The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Recognition for Bristol SU's best student groups 

The Balloon Accreditation Scheme is Bristol SU's way of recognising and celebrating the brilliant things that our student groups get up to.  Whether you are a Sports Club, a Society or a Volunteer Group, our scheme helps you offer the best possible experience for your members and supporters.

Why take part?

Recruit more members

Recruit more members

strengthen your committee

Strengthen your committee

grow your rep

Grow your reputation

How does it all work?

The scheme runs from 1st May 2019 - 30th April 2020.

Any student group affiliated to Bristol SU can take part. Your group can achieve gold, silver or bronze accreditation. 

  • Simply submit evidence for the criteria your group has met
  • Wait for your evidence to be approved by staff
  • Instantly track your group's progress using the table below

There are 18 criteria in total.  Your group must complete any 9 from the list to receive bronze, 12 to receive silver and 15 criteria to receive gold. The final deadline for submitting evidence is Thursday 30th April 2020.

Submit Evidence

Submissions have now closed for the 2019/20 academic year. We will be opening the submissions form for 2020/21 over the summer.


Click me to see the criteria

1) Have an up-to-date Bristol SU website presence and have members listed with Bristol SU 

  • The group's page should include:
    • A description of the group and its activities
    • Contact details including a dedicated contact for interested or new members
    • A logo
    • Membership details/prices
    • Links to other pages, social media or websites (if appropriate) 
    • Photos or videos (if appropriate) 
  • Members should be able to join the group via a Bristol SU webpage (unless previously arranged with Bristol SU)
  • All Committee Members should be signed up (and paid membership fees if applicable) 
  • Instructions on how to edit your webpage and setting up memberships can be found on our Attracting Members page

2) Submit a three-year strategic plan and book a Development Meeting to discuss it

  • This should include information on membership, finances, alumni engagement, resources and handover. A template strategic plan can be found on our Start Your Year page.
  • Development Meetings can be booked here

3) Submit an annual budget and explain how you will use or have used it to inform your activities this year

4) Secure an external sponsor or renew an existing sponsorship contract for your group

  • Sponsorship is an agreement between your group and an external company where they offer cash and/or in-kind support in return for a reward or service from your group
  • Sponsorship from the University does not count (ie Departmental sponsors, SEH etc)
  • For help securing sponsorship, refer to our guide, training or book a Development Meeting
  • Don't forget to submit your sponsorship contract to the SU for checking before accepting it

5) Secure a grant from an external provider (i.e. not Bristol SU Group Grants)

  • Grants are non-repayable funds given by one party to another for a particular purpose
  • Grants from the University do not count (ie Alumni fund, Departmental Grants)
  • For helping finding and securing grants, refer to our guide, training or book a Development Meeting

6) Collect feedback from your members and evidence how you have taken their feedback into account

  • This might take the form of an anonymous feedback form, an equality and diversity survey, open meetings that all members are able to contribute to or an action plan based on feedback received in the Rate My Group survey

7) Collaborate with at least one other affiliated Bristol SU student group or network

  • For example, hold a joint event or run a joint campaign
  • There must be evidence of a significant contribution made by both/all groups involved
  • Joint socials (ie just going out to dinner) do not count towards this criteria

8) Collaborate with an external group, charity or organisation

  • External groups, charities and organisations are those not affiliated to Bristol SU or the University of Bristol
  • There must be evidence of a significant contribution made by both/all parties involved
  • Student groups that are linked to an external charity or organisation should collaborate with a different partner to qualify
  • Good examples include: Running an activity for a local charity; organising a Varsity event, collaborating on an event

9) Attend at least five non-compulsory training sessions (run by Bristol SU, SEH, Bristol HUB or another partner)

  • Bristol SU training sessions can be found on our Training Calendar
  • Committee Fest sessions attended count
  • Email confirmations, screenshots of tickets or photos from the session all count as evidence

10) Run a Give it a Go! session at least once before and after Christmas aimed at attracting new members

  • Taster sessions should be suitable for beginners and aimed at new members
  • Sessions should be organised under Give it a Go! branding and bookable via the SU Website
  • Please state how many new members attended your session

