Mar 31 2017

The Community Research Hub at Royal Holloway is a new, pilot initiative that provides students (usually postgrads) with opportunities to partner with charities and other external organisations for mutual benefit. For students, benefits might include:

  • Applying classroom learning to real-world settings.
  • Developing research-related skills.
  • Extra-curricular CV content.
  • Having exposure to contacts, data and scenarios which can often be used as a basis for publications and further research.
  • Earning RH passport points.
  • PhD students’ participation in Community Research Hub activities contributes to their Research Development Programme training requirements (five days/yr).

AHRC-funded PhD students can extend their funding when pursuing development opportunities such as these. Contact Jane Gawthrope to find out more.

Meanwhile partner organisations meet their research needs, which vary from case to case but might involve:

  • Conducting a survey, focus groups, ethnography, needs analysis, etc.
  • Analysing data.
  • Writing reports with recommendations.
  • Conducting desk research and/or literary reviews.

Current volunteering opportunities - April 2017

Current opportunities are listed below. Please contact the Community Research Hub for more information and to express your interest.

Community Foundation for Surrey - urgent

Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS) is an independent charitable trust that facilitates local giving for local needs. CFS has provided over £6.6million into communities across the county and is seeking to more fully demonstrate how the Foundation’s grants are helping address local issues. CFS is looking for student volunteer(s) – most likely postgraduates - to analyse and summarise existing, primarily quantitative data, in order to provide some key conclusions around set themes that will demonstrate the Foundation’s impact. In addition to skills development, students will experience being based in a working charity environment for 4-6 weeks (not necessarily as a block). 

Timescale: ASAP

Age UK Surrey

Age UK Surrey is looking for:

  • Postgraduate student(s) – most likely from Management – to research relative benefits/costs of retail opportunities that could provide additional revenue for Age UK Surrey (eg charity shop, online, second-hand furniture, etc.).

  • Postgraduate student(s) – most likely from Management – to conduct a costs/benefits analysis of the services Age UK Surrey provides.

  • Postgraduate student(s) to provide an overview of befriending provision in Surrey in order to identify shortfalls and opportunities for improving joined-up provision. And/or an overview of approaches to tackling social isolation among older people and opportunities for Age UK Surrey to fill gaps.

  • A postgraduate student – most likely from Computer Science – to help improve the charity’s database’s functioning.

Age UK can be flexible with timescales for all these opportunities.

Healthwatch Surrey

Healthwatch Surrey is part of a national network of independent watchdogs that gather users’ perspectives of local health and social care provision. Local authorities have a statutory obligation to provide the core funding for their local Healthwatch.

The charity is looking for a postgraduate student to carry out desk-based research, possibly involving interviews with interested parties (including voluntary organisations in Surrey), around the process of public consultations within health and social care.  In particular, it wants to focus on recent consultations by Surrey County Council, looking at how the process works, how the public are informed and involved, how responses are dealt with, the process by which the Council is accountable and any transparency around what they do as a result of public response, how the response to a consultation goes through the Council democratic processes, etc.  What are the statutory requirements (if any)? Is there any case law that applies or examples of particularly good practice from elsewhere?  Do all Councils follow the same process or do they vary?  Ultimately - what makes for a good public consultation that genuinely takes public views into account? Legal expertise isn’t necessary – just attention to the basic legal context.

Timescale: flexible

Future opportunities

Please get in touch if you’d be interested in working with either of these organisations once the opportunities’ details are confirmed.