Social distancing has meant almost all face to face volunteering has been suspended. Jo Hargreaves from the University of Leeds Volunteering Team outlines how you can continue to make a difference through virtual volunteering.
Given the choice, up until the middle of March if you’d been asked whether you’d prefer to volunteer in person or online most of us would have chosen in person.
One of the main motivations to volunteer is that personal connection: meeting new people, going to new places and experiencing making a difference in person.
But due to our ongoing battle with COVID-19 we’re now living our lives with social distancing at the core and almost all face to face volunteering is suspended.
Whilst we’re all staying at home how can you continue to make a difference?
There are many virtual volunteering roles to choose from and the Volunteering Team have found a few which we thought were both interesting and will also add skills and experience to your CV at a time when it’s not so easy to do this in traditional ways.
Second year University of Leeds Music student Rory Heron discovered the charity People in Action through the University Union’s Volunteering Fair in his first year and now works as a support worker.
Rory Heron (left) with Ruben Martini
Read how his interest in music and community work has led him to setting up a music project with People in Action and support from LUUMIC Leeds University Union Music Impact in the Community
The charity- People in Action
I found out about People in Action and the support they provide for people with learning disabilities and autism at the University of Leeds volunteering fair. I decided to volunteer for this charity because I was eager to make a difference in the Leeds community during my time studying music at university, and I’ve always been interested in improving the quality of life of people with learning disabilities.
Volunteer to paid support worker
After engaging in voluntary work at various community groups, I was offered a paid role as a one-to-one support worker for an individual with a learning disability who was passionate about music and wanted to start a band. I assisted them in the process of communicating with some of his peers about starting a band, and once we found some people who were interested, we began meeting up and creating music together using the facilities at the university’s School of Music. The band were given opportunities to perform live at events that People in Action were organising, such as the Leeds Young Talent Show. The band received such a positive response from these performances, inspiring others to not let their learning disabilities get in the way of them pursuing their dreams.
Setting up a music project
It then occurred to me that I could set up my own community music project with People in Action that would allow young adults with learning disabilities to collaborate and make music together in a fun and relaxed environment. I realised that I could get volunteers from LUUMIC Leeds University Union Music Impact in the Community to help run the sessions, through my position on the committee. I discussed the details of the project with the People in Action office staff, university staff members and the LUUMIC committee about setting up the project. In September 2018, the project was officially up and running every other Sunday using the School of Music’s ensemble rooms. Since then, I have been recording some of the music created during the sessions and uploading them to YouTube as the Sunday Band Project
Ruth Trainor studies Sustainability and Environmental Management, and has been volunteering with TCV at Skelton Grange during her second year.
I am the proud owner of a badge that says ‘Ruth – Volunteer Leader’. I wear this every Wednesday – when lectures don’t get in the way – and spend that day in the woods and grounds of TCV Skelton Grange.
It’s a fairly awesome day, to be honest. I arrive at 9am, having cycled for about 40 minutes along the canal. The first order of business at Skelton is always a cup of tea, accompanied by a short catch up with the other volunteers and staff at the centre. Once the mugs are empty, we start setting up for the day.
Wednesdays are education days, so the activities run from around 11 to 2. These education days vary according to the season and the needs of the school, but all of them are essentially about familiarising the children with being outdoors and piquing their curiosity about the natural world.
Naeemah Patel is studying BSc Pharmacology at Leeds and is currently undertaking a placement year within the Student Placement team at the University, working with the Volunteering and Students into Schools teams. Naeemah secured this placement through the Leeds Internship Programme and in this post outlines her role and her advice to other students seeking placements.
I am currently on my placement year, based within the University of Leeds Careers Centre, working as Student Support and Engagement Intern for Volunteering Opportunities and the Students into Schools programme. My role within the Student Placement Division is really varied, involving jobs such as managing LeedsforLife opportunities, co-ordinating our social media, administration of student data on My Career and giving one-to-one support and guidance to students through weekly drop-in sessions. Continue reading
Sarah, a final year Medical Sciences student talks about her experience as an Office and admin volunteer for The Forgotten Heroes. She found this role in the Opportunities section of the Leeds for Life website – she encourages all students to take up volunteering alongside their studies and talks about how her volunteering role has helped her develop valuable skills and enhance her CV.