11) Represent your group at 3 or more democratic events

  • Democratic events include Student Council, AMM and Network forums. Presidents and Captains are voting members at these events but may send a deputy from their committee instead
  • Accepted evidence includes confirmation booking emails, pictures from the event or social media engagement
  • Recognised student group forums also count (PAF, MAF, Student Media Group, Club Captains Forums) with minutes from the meeting accepted as evidence

12) Hold at least two alcohol-free social events per term

  • Two socials should be in TB1 and two in TB2
  • Alcohol-free socials must take place in a venue where alcohol is not served or being drunk at any point
  • Social events must be advertised to members as being alcohol-free and evidence of this must be submitted
  • These social events should be in addition to any that are attached to a core group activity

13) Organise two fundraising initiatives (either for your own group or a charity)

  • Money fundraised for other charities must be processed through the Bristol RAG account in order to meet legal requirements. Please contact to arrange an internal transfer of funds into the RAG account
  • Information on fundraising can be found on our Finance Pages

14) Show how you have taken steps this year to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within your group 

  • This should be evidenced through the submission of an Equalities Action Plan and/or review
  • There should be clear evidence on how the group has taken extra steps this academic year

15) Show that your group has taken extra steps this year to minimise its environmental impact or enabled members to do something positive for the environment 

  • Your evidence should show how your actions have made a clear impact
  • A great way to complete this criteria is to sign your group up to the Be the Change Scheme.
    • Simply sign up online or dowload the app and start earning points today!
    • Full details on how to register your group can be found here
    • Once your team has completed at least one of each category -  Get Involved; My Travel; Rethinking Waste; My Carbon Footprint; Better Living and Food and Drink - screenshot and submit via the above form

16) Achieve a 90% or higher member satisfaction score in the Rate My Group survey

  • Bristol SU runs the Rate My Group survey every spring
  • Groups must receive a minimum of 10 responses in order to receive a qualifying satisfaction score
  • It is the committee's responsibility to promote the survey to the group's members

17) Plan for a successful AGM and Handover

  • This should be evidenced through the submission of a Handover Plan, along with an AGM Agenda
  • This should be for 2019/20 going into 2020/21 
  • For more details on Handovers and AGMs please visit our End Your Year page

18) Hold contested elections for the president/captain/project coordinator, treasurer and secretary roles

  • A contested election is an election in which more than one candidate stands for the position and voters have a choice over who to elect
  • Elections should run in conjunction with AGM and ideally be completed by the end of May



Whilst the biggest benefit of taking part in the scheme is a better run group, rewards are offered to those who gain accreditation.

Gold Winners

  • Additional grant pot available exclusively for gold winners (societies and sports clubs only)
  • Celebrated during Awards Season
  • Inclusion in Welcome marketing materials and communications campaign
  • Inclusion in Refreshers marketing materials and communications campaign
  • Guaranteed publicity about your group on our comms channels
  • Exclusive access to Lunch & Learn marketing classes on copywriting, videography and other tips and tricks
  • 10 groups drawn to receive a pop-up banner
  • Special consideration in our means-tested process for room bookings
  • Special consideration for Welcome Fair and Refreshers Fair stall allocations
  • Digital logo to display on webpage
  • Certificate

Silver Winners

  • Guaranteed publicity about your group on our comms channels
  • Special consideration in our means-tested process for room bookings
  • 5 groups drawn to receive a pop-up banner
  • Digital logo to display on webpage
  • Certificate

Bronze Winners

  • Special consideration in our means-tested process for room bookings
  • Digital logo to display on webpage
  • Certificate

Take a look at some of the articles written about previous winners: People and Planet, CivSoc, Badminton, Women’s Rugby, Basketball, Medical Law, Chaos (Physics), Women in Finance, Archery

Track Your Progress

Once you have submitted evidence, the table below will update automatically.

Submissions that are pending approval will be indicated by a clock symbol, approved submissions will be indicated by a tick, rejected submissions will be indicated by a cross and submissions that are partially complete will be indicated by an exclamation point.

Click me to track your progress