Thursday, 21 June 2012

Two Celebrations of Volunteer Achievement!

In my last blog I talked about the benefits of volunteering, so it seems apt now to write about some of KUSU’s regular volunteers and what has been happening in the last month in the world of KUSU Volunteering. 
Bird and Bat Box Building Event and End-of-Year Celebratory Barbecue!

On Wednesday 30th May, KUSU Volunteering had an end-of-year celebratory event for our volunteers! We organised an awesome barbeque, (even if we do say so ourselves!) which was complete with cupcakes for pudding! KUSU volunteers asked to make bird and bat boxes beforehand, which KUSCO’s Bruce Lloyd and Kingston University’s Biodiversity and Landscape Administrator Lynsey Stafford supervised. Students made 12 bird and bat boxes in total, all of which will make lovely wildlife homes, as well as increase the biodiversity of the local area. The combined volunteer and celebratory event took place on the lovely and serene Kingston Hill nature trail, which you should check out if you have never been there before. On a side note I’m hoping to run some volunteering opportunities in partnership with Lynsey Stafford and the Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group (KUBAG) in semester one of academic year 2012-2013, where we will do some rhododendron clearance on the nature trail – which for the non-green-fingered bunch of you means cutting down this particular type of plant because it has a negative impact on the woodland ecosystem! I shall email this one-off opportunity out nearer the time, so if you would like to spend a few hours getting some fresh air and helping out, make sure you register your interest in volunteering, so that I have you on our mailing list! 

As well as our barbecue and bird/bat box building event, we also had our annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony this month at the very beautiful Dorich House Museum! This event was to celebrate the volunteering commitment of certain Kingston University students, who have gone above and beyond and really shone in the roles they have been volunteering at, this last academic year. The Vice Chancellor of Kingston University, Professor Julius Weinburg opened the event speaking of the difference volunteering made to the community and his pride in the positive dynamic it brings to Kingston University.“Boasting isn’t usually a good thing,” he said “but sometimes I don’t think we boast enough. You can all be very proud of the work you do volunteering and the experiences it’s brought you.” 

This year’s KUSU Volunteering Award winners are: 
Volunteer Project of the Year: Charlotte Buck and Imogen Morris
Charlotte and Imogen put on three day-long drawing, painting and art history workshops at Hollyfield Secondary School. Unfortunately Charlotte and Imogen were unable to attend the awards ceremony, but will be coming into the KUSU Volunteering Office soon to collect their award, certificates and medals and we hope to get a photograph of them then!

Community Volunteer of the Year: Madiha Khan
Madiha volunteers with the British Red Cross, assessing the needs of and helping to devise care plans for patients who have returned home from a traumatic stay at hospital.  Red Cross coordinator Debby Mulling said, “Madiha has shown us that she is a quick learner with a high standard of service.”

School Volunteer of the Year: Amy Wheatley
Amy spent many hours helping in the classroom and on the playground of Tolworth Junior School. Tolworth staff recognised her for her great relationship with the pupils and her ‘above and beyond’ attitude. 

Best Newcomer: Sara Ann Hope
For two full days every week, Sarah supports two special needs students at Southborough High School with their class work. The special education team describes her as “brilliant and wonderful”. 
Best One-Off Volunteer
Natasha May Chinnery was recognised for taking part in nine one-off volunteering projects this year including fundraisers for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and mental health charity MIND.

Be A Champion
The Rugby, American Football and Cheerleading clubs were also commended for their involvement in the ‘Be a Champion’ project which encouraged sports clubs to start their own volunteering project. The Rugby club were awarded the Be A Champion trophy for their volunteering project.
Volunteer England Gold: Emma Lindner, Derryn Lovett and Rachael Penzo
This nationally recognised award was given to Emma, Derryn and Rachael for their achievement, dedication and leadership within volunteering. Unfortunately Derren was unable to attend the awards ceremony, but he will be coming into the KUSU Volunteering Office soon to collect his award, certificate and medal and we hope to get a photograph of him then!
All of the award winners received a glass award, certificate and medal for the award they were nominated for and won. It was a lovely day and the students gave us feedback after the event that they really enjoyed coming up on the stage and being presented with their award by Vice Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg. They said it felt as prestigious as a graduation event. It was particularly wonderful seeing students’ family and friends getting to take part in the celebrations and see them collect their awards. Afterwards everyone got to enjoy a delicious buffet and drinks in the settings of Dorich House, before having their photo taken on the open-air-top roof! 
Jemma Houghton and Alex Britton
KUSU Volunteer Co-ordintors

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic Post! I am loving it!! Will be back later.

    Thanks for sharing.

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