I started working in the The Forgotten Heroes charity office for a couple of hours a week in early September and so far it has been a fun, interesting but mostly rewarding experience. I decided to volunteer with The Forgotten Heroes to enhance my CV as I previously had no office experience and since working here I have learnt a huge number skills. I spend my time in the office updating our social media sites and website as well as contacting other organisations and stock taking.
This week, Georgia, a Music and Spanish graduate, talks about her experience with a month-long volunteering opportunity with Headingley LitFest in her final year. She gives an insight into her role in the project, and shares what the benefits are from volunteering alongside your studies.
My role volunteering at Headingley LitFest:
This year I took part in the Headingley LitFest as a volunteer. This month-long project had a number of different opportunities, and the committee were very happy to accommodate the volunteers’ desires and needs. I helped out with the setting up of a couple of events, as well as writing a review of the film screening event Jauja. I also played a significant role in the promotion of events through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Continue reading
Daniel Davis is a 3rd Year Neuroscience BSc student and is doing an internship as Student Engagement Event Coordinator. In this post he outlines the fantastic Student Engagement Showcase event, taking place this Wednesday, 25th November, which is open to all students and staff at the University of Leeds.
When I started university, the most common phrase I heard was ‘Make the most of it, it goes so quickly’ and it is 100% true. Now in my final year Neuroscience BSc, it seems like yesterday that I first moved into halls of residence yet now I am preparing my final year dissertation! It goes so quickly you have to grab every opportunity possible, and the University of Leeds offers an extraordinary amount of opportunities for both inside and out of your degree.
My latest project is an internship within the University as one of the Event Coordinators for the Student Engagement Showcase. This one-afternoon extravaganza celebrates the immense diversity of opportunities available for students; from internships to volunteering, research, societies and course reps to Leeds for Life. All are amazing ways for students to get involved in the running of the University and gain some invaluable experience for the future. Continue reading
Liam Kennedy graduated from Leeds with a BA in Geography in 2013 and now works for SKIP, an NGO in Peru. Here he discusses the factors that led him there as well as his tips for others.
Doing something worthwhile
Joseph Soloveitchik once philosophised that within every human there are two contrasting beings. He named those beings Adam I and Adam II. Adam I is an ambitious and worldly type, his motives are mainly economic; he wants to climb the ladder, be powerful etc. Whereas Adam II is more humble, he wants to do good and be good; he follows a more moral compass. He stated that these beings are in constant flux, that the winner of this internal battle guides our decisions. I guess this school of thought is what has guided me through my career choices to this point Continue reading
This is the third post in our 5-part mini-series summarising the Public Affairs and Community Engagement (PACE) Panel event we held on 11thMarch 2015. Other posts in the series can be viewed by clicking on the ‘PACE Event’ tag at the bottom of this post.
What is the charity sector?
This sector is made up of not-for-profit organisations which set out to provide help or support for those in need; to benefit society, specific groups or individuals. The sector may also be referred to as the voluntary, not-for-profit or the third sector. Note, however, that ‘third sector’ is more of an umbrella term which also encompasses non-governmental organisations, co-operatives, social enterprises and more Continue reading
Jenny Sellers studied at the University of Leeds and is now the Project Events Assistant for Leeds based Community Interest Company Luv2MeetU. Here she explains how getting involved in a range of things at university – and beyond – led to her current role.
My current job
I work for Luv2MeetU a friendship and dating agency for adults with learning disabilities. Luv2MeetU is part of the larger charity hft trust, which provides a variety of services to people with a learning disability. My role is Project Events Assistant for Leeds. I organise social events in Leeds as part of the Leeds and Wakefield team. My role also includes creating events flyers to mail out to Luv2MeetU members and attending Luv2MeetU council meetings (made up of members). My role is incredibly varied, flexible and really rewarding! I get to meet a variety of people and no two months are exactly the same, exactly what attracted me to the role and Luv2MeetU.