Social Innovation Programme
Develop your consultancy skills and help your community. Work with other students to provide innovative solutions to challenges faced by charities and social enterprises across Bristol.
Teaching Block 1, October-December, 3-5 hours per week
Various Bristol organisations
About the Social Innovation Programme
The Social Innovation Programme is run by Bristol Hub in partnership with the independent law firm, Burges Salmon. It is an initiative which brings together students and local social impact organisations to work together on a challenge the organisation is facing. It is an opportunity for students to apply the skills learnt throughout their degree to a tangible situation and have a positive impact on the local community.
What will I be doing?
The programme runs twice a year for 9 weeks, in teaching blocks 1 and 2. You will work in a team of other students, alongside a local organisation or initiative. Your team will receive a brief from the organisation and over the 8 weeks, you will put together a report for your organisation, based on your findings, detailing your research and recommendations for solutions to their challenge.
You'll be working closely with your organisation throughout the programme, finding out more about them, their work and the broader social context in which they operate. You'll be conducting background research, looking at secondary data and other resources, as well as collecting primary data, whether this is through interviews, focus groups or surveys. The scope of the programme is broad and much of the work will be self-directed. You'll be guided and supported by your team mentor from Burges Salmon, and you will receive training from Bristol Hub and Burges Salmon.
As well as producing a report that will be an invaluable asset to your organisation, you'll present your findings at a showcase event at Burges Salmon - the perfect opportunity to practice one of those all important professional skills!
Why should you get involved?
  • You will develop key professional skills, such as teamwork, project management and client management.
  • You will receive training from Burges Salmon, a law firm based in Bristol.
  • You will have a dedicated mentor from Burges Salmon, who will use their skills and expertise to support teams to deliver on the task.
  • You will challenge yourself by trying something new and working with a new group of people.
  • You will learn more about the social impact sector and the skills needed to pursue a career in it.
  • You will meet students from different years and different disciplines.
  • You will make an impact on a social impact organisation, the people they work with and the community.
What you need to know before you apply
The programme is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students, across all disciplines.
There are a few things you need to know before you apply:
  • There are 40 places on the scheme and you will be placed in a team of 5 to work on a brief. We'll endeavour to place you on brief that you're interested in and will feel motivated to work on. Each team will nominate a team leader who will be the main point of contact between the community partner and the team.
  • The programme is a commitment of 3-5 hours a week. Before you apply consider whether you are able to commit the amount of time needed for both you and the charities taking part to get the most out of the Social Innovation Programme.
  • You will need to be able to attend training sessions, the launch event and the showcase event to participate in the SIP.
How to apply
  • You will need to complete and submit an online application form.
  • If your application is successful you will be invited to a selection workshop. You will be asked to complete a team challenge through which we will assess a variety of skills including: communication, problem solving, teamwork, open-mindedness and creativity.
  • You don't need any specific experience to take part in the SIP - just an interest in the social impact sector and an eagerness to learn more about consulting and make a change in the community!
Have any questions about the application process or need reasonable adjustments made? Please contact Emma at access@bristolhub.org. We are inclusive and encouraging of all University of Bristol students who want to volunteer, and welcome BME, LGBT+ and Disabled applicants.
Key dates for the Social Innovation Programme
SIP: Autumn 2018
  • Monday 17th September: Applications for the SIP open.
  • Thursday 4th October: Applications for the SIP close at midnight.
  • Tuesday 9th-Thursday 11th October: Selection workshops
  • Wednesday 17th October, 12.30pm-5.30pm: Training and Launch Event hosted by Burges Salmon
  • Wednesday 24th October, 2pm-4pm: Bristol Hub training: Intro to the Social Impact Sector
  • Wednesday 31st October, 2pm-3pm: Bristol Hub training: Report Writing
  • Wednesday 14th November, 2pm-3.30pm: Bristol Hub training: Presentation prep
  • Thursday 6th December: Reports Due
  • Wednesday 19th December, 12.30pm-6.30pm: Showcase event hosted by Burges Salmon
SIP: Spring 2018
  • Monday 21st January: Applications for the SIP open.
  • Thursday 7th February: Applications for the SIP close at midnight.
  • Tuesday 12th-Thursday 14th February: Selection workshops
  • Wednesday 20th February, 12.30pm-5.30pm: Training and Launch Event hosted by Burges Salmon
  • Wednesday 27th February, 2pm-4pm: Bristol Hub training: Intro to the Social Impact Sector
  • Wednesday 6th March, 2pm-3pm: Bristol Hub training: Report Writing
  • Wednesday 20th March, 2pm-3.30pm: Bristol Hub training: Presentation prep
  • Thursday 11th April: Reports Due
  • Wednesday 1st May, 12.30pm-6.30pm: Showcase event hosted by Burges Salmon
Examples of previous challenges:
  • Bristol Refugee Rights challenged students to research the need in Bristol for a 'Move On' project to support refugees to integrate and thrive.
  • Bristol Hospitality Network challenged students to explore, present and propose the possibilities for setting up a social enterprise which would use the cooking skills of its clients to provide some form of paid culinary or catering service.
  • North Bristol Foodbank challenged students to create presentation and activity resources to take into schools in order to raise the profile of the North Bristol Foodbank as a service that either their families can access and/or a cause the pupils and their families can donate to.
Our Impact in 2017/18
In 2017/18 78 students and 15 organisations took part in the Social Innovation Programme.
What students say......
“Thanks for running the programme - it has been great and has massively increased my
confidence and I will definitely do more with Bristol Hub in the future!”
2016-17 participant
What organisations say.......
“I've been so impressed with the energy, focus and hard work from the students” Aid Box Community, 2017/18 partner organisation
“Having our capacity as an organisation boosted by a really engaged student team was fantastic. Receiving a relevant research paper that can support our funding applications, was also a massively brilliant outcome.” Brave Bold Drama CIC, 2017/18 partner organisation
Information for local organisations
We invite brief submissions from social impact organisations including: charities, social enterprises, community interest companies and community groups.
Our requirements for setting a challenge are:
  • A problem-solving task whose outcome would be beneficial to both your organisation and the local community.
  • The programme lasts for 9 weeks, so the brief must be something that is achievable within this timeframe.
  • Your organisation will need to attend the launch and closing event, as well as staying in contact with team throughout the duration of the programme. This will make sure that they can provide consulting for you that is appropriate, informed and effective.
If you're interested in submitting a brief contact Emma via manager@bristolhub.org to find out more.
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