On Wednesday 9th February the Volunteering Linc Staff and Students held this event to share their experiences and achievements in volunteering this year. Obviously with the challenges faced with the pandemic, we are extremely impressed by everyone’s determination and creativity in ensuring they continued to help others.
In October, several students secured and started places in charity shops, which they were unable to continue with after the lockdown in November (one did manage to continue to sell items on Ebay for the charity).
Ashley firstly volunteered at a football club nearby running the team refreshments hub Winding House Lane FC Café. It helped her with social skills and was overall fun to do. She had to stop doing it after lockdown as did a number of students who then became involved in a couple of wider projects.
A group of our students took part in the preparation of a Christmas Hamper for Acorn Lodge. A big shout out to Skye, Harpreet and their friends and families for their very generous donations. After lockdown, the students who were unable to continue with their original plans for volunteering also wrote letters to the residents at Acorn Lodge.
Molly, Exauce, Charlotte, Sophie and Ellen were involved in preparation for our International Womens Day Art Project. They carefully made envelopes out of material and bobbins with inspirational quotes on.
Corey had started coaching Ambleside Junior FC, but when the second lockdown came, he had to be creative and engage the footballers through sharing the drills online.
Bobbie secured herself some work in a charity shop and despite the second lockdown Carried on working in the stock room and then supported people in local community. Emma usually volunteers at her local dance school face to face but was able to adapt and continued on zoom. Miah volunteered her time to develop her skills working is a reception of a car showroom.
Some students were able to continue with their volunteering throughout the lockdown. For example, Rachael has been helping with her local Girl Guides group on zoom. Normally she would run activities face to face, but because of covid she has had to learn how to adapt to presenting things online, and how to adapt activities, such as quizzes so they can be done over zoom. Melissa has been tutoring a friend’s brother in GCSE physics. She gained a lot of confidence in herself from the experience of sharing the knowledge that she has.
Luke Stevenson has been volunteering for St Johns Ambulance and has amassed around 500 volunteering hours already this year. He is currently National Cadet of the Year, District Cadet of the Year for Leicestershire & Rutland, Cadet Demonstrator, Cadet Operational First Aider, Leading Cadet for Hinckley Unit. He has been responsible for representing young people across the country. He has also been working to develop and deliver training courses to assist the charity’s vaccination training program. Possibly the greatest benefit of being Cadet of the Year is the fact his “big green family” has grown so much. It is because of COTY that I have met so many incredible people from all across the country. Luke says, “This pandemic hasn’t been easy for many people. We’ve all had to battle loneliness, however, I’m privileged enough to have made friends who are never more than a phone call away. These are people that I hope will be in my life for many years to come and I owe our friendship to St John Ambulance.”
Despite the varied activities that our students were involved in this year there is one thing they all agree on, and that was volunteering in whatever capacity helped them improve their communication skills