April 8, 2013, by offcampus

Student Volunteering – Sophie’s Experience

Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your local community in your time at the University of Nottingham, as well as gain some skills for your CV. Today we’re happy to welcome Sophie Little to the blog. Sophie is an active member of the Student Volunteer Centre and her blog gives a flavour of some of the different projects you could get involved with as a volunteer.

Since beginning my degree at the University of Nottingham, I have participated in numerous volunteering events, all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed! I am extremely passionate about charity work and the Student Volunteer Centre (SVC) has provided me with endless opportunities to get involved in various activities. The SVC is a brilliant way to become active in the volunteering community because not only is the SVC team extremely friendly and helpful, but there is a vast range of activities which cater for everyone, whether it is a one-off event (great if you have an hour to spare), or whether it is a weekly commitment to a specific organisation.

The SVC enabled me to explore areas of volunteering that I hadn’t tried before, such as conservation work. I was a Student Volunteer Rep for National Student Volunteer Week and actually partook in two conservation projects. The one I led required the removal of what seemed like endless tonnes of soil from the garden of a nursing home! The second project involved upturning depleted soil to resurface fresh soil so that the area could be used for allotments. Despite both of these projects being the most physically enduring activities I’ve ever done, they were extremely rewarding because the impact of my work was visible throughout the day. Conservation volunteering also acts as a fantastic workout because after shovelling soil all day, you have definitely deserved the right to scoff a cake without an ounce of remorse!

I have also had the privilege of helping to raise money for national charities such as Parkinson’s and Oxfam. A ‘Spooky Sprint’ took place around the lake at Nottingham’s National Water Centre, and as volunteers, we had to spur the runners on, hand them water, guide them around the course (it was pitch black), and of course hand over the biscuits and bananas when they had completed the course! ‘Oxjam’ was another fantastic event which raised money for Oxfam and consisted of a bar-crawl type mini music festival. It was great to see so many bands volunteer to play at different pubs and venues, and as volunteers, we got to see them perform whilst we collected tickets and donations. In addition to the bigger events, I have done many one-off volunteering roles such as: making cards for sick children, gift wrapping presents for children who were due to spend Christmas in hospital, and also sowing little bags to hold central lines for children suffering from cancer. Regardless of whether it is a huge event or just an hour creating gift tags, it is all worthwhile and rewarding because you know you will put a smile on somebody’s face as a result of the work you have done. Volunteering does not only make you appreciate your own life, but it also allows you to improve your organisational skills, people skills and increase your confidence.

Volunteering with The Ear Foundation is my next endeavour, as I have never worked with deaf children before and I think it will be an amazing experience. I have an interview at the end of March so fingers crossed it is successful, as it will enable me to broaden my volunteering experiences, increase my knowledge and put more smiles on more people’s faces!

Posted in Guest blog