Ready to make a difference: Hundreds from UWE prepare for Student Volunteering Week 2016

Issue date: 17 February 2016

From helping schoolchildren read to planting trees and sharing IT expertise with older people, undergraduates from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) will be out in force during Student Volunteering Week 2016.

Some 250 student volunteers at the university will give up their spare time to take part in community or charitable activities across the week, which runs between Monday February 22 and Sunday February 28.

Of those, 56 will visit local schools to help youngsters by acting as reading buddies, number partners and classroom assistants through the UWE Volunteering Schools Programme. Nearly double that number will join UWE Volunteering Projects including Creative Club, Drama Project, Green Ambassadors, Philosophy Project and Silver Surfers.

Volunteers at the Creative Club on Monday will help adults with learning and physical disabilities from the Milestones Trust sample arts and crafts including tie-dyeing, screen printing, coaster making and collagraph printing. At the Silver Surfers group on Wednesday, students will work one-to-one with older people to teach them IT skills including how to shop online, edit photos and communicate using Skype.

Approximately 100 students will do their bit through Students' Union Action Days. They will host a tea party for the elderly in Bower Ashton, clear a primary school's pond in Staple Hill, decorate the union bar at UWE Bristol's Glenside campus, plant trees in Frenchay, tidy up a community garden and marshal a colour run.

At the tea party on Wednesday, held in partnership with LinkAge, students will spend time chatting with older residents over tea, biscuits and cake before treating them to a drama performance and pub quiz.

Helen Stevens, from UWE Volunteering, said: “UWE student volunteers make a real difference in communities across Bristol, supporting people from the young to the old. Volunteering is a fantastic activity for students to get involved in - as well as being fun and rewarding, it helps them develop their skills and experience.

“Student Volunteering Week is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the contributions of UWE Volunteers and say a big thank you to them all for their hard work, enthusiasm and commitment.”

Now in its 15th year, Student Volunteering Week has become a fixture in many college and university calendars. The week, which involved 86 different institutions in 2015, is organised through a partnership between StudentHubs, the National Union of Students and the Student Volunteering Network. This year 15,000 students are expected to take part at more than 100 colleges and universities across the UK.

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