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Social purpose

Transforming the built environment

Street Society

A unique collaboration involving Queen’s architecture students and staff; government and the community, providing a platform for dialogue on the built environment.

Street Society is a week-long design event facilitated by architecture staff from the School of Natural and Built Environment. As an annual outreach project, it brings clients from not-for-profit community and voluntary organisations together with 100 talented students of architecture to produce something remarkable. 

Street Society supports shared learning, where students learn from one another and from the community clients, and members of the community gain insight into the process of design and the value of their immediate built environment. 

Street Society commenced in 2009. Since 2015 the programme has attracted support from the Department for Communities, with funding under the Northern Ireland Executive's Urban Villages Initiative, and this year it has evolved into the Street Studio Project. 

This support allowed Street Society to develop briefs in each of the areas providing the focal points of the Urban Villages Initiative across Northern Ireland. Teams of architecture students responded by, researching best practice, carrying out historical and contemporary analysis, mapping, constructing and proposing designs. 

"The Street Society students brought energy and skills that cannot be underestimated in their ability to impact the community clients." 

Linsey Farrell
Programme Director,
Urban Villages Initiative 



Supporting Educational Attainment 

Homework Clubs

Queen's University student volunteers supporting children living in inner-city Belfast through homework clubs.

Volunteer SU (the volunteering department of Queen’s Students’ Union) co-ordinates the Homework Clubs initiative which works to improve the educational attainment and raise the aspirations of children and young people living in inner-city Belfast. The initiative also involves members of the refugee and asylum-seeker community.

Partnering with youth centres, community groups and schools across Belfast, Volunteer SU recruits and trains student volunteers to provide homework and study support to children and young people participating in their local homework club.

In the 2016-17 academic year, 17 homework clubs across Belfast were supported by some 160 volunteers, making a real difference to the children’s education by enriching and nurturing the skills and abilities of each young person. The peer-mentor approach creates a safe and enjoyable environment where all children can access free study help in core curriculum areas in addition to personal development and recreational activities.

"To sit for one hour each week with a Queen's student who is only interested in what the child can do, to their own level of ability, and to see improvement on that - our children can't wait for next week until they see the student again, it is very valuable work." 

Breege O'Kane
Parent Support Officer, Christ the Redeemer PS