Student Volunteering Week launches at the University of Hull

Published: Monday 20th February 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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Student Volunteering Week encourages students to develop their skills while forming key social action partnerships in local communities.

Running from 20-26 February, the University of Hull is one of over 100 institutions taking part.

To find out more, we spoke to Angie Drinkall, Community Volunteering Co-ordinator at Hull University Union.

“Hull University Social Services Organisation (HUSSO) was set up by student Derek Forster back in 1961,” says Angie.

“Since then, HUSSO members have given over three million hours of volunteering time to local communities in need.”

The opportunities available to students are wide-ranging and highly valuable. Types of experience include working with animals and children, mental health, NHS, recycling, helping the homeless, and supporting children and adults with disabilities.

There are literally hundreds of opportunities to be found at all times, no matter what the volunteer is interested in.

“It’s important that students consider volunteering,” says Angie. “It increases wellbeing, as it feels good to help others and see what a difference you can make to people and communities.”

Whilst having a significant positive impact on the local community, volunteering can also be an investment for the student:

“It greatly helps with employability, as you gain experience and enhance your social skills,” explains Angie.

“If you can demonstrate in job interviews that you’ve worked in various environments, you’ll have an advantage over the other candidates.”

With so many students taking part in countless volunteering initiatives over the years, we asked Angie for some examples of especially successful projects.

“An animal sanctuary was set up by the team at RAG (Raising and Giving). They invited all of the animals from RSPCA Clough Road into the Union building and charged students a small fee to see them.”

“This raised a huge amount for RSPCA Hull and everyone involved had a lovely time, including the animals. It was also great for students’ wellbeing, as animals are an excellent form of therapy.”

Another successful HUSSO project that has run for many years is Flintstones. This sees students take local schoolchildren out for experience days and exciting trips, from bowling to Big Fun.

Then there’s the HUSSO primary reading project. Students visit a local school weekly and help children to improve their reading skills.

Meanwhile, the HUSSO befriending project invites students to meet care home residents. Whilst the elderly enjoy the opportunity to chat, the younger people also develop their social skills further and often learn a thing or two about life.

“We work with over 300 organisations to match student volunteers to the perfect role,” says Angie.

“At the moment, four projects are running via HUSSO. Students can also start their own projects, which we help to set up and maintain.”

“The RAG team have been particularly successful. Last term they raised a record £25,000 for local charities.”

If you’re a student at the University of Hull, find out more about volunteering opportunities. If you’re a local charity or organisation that would like to be added to HUSSO’s database, please email Angie at a.drinkall@hull.ac.uk

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Published: Monday 20th February 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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