Community volunteering reaps rewards for all

Students from theUniversityofCumbriahave been working with community groups as part of National Student Volunteering Week.

The university students from theCarlisle, Penrith, Ambleside and Lancaster campuses joined students from all over the country who were making a difference to their local communities through events organised by the Students’ Union.

TheUniversityofCumbriastudents took part in various activities, including IT sessions for retired local residents inLancaster, art workshops for community members at theBrampton Roadcampus in Carlisle and conservation work at Heathlands inCarlisle, part of the Glenmore Trust.

The Lancaster IT sessions were led by Lauren Lloyd. Lauren said: “I was a basic volunteer last year and this year I am the project leader. I am running the IT sessions for the elderly residents and we are helping them with their basic computer skills. As well as helping the residents learn a new skill, we are portraying a positive student relationship with the community.”

The volunteering week also included the second Community Arts project session inCarlisle. The student led project invites local residents onto theBrampton Roadcampus to try their hand at different creative arts such as drawing. Twenty members of the community are already involved.

Student Volunteer Danielle Spratt said: “Some of the local residents who attended the session had never drawn at all so we taught them different skills. It’s rewarding and fun. I’m getting to interact with people who aren’t my own age and it’s just a bit different.”

To finish off the week, ten student volunteers carried out conservation tasks at Heathlands, near Harker,Carlisle. Chopping, digging and sawing tasks were carried out at the inclusive day centre for adults with learning disabilities to improve access to the garden area for the members.

Kati Brown, Students Union Volunteering Facilitator for the Students’ Union is pleased with how the week went. She said: ‘It’s been great to see so many different students getting involved and giving volunteering a go. Some of them have taken part before but some people got involved for the first time.

“It’s also great that we can bring together the community. As well as volunteering at Heathlands, we were able to support five of their members who are attending our community art sessions as part of their OCN qualification in art.

“There are many volunteering opportunities available to students and we want to continue to raise the profile so that more students get involved in volunteering in their community, giving them valuable and rewarding experience that will have a positive impact on other people.”