STAR Volunteering

Leeds conversation classes

Leeds conversation classes

There are two ways you can volunteer with STAR:

  1. Local university: as a student through your local STAR group at university
  2. National office: with the national team in London as an intern or office volunteer

Check the latest Volunteering Opportunities at the national office. Or learn more about volunteering as a student through your university STAR group:

STAR group volunteering projects

STAR groups provide practical support to refugees and asylum seekers in their communities through volunteering projects with local refugee organisations.

All STAR practical support projects are run in partnership with another organisation. This may be a local council, another charity or a community group.

Contact Emily Crowley, Deputy Director, for any advice.

Why volunteer?

Life as a refugee in the UK can be full of loneliness, upheaval and uncertainty. By volunteering for local refugee projects students can support people during a difficult time and assist them to build a new life in the UK.

STAR members can make a positive difference to the lives of refugees by volunteering at local community centres and schools. Students can offer a friendly face at drop-in centres, help with English conversation, organise food parcels or clothes collections, run activity clubs or help refugee kids with their schoolwork. In return, STAR members make new friends, learn new skills and gain an understanding of what it means to be a refugee.

What volunteering do STAR groups do?

STAR groups all over the UK are making a huge difference to the lives of asylum seekers and refugees through volunteering.

Currently STAR volunteers are supporting over 60 local projects for refugees and in 2016-17 they supported over 4,000 refugee and asylum seekers through their volunteering.

Projects include:

  • Homework clubs in schools and refugee organisations
  • Classroom support for refugee children
  • School workshops on accessing higher education
  • English conversation clubs
  • Drop-in centres
  • Refugee women’s groups
  • Sports clubs
  • Youth clubs

How can STAR National help your STAR group with volunteering?

We can:

  • Find volunteering opportunities and potential partner volunteering organisations in your local area.
  • Support the set up and running of your volunteering project by
    • Giving advice and training e.g. how to find and keep volunteers, how to evaluate your project, how to run a student led project.
    • Speaking to or visiting the organisation your are volunteering with (your partner project) e.g. if you are having problems
    • Organising local training for your STAR group e.g. safeguarding, working with refugee children and young people.
    • Being a contact point over the holidays for the organisation you are volunteering with.
  • Help the new committee get the volunteering restarted.
  • Organise National training events on volunteering where you can learn new skills and share your volunteering experiences with other STAR groups from around the UK.
  • Put you in touch with other STAR groups who are running similar projects so you can learn from each other.

Getting official credit for your volunteering

Volunteering can make a huge difference to your life but it’s down to you to make the
most of it!

In today’s world you need to show that you are more than the sum of your paper
qualifications. You need to show future employers that you have initiative and can
communicate and solve problems outside of the academic world. Here are some
suggestions of how to show them the great stuff you have done with your volunteering

Accredited awards

There are lots of different kinds of volunteering awards you can work towards. Some
awards count how many hours of volunteering you do and others might be a thank you
certificate once a year. There are also some schemes which could count towards your

The best place to start is to find out about what your university offers. So get in touch with
your student union or student volunteering hub. Your volunteering partner organisation might also have an awards scheme.

The most common award is through the Vinspiredprogramme (England), there are a number of awards schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Information for organisations

If you would like to find out how to get STAR volunteers involved in your organisation please contact Emily Crowley.

We do not:

  • Do checks on STAR volunteers. If you require volunteers to undergo reference checks or DBS checks it is your responsibility to ensure that STAR volunteers are vetted. Some universities can provide DBS checks for free so it is worth checking with the STAR group.
  • Provide insurance for STAR volunteers
  • Provide volunteer expenses, if you cannot offer these the the University Student Union may be able to provide them.
  • Allow our members to volunteer as fundraisers; we rely on their fundraising activities to support our work at STAR.