UWE Bristol students out in force for Student Volunteering Week - 24 February to 2 March 2014

Issue date: 24 February 2014

UWE Bristol student volunteers are heading out into their community to mark Student Volunteering Week. They will be helping two Bristol organisations in the North and the South of the City, Filton Community Garden and Windmill Hill City Farm.

UWE Volunteering and UWESU have been running an 'I Love Volunteering' campaign throughout February to encourage students to get involved in a range of volunteering roles.

Two 'action days' to celebrate National Student Volunteering Week will mark the end of the month long campaign.

On Wednesday 26 February, Windmill Hill City farm will be welcoming 15 students to prepare the farm gardens, ready for use by the local community this year. The city farm in Bedminster is a charity that provides recreation, education and therapy using food, farming and the environment as a theme.

Now in its 37th year, Windmill Hill City Farm has experienced some difficult times in recent years. Facing near closure, the City Farm was saved by the community response. Now in its resurgence, the UWE Bristol volunteers will play a key role in getting a new project off the ground.

Susan Rogers, Community Gardens Manager, said, “One of our latest community initiatives is the 'People Grow Project' which will enable local schools and families to get hands-on experience at the farm. At the moment we have an overgrown space which we'd like to transform into a garden for schools and children to enjoy. On Wednesday the UWE Bristol volunteers will be making that happen, without them we wouldn't be able to do it so we are extremely grateful to them. We hope that they will get a lot out of the action day too knowing that their hard work will benefit so many people in the city. “

Twelve students will also be helping on Saturday 1 March at Filton Community Garden. They will be sprucing up the flower beds ready for use by local residents and schools. Local residents in partnership with Filton Town Council have developed this community garden for all to enjoy in the corner of Elm Park.

Bethany Squire from UWESU said, “We're really pleased that these action days have proved so popular. It is a great opportunity for our students to get involved in some great local projects and make a difference to community organisations that might otherwise struggle to get a big job done in a day.”

Jo Earl from UWE Volunteering explained, “We support students on their journey into volunteering by offering them a range of options. One off action days and the University's own high impact short term projects help get volunteers started. With so many positive benefits associated with volunteering, it's a great activity to encourage. It helps to make students active citizens and is a fun and rewarding experience. On top of this it is fantastic for future employability, by providing real life experiences through which students can develop their skills, as well as meet and work with a diverse range of people.”

Student volunteering week also sees the Spring re-launch of UWE Bristol's 'Silver Surfers' project, which helps older people with IT, and the 'Connect Lockleaze' project which is working with 4 local partner organisations to deliver adult learning and is supported by volunteers in the Lockleaze community. These projects will see a further 47 student volunteers getting active in Student Volunteering Week, supporting local people.

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