We aim to deliver positive social impacts for young people and the communities we work in. This is delivered through initiatives and support for charities, our employee volunteering scheme and collaboration with local communities.
Our areas of work
Our flagship activity is our continued support of the Unite Foundation. We are the major donor for the charity, having donated more than £5 million to the charity. They provide accommodation scholarships for young people attending university from the most challenging circumstances, most often from a background of care or family estrangement.
We are proud to have supported Into University since 2013. Into University are a charity focused on raising aspirations of young people to go onto university or other further learning once leaving school.
At the start of 2017, we partnered with the British Heart Foundation to provide a stock donation program, where we encourage students and employees to donate unwanted goods to charity. In the first year of the partnership we raised over £272,000 for the charity, and also trained more than 500 employees and students in life saving CPR skills.
In addition to this partnerships, we also run a charity of the year program, where our cities and offices vote to support a local charity for each academic year, supporting them by fundraising, volunteering and offering other kinds of in kind support.
Sport Relief 2016
Our 2016 fundraising campaign for Sport Relief
Our employee volunteering scheme started in 2015, and since then we are delighted that our employees have spent more than 6000 hours supporting some great causes.
All our employees have the opportunity to volunteer for a day a year. This can be split into hour segments or by spending a whole day out, and can be used with any organisation who supports young people. Employees can do this individually, with their team, or with colleagues across the business.
"It was an amazing experience that left me feeling incredibly fulfilled. It's a great way for our business to get involved with the community."
"I cannot thank Unite Students enough for the support they have given me. I am the CEO of an international development charity, Concern Universal. I believe in getting every penny we can to our projects, which means we only spend 6p in the pound on administration. That doesn’t leave much room to bring in support from experts when we need it. Unite Students has given us pro-bono support from two incredibly experienced directors. The time I have spent with these directors has helped hugely in dealing with some of the issues our organisation was facing. If I had bought in this support, it would have cost at least £15,000 in leadership training, HR support and brand development."
We support the communities where we operate by offering support, facilities and knowledge to help initiatives which benefit the local community, and engage our community of students with them.
In 2017 we delighted to be able to support two local charities which work directly with local residents, through the provision of affordable and purpose designed premises. These premises are in London, where MahaDevi Yoga now reside in a unit at our Stapleton House property, and Bristol 16-25 Independent People, adjacent to Nelson Drake House.
Dom Wood, CEO of 16-25 Independent People said:
"1625 Independent People are currently delivering a one-stop shop for all homeless young people in Bristol in collaboration with Bristol City Council. We are able to provide an accessible city centre location for this due to the generosity of Unite Students who have provided a refurbished office base at a subsidised rent. This support from Unite Students means we are able to concentrate more resources on helping families to prevent homelessness in the first place and is an excellent example of a successful business caring about and helping with the needs of a city it works in."
We know that moving away to university and living in shared accommodation for the first time is a big transition for young people. That’s why in 2017 we launched a pilot life skills session with 100 16-17 year olds, giving them the chance to come in to our properties and have a nose around the accommodation, and then do a workshop looking at the common pitfalls of shared living and how to overcome these, along with top tips to make sure it doesn’t detract from have a great time at university.
In 2018, the delivery of these session is being built into our Leadership development programs, providing a cohort of employees who will be able to deliver these nationwide, with an aim to deliver to 1000 more 16 - 17 year olds over the next year.