We should challenge the University to provide bespoke funding for volunteering activity to overcome current financial limitations

Passed: November 2019 (18th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

Students who take part in volunteering activities are willing to give their time, resources and skills to help run projects that benefit the Leeds community inside and outside of the university environment. This is fundamentally different to other societies, yet under the current system, because we are viewed as having the same needs as these societies, we feel that we are often not getting the support we need.

Societies that primarily undertake volunteering activity are less likely to charge membership (over half of all volunteering societies don’t charge membership, and those that do are substantially lower than other society categories). We believe that volunteering should be an activity accessible to all. Because of this, it means one of the main sources of income available to other societies is limited for us, and as such we can become overly dependent on the current LUU Grant. This is problematic as we cannot be sure how much we will be awarded from the grants and often societies are dependent on the union as it provides our largest source of income; several societies such as Action and Conservation Volunteers are almost totally dependent on the LUU grant, meaning that any union policy changes or clarifications in the future, such as those experienced this academic year, will directly impact our main source of income.

The current LUU grant stipulates that all money must be spent on activity that directly benefits members of the Union. This is problematic for some volunteering activity as our beneficiaries (young carers, children with special educational needs, local school kids, elderly care home residents etc…) are not classed as LUU members, meaning that activities, accommodation, food etc that is needed to be purchased for these beneficiaries isn’t covered by the current grant. We therefore need to find funding from elsewhere but are not properly supported to do this currently.

We suggest challenging the University to offer bespoke funding for volunteering activity, the same way it does with sports groups. If University makes this change it could mean access to more volunteering support, the possibility of more bespoke staffing as well as the obvious funding benefits that would allow more volunteering and would provide a knock on positive impact to the wider Leeds community.

Expires: November 2022 (18th)

Submitted By: Hannah Robinson

Officer: Activities

Area of Work: Volunteering

Updates

August 2020: Work began in this area and was handed over to the new Activities Officer Lucy - she will seek to continue progress made already.

June 2020: Unfortunately there are no major updates to this work over the summer as a result of lots of LUU staff being furloughed (ongoing), as well as the LUU building and campus being closed. As staff return to work and the new Officer team settle into their roles this will be picked up again.

February 2020: Head of Activities and proposer have met several times, though taking a slight pause currently. University have reacted positively to discussion, and the idea of a crowdfunding platform or similar in future as an alternative means of funding.

December 2019: Proposer meeting with Head of Activities before the end of term to decide on next steps for this, will be supported by PET.

November 2019: New Policy. Current Activities Officer Lydia's manifesto details challenging the University on funding more broadly.