Student Volunteering Week Bootcamp
Posted on 9 Dec 2014
"I absolutely loved the speakers, the workshops kept me very focused and were inspiring for my future plans. I loved everybody's attitudes towards making a change." - Bootcamp attendee
On Wednesday 3 December, Student Hubs and NUS, with the support of Barclays and our hosts, Team London, welcomed over fifty students from colleges and universities around the UK to the first ever Student Volunteering Week Bootcamp. We spent the afternoon on the 9th floor of City Hall in London hearing from inspirational speakers, developing our skills in training sessions, and making a dent in local campaign plans ahead of SVW 2015 in February next year.
Talk #1: Jason Leggett
Jason is a Project Manager at Haringey Mencap, and he shared his journey from volunteering to a career in the charity sector. He told us about some of the people that he supports at Haringey Mencap and said, “A bit of my time gave someone else the chance to do something they'd never done before”. This shows just how volunteering can open doors not only for yourself but for the people you interact with.
Workshops part 1
Our first workshop was a brainstorming session around the three national aims of SVW. Each table chose an aim - raise awareness of the value of student volunteering, inspire more people to get involved, or celebrate the positive impact made by students in their communities - and let their imagination run wild coming up with events and activities to achieve that aim. We must’ve had close to 200 ideas! Then came the tricky task of picking our favourites to take into a workshop all about turning ideas into action. We learnt about the stages of project management - define, plan, manage, close - and took our ideas through each of those so that eveyrone got a headstart on their plans.
Talk #2: Stephen Robertson
We took a quick break to enjoy the view from City Hall’s balcony, then heard from Stephen Robertson, CEO of The Big Issue Foundation (TBIF). He spoke about their work supporting people who are homeless. It can be as little as 12 months from a significant life event to losing everything and arriving on the street, and last year alone TBIF worked with over 2500 individuals, enabling people who are homeless to take control of their lives. It was also helpful to hear his perspective on campaigning and his message was clear - you’ve got to be passionate and believe in what you’re campaigning about to be heard.
Workshops part 2
Our second set of workshops were all about campaigning and communicating your message. After reflecting on the key elements of a great campaign, we got to work planning our own campaigns. We picked an issue, identified our audience, defined the action we wanted our audience to take, and brainstormed ways of reaching and communicating with them. A collection of top tips for emails, social media and press wrapped up the session.
Talk #3: Rachel Wenstone
Our third and final guest speaker was Rachel Wenstone who works in campaigns for a homelessness and housing charity. She shared her perspective on the challenges and highlights of being a campaigner, and encouraged each and every one of us not to underestimate the impact that volunteering can have on ourselves and the world around us. With the General Election less than six months away, she emphasised, “Students need to step up in the next few months to create a compelling vision for the world we want to see.”
It was a brilliant close to a jam-packed event. Everyone has returned to their colleges and universities with a strong foundation for their plans and plenty of new ideas. We can’t wait to hear about their progress over the next few months and see their ideas become a reality during the campaign itself in February!
If you were at the Bootcamp and want to share what you learnt or what you’ve got planned for SVW 2015, why not write a blog post?
The SVW Bootcamp would not have been possible without the support of: Barclays, NUS, Student Hubs, Team London, Jason Leggett, Stephen Robertson and Rachel Wenstone.