Navigation Toggle Icon

Local Communities



Creating social value that meets local community needs.

Our buildings and teams provide an opportunity to create real positive impact for local communities. Several of our properties include purpose built spaces for use by local charities or community groups, and we are working to expand this by opening new community spaces in our existing estate as well as in future new developments. Our Positive Impact award scheme encourages all teams to set up community projects, and offers a full day of volunteering to all, providing employees with an opportunity to make a real difference and build better links between our properties, students and local communities.

We are committed to donating 1% of our adjusted profits annually to social initiatives, which amounts to a commitment of around £2 million a year.

Case study

Community projects

It was expertise and support from our insights and analytics, procurement and risk and assurance teams which helped the charity, Young Bristol, conduct a community consultation with local residents and councillors to inform their strategy. These teams also provided 87 hours of volunteering to support Young Bristol, including the development of a wellbeing garden for the charity, which runs youth clubs in deprived areas across the city.

Over the last two years, our team in Sheffield has supported Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital Charity which funds life-saving research and treatment. They took part in a sponsored abseil at Sheffield Hallam University and collected toys and Easter eggs for the charity’s Easter and Christmas appeals. With the support of our charity-match scheme, donations exceeded £7,000 in 2023. Employees have also given time, with 90 volunteering hours at Bluebell Woods Children’s Hospice to maintain their gardens and help organise a storage room.

Still from our Birmingham Canal Clean video

Community spaces

We provide a permanent base for several local charities and groups in our buildings, with recent and future developments including purpose-built space for community use. Through a partnership with the youth intervention charity Streets of Growth at our London property Hayloft Point, we provide dedicated space for a peppercorn rent. Streets of Growth offers vital intervention services for young people at risk in Tower Hamlets and the Isle of Dogs; as part of their agreement with us they have access to a fully equipped theatre for workshops.

In September 2023, Streets of Growth received a royal visit from HRH The Princess of Wales at Hayloft Point, recognising the invaluable work they do and the partnership with Unite Students.

We are currently working on a similar community partnership for our forthcoming Abbey Lane development in Edinburgh, and will be running a tender exercise to work with the right charity partner in the local community.

Maha Devi yoga studio - Stapleton House, London

B4SI social impact reporting

To better understand the impact of our activity on the communities we support, we have been working with the industry-leading B4SI framework in 2023. This will enable us to better understand the breadth and depth of the impact that our teams are having on local communities. We look forward to sharing more on our contributions, impact areas and beneficiaries using this insight in 2024.

Charity match

Through our charity match scheme, we recognise employee fundraising by matching donations to charity of up to £250 per employee per year. In addition, £100 is also given to the Unite Foundation for all donations that exceed this amount. In 2023, £14,991 was donated as a result of match-giving to 22 different charities with a further £9,028 donated to the Unite Foundation. This is in addition to the financial support for
accommodation scholarships.

British Heart Foundation

Our long-standing partnership with the British Heart Foundation is now in its twelfth year and
includes donation stations in our buildings, making it easy for students to directly support the BHF with donations of unwanted items that may otherwise end up in landfill.