Volunteering brings a variety of rewards to those that take part. This is particularly true here at NTU, where students often make the most of their experiences gained during volunteering and go on to develop life skills which in turn guide them towards discovering their interests and maybe even their future career path. This is one of the benefits of the time given by our student volunteers, which I value the most. Seeing them succeed, whilst in some cases seemingly unaware that they are changing someone’s life for the better.
Two projects that I am currently working on and have been involved with since their establishment are amazing examples of the great effect that volunteering can have.
The ClickSilver project, is a collaboration between Capital One, Business in the Community, Age UK and NTU helping to educate older people to use technology, with a focus on computers and devices. Now in its 4th year this is one of the most popular voluntary projects we run, recruiting over 50 volunteers each academic year, who every Wednesday for a 6 week period mentor an older person and help them to develop their tech skills. One thing that stands out about this project is the relationships that are built between the older people and our students, the barriers that are broken down, and the assumptions that cease to exist when the project comes to an end. The older people show an amazing improvement in their technological abilities and show their appreciation for the guidance they receive from their student mentor. It really is a fantastic project that I’m sure will continue for many years.
Keeping with the focus of education, but channelling its direction this time towards the younger generation, the Conservation on Planet Earth project (COPE), was the brain child of a Wildlife Conservation student Sarah, studying at the Brackenhurst Campus. Sarah approached Nottingham Trent Volunteering to put her ideas into action and we obliged, by giving her a budget, contacting a number of primary schools, where she wished to run her project and supporting her in ticking all the necessary boxes to get started. 5 years on, Sarah has graduated but her project’s legacy continues, becoming a firm favourite amongst the Brackenhurst students, who can put their course knowledge to use, whilst spreading their passion for conservation. In its infancy, COPE ran in only one primary school – this year there are 5 schools involved, with over 20 student volunteers. The highlight of this project for the children and volunteers alike, is a trip to Twycross Zoo, part funded by the volunteering team, which is a fantastic way to see first hand some of the endangered animals that conservation helps to save.
Here at Nottingham Trent Volunteering we provide a whole host of projects, and this small snapshot epitomises how volunteering benefits everyone. So get out there, discover an opportunity and give it a try, you won’t regret it!
-Thank you to Stephen Barton, who is a Volunteering Coordinator in the Nottingham Trent Volunteering Team, for writing this blog post!
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