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Giving back: National Student Volunteering Week

Giving back: National Student Volunteering Week

With National Student Volunteering Week 2020 underway this week, the University is celebrating the impact student volunteers have on local, national and international communities.

The University has a dedicated volunteering team to help students to access volunteering roles at charities or not for profit organisations, and works closely with Leeds University Union (LUU) who offer volunteering opportunities through their clubs and societies

There are a vast range of activities on offer, including working with the NHS, with homeless people in the local community, in conservation, and in wellbeing activities.

More than 3500 University of Leeds students volunteer with charities, local services and schemes every year, contributing to the life of the city and enhancing their skills and enjoyment of their time at Leeds.

Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education said: “The University is committed to developing independent, critical thinkers who make a difference to their local community and to the wider world.

“Our Leeds Curriculum emphasises the value of taking part in extra-curricular activities – such as those found through volunteering - alongside the exceptional student education on offer here.”

We’re very proud to have 16 dedicated volunteering societies and hundreds of volunteer committee members who run all of our clubs at societies at Leeds.

Lydia Evans, Activities Officer, Leeds University Union

Lydia Evans, Activities Officer, Leeds University Union said: “Volunteering offers students a chance to support a cause they feel passionate about and to give something back to our local community.

“It can also help when you’re thinking about a career - it’s a way of trying out different environments and activities – and you can build up skills and experience.

“We’re very proud to have 16 dedicated volunteering societies and hundreds of volunteer committee members who run all of our clubs at societies at Leeds. “

“You really feel like you have made a difference”

Student outside Clothworkers Court

Cara Staniforth, a first-year Psychology student, is one of six students who volunteered at Leeds & York NHS Foundation Trust at the Newsam Centre in Seacroft last year, working with patients with mental health and learning issues.

Through playing sport, patients are encouraged to open up and to talk, and to practise motor skills.

“It’s amazing what a difference playing sport can make,” says Cara. “You see people starting to interact who in some cases may not have spoken for days. It’s so rewarding and so much fun.

“The best moments are when you walk out and all the service users are smiling and having a laugh. They look forward to us coming so you really feel like you have made a difference.

Students receive sports leadership training from the University Sport & Physical Activity team and induction from the NHS before they start volunteering, and play games including football, basketball and tennis with support from NHS staff.

[Volunteering is] also really helpful in terms of thinking about the kind of work I might like to do in the long term...

Cara Staniforth, a first-year Psychology student

“It’s also really helpful in terms of thinking about the kind of work I might like to do in the long term, as sports and clinical work both interest me," Cara added. 

The programme of activities offered by Leeds University Union during National Student Volunteering Week is available here.

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