University of Leicester eBulletin

University of Leicester Volunteers Recognised for Their Good Work

February 2003
No 41

Students from the University of Leicester are gaining recognition from ‘on High’ for the good work they do in the community.

The High Sheriff of Leicestershire, Mr Richard Everard, saw the work of the students in a local school in his capacity as Chairman of the Everard Foundation. The Foundation has supported the work of students in the community for a number of years.

The students are all members of Contact, the Student Volunteer group at the University of Leicester. Mr Everard visited two of Contact's Wednesday after-school clubs - Homework Help and French Club. Both clubs run at Medway Community Primary School in Highfields, Leicester.

Korin Grant, Student Volunteering Co-ordinator, said: “Homework Help, as it sounds, is a club that encourages children to bring their homework with them for extra help after school. The children get one-on-one attention to support them with reading and writing.  Sometimes the children don't bring any homework with them, which means the volunteers have to be creative and come up with fun activities for the kids to get involved in!

“The ‘French Club’ creates a fun atmosphere for children to learn a new language.  Veronica Warn, the club co-ordinator uses word and number games as well as singing and writing activities in French to keep the learning exciting. Volunteers include undergraduates who have studied in France and who have an interest in teaching. This popular club has been running since autumn 2001 and currently has a waiting list!”    

[Photo: The High Sherriff of Leicestershire, Mr Richard Everard, University of Leicester student volunteers and pupils of Medway Community Primary School
LEARNING ZONE: The High Sherriff of Leicestershire, Mr Richard Everard (centre) with University of Leicester students, members of the student volunteer group, Contact, and pupils of Medway Community Primary School. Contact members are actively involved in projects and long-term schemes in local schools.

Contact has over 200 student members involved in various activities. They have an enormous amount of skills and talents between them, which they are able to develop through a wide range of volunteer activities.   

Contact Student Executive President Parm Bhangal explains:  “Volunteering offers students the chance to develop new skills, gain experience and road test their career options in a safe environment. Many volunteer schemes offer exciting, accredited training programs as well as a friendly support network. Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and broaden your horizons. Contact also holds plenty of socials and events to raise the profile of student volunteering and to encourage our volunteers to meet up and have fun.”

Contact is involved in a range of activities including:

·        February 19th - Students’ Union Shadowing Scheme in which approximately 40 students from local colleges will shadow undergraduates for the day to get a taste of university life. This project targets students who come from a non-traditional higher education background and is part of the university’s widening participation programme.

·        February 26th - Contact will host a mentor training session for any students wishing to get involved in a one-to-one mentor relationship with individuals of various backgrounds.

·        Open day at SCAMP, one of our most successful student-led projects. We will invite new volunteers and interested members of the community to get a taste of this playgroup for children with developmental problems.

·        Elections for the new student executive are coming up in the first week of March - this is a fantastic opportunity to get experience in running a committee, balancing a budget, fundraising and general project management.

Korin added:  “Contact volunteers are involved in one-off projects as well as long term schemes. We will be re-visiting a local school soon for a wall painting session with the help of the children and we are organising a visit to a local animal sanctuary. Volunteering doesn' t end in June - there are various volunteer opportunities available for the summer months too!”

Mr Everard will also visit the Contact group at the University on May 9 to make a presentation to them.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please email, or phone 0116 223 1141.

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: February 2003
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