Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Moulding Future Talent!

Lex helping a student
Hey! I’m Lex Rogy and currently a 2nd year student at Kingston University studying International Business.  I have just completed a 5 week student-led volunteering project running an afterschool clay workshop for children ages 11-12, which I organised myself, with the support of Jemma Houghton, one of the Volunteer Coordinators at KUSU Volunteering.

My project was to teach pupils how to make clay models of their own faces, as well as encouraging them to use different textures, such as beads and feathers, as decoration.

My project took place at The Hollyfield School in Kingston, which was helpfully within walking distance from my flat (although KUSU reimburse any volunteer travel expenses incurred)! I volunteered an hour a week and loved seeing how involved the pupils were with the project as often wanted to stay longer after the session. The pupils worked really hard and their finished models looked great.

Why did I do the project? Well I had a lot of free time this year at university and thought, “why not get involved in volunteering” as something extra to do with my time. Doing a business degree doesn’t allow me a lot of time to be creative, but art has always been something I have been passionate about. Volunteering and leading on this project therefore let me explore this interest, as well as inspiring the kids to be creative too! I really enjoyed the responsibility of teaching and getting involved in arts and crafts again, but also seeing how much the pupils enjoyed this project was also very fulfilling.

Students from The Hollyfield School
Volunteering is so rewarding, not only for your own benefit, but for others too. I have been involved in quite a lot of volunteering and it’s great to see how my input, small or large has impacted individuals. I have found it is also a great way to develop a large variety of your skills and expand your interests.

Certainly after I have finished my placement year I plan to get involved in student-led volunteering projects again; I enjoyed the responsibility of independently running classes, but in the future I hope to do so on a larger scale!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Kingston University Students Donate Items to Kingston Foodbank!

Hi, I’m Hannah I’ve just finished my first year at Kingston University studying Illustration and Animation, and this past month I have been organising a food drop at three of the University halls; Clayhill, Seething Wells and Kingston Bridge House. After seeing so many people move out and just throwing away food I thought something should be done and contacted all of the food bank charities in the area to see if they would be interested in my idea. Kingston Foodbank took me up on my offer and Jemma Houghton, the Volunteer Co-ordinator at KUSU Volunteering supported me to run the project.

In terms of planning for the project I dropped off heavy duty bags at the hall receptions and put up posters I had designed promoting the project. Students were then able to drop off any of their unused imperishable food into these bags in the halls receptions, before they moved out at the end of the halls contract.

In the end a grand total of 122 tins, 23 jars, 12 bottles of herbs, 32 packets of pasta, rice and noodles, 6 cereal boxes, 9 biscuit/chocolate packets, 5 cartons of juice, 4 packets of tea and 4 rolls of clingfilm were donated by students. It was really wonderful knowing that people were willing to support my idea and donate items!

I would really like to continue this every year and think with more time and planning, (as it was a bit of a last minute idea) more could be achieved! It’d be great if it could spread to other universities across London too.

From this experience I would really like to continue volunteering. I am in the process of getting my DBS check so I can volunteer on a regular basis with people with disabilities. I’m also interested in volunteering at the Alzheimer's Society and walking the dogs at the Wimbledon Greyhound Centre. I’d definitely recommend volunteering to other students - it makes you feel like you’re helping even in just a little way!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Behind the Scenes of Volunteers' Week 2013

I remember the day that Jemma Houghton and I (KUSU’s Volunteer Co-ordinators) sent out the publicity for the Volunteers’ Week 2013 – I hadn’t been that nervous for a very long time!

Volunteers’ Week is a national week lead by the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations).  This year Volunteers’ Week 2013 focused on saying ‘Thank You’ to the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, and recognise the way that organisations celebrate the work of volunteers across the UK.

VW 2013 dog-walking
In previous years KUSU Volunteering had avoided planning any big events for Volunteers’ Week as June seemed to be such a busy time for KU students with exams, deadlines and packing up for the summer all having to take priority.

So our decision to try and run 5 days of taster sessions seemed like a rather brave and ambitious one! 

The two weeks leading up to 1st June certainly had both us KUSU Volunteer Co-ordinators on edge – would any students or staff have enough free time to help our chosen charities and community organisations?

As it turns out we had no reason to worry at all, an amazing 36 Kingston University staff and students took part in a range of activities!

VW 2013 jewellery-making
110 bracelets were made for poorly children at Kingston Hospital.

36 greyhounds at Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare were taken for a lovely walk in the sunshine – and had lots of cuddles!

The stock at Cancer Research’s shop got sorted and volunteers had fun dressing and accessorising manikins to display the latest fashion trends!

Bags and bags of Himalayan Balsam were pulled out - a vigorous invader of the Hogsmill riverbank with KUBAG!

And loads of you turned up to our workshop ‘Linking Volunteering to your Career’ to learn about how these and other volunteering activities give you skills that can help make you more employable.

VW 2013 Balsam Bash
We had an amazing time volunteering alongside all the students and KU staff – many of whom were in the middle of deadlines or running to and from their lunch breaks to help out!

KUSU Societies Coordinator Charlie Shaw and Retail and Venue Manager Lucy Marsh said  “Greyhound walking in Volunteers’ Week was a really worthy cause. It was loads of fun and the weather was great! We’d definitely do it again and would recommend it to everyone.”

Even more encouragingly all our surveyed participants later agreed that the taster sessions had inspired them to do more volunteering in the future.

So if you missed out on VW 2013 then don’t worry. We’ve got London Student Volunteering Fortnight coming up between 26th October and 8th November 2013 and we’re definitely going to be putting on a huge fortnight of taster sessions to keep you busy!  

Abbie Hurrell and Jemma Houghton
KUSU Volunteer Co-ordinators
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