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Students Swap the Lecture Hall for Tree Chopping and Outdoors Painting

Violetta Carrillo on the project
Violetta Carrillo
on the project
Originally Published 23 February 2004

University of Warwick students and staff swapped the lecture hall for a city park and community centre as they set to work on an outdoor painting project at Wood End Family Centre, Coventry and got down to hard graft on a conservation project in Coombe Abbey Country Park during ‘The Big Challenge’, a one-day volunteering event held on Sunday 22nd February.

Over 40 students from Warwick Volunteers, which is made up of over 1,000 University of Warwick students and staff and Coventry Horizons, at Coventry University, got mucked in and worked on three practical projects over the weekend, to benefit the local community and environment.

Volunteers got down to hard graft moving and chopping trees to ensure that biodiversity is maintained in Coombe Abbey Country Park.

Students showed that they are also a dab hand with a paintbrush as they actively took part in an outdoor painting project in Wood End, illustrating that arty painting is not just for Linda Barker. The Family Project is a centre with resources to relieve stress and isolation for local families and provides a crèche, a domestic violence support group and a cyber café. Jamie Darwen, Project Manager of Warwick Volunteers, said: “The University of Warwick actively support their students and staff to contribute both their time and skills to the community. The one-day event encourages students and staff to get involved in their communities and introduces new people to volunteering. The weekend shows that people can make a real difference to the community, just by giving up a few hours of their time.”

“There was a good turn out from both the University of Warwick and Coventry University. The enthusiasm for the project shows just how many people care about their local environment. Volunteering broadens students’ horizons, helping to develop the skills and qualities that employers value. Volunteering benefits everyone involved. It develops the individual, strengthens the community and benefits society as a whole.”

Warwick Volunteers provides opportunities for students and staff at the University to volunteer and help disadvantaged groups in the local community. ‘The Big Challenge’ is just one of the many projects run by Warwick Volunteers. Staff and students regularly take part in activities ranging from arts and drama to literacy and numeracy workshops to organising activities for refugee teenagers in Coventry.

The diverse projects make an immediate difference to the quality of the local environment and deliver wider benefits by tackling social concerns such as crime and anti-social behaviour, poverty, illiteracy and social exclusion.

For more information and high resolution images contact: Jenny Murray, Communications Office, University of Warwick, Tel: 02476 574 255, Mobile: 07876 21 7740

For interviews contact: Gill Burrows, Project Development Worker, Warwick Volunteers, University of Warwick, Tel: 024 765 73066 or Jamie Darwen, Project Manager of Warwick Volunteers, University of Warwick, Tel: 02476 572 821.

The University of Warwick has been engaging students in voluntary and community work for over two decades