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Student Volunteering Week 2014

This year’s Student Volunteering Week takes place from Monday 24 February to Sunday 2 March. Over the course of the week, we will be publishing a series of articles to celebrate the fantastic work that Warwick students do in the local community.

Day 5 - Warwick Volunteers: Our Impact

day_2_volunteering_with_the_elderly.jpgOver 2,600 students are members of Warwick Volunteers. As well as being great for them, volunteering has a hugely positive impact on the local community. Here are some of the things that community members say about working with Warwick Volunteers:

Warwick Volunteers regularly come to Willowbrook and offer us a whole range of different experiences and new things to do. All the activities have greatly benefitted the residents; we’ve got people who have got dementia and they’ve got very short term memories so it’s important to keep giving them lots of activities to keep them continuously happy. I hope we can keep the very strong link we’ve developed with Warwick Volunteers because I think it’s very valuable to our residents and I’m sure it’s valuable to your students, to be giving something back. When you see the delight on the residents’ faces it’s all worth it.
Activities Co-ordinator, Willowbrook Elderly People’s Home

[The volunteers] have contributed to the overall programme development with young people. The young people have increased their communication skills and willingness to take part, try new things, and generally the 'trust' shown towards the students has increased exponentially since the project began in January....to develop the relationship that is based upon mutual trust and respect takes time, what follows is the willingness and enthusiasm to take part by many of the young people attending the sessions... Youth Worker, Canley UFE

Children are motivated and enthusiastic about learning. Disengaged pupils want to read! Teacher participating in the Right to Read project

The service provided by Warwick students was truly first class. Their manner with students combined firm style but a relaxed approach on the materials. The whole experience was successful. Our students who had participated were really delighted with the help they received. They were disappointed when the sessions ended and vocalised this. I have no doubt that this contributed to students obtaining higher grades. Our pass rate for GCSE mathematics was 73% A*-C and more importantly students have gone on to courses and programmes that they otherwise would not have been able to access. Head of Maths, school participating in Student Tutoring project

Kidz Kamp was amazing. You have put an enormous smile on my face and it’s still on me now. I have learnt to be independent and responsible for my stuff.

I really enjoyed the whole time with you and what I took away from this experience was to be independent and I learnt how to do my duvet cover on my bed.

Kidz Kamp is a fantastic residential trip that I've been very lucky to be part of these past two years. Kidz Kamp has provided wonderful development opportunities for our children. Access to these opportunities is vital to broaden the experiences of children in Canley and is always looked upon as one of the best times they've had in Primary School. Children and teacher from Charter Primary School, following their Kidz Kamp holiday with Warwick Volunteers

Currently my daughter is participating in Netball sessions with a group of 3 students from the University of Warwick. I am writing this email to say how impressed I was with the way that the University students took the session. Their enthusiasm and motivation really encouraged the girls to participate and really enjoy the experience. Not only were the Warwick students really enthusiastic, they all had a really nice empathetic approach to the girls. Parent of 8 year-old girl working with sports volunteers

Warwick Volunteers provides opportunities for students at the University of Warwick to volunteer in a variety of roles within the local community. We have 2,600 members, and each year over 1000 Warwick students get involved with volunteering, whether it’s in schools, in the community or outdoors. We also support students to set up new projects. Visit our website at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/about/community/volunteers/, and follow us on Twitter @WarwickVol

Student Volunteering Week activities at Warwick are sponsored by Santander through the Santander Universities programme.


Day 4 - Volunteers' stories

Matthew Mellon: Right to read

In the UK, one in six children under the age of 11 has difficulties reading and as many as one in four in our local area struggle. ‘Right to Read’ is a Warwick Volunteers project set up as a means of improving the reading abilities and self-confidence of school children in the local areas of Leamington, Coventry and Kenilworth. The project sees students work one to one with young children in the classroom giving them extra support which they don’t always receive in lessons or at home.

Last year, as a volunteer on the project I spent an afternoon a week at a primary school in Coventry supporting nine children aged between five and seven. All nine had below-average reading ability. Having received training via Warwick Volunteers from the Project Leaders and professional staff I came to the school armed with a vast array of reading activities and games to try out! It was surprising how noticeable the impact these weekly sessions had been on word recognition, pronunciation and comprehension. No longer was I met with a nervous face, but with an excited and enthusiastic reader! I became a Project Leader this year so that I could pass on my experiences and make improvements to the project that would ensure that the volunteers, the schools and the children were getting the most out of their time.

It has been a fantastic experience for me and I look forward to returning to the school to see how the children are progressing!

day_5_blowing_our_own_trumpet.jpg

Jay-Priyesh Patel: Tocil Wood and Buddy Club

As a beginner at volunteering I wanted to diversify my volunteering experience as much as possible. Therefore I joined two very different projects that would challenge me and widen my experience as a Warwick Volunteer. One of these is the Tocil Wood Conservation Project, where we maintain the natural conservation areas on campus. It is great outdoors and hands-on volunteering, but also real hard work! In the recent litter pick we found all sorts of items lying around the woods, from toilet seats and shoes to toys, mugs and bottles. I’ve also met some people extraordinarily enthusiastic people and have had some interesting conversations over a tea and biscuit break. Most surprisingly I have discovered my outdoorsy side! I hope to attend more sessions in the future where it will hopefully be sunnier, boosting the success of this project further!

