Vernon Kay’s Volunteer Army

This year students from the University Of Cumbria have been involved in volunteering, taking part in one off volunteering days and projects or doing it regularly, such as helping at local sports and youth groups. On Saturday 7th May 20 students joined Vernon Kay’s Volunteer army in Carlisle on different projects around the area in the run up to Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

People who have never done any volunteering and those who have lots of experience all offered their help and chose an activity that they thought they’d enjoy.

Steven Baty, a second year Child and Family Studies student said of the day: “Today I’ve been doing a bit of gardening, planting flowers and general tidying up. I feel like I’ve achieved something. Tidying the local community has been a good way to bridge the gap between local residents and students”

Lewis Walker a second year Criminology and Law student stayed on site at the Youth Zone, a new £5m centre for young people in north Cumbria, and was able to watch a live lounge performance whilst he and other volunteers made canvases. Lewis said “The best bit was doing something different to usual every day stuff and it was cool to see a live Radio 1 event.”

Rahul Mehrotra, a first year Animal Conservation Science student at Newton Rigg, who is a volunteer in the Conservation Society said “As a team we did habitat restoration and landscaping for Longtown Community Centre. It was a good work out and I got muddy which I enjoy. It was also good to be able to use my own expertise to help other people.”

Other volunteers took part in activities ranging from refurbishing a neglected radio control race track to volunteering at a local hospice. Louise Managh , a second year Childrens Nursing Diploma student at Lancaster said “I found it really enjoyable and had a good laugh with the other volunteers. I’d like to continue volunteering but probably a bit closer to home.”

As a special thank you from Radio 1 all the volunteers received a ticket for the Saturday of the One Big Weekend which was a brilliant surprise for everyone who took part. If you would like to be kept up to date with volunteering opportunities please register online as a volunteer at