Friday, 23 August 2013

Introducing KUSU Volunteer Co-ordinator Sarah Dutton

Sarah Dutton - KUSU Volunteer Co-ordinator (Projects)
Hello, my name is Sarah Dutton, and I will be the new student and staff-led projects Volunteer Co-ordinator, replacing Jemma Houghton who is off exploring new pastures in Canada. Alongside me, I will be working with Abbie Hurrell, who co-ordinates all of the one-off volunteering and regular volunteering across Kingston Upon Thames, the surrounding boroughs and central London.

Before coming to Kingston University Students’ Union (KUSU), my background was co-ordinating volunteering projects within the Career Development Service and Student Recruitment at the University of Leicester. I’ve also volunteered at various charities over the last decade. I think volunteering is a fantastic way of facilitating positive change within your local area, as well as gaining confidence, acquiring employability skills and making new friends. It is something I sort out as a student, and I hope you do too.

As I’ve only been here a couple of weeks so far, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting many KU students, but am looking forward to when you start pouring into the union offices with your fantastic volunteering project ideas! Having heard all about the exciting projects that ran last year, like the River Clean, Knit for Peace and sports fun sessions such as teaching cheerleading to Kingston Young Carers, I know that as KU students you are both creative and committed, which is fantastic.

There are a number of ways that you can get involved with KUSU Volunteering, either by getting in contact with Abbie or myself. I will be the point of contact for any of you who are interested in setting up your own student-led volunteering project or taking part in any staff-led projects that I create. If you’re interested in volunteering with a particular charity or community organisation you can email Abbie on,

For those of you who are feeling creative and want to set up your own volunteering project (it can be a one off or more regular opportunity) then please get in touch with your ideas. You can do this on your own, with a couple of friends, or with your society or sports team. Designing and leading your own project is a fantastic way of building up your skills set e.g. communication and organisational skills, as well as getting out into the community and making a real difference. However, don’t panic you won’t be alone when co-ordinating your project. I will support you along the way by offering tips and guidance on running a volunteering project, and offering up to £250 in funding for the opportunity.

As well as supporting students to run volunteering projects, I will also be setting up and co-ordinating my own projects for students to volunteer on. These will include projects such as the Christmas present donation scheme, as well as many more. All of these new (staff-led) projects will be advertised on the new KUSU volunteering database. Sadly this database isn’t live yet, but it will be up and running for the beginning of Fresher’s week. So make sure you don’t miss out on our upcoming blog for more information on this.

If you are interested in running your own volunteering project, please email me at, with a completed project proposal available on the Student-Led Volunteering Project Toolkit webpage. Equally if you are interested in volunteering in general, email, or drop into our office on Penrhyn Road campus between 10am - 4pm.

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