and rucksacks. As well as having the opportunity to help fellow students, NightSafe has a very friendly atmosphere and can be a lot of fun. NightSafers work in teams of three, with at least one experienced volunteer.

Volunteer recruitment takes place at the end of spring term and training week generally occurs in week 0 of the autumn term, ready for the new academic year. Volunteers will receive training on first aid, active listening, conflict management, use of CCTV and radio and drug and alcohol awareness. There is also a lot of support systems in place to help volunteers.

Open Minds

Volunteers will be taught about mental health and disorders, and encouraged to design workshop plans to share their new knowledge in secondary schools.

Volunteers will need to obtain a DBS certificate and complete an online safeguarding children tutorial within the first term.


Sexpression York is part of the national network Sexpression:UK. Our main activity is visiting local schools and providing SRE, where one volunteer takes a group of 5-8 students and runs through activities including games and structured discussions. Our current lesson plans are LGBT Identities, Healthy Relationships & Consent, Contraception, Pornography and Pregnancy, but we welcome suggestions for new lesson plans and are always looking to expand what we can provide! To volunteer you need a DBS number (you can go to YUSU to get a free DBS check) and to attend one of our training sessions. There is a misconception that only healthcare/medical students can volunteer with us, but any student at the University of York is welcome.


SKIP HYMS is a branch of the national charity sends students out to volunteer in Tanzania every summer. We work alongside MYODA, a non governmental organisation to improve awareness of children's disability, increase local knowledge of HIV/AIDS and improve access to healthcare and education to all children in the area. Students have the opportunity to teach in a nursery, secondary schools and at HIV and disability seminars in the community.

Tea and Coffee Club

Tea & Coffee Club is a weekly run project held in Derwent SCR on Tuesday mornings where volunteers spend time with local elderly residents of York. Several volunteering projects at the University of York work with older people, but we are stand-alone in that we bring local older residents to visit us on campus. We've also been running for over 20 years!

Maybe you find yourself missing your grandparents? Or are conscious that you live in an abnormal university bubble where no-one exceeds the age of 25? Or perhaps you have an insatiable passion for bingo and biscuits? Each term we also have an event of some kind, a meal or trip, which is always something to look forward to.

Teddy Bear Hospital

Teddy Bear Hospital is a student-led volunteering project that works with children aged 5-7 in local primary schools to enable children to feel more comfortable around healthcare professionals. The children participate in a number of ‘stations’ in small groups which address health education themes such as hand washing, healthy eating and healthy bones and organs.

From the academic year 2016/17, Teddy Bear Hospital will be open to all healthcare students.

Theatre in Schools

Theatre in Schools is an exciting project that sees volunteers going in to local primary schools to run drama sessions as an after school activity. We have developed several programmes that develop different aspects of drama and performance. Drama and theatre education helps improve children’s self-confidence, team-work and commitment – as well as being a lot of fun! Volunteering with us is a great way to gain experience of working with children, as well as an enjoyable way to help the community in York.

Viva Voce

New for 2015! Viva Voce (meaning “word of mouth”) is a free audio magazine for young visually impaired adults. Our articles are read aloud and then posted online for young people to listen to. This is a unique project to get involved with as most audio magazines don’t target younger audiences. We however want to change this and create something for young visually impaired people to use and enjoy. We work closely with the York Blind and Partially Sighted Society and have links with other national visually impaired groups and charities.

There is lots to get involved with within the project, including editing, writing and recording articles and places on our committee. This is a great opportunity to gain some excellent journalism experience. We are also unique in the flexibility granted to our writers. Our articles also cover a wide range of topics: from opinion pieces to film reviews.