University of Leicester eBulletin

Caring Role of Students is Recognised

May 2002
No 97

Everard Foundation Supports Volunteering Efforts  
student volunteers with Richard Everard
Student volunteers with Richard Everard (third from right) at the cheque presentation

University of Leicester students who volunteer their time to help others in the community are to be rewarded by local industry.

More than 400 students at the University of Leicester engage in positive action to benefit others - helping in schools, mentoring pupils, providing free legal advice, running a playgroup for children with disabilities and much more.

The students are all members of Contact Student Community Action - a student-led association of the Students' Union which supports students who volunteer in their community. Members volunteer with 40 community organisations and help with 10 organisations run by Contact itself.

Now the students are to receive funding from the Everard Foundation in recognition of their contribution and achievements. Richard Everard from the Foundation will visit Contact on Friday May 17 at 2.30pm to see the work of the students and present them with a cheque.

Claire Barton, Contact co-ordinator said: "Our work is predominantly concerned with local groups, but there are Student Community Action groups around the country at virtually every higher education institution which benefits the community at a national level.

"Contact has developed rapidly in recent years partly due to the funding for a full time worker. This has allowed Contact to concentrate on project development and opportunities for students to set up and run their own projects. Student-led activities such as these are a great way to develop new skills and a fantastic achievement for the volunteers involved."

Claire added: "Richard Everard has supported and recognised Contact's work for many years and we are very grateful to him for this. His visit provides a moment of glory for Contact's work and allows us to improve and develop the work we do. We will use the money presented to Contact on committee training as well as resources for our projects."

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Claire Barton, Contact Co-ordinator, Students' Union, University of Leicester, Tel: 0116 223 1141

Among the activities Contact is involved with are:

BRIGHT SPARKS

A new project which was set up this year. The project aims to spend an hour at Medway Primary School in Leicester listening to children read or helping with an aspect of their schoolwork that they find difficult.

DIVERSE UNIVERSE

This new project for this year has been set up to support international students arriving at the university.

'ONE OFFS'

Contact receives many requests for help throughout the year. Recently members painted a mural at a local primary school and also painted the kitchen at a day centre - Headway.

PARTNERSHIPS FOR PROGRESSION

Mentoring 13-16 year olds in order to encourage them to consider higher education. Members will be motivating them to aim high and achieve their potential.

PRO BONO

This is a legal advice service offered by students for students. This project is aimed at law students.

SCAMP - Student Community Action Mobility Playgroup

The playgroup is run and organised by Contact and provides the opportunity for children with disabilities to take part in a variety of energetic games. It takes place every Sunday in the Charles Wilson Sports Hall from 1.30pm-3.30pm.

STUDENT SHADOWING SCHEME

Targeting local school children aged 13-16, this project aims to provide a 'taste' of student life for people who have no family tradition of going on to Higher Education who are capable of going to university but need re-motivating to achieve their potential. 

Contact offers other projects alongside those which it has developed itself. These projects tend to be well known organisations such as The British Red Cross.

LEICESTER COLLEGES NIGHTLINE

Nightline is a student-run service that operates every night during term-time between 8pm and 8am. It aims to provide callers with confidential emotional support. Nightline is renowned for its excellent training and support network.

PREGNANCY TESTING SERVICE

The University of Leicester Welfare Team offer a free and confidential pregnancy testing service to women students in the Women's Room. It is available from 1pm - 2pm Monday - Friday and student volunteers run it.

UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER CHARITIES APPEAL - RAG

Rag is a society within the Students' Union that hosts a range of events throughout the year to help charities. Each year around 50,000 is raised for local and national charities.

STUDENT ACTION FOR REFUGEES - STAR

STAR is a recently established organisation which works closely with Oxfam, Red Cross and Refugee Action.

Projects within the local community

Not all Contact's projects are based around the Students' Union- below are a few of the community projects with which members are engaged:

FOCUS

This is a project where members work with disabled and/or socially excluded people. There are many skills and benefits to be gained from FOCUS, members can develop team-building skills, communication skills, and are given the chance to learn about themselves.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Working as a classroom assistant.

ASH FIELD SCHOOL

This is a school for physically disabled young people from the age of 5 to 19, whose special educational and health needs make it difficult for them to attend a mainstream school. Volunteers assist in the classroom and run outside clubs such as Cubs and Brownies.

ACTION AGAINST DOMESTIC ABUSE (ADA)

ADA is part of Women's Aid Leicestershire and offers a free and confidential service for women who are experiencing, have experienced or are at risk of experiencing domestic violence. Only women can volunteer for ADA.

TRADE

Working with gay and bisexual men in Leicester TRADE provides free and confidential services relating to HIV, AIDS and men's sexual health. There are several volunteering opportunities with TRADE.

LEICESTER WITNESS COCOON

Working in the local community LCW aims to help people cope with fear and intimidation providing emotional and practical support to witnesses of crime and anti-social behaviour. Full training is provided.

HEADWAY

People who have a non-degenerative acquired brain injury are supported by Headway, which also offers information and support to relatives and carers. Headway runs a day centre for which it requires volunteers.

 

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: May 2002
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