Student Volunteering Week – You smashed it!

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Student Volunteering Week – You smashed it!

It has been something we’ve known for ages, but after the huge success of Student Volunteering Week, it has been confirmed – our student volunteers are totally AWESOME!

We set you a challenge at the start of the week to see if we could get pledges of 1,000 volunteering hours and we reached it in three days, hours pledged in total reached 1963 which is amazing!

Our CUSU Student Life department within the Students’ Union work tirelessly to match volunteers to the hundreds of volunteering opportunities for you to get involved in!

They organised lots of activities during the SVW from Make A Difference Days to a Volunteering Fair and lots more besides.

And what a week it was!

We got praise on social media from the Student Volunteer Network for kicking off our week with a visit from The Dog’s Trust where we had the opportunity to meet two canine companions and found out what life as a Dog’s Trust volunteer would en-tail (get it?)

Students and staff got the chance to get up close to the dogs who will hopefully find their forever home soon and, at the same time, signed up to help out the Trust in future as a volunteer.

Fonzie was the star attraction in the DMLL

Students fussing Buddy and he is lapping it up!

Student Volunteering Week is an annual event to celebrate student volunteers across the country and encourage as many people as possible to get into volunteering.

On Tuesday, it was a Make A Difference Day at Naul’s Mill Park, which is an important green space in the heart of Coventry’s inner city. Students spent a large part of the day helping to maintain the grounds of this historic place which goes back to the 12th century.

Our band of volunteers were out and about again later in the week at Quinton Pools doing some much needed maintenance work.

It was a real team effort and one that will hopefully put a smile on the face of the people who use this area for leisure as it now looks a lot neater.

A job well done at Quinton Pools.

One of the volunteering jobs that is a much-needed resource for the community is the super sorters day at the Coventry Food and Clothes Bank. Sadly, this kind of facility is needed more and more by families who can’t afford to stock up on food.

Food banks are a lifeline and provide clients with three days’ worth of emergency food, along with other support beyond food to help them solve their immediate crisis.

Our student volunteers sorted out the donated clothes into parcels. This particular clothes bank provides a selection of good quality, clean, pre-loved clothes for men, women, children and babies who literally can’t afford to buy or replace clothing or bedding.

Sorting out clothes parcels for those in need

When it comes to people in need, children’s charities tug at the heart strings and none so much than Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice. It is the only baby specific facility of its kind in the Midlands and provides 24 hour care on a one-to-one basis. They specialise in palliative, respite and end of life care to children aged 0 – 5.

Our students were in the city centre helping to raise funds for this very worthy cause.

There are several reasons why volunteering is such a worthwhile thing to do. Not only do the charities get vital help for free, which doesn’t eat into their funding, but the student doing the volunteering gets so much more out of it than just doing good for someone else.

There is the confidence issue for a start, volunteering gives you a sense of purpose and pride but also, the ability to work with others as part of a team. You would be surprised how many students develop more belief in their abilities by working with others, meeting new people from different backgrounds and sometimes, doing things that are out of their comfort zone.

The Student Life team try to match the right charity with students who have particular skills to offer, but how do they do that? Student Volunteering Fairs!

The ground floor of the Hub invited some amazing local charities, all of them offering a diversity of reach and experience. Students could talk to representatives of the charities and find out for themselves how they could help.

Students at the volunteering fair were checking out the stalls

One of the most popular ‘hands on’ events which took place in the Hub during Student Volunteering Week was ‘Post Pals’  - a charity which helps you to put a smile on the face of a sick child by sending cards, letters, emails and little gifts to seriously ill children and their siblings in the UK.

Students making cards to send to sick children

It would be lovely to imagine that all the cards that were made by student volunteers really did put a smile on the faces of the children who received them. It can’t be easy for them being in hospital and to get a card from someone they don’t know, but who is thinking about them, must be very special indeed.

The final two outdoor events of the week took place at Five Acre Farms and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.  Our volunteers helped with a variety of tasks which included preparing tunnels for spring planting, weeding, mulching and pruning the soft fruit area.

Getting down on the farm – “It was great to have them here today. Great work in perfect weather. Many thanks from Becca and team xxx

With the Wildlife Trust, it was a case of helping with the coppicing: cutting trees such as hazel down to the ground in a particular way which encourages regrowth and lengthens the life of the tree and creates a fantastic habitat for wildlife.

Needless to say, the success of Student Volunteering Week, and the impressive tally of hours that have been pledged, could not have been achieved without the SU’s Student Life team, who work tirelessly throughout the year to make sure that those charities who need help, get it but also, without YOU, our student volunteers.

Your help and support during the week has been superb.

This is just a snapshot of what has been achieved in one week and hopefully, those of you who may have volunteered for the first time, will come back for more because our communities need you.

On behalf of all the charities you helped during SVW – a massive THANK YOU and a big THUMBS UP – YOU ARE ALL AMAZING.

 

If you would like to become a volunteer, then please click on the following link:

https://www.cusu.org/coventry/opportunities/volunteering/

If you have done some volunteering and would like to share your experiences and don’t mind being interviewed, then please email: ali.bushnell@coventry.ac.uk and you could find your story on this website.

 

Credits: Photographs by Nicole Desouza and Phoenix Creative

 

 

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