08 June 2011
At a time when the Government is urging people to play their part in the Big Society, Canterbury Christ Church University students are leading the way with nearly 14,500 hours given to volunteering in the last year.
Alicja Jakubowska, Lip Vi Teoh and Laura Cole
As part of national Volunteers’ Week the University recognised this amazing contribution their students have made to local, and national, charities and organisations at a special event.
Volunteering Co-ordinator, Judy Challis, said: “Tune in to Volunteering allows us to celebrate the voluntary work done in the local community, not only by our students but by other members of the public too. It is great to be able to host an event which is enjoyed and appreciated by so many and to say a public thank you to volunteers from all different backgrounds that give their time so unselfishly.”
One of the students recognised was Lip Vi Teoh, a second year TESOL student. Lip Vi has not only volunteered over 100 hours, but also organised large groups of volunteer students to go on regular trips to the Strode Park Foundation, where he also organised a 'Malaysian Day' for the residents. He said: “I originally got involved just to fill in my spare time, but it made me feel great; the more I volunteered the more I got out of it. I could also see the effect it was having on the groups I was visiting and I could see them enjoying their time too.
“My parents, family and role models have always encouraged me to give, even if you don’t have any money, because sometimes your time is actually more valuable. Any time you can give, even half an hour can make a difference and make things better.”
Alicja Jakubowska and Laura Cole have both worked on many different volunteering projects including helping with conservation at the Romney Marshes and organising art and craft sessions at St Martin’s Hospital. Both are Volunteer Ambassadors and have given over 200 volunteer hours since the start of this academic year.
They have also achieved great success with the ‘Read’ project. The Read project involves over 40 universities around the country with students organising fundraising events and encouraging people from within their university to donate books, which are then sorted and sent to schools in East Africa.
Final year Geography student Laura said: “The Read project has been really successful, incredible. We were originally tasked with fundraising £1,000 and collecting 4,500 books. We will reach our fundraising target, but we have so far collected just under 6,000 books. The support from everyone at the University has been phenomenal.
“Myself and another volunteer will be going out to Tanzania in the summer to work on the project for six weeks and to help distribute the books to the schools. I will be very proud of what we have achieved at Christ Church.”
“It has definitely been the most worthwhile thing I have done since I’ve been at University. The experience has also taught me new skills that will hopefully make me stand that bit above other graduates in the job market. I have had to manage people, making sure they are in the right place at the right time; organise events, fundraising initiatives and co-ordinate trips. Hopefully people can see that there is more to me than just being a Geography graduate.”
Christ Church students at volunteering event
Alicja, from Poland, is a final year Law student. She said: “I’ve had a wonderful time at Christ Church and the opportunities and support that the Volunteer Service at the University offer its students are invaluable.
“Volunteering has helped me to develop skills which will be very beneficial for my future employability. I have learnt how to interact with different people and adapt to their needs; to work in different organisations and communicate with different people in different environments. It was also a great opportunity for me to improve my English to a higher level.
“I hope to go and study for a Masters in Law but I will continue to volunteer as it has taught me so much and helped me to grow in myself. It has especially made me aware of other people’s needs and the importance of working with your community, in your community; giving something back has been great. I will continue to encourage others to volunteer as it is so important.”
Notes to Editor
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.
With nearly 18,000 students, and five campuses across Kent, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional expertise.
- In 2010 the Faculty of Education received top grades in its Ofsted report for primary, secondary and post-compulsory programmes, together with its employment-based routes into teaching. The University’s primary provision has the unique record of having been awarded the highest Ofsted grades in all inspections since 1996.
- Over 90 per cent of our graduates gain employment or are in further study in the first six months after graduating.
- Along with over a thousand undergraduate, postgraduate and professional training courses on offer, we are also home to world-leading and internationally recognised research in Education, History, Music and Sports Related Studies.
- Canterbury Christ Church University was founded in 1962 by the Church of England as a teacher training college.