Would you like to contribute and make a difference whilst you study at Essex? Then consider volunteering.

Find a volunteering opportunity

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Current volunteering opportunities

What is volunteering? 

Volunteering is any activity that involves spending time doing something unpaid that benefits individuals (other than close family members), groups, the environment and the community. Central to this definition is the fact that volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual.

This can include formal activity undertaken through public, private and voluntary organisations as well as informal community participation and social action. Everyone has the right to volunteer and volunteering can have significant benefits for individuals.

Types of volunteering opportunities

There’s a huge range of opportunities provided by external charities, community groups, our academic schools, departments and professional services, as well as the Students' Union VTeam.

From one-off projects to more regular volunteering, from helping children, the elderly, animals, to even helping the planet, there's always something to suit you and what you believe in. 

The Essex Volunteering Hub brings these opportunities into one place.

How you benefit

Volunteering is a great way to develop your skills, broaden your life experience and make a positive difference to the community, the University and your employability. 

  • Meet new people and forge new friendships
  • Gain opportunities for personal fulfilment and build self-worth knowing that you’re helping and are needed
  • A chance to find unknown strengths and learn new skills in safe environments
  • Improve both physical and mental health as it helps you feel connected and part of University life
  • Counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety
  • Gain University recognition for your volunteering and the skills you learn by logging your activities on The Big Essex Award. Your activities will then appear on your University digital transcript, the Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR), or the paper transcript Further Achievement Report (FAR) if you're a postgraduate student.

Examples of University volunteer providers

See what sort of opportunities these groups offer.

Essex Abroad

We encourage your spirit of adventure! Essex Abroad enables students and staff to widen their international experience by providing opportunities to study; at a partner institution, to find a work placement abroad, to attend a summer course or volunteer abroad.

Why Essex Abroad?

A summer abroad gives you the chance to immerse yourself in another culture and develop your independence. You can volunteer with one of our partner organisations around the world, giving you an enormous advantage when you enter the global job market. We've got a range of programmes to suit your needs and give you the best experience possible. Choose Essex Abroad and let the adventure begin.

Activities programme

We currently offer placements to:

  • UmPhafa, South Africa – A private Nature Reserve for people who have a passion and an interest to learn about African Wildlife. The placements are run by the Reserve Management Team which ensures that interns are mentored by our most senior and experienced staff members. Placements are for two weeks and usually take place in September and are run in collaboration with Colchester Zoo
  • Wildlife Sense, Greece - a sea turtle research and conservation organisation based on the beautiful island of Kefalonia, Greece. This placement offers a unique learning experience to volunteers to protect endangered sea turtles and their natural habitats and to promote public awareness
  • SLV Global – a placement offered only to psychology students and psychology graduates. An opportunity to gain valuable and practical experience in the mental health sector while being immersed in the unique and exciting cultures of Sri Lanka, Bali or India. The placements are designed to provide maximum benefit to the communities where SLV.Global works.


Our opportunities provide you the chance to immerse yourself in another culture and develop your independence, adaptability and cultural awareness. These are enormous advantages when entering the global job market.

Essex Sport

We transform the lives of students, staff and the local community through sport, by enriching personal development, facilitating the achievement of individual potential, and providing accessible and flexible opportunities for everyone.

Our volunteering activities

 Develop your skills, there’s something for everyone at Essex Sport:

  • coaching
  • refereeing
  • placements with the external partners that benefit the local community
  • help with the administration


  • Personal development - learn leadership and communications skills.
  • Personal fulfilment - have a positive influence in helping others.
  • Gain a nationally-recognised qualification.
  • Employability - there are solid statistics that prove that employers recognise the benefits of university sport volunteering.
  • Enhances your CV – volunteering improves your job prospects.
  • Love sport - volunteering can get you actively involved and help to shape the direction of sport at the university Where? indoors/outdoors on campus, schools and community venues (transport provided).

