community Research Hub

Put your skills to use

Royal Holloway’s Community Research Hub is a Royal Holloway Volunteering initiative that matches students who want experience applying research skills with charities and non-profits needing support with surveys, analysis, reports, literature reviews, desk-based research, ethnographic research and more. 



How can you volunteer through the Community Research Hub?

Students can register and find our opportunities on our Volunteer Management System or visit the Volunteering office in the Davison Building for an informal chat. Please see below for the latest requests and opportunities, and register your interest by emailing Louise McGarr at the Community Research Hub.

You can also find the Community Research Hub on Facebook and on Instagram

How can our researchers help your organisation?

Are you a charity, community organisation, campaign group or other not for profit organisation in need of research to support your work? Royal Holloway’s students provide pro-bono research services to a wide variety of external charitable and non-profit partners.

Email the Community Research Hub to find out more. You can also register as a community partner of Royal Holloway Volunteering using our online platform.  

Why get involved? 

 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 Passport Award points.
  • PhD students’ participation in Community Research Hub activities contributes to their Research Development Programme training requirements (five days/yr).
  • NB: AHRC-funded PhD students may be able to extend their funding when pursuing development opportunities such as these. 

The benefit to partner organisations is that they have their research needs met, which vary from case to case but might involve:

  • Conducting a survey or focus group
  • Analysing data
  • Writing reports with recommendations
  • Having exposure to contacts, data and scenarios, which can potentially be used as a basis for publications and further research.

Email Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk for more information.



What are the current opportunities?

We have new opportunities and partners signing up all the time. Here are our current Community Research projects:  


The Brain Tumour Charity - Data Analysis & Report Writing

Supporter Insight project – Data Analysis and Report Writing support


Medical research charity The Brain Tumour Charity is embarking on a new project within its fundraising team. The main aim of this project is to better understand supporters’ motivations and to enable the charity to support fundraisers better.

The charity have interviewed some of their supporters for this project, and these conversations will be the basis for a report. The team would be incredibly grateful for support analysing the data from these interviews, which will enable them to create the report content.

This role will offer the opportunity to utilise your analytical skills in a real world setting and to get an interesting insight into the relationship between an organisation and its supporters.

The charity are ideally looking for individuals with experience of data analysis, insights, statistics, and report creation. This project could be of real interest to a Psychology or Management student.


If this is of interest to you, then please register your interest my emailing Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.co.uk. You can find out more on our Volunteering Platform.

Age UK Surrey

Age UK Surrey is looking for:

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. This has partially been completed by a previous student volunteer, so we are looking for someone to complete the project.Timescale: flexible

 If either of these projects are of interest to you, please get in touch by emailing Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk.

Disability Challengers

The charity Challengers has an exciting opportunity for students in September 2017. They are offering a select number of voluntary roles to students interested in research, psychology and working with young people. 

Following on from an extremely successful pilot year, the Challengers Children and Young Person Engagement project is looking to grow.

What is the Challengers Engagement Project?

The Challengers Engagement Project aims to gather feedback about the Challengers' service from the service user. Funded by the department of health for three years, and equipped with a range of accessible research methods, they are on a mission to make the voice of the children and young people heard. As one of the first organisations to undertake such research with a vulnerable group of people they are determined to pioneer and explore new ways that such voices can be heard.

What’s in it for students?

Previous volunteers have said:

“I have also found this experience extremely rewarding, as I feel that it is of the utmost importance to allow everyone who uses Challengers to express their feelings, wants and needs in regards to the service that is provided”.

“It has helped me grow in confidence with my research skills and to come up with new ideas on how we can conduct research”.

“I have learned that creating an agile and complex toolkit which can be adapted to different styles of engagement requires an iterative, multi-layered process…. Working with the Challengers research team and the children has helped me understand the potential of carrying out research and creating a communication channel through play” 

Timescale: ongoing.

Email Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk.to register your interest.

Citizens Advice: The Housing Stability Project

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force on 3 April 2018 and has placed new legal duties on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help irrespective of their priority need status, as long as they are eligible for assistance. One of the project’s main objectives in order to achieve its aims will be measuring the success of how Runnymede and Spelthorne implement these new duties.

