Find out about volunteering in work time, what you can do and how to book it.

About volunteering

All full-time staff on a contract of 12 months or more can now take two days of paid leave a year to volunteer. Simply select a charity that you want to volunteer for from our charities of choice list, book the time off through MyView and start giving even more back to your local community.

Our Sustainable Sussex Strategy sets out our vision of being one of the most sustainable universities in the world. As part of this ambition, we are committed to supporting our staff and students to have a positive social, environmental and economic impact in our local communities and the wider world. Enabling volunteering is one of the key ways that we want to achieve this.

Who can volunteer?

Our Volunteering Policy [PDF 277KB] enables all staff on contracts of 12 months or more to volunteer for two days per year (pro rata for part time staff). The policy also commits us to reviewing this allowance in 2024, with a view to potentially extend it to five days from this point on.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is a fantastic way to have a positive social, environmental and economic impact in our local communities. In addition, volunteering can:

  • improve work-life balance
  • help you form relationships within your local community
  • improve happiness and confidence
  • improve mental and physical health for individuals.

It can also help you to acquire useful new skills as part of your professional and career development.

Where to volunteer

In a consultation in late 2021, which 137 of you responded to, we asked you to tell us the charities that you most wanted to volunteer for and why.

We responded to these findings by choosing charities of choice. These are a mix of charities that promote social, environmental and economic sustainability in alignment with all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to ensure a core focus on creating a more sustainable world.

Some of these charities also include a strong focus on supporting groups underrepresented at university, such as refugees and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, in line with our widening participation goals. There are a wide range of opportunities. All are local to the University and some provide opportunities for groups to engage in one-off team building activities.

Through this scheme, staff are also free to volunteer with the University of Sussex Sustainability Champions Network, which will be launching in 2023. Sustainability Champions will help to implement the University’s Sustainability Strategy and drive behaviour change from the bottom up in the areas where they work and study.

How to book volunteering leave

You can book volunteering leave by accessing your MyView account. Clicking the ‘book new leave’ button on the ‘leave management’ tab. Then select ‘volunteer leave’.

MyView screen showing the ‘Book new leave’ tab with an arrow pointing to the ‘Volunteer leave’ link in the bottom left.

Fill in the required volunteering details, including the name of the charity in the comments box provided.

MyView screen showing the book new leave entry form, with 'volunteer leave' details highlighted.

Volunteering with a charity that isn’t listed as a charity of choice

If you already volunteer or have a cause that’s close to your heart, then it might be eligible for the Volunteering Scheme. However, this needs to be approved by the University’s Sustainability Team.

Before you book your volunteering leave, contact the Sustainability Team at with the following details (including any relevant links):

  • charity name
  • summary of charity aims, including link to their website
  • expected volunteering activities
  • reason you have chosen this charity (in a few short lines or less)
  • which of the Sustainable Development Goals this volunteering experience links to
  • anything else you would like to share about the charity and volunteering experience (in a few short lines or less).

They will check that the opportunity aligns with both the volunteering policy and Sustainability Strategy, and help you with the information you will need to complete your MyView entry.