Volunteering in your local community connects you with others and creates positive change.
Over the past academic year, the team at Bristol Hub have supported over 180 Bristol students to engage in social action.
Bristol Hub manager Sorcha Young shares the impact that volunteering can have:
“Social action takes many forms. It can range from donating money to good causes to creating campaigns or running community-based events. I love making a change by getting hands-on and volunteering in my community.”
85% of Bristol Hub’s student volunteers agreed that participation enhanced their well-being during university. Where there are many challenges to university, such as loneliness, academic pressures and an overwhelming amount to do, volunteering provides a space to escape and connect.
In April, Bristol Walk Fest partnered with the Careers Service to run a City Challenge, with the goal of getting input from student volunteers on ways to engage younger walkers with their events.
Bristol Walk Fest is an annual walking festival, with events taking place all over the city. We chatted to Jennifer Graham, their 2023 Event Manager, about their experience.
Jen, can you tell us what Bristol Walk Fest is all about?
Bristol Walk Fest began over a decade ago and is a celebration of all things walking. The free festival, which regularly attracts over 7,500 attendees year-on-year, showcases the best of Bristol for everyone to enjoy, either individually or with others.
The festival takes place during May to coincide with Living Streets’ National Walking Month and offers a wide variety of walking activities, personal challenges, self-guided walking routes and discussion events. The (mostly free) walks and activities are for all backgrounds and levels of fitness.
Last month, the Bristol Students’ Union hosted its much-anticipated annual Student Volunteering Fair, as part of Student Volunteering Week.
The fair had a lot to offer, with over 40 organisations showcasing their work and encouraging students to get involved.
From supporting refugees to empowering older people, there was a diverse range of organisations present at the fair and it was an excellent opportunity for students to develop their skills and make meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.
Towards the end of term, as many of us were beginning to wind down for the winter break, the Careers Service, in collaboration with the SU Volunteering Team, were busy organising a Winter Tea Party for some of Bristol’s elderly residents.
This initiative, one of the Service’s community engagement activities, saw them take over the Richmond Building’s Carpenter Room and share some festive cheer in the form of food, chat, and entertainment.
The Winter Tea Party welcomed fifty members of the community from Parkway Methodist Church, Brunelcare, and St. Monica’s Trust; together with a number of student volunteers and society representatives who supported the guests and helped ensure they had an enjoyable afternoon.
Following a highly successful first year of City Challenges, Girls Are INvestors (GAIN) took part in hosting the first City Challenge of the new academic year.
Students tackled the question of ‘How we can encourage women into finance and bust myths?’ in groups before presenting their ideas to GAIN, allowing the charity to use these ideas in their future work.
In 2021-22, 1111 students achieved the challenge of completing their Bristol PLUS Award, giving their CVs a boost and reflecting on the value of their extra-curricular experiences.
We caught up with Aamir Mehmood, 2nd Year Biology BSc, to find out how he built up his 70 hours experience and achieved his PLUS Award.
‘I have found out I am a lot more resourceful and resilient than I thought. I’m proud to have discovered this through my PLUS award experience’
Aamir achieved his 70 hours through working a part time job as a barista, and volunteering at Brandon Hill as a gardening volunteer.
‘I wanted to volunteer locally and find something where I could really make some difference, helping other members of my community keeping Brandon Hill pristine and looking its best was the most fun opportunity I found.’(more…)
“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.” – tagline for International Women’s Day 2022
Today, we are taking the opportunity to highlight and acknowledge a handful of brilliant female students and graduates who have helped to #breakthebias by exemplifying the missions of International Women’s Day through their various projects, start-ups, and volunteering activities. Prepare to be inspired!
IWD mission: To shine a spotlight on activity uplifting and inspiring women to pursue goals without bias or barrier
Arooba Hameed, Year 3 Cancer Biology and Immunology (BSc)
Arooba completely embodies this mission and recently won £1000 of funding in the Development Stage of the New Enterprise Competition for the non-profit community group she founded, Higher Education for Asylum Seekers & Refugees (HEAR). HEAR aims to support refugees and asylum seekers in accessing educational opportunities through guidance, training, mentoring & advocacy.(more…)