Runnymede & Spelthorne Citizens Advice Bureau are currently recruiting volunteer researchers for the Housing Stability Project 2020. Not only will volunteers develop their research skills and gain experience, they will also be introduced to Housing law, theory and practice. Housing Stability researchers will use a range of research methods to investigate the challenges to housing stability for students. The project is also interested in community relations where students are living in residential private accommodation.

Once the research has been conducted (report stage autumn 2020), the project will report on its findings and provide recommendations to improve housing stability to local councillors and stakeholders. Volunteer researchers are vital to establish the recommendations and this will enable Citizens Advice to provide community leadership in the implementation of those recommendations.

Runnymede & Spelthorne Citizens Advice does not currently recruit students to train as advisers so this is an opportunity for volunteers to gain exposure to the organisation and access training materials that advisers use, specifically in relation to Housing law. Most of the training will be through self-guided study and volunteers will have the opportunity to discuss issues with the project manager either remotely or by appointment.

Once Housing Stability researchers have successfully completed their term of volunteering (typically 6 – 12 months), depending on their level of engagement, they will be able to apply for other voluntary positions in the organisation that are vacant at the time.

This project is particularly suitable for Law students, but also Politics or Human Geographers, and is a great opportunity to help make a difference in your local community and to gain transferable skills for a career in law or the public and non-profit sectors. If this is of interest to you, please get in touch by emailing Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk.

Harry's HAT

The Hydrocephalus charity, Harry’s HAT, has requested student volunteer(s) to undertake a mapping exercise for them.

They would like someone to help them discover:

1. How many hospitals in the UK treat children with Hydrocephalus and have a specialist Neuroscience team akin to St Georges hospital in London https://www.stgeorges.nhs.uk/…/neu…/paediatric-neurosurgery/

2. How many children in the UK have a shunt.

3. How many children in the UK have hydrocephalus but do not have Spina Bifida.

4. What other charities in the UK support children with hydrocephalus (excluding the Shine Charity).

5. How many paediatric neurosurgeons there are in the UK and what is vacancy rate for these.

Even if just one of the questions could be answered then this will help to further their understanding and help form the basis of future research.

Could this be you? Email Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk.to register your interest.

Coloma Convent Girls' School- Mentor a Sixth Form Student 

Could you mentor a sixth form EPQ student?

Coloma Convent Girls School in Croydon is seeking academics and PHD students willing to be mentor Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) students working on a project in a similar discipline.

This would involve:

  • Giving about four hours of your time over a one year period
  • Communicating with the student by email, advising on resources/how to plan their research
  • Helping with any subject specific queries students have & critically evaluating their ideas


Coloma Girls’ School has an outstanding sixth form with high aspirations for all students, most of whom go on to undergraduate study. As part of their academic enrichment programme, they offer students the opportunity to complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ.). This involves researching a topic of their choosing, analysing their findings and producing a 5000 word written report showing how they have used them to produce an evidenced conclusion. Previous candidates have completed projects on topics like the sustainability of climbing Mount Everest, the effectiveness of immunotherapy cancer treatments and the impact of the resurgence of the Taliban on Afghan women’s lives.  Several students discussed their projects at university interviews this year which shows that the knowledge and skills they developed are highly valued by admissions tutors.

The school is seeking PhD students and academics that would be willing to act as research mentors to their EPQ students working on a project in a similar discipline to their area of expertise. You will be required to communicate with their students by email, which could involve giving advice on resources, or on how to plan and frame a research project. You could also help with any subject specific queries students have and critically evaluate their ideas.  This will give researchers the opportunity to talk about their own research to a wider audience and enable students to learn more about the type of research they will be carrying out at university. The school would also welcome academics to the school if you were able to come and give a lecture or seminar about your research.

If you would like to volunteer as an EPQ mentor please email Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk with the following information:

  • The department in which you work/study.
  • Your particular research expertise.

Timescale: ongoing

If this is of interest to you, please get in touch by emailing Louise McGarr at CommunityResearchHub@royalholloway.ac.uk.