We’ve all seen the generosity of our friends and neighbours stepping up to support one another during the pandemic. We’re really proud of our students and staff who have been part of this collective effort in local communities, making a contribution to the medical, social and environmental challenges we face.
If you have an ongoing or a new project and are hoping to recruit some volunteers, please get in touch with us on community at warwick dot ac dot uk.
Here’s some examples of what our students have been doing...
Supporting the NHS
Throughout the pandemic, our Medical students have been volunteering to join the NHS fight against Covid-19 across Coventry and Warwickshire. They have been undertaking duties such as clerking patients, administrative tasks to support clinical teams and operating a doctor ‘buddy’ system.
This year, 450 Medical students have stepped up to support the local vaccination effort. And what a monumental collective effort it has been; over 200,000 local residents have been vaccinated with the first dose, with Coventry and Warwickshire delivering the largest uptake in the country so far!
When the first wave hit in March 2020, 520 Medical students volunteered to provide front line care by undertaking clinical support in our three hospitals; University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), George Eliot and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT), across approximately 2500 beds and tens of thousands of patients.
35 Medical students have also been involved in venepuncture and testing for the REACT2 clinical trial, looking at the accuracy of virus and antibody tests, and the REACT GE trial, studying genetic factors that could be linked with developing ‘Long Covid.’
Towards the end of term, an asymptomatic testing centre was established in the Slate, one of the University’s conference facilities, with the capacity to offer up to 2,000 tests a day. Around 180 MBchB students have volunteered for both the COVID-19 test and trace and lateral flow mass testing where they have undertaken approximately 20,000 student and staff tests so far.
A group of our students have been continuing to support the Kenilworth Phab project, meeting with disabled and able-bodied people from the Kenilworth, Coventry, Leamington and Warwick areas to enjoy social activities together online via Zoom.
Natt Parr lives locally and joins these meetings every week.
“I absolutely love seeing the Warwick Volunteers who come to PhabZoom. I have been at home since March, I am shielding, and the Warwick University students bring so much fun and energy to our Zooms. Since they have been coming, we have learned lots about the countries and cultures of where some of the volunteers come from, we have been treated to a magic show, singing, music concerts, games, chats, dancing, performing and just so much fun. It is a highlight of my week and I just love to see the student volunteers each week smiling and waving and chatting to us all on the screen. It has and is making such a difference to my life and world and I know it is to the whole of Phab too.It's like a huge burst of life and energy that lifts us all up. I am so grateful to them and feel they are so much part of our Phab family, thank you.”
Supporting the homeless
Originally set up by two of our very own Warwick Medical students in 2015, LWS Night Shelter volunteers have been supporting the homeless and vulnerably housed people, providing them with a hot meal, a safe place to sleep and company – spending lots of time chatting, eating together, playing games and making crafts.
Georgia, from LWS Night Shelter, said:
“LWS Night Shelter is run solely by volunteers,so the support of Warwick Volunteers is very important to our operation! We really admire the willingness and dedication of our studentvolunteers andare always appreciative of the energy and enthusiasm they bring to our team (especially on a cold, snowy winters night at the outdoor soup kitchen!)
Despite the changes to our service brought about by the pandemic, we have been so pleased to still have lots of Warwick Volunteers volunteering with us. We are very grateful fortheircontinued support and look forward to having more student volunteers joining us in the future!"
Caring for our green spaces
The Friends of Canley Green Spaces is a group of volunteers working together to care for, protect and promote the green spaces of Canley. Activities include planting spring bulbs, creating wildflower meadows, uprooting Himalayan Balsam (an invasive species), woodland path clearance, hedge laying and planting trees.
Michael Wileman, from Friends of Canley Green Spaces, shared an encouraging update on the results of some of the work our volunteers were involved with last term in Park Wood.
"The site in Park Wood where we cleared holly trees has become a squirrel playground. The fluffy animals enjoy climbing the big oak trees which were previously surrounded by prickly holly. In May, the cleared woodland floor will look splendid, with fabulous views of the bluebells in flower. This is just one of the projects where Warwick Volunteers has made a difference, for the benefit of people and wildlife."