Volunteering and RAG

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, in-person student group activity has been suspended until further notice. But, there are still ways you can support your local community during this time, or get involved in volunteering remotely.

Covid-19 Volunteering:

  • NHS Volunteer Responders

    Support the NHS and the care sector during the Covid-19 outbreak.

  • Volunteer within the City of York

    The City of York Council are looking for volunteers to operate remotely to help protect the emotional health and physical wellbeing of residents.

  • Support local Food Banks

    Donating, making an online food delivery or volunteering at a local food bank that may be receiving a decrease in donations.

  • Mutual Aid Groups

    Neighbourhood level groups have been developed and are being led by volunteers.

Opportunities to Volunteer from Home:

  • There are a range of charities and organisations that provide opportunities for you to carry out remotely. Check out these remote volunteering opportunities below.

YUSU Mentoring Programme

YUSU Mentoring Programme

Start planning your 2020-2021 activities now!

YUSU is excited to announce a new scheme through which current students at York can apply to become mentors for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Supported by the University of York, you will receive extensive mentoring and safeguarding training, continual supervision and experience working with young people. It is a chance to positively contribute to the City of York and its surrounding areas by being an active citizen at such an uncertain moment in time, helping future leaders build confidence and feel empowered to achieve their goals. This is also an excellent way to increase your employability and demonstrate your skills to future employers.

For more information go to our Work for Us page.

Click on the tabs below to find out more about how to get involved in Volunteering and Fundraising in YUSU:

YUSU Volunteering

Fundraising and Volunteering are two fantastic ways to feel part of the York community, get involved and give back. Thousands of students get involved in fundraising and volunteering on campus and in the local community each Year at York.

YUSU Volunteering and RAG are different to other student groups as students do not have to pay any joining fees, but can instead get involved with a free membership that is open to all!

Join the Volunteering Committee!

We are looking for students to join the Volunteering Committee for 2020-2021. The Volunteering Committee are a dedicated group of students who are responsible for supporting, organising and promoting volunteering activity on campus. There are a variety of roles available, and you do not have to have volunteered before to apply.

The roles you can apply for are:

  • Secretary and Treasurer
  • Colleges Liaison
  • Events Coordinator
  • Press and Publicity Coordinator
  • Social Events Coordinator
  • Projects Liaison
  • Careers Liaison
  • Community Coordinator
  • Student Groups Liaison
  • Internal and External Events Liaison

More details and full role descriptions are available here

Apply here now!

Volunteering is about choosing to give your time, energy and skills to something that matters to you. YUSU Volunteering supports and runs a variety of volunteering opportunities at York. These range from regular projects where you can form long-term relationships and watch programmes grow, to engaging and exciting one off opportunities that are aimed at benefiting the local community and students, in and around York.

There are a number of ways you can get involved, from volunteering with one of our student-led projects, giving an hour of your time with our one-off opportunities, volunteering for your college charity partner or volunteering within schools or the community with Careers and Placements.

Got a question about volunteering?
Get in touch with:

Student-led Volunteering Projects

Please note: Some of these opportunities may currently be suspended or operating in different ways due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Our 18 student-led projects, carry out voluntary activity within the local York Community and beyond. Such projects vary, delivering activities, workshops and skills sessions within local schools, providing peer-to-peer support, tackling environmental issues, reducing social isolation, raising awareness of health issues and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Search the projects below and follow the page links to find out more about what they offer and how to get involved.

Start your own Project

Can’t see something in the list below that you’d like to get involved in? Then start your own! If you’re thinking about ratifying a student group under YUSU, there are a few steps you’ll need to complete. Ratifying brings you a whole host of benefits, including access to financial aid, a free presence at Freshers’ Fair, a spot on the YUSU website, and dedicated staff support for your operational management - but we hold our groups to a very high standard, so you’ll need to be sure it’s the right thing for your group. Your application will be reviewed and voted on by Volunteering Committee. Once you have their approval, you’ll have to complete some documentation before you are formally ratified. Read through our Guide to Starting a New Project to get started, and complete the application form.

Want to find other ways to get involved in volunteering? Check out the university's opportunities here.

Volunteering Committee

Volunteering Committee is chaired by the elected Volunteering Officer and made up of a range of student representatives. The committee is appointed to help provide the most fulfilling and impactful volunteering opportunities to students at York, represent and supporting all volunteers, and ratifying new volunteering projects.

DBS Checks:

Some of our YUSU projects require volunteers to have a Disclosure and Barring Service Check before getting involved.

BS Checking is available through YUSU, check out the guidance below:

Please note: Countersigning DBS Checks is currently suspended by YUSU until further notice.

Volunteering Impact

In 2018/2019...

  • 741 students got involved in YUSU Student-Led Projects and one-off activities
  • 11716 hours were volunteered by students
  • 25 one-off opportunities were held for students to get involved in
  • Over £120,000 was raised for Charity Partners by our students!

