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SVW 2016 with Action at the University of Leeds

Posted on 29 Mar 2016

Sarah Finnigan, third year Geography student at the University of Leeds, and current Publicity Officer for Leeds Action Student Volunteers society looks back at how they celebrated Student Volunteering Week 2016…

Action is one of the largest volunteering societies at Leeds Uni, and we run 13 different projects that allow students to engage with and benefit children and the elderly in the local community. Our projects range from weekly after school clubs and running bingo at elderly care homes, right up to taking young people away on residential trips. The young people we work with come from a range of ages and backgrounds, form young carers to having learning difficulties to coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

To celebrate Student Volunteering Week 2016, Action committee members ran an employability skills workshop for Leeds Uni students to learn all about how volunteering could provide them with skills to boost their CV’s and impress employers.

Our workshop involved a variety of activities aimed at exploring how you can develop key skills through volunteering. Attendees developed teamwork through building raw spaghetti and marshmallow structures, which is harder than you think! They practiced their communication skills through a tough challenge that was a mash up between Pictionary and Chinese Whispers.

Finally, we explored what makes a good volunteer by filling badly drawn people with skills and qualities that are essential to be a successful volunteer.

All this interesting discussion was tied together by committee members with a brief information session on how students could develop the skills discussed by getting involved with Action’s projects.

‘What makes a good volunteer’ posters made during our employability skills workshop

Student Volunteering Week 2016 ended in style with the LUU Volunteering Awards, where Action won a grand total of 5 awards.

Our lovely members won a range of well-deserved awards including Lifetime Contribution, Outstanding Committee Member and Outstanding Volunteer for their time and effort put into ensuring our projects run smoothly. Action members celebrated the year’s achievements over a chilli buffet alongside all the other volunteering societies that make up Leeds University Union.

Three of our award winners at the LUU Volunteering awards

Of course, whilst all this excitement was happening, our projects ran as normal. Our three elderly projects Regeneration, Partners in Time and Bridge the Gap all visited three different care homes in Leeds allowing elderly residents to engage with students over bingo, crafts, quizzes and performances from other societies.

Our two after school clubs Little London Crazy Club and Woodhouse Kids Club ran afternoons of fun crafts and games in two local primary schools.

To top it all off, one of our residential projects Reach ran their second trip taking a group of children with learning difficulties away for an action packed weekend of bowling, mini golf, disco and pottery painting in the countryside.

Mugs made by volunteers and children on Reach’s residential trip

All in all, it was a successful Student Volunteering Week for Action! Our regular projects went out and were a complete success, whilst our volunteers enjoyed some extra excitement through the employability skills workshop and annual Volunteering Awards.

Our new committee have just been elected for 2015/2016, and we are already in discussion about how to make the next Student Volunteering week even bigger and better. Bring it on!

Want to share what your college or uni got up to during Student Volunteering Week? Get in touch.

Sarah Finnigan

Sarah is a third year Geography student at the University of Leeds. She's Publicity Officer for Leeds Action Student Volunteers society this year and next year's President.

Categories: Institution spotlight