The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

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Start a new group

Start Something New

I want to start a club or society, what should I do?

Bristol SU has over 350 affiliated student groups made up of sports clubs, societies and volunteering projects. There is always room for more so if you want to propose a group that is original, sustainable and for University of Bristol students, just follow the steps below:

Proposed Groups

Check out proposed groups below and express your support by clicking the link to the supporters form. Proposed groups need 30 supporters before they are considered for affiliation by the Affiliation Committee. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

How to Start a New Group

1) Have an idea that is unique and unlike any existing Bristol SU group. Research the currently affiliated groups and contact any similar groups.

2) Book a meeting with the Development Team to discuss your group. The team can help you develop your idea. 

3) Complete the Affiliation Application Form below. The Development Team will check your application to ensure you have answered all the questions and that there is nothing you are proposing which would breach our Code of Conduct or Byelaws. If further information is required, we will be in touch before your application goes live.

4) Once your application is complete, your group will appear at the top of this page for your group to gather supporters. It is up to you to promote this page to draw interest from prospective members.

5) When you reach 30 or more supporters, your application will be considered by the Affiliation Committee. They meet 3 times a year in October, February and March.

6) When the Affiliation Committee meet, they will consider your application against the criteria below, using the evidence you have supplied in your application. The Affiliation Committee consists of the Union Affairs Officer, Sport and Student Development Officer, Societies Network Chair, Sports Network Chair, two Development Coordinators and the Student Opportunities Manager.

7) Successful groups will be notified and invited to attend New Groups Guidance Training which, along with some internal administration, will complete affiliation to Bristol SU.

8) Unsuccessful groups will be notified with feedback and given one week to appeal the decision made by the panel by providing additional evidence. Please note that there is no guarantee that the Affiliation Committee will overturn their original decision.

If you have any questions about the affiliation process, please contact the Development Team (


The panel considers the following areas when deciding whether to affiliate a new group:

  • Consultation
    • How many students want your group set up? In addition to the supporters obtained, have you consulted with other students to see if there is a real need for your group? For example, do you have a mailing list or active Facebook Group?
    • Does your group have the support of other affiliated groups or networks?
  • Originality
    • Is there another group currently affiliated to Bristol SU who already serve your group's aims or objectives?
    • Is there another group currently affiliated to Bristol SU who already carry out the activities of your group?
    • If there are similar groups or networks, is it possible to collaborate and include this activity within them instead of setting up a separate group? What makes your group different from those groups that are already affiliated?
  • Sustainability
    • Is there a potential for long-term interest in your group or will it struggle to maintain 30+ members each academic year? Please note that groups with under 30 members for two consecutive years are not invited to reaffiliate with Bristol SU for the following year.
    • Will your group be financially sustainable? How much will it cost to put on your planned activities and what plans do you have to generate income e.g. through memberships, ticket prices, sponsorship, fundraising?
    • Is it practical for your group to run its activities? If you require specific facilities for your activity, are these available to you?


Round 1

Application Deadline: Thursday 15th October

Supporters Deadline: Thursday 22nd October

Decision expected by: Wednesday 28th October

Round 2

Application Deadline: Thursday 11th February

Supporters Deadline: Thursday 18th February

Decision expected by: Wednesday 24th February

Round 3

Application Deadline: Thursday 11th March

Supporters Deadline: Thursday 18th March

Decision expected by: Wednesday 24th March

Benefits of Affiliating to Bristol SU

Table showing benefits of affiliating to Bristol SU

Affiliation Application Form

Applications are currently closed for 2020/21 and will reopen over the summer.

Unsuccessful Applications

It's important to remember that a group can function without being affiliated to Bristol SU. You may find it more beneficial to be a campaign or activity within a Network or another affiliated group or perhaps your activity can be catered for in a casual way in one of our social spaces such as the SU Living Room or on social media. Non-affiliated groups can still work with Networks and book rooms in the Richmond Building.

+ I want to start a volunteering project, what should I do?

You can set up a new project at any time of the year. Follow these simple steps to start your volunteering project:

  • Find out if similar local charities and student-led projects exist. This will help you figure out what’s unique about your idea.
  • Talk to the people you’re looking to support and find out what they might need from your project.
  • Submit your application below using a strategic plan to develop your goals, activities, resources, and impact & risk plans.
  • We’ll contact you to arrange a meeting to discuss your idea in more detail.
  • Once your project is approved by Bristol SU Student Opportunities team, attend our New Groups Guidance training (you will be contacted to confirm this).
  • Read the Bristol SU Code of Conduct to help you understand what is expected when running a student group.

Bristol SU can help you lift your project off the ground with:

  • Funding
  • Promotion and visibility
  • Regular advice and training
  • Free DBS checks
  • An official bank account (helpful for securing donors)
  • An official Bristol SU webpage
  • Useful contacts at University and in Bristol
  • Risk management

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please drop us a line at