Football and Futsal

Love football? Volunteer with us - help spread the word and feed your passion!

At Essex Sport, we're growing and delivering more football and futsal to students, staff, local community groups and schools. We’ve also been selected as a Women’s Football and Futsal Specialist Hub.

Our volunteering activities

Volunteering activities include:

  • helping at events
  • regular weekly coaching and refereeing
  • organisation and administration
  • working with Essex Football Association to set up and deliver local and regional tournaments and events


  • Gain recognised NGB qualifications (refereeing and coaching) with bursary support.
  • Become part of the student management team and help shape the direction of University and community football and futsal.
  • Gain leadership and workplace skills.
  • Network with industry professionals.
  • Attend local and national CPD (Continuing Professional Development) events.


Indoors/outdoors on campus, schools and community venues (transport provided).

Students' Union VTeam

The Students' Union VTeam offer wide-ranging volunteering opportunities (from Eco Warriors to the Einstein Project to Animal Protection and Time Travellers!) across campus and local community to students and staff.

Volunteering activities offered in 3 ways

  1. Regular weekly sessions during term time - we can offer over 50 to choose from.
  2. One-off projects - large scale impact events such as 'Christmas Reach Out' and 'Colchester Food Bank'
  3. Placements in schools, hospitals or in departments at the University.


  • Helps you to develop workplace skills and experience.
  • Helps with health and wellbeing.
  • Helps to meet new people in new places and explore the wider community.
  • Being part of the VTeam provides you with support whilst engaging with new challenges.
  • The opportunity to put your degree into practice.
  • The opportunity to balance your studies.
  • The opportunity to try lots of different things.
  • Volunteering with local charities helps to keep them open.
  • Really does make a difference to you and others.
  • Means you can receive different sorts of training.
  • Provides you with support in creating your CV and advice on enhancing your employability.


 On campus, at schools and community venues (transport provided).

Undergraduate Peer Mentoring

Are you friendly, reliable, approachable and trustworthy? Then become a Peer Mentor!

If you have been a student at Essex for some time this is an opportunity for you to answer a new undergraduate student’s questions and provide them with really useful stuff to make them feel more at home and flourish at Essex. You become their mentor, their guide and even possibly their guru!

Peer Mentor responsibilities

 You will receive training on how to be a Peer Mentor. Peer Mentors need to:

  • attend department induction events
  • proactively and regularly contact your mentee
  • respond to their queries
  • support departmental events throughout the year


 Peer mentoring provides:

  • Personal fulfilment through helping to make a new student’s experience of university a positive one
  • An opportunity to ‘give back’
  • An opportunity for personal growth by:
    • Improving communication skills
    • Developing leadership and management qualities
    • Increasing confidence and motivation
    • Learning skills that enhance your employability


On campus and by email.

University of Essex Law Clinic

Volunteering opportunities are only applicable to law students studying here at the University.

The Essex Law Clinic provides free legal advice to the general public, primarily in the areas of family, housing, consumer and employment law but also on equality issues, social benefits advice, contracts and negligence.

Our volunteering opportunities

Law students are offered three different areas to volunteer in:

  • supervised client interviews, held both across campus and at external outreaches and pop up clinics, with follow up advice and sometimes also various forms of assistance like letter writing and form filling.
  • public education project, learning and preparing to deliver presentations and workshops on legal rights and responsibilities for the community and other service deliverers.
  • investigating miscarriages of justice through the Freedom Law Clinic which runs six-week training courses centred on miscarriages of justice with the potential to be chosen as a volunteer for continuing regular project work.


  • Put your taught legal knowledge into practice.
  • Development of interpersonal skills in a legal setting.
  • Development of legal and ethical knowledge and skills including time management and legal letter writing.
  • Networking opportunities with external solicitors/barristers/judges.
  • Opportunities to sit on the Clinic’s Executive Committee which make decisions on how the Clinic should be run and develop leadership skills in running and working with teams.


On campus and externally at local outreach clinics.

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