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The University of Southampton
Social Impact Lab

Social Impact Leadership Programme

The Social Impact Leadership Programme is a leadership development initiative designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and become effective agents of social change. Through the SILP, students will work with national or international NGO partners to provide them with the necessary resources and support to achieve meaningful impact and reach their strategic goals.

The programme provides students with access to development check-ins and group meet-up sessions, providing them with guidance, support, and opportunities for reflection and learning. In addition, students will participate in personal and professional development workshops that aim to enhance their leadership skills, communication skills, and career development. At the end of the programme, students will have the opportunity to compete for seed funding to set up their own social enterprise or initiative and make a positive impact in their communities.

The programme aims to develop students' understanding of social issues, foster their sense of civic responsibility, and equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to become effective leaders in the field of social impact. It provides a platform for students to apply their learning in real-world contexts, network with like-minded individuals, and gain practical experience that can help shape their future careers in social impact or related fields.

Students will join a larger network of socially conscious leaders, both current and alumni, who are committed to creating positive change in their communities and beyond.  
The SiLP is not running in 2023-24. Please check back in September for an update.


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The SILP takes place from November – May each year. Students will be expected to volunteer 3 hours per week during this period as well as attending workshops, mentoring and group sessions.

Applications for the Social Impact Leadership Programme open in October each year and remain open for approximately two weeks. During this time, students are required to complete an application form, which will be reviewed by the Social Impact Lab team.

The programme is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students on any course however students must make sure they’re able to commit to the requirements of the programme. We recommend students consult with their academic tutor before applying. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a full-time course for a minimum duration of one year. Students studying part-time, only for a semester, or engaged in distance learning are not eligible to apply.

Volunteering: Students will be paired with national or international NGO partners and volunteer 3 hours a week on work set out by the partner. Students will gain practical experience working on social impact projects and within the social sector.   

Development Check-ins: The goal with Development Check-ins is to assess each student’s skills development and progress toward objectives they set themselves, including ideas for the Social Impact Fund. Each session will have a specific focus.  

Peer Mentoring: These will be student orientated sessions, guidance for the peer mentoring sessions will be provided at the start of the programme. Students will then we expected to meet monthly on their own and partake in peers mentoring sessions.  

NGO partner induction sessions: Each NGO will provide a 20 min talk to all the students on the SLP, followed by 10 minutes of questions. This will allow all students to hear from each NGO and about the work that they carry out. This means that all students will then have an understanding of the work that the other students are taking part in.

Personal & Professional Development Workshops: Students will participate in a series of workshops focused on developing their personal and professional skills. The workshops will cover topics such as setting up a social enterprise, leadership style, Y and Z. Workshops will also be delivered by external speakers talking about their industry specific experience.  

Group Meetups: Students will have the opportunity to participate in group meetups with fellow students and staff. The meetups will provide an opportunity for students to share their volunteering experiences, speak of any challenges being faced, build networks and learn from each other.  

Seed funding: Students will have the chance to compete for seed funding to establish their own social enterprises. The seed funding will be subject to submitting an application and a detailed breakdown of their proposed use of the bursary. Seed funding is not guaranteed for all applicants.   

Social Impact Festival: The final event at the end of the programme will require students to run a stall and talk to Social Impact Festival attendees about the programme and the work they’ve accomplished with their NGO partner. 

To complete the programme, students need to attend 10 out of 13 workshop and group sessions as well as each complete 60 out of 72 hours volunteering with their NGO partner.

This is a schedule for the Social Leaders Programme 23/24:


Wednesday 15th 16:00 – 17:00 – Induction Session

Wednesday 22nd 15:00 - 17:00 – NGO Talks 

Wednesday 29th Afternoon – Development Check-in


Wednesday 6th 16:00 – 17:00 – Workshop 1

Wednesday 13th Afternoon – Development Check-in

Wednesday 13th 16:00 – 17:00 – Group Session 1


Wednesday 10th 16:00 – 17:00 – Workshop 2  

Wednesday 17th 16:00 – 17:00 – Group Session 2 


Wednesday 7th 16:00 – 17:00 – Workshop 3 

Wednesday 14th Afternoon- Development Check-in 

Wednesday 21st 16:00 – 17:00 – Group Session 3 

Wednesday 28th Afternoon – Development Check-in 


Wednesday 6th 16:00 – 17:00 – Workshop 4 

Wednesday 13th 16:00 – 17:00 – Group Session 4 


Wednesday 24th 16:00 – 17:00 – Group Session 5 


Wednesday 1st 16:00 – 17:00 – Workshop 5 

Wednesday 1st Afternoon – Development Check-in 

Wednesday 8th Afternoon- Development Check-in 

Wednesday 8th 15:00 – 17:00 – Presentations  

Wednesday 15th 16:00 – 17:00 – Social Impact Festival

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