"I have loved my time doing MEG, not only does it show you the power of music on members of the local community, it helps you love music even more! MEG has been such a huge influence during my university time that it has convinced me to train to be a primary teacher next year."
Music Education Group Volunteer

“Nightsafe volunteering is a very rewarding experience. For me, Nightsafe really helped build my confidence and has given me the opportunity to learn new skills, meet some great people, and become part of a project and team that I can be proud of for the rest of my life.”
Nightsafe Team Leader

“Joining OpenMinds is one of the most positive things I have done at University. I feel as though I am making a real difference in mental health education in the local area, which is something I believe to be truly important. Taking on a more active role has given me the opportunity to work with people who share my passion and also want to make a difference. I am so thankful for the experience.”
OpenMinds Committee Member

"Joining Tea and Coffee Club was the best decision since starting studying at the University of York"
Tea and Coffee Club Volunteer

'Angels in the Orange Coats': What's it really like working for NightSafe?

We spoke to graduate Hannah Greenwood to find out more about the service that keeps students safe at night . . .

Read more

Nightline: The service that's 'all ears'

Paige Street tells us about what it was like to be an 'anonymous listener' . . .

Read more

'You have the ability to cure cancer.'

Marrow volunteer, Anie Hu, tells us her story of cancer recovery and the importance of the stem cell register . . .

Read more

One-off and Microvolunteering

One-off volunteering and micro-volunteering provide great opportunities for you to get involved in volunteering around your other commitments.

Volunteering doesn’t have to be long-term to make an impact, you can still make a difference by giving an hour of your time.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, charities and voluntary organisations are working harder than ever to support vulnerable people. Why not engage with some of the micro-volunteering opportunities below

Digital and At Home Volunteering Opportunities:

Amnesty International UK: Pocket Protest

Receive a text when someone is in need or support and contribute to defending free speech and stand up for human rights.

Be my Eyes

Support a blind or low-vision person for visual assistance through video calling. From checking expiry dates, distinguishing colours, reading instructions etc.

Brightside Mentoring

Online mentoring for young people to achieve their potential.

Catch A Fire

Volunteer your skills virtually.

Definition Of

Contribute by defining a word, with every two approved definitions, a donation of a lunch to a hungry child will be made.

Dementia Friends

Become a Dementia Friend, learning more about what it is like to live with dementia and turn understanding into action.

Free Rice Game

A free quiz game, where each answer you get right, the World Food Programme donate 10 grains of Rice to help end hunger.


Helping worldwide campaigns and supporting inspiring activities through an app.

Galaxy Zoo

Assist professionals in classifying research on how galaxies are formed looking at telescopic images of distant galaxies.

Loving Hands

Knitting, crocheting and crafting for various charities and causes.

Missing Maps

Map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people.


Solve a puzzle and help genetic disease research.

Princes Trust Mentoring

Use an online platform to mentor young people and help them to get ahead in life.


Post a smile on a sick child’s face by sending letters, cards, emails or gifts to seriously ill children and their siblings in the UK.


Listen to music whilst raising money for communities in Indonesia for free.

The Mix

Peer to peer support in online communities or one to one support online or over the phone.

Translators without Borders

Fluent in another language other than your native language? Translate medical texts and for crisis response.

United Nations Volunteers Programme

Team up to address sustainable development challenges anywhere in the world.

ZSL Instant Wild

Take part in conservation work and support the future of wildlife by identifying animals in images from across the world.

Raising and Giving (RAG)

YUSU RAG offers a range of opportunities for students to get involved in, from international treks and challenges, to on campus events, activities and campaigns.

Got a question about fundraising?
Get in touch with:

Core Charities

YUSU RAG elects a number of core charities each year which will be supported by RAG during the academic year.

With almost 500 votes cast, the successful YUSU RAG Beneficiaries for 2019/2020 are:


SNAPPY is a local York Charity supporting children and young people with a wide-range of disabilities, providing them the opportunity to engage in activities, enjoy new experiences, have fun and make friends.


SASH carry out their work in North and East Yorkshire, and offer support and accommodation to young people aged 16 to 25 facing homelessness.


BEAT is the UK’s eating disorder charity, and work on research, awareness training, supporting healthcare professionals, online and regional support services as well as phone and email helplines that are open 365 days a year.

RAG Committee

RAG Committee is chaired by the elected Raising and Giving Officer, made up of student representatives each responsible for a different aspect of growing and developing fundraising, and inspiring students to get involved.

Fundraise for your own Cause:

Although YUSU RAG support core charities that are chosen by students each year, they are here to support you to fundraise for your own cause.

The 2018/2019 RAG Officers developed a Fundraising Guide to support any student or student group interested in fundraising.

College Volunteering and RAG

Each College at the University of York provide volunteering and fundraising opportunities for their students, either through projects that each college committee sets up, or through their College Charity Partner.

Get in touch with your College RAG and Volunteering Representatives to find out more.

College Charity Partners

Each College at the University of York has a College Charity Partner, that JCRC’s and CSA’s decide on every 3 years. This charity partner is usually a local York charity, and students within the college can get involved in both fundraising and volunteering initiatives offered by the charity in collaboration with the college.

College Charity Partnerships for 2019-2021:

  • Alcuin College - St Leonard’s Hospice
  • Constantine College - Refugee Action York
  • Derwent College - York Mind
  • Goodricke College - Changing Lives
  • Halifax College - York Against Cancer
  • James College - Survive
  • Langwith College - Student Minds
  • Vanbrugh College - SASH