I also volunteer with the Buddy Club, where we visit Willowbrook Residential Home once a week. Despite this being an indoor projects and completely different to Tocil Wood, it has certainly been no less fun. The residents are hugely open and full of conversation. It has made me realise exactly just how big an asset they really are to the community. I’ve not only learnt a few things from them, but I’ve also developed myself and built on my communication skills with a group of people that society can often forget about.


Day 3 - Volunteers’ Stories

Courtney Giles: Reaching for the Starsday_3_reaching_for_the_stars_2.jpg

Since being at University I have had many opportunities presented to me. Plenty of these have been through Warwick Volunteers, including the chance to set up my own project. The 'Create a Project' competition is supported by Santander through their Universities programme, and allowed me to come up with my own project idea and then run this project. I decided to create a weekly musical theatre session for local children aged 8-11 who attend a youth club at 'The Gap' in Warwick. I found this project highly rewarding, as I was working with children who had previously not been able to engage in drama. By making it accessible and relevant to their lives, we managed to finish the term with a performance of everything we had worked on, inviting along parents and friends to come and watch.

Being presented with this opportunity meant I was able to confidently try out something new that is of interest to me, with the support of Warwick Volunteers and Santander behind me. I was able to get a great team of volunteers to work alongside me, and together we made a difference to the lives of local children. I am delighted that the project has carried on this year with new project leaders, and hope that it will carry on for many more.


Day 2 - Community Partner Stories

Warwick Volunteers works with a variety of community partners in Coventry, Leamington and Kenilworth. Today we hear from Thare Machi Education, who have been working in partnership with Warwick Volunteers since 2002.

day_4_thare_machi.jpgThare Machi Education, based in Leamington Spa, make interactive lessons on DVD covering important health topics for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. These are translated into local languages so that illiterate women, men and children can learn life-changing lessons for themselves. The DVDs are given free of charge to people or organisations who can make use of them. Although not fully documented, evidence shows that lessons, because they are easy to understand, do result in people changing their behaviour. Testimony from one partner in India suggests that since using lessons on HIV, no new cases of infection had been reported in their district!

Volunteers from Warwick have played a crucial role in the development of TME’s work. There are 31 lesson titles, each available in up to 55 languages. Many of the 720 lessons made so far have been translated from English into their own language by overseas students. Others have worked with TME staff and volunteers to record translations so that the DVDs can be produced. Their impact has been huge. Lessons in Mandarin, Vietnamese, Thai, Urdu, Tamil, Swahili, Shona (Zimbabwe), Runyankole (Uganda), Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Yoruba (Nigeria) and more are available thanks to students.

This partnership gives TME a local link to people with a high level of education and therefore very little difficulty in translating these important messages into lesser known languages. Students say it’s “a great experience” and they value the opportunity to help others in their home country.

If you would like to join them, contact rachel dot butt at tme dot org dot uk

Get involved...

You too can also get involved, even if you only speak English, and help Thare Machi raise their profile on facebook or twitter. Or perhaps know someone who has done a gap year with an organisation that may benefit from using Thare Machi’s lessons? Find out more about Thare Machi online.


day_1_mural_painting.jpgDay 1 - Do More 24

As part of Student Volunteering Week 2014, Warwick Volunteers is holding Do More 24 - a 24 hour volunteering event running from 4pm on Friday 28 February to 4pm on Friday 1 March. Students will be taking part in twelve volunteering activities, including conservation activities at Coombe Abbey; giving Canley Community Centre a makeover by painting murals and clearing the garden; running a disco for a local social group for people with disabilities; an overnight craft session to create bee boxes and jewellery to donate to local charity shops; and a moonlit sponsored walk. For a full list of activities and details of how to sign up, go to the Do More 24 webpage.

Student Volunteering Week activities at Warwick are sponsored by Santander through the Santander Universities programme.

Warwick Volunteers provides opportunities for students at the University of Warwick to volunteer in a variety of roles within the local community. We have 2600 members, and each year over 1,000 Warwick students get involved with volunteering, whether it’s in schools, in the community or outdoors. We also support students to set up new projects.


Find out more...

Warwick Volunteers provides opportunities for students at the University of Warwick to volunteer in a variety of roles within the local community. We have 2600 members, and each year over 1000 Warwick students get involved with volunteering, whether it’s in schools, in the community or outdoors. We also support students to set up new projects. Student Volunteering Week activities at Warwick are sponsored through the Santander Universities programme.

Warwick Volunteers also receives support from alumni and friends that enables us to offer students additional training and development opportunities, to ensure that they are as prepared as possible for their volunteering. Find out more about how donations from alumni and friends benefit Warwick on the Love Warwick webpages.