Sara Donnelley (Criminology and Sociology), worked with families whose loved ones were in prison. Working with Sussex Prisoners' Families, an organisation providing support and advice to families of prisoners, she said: “I really enjoyed the work because I was able to help people who found themselves in difficult situations. Also, it enabled me to learn more about the criminal justice system from an alternative perspective, and I learned about my own strengths and weaknesses.”
Grand Parade students took on a project to help families whose ill children meant that they had to stay away from home. They created a mural at Ronald McDonald House in Brighton, part of the Ronald McDonald House Charities which provide ‘home from home’ accommodation to families of hospitalised children across the UK.
Natasha Parris (Physiotherapy) has been volunteering at St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Eastbourne as part of her course. She notes the happiness that she felt while working in what could be a place of sadness: “I've never worked somewhere with so much happiness and light – it was a pleasure to go there every week. I learnt a lot from the other volunteers but I learnt the most from the people that were staying at the hospice. Their determination to live their lives and enjoy the time they had left was truly inspiring. Being able to help them with this in even the smallest way was an honour and I enjoyed every moment. It has taught me that care, compassion and the act of listening do not cost a thing, and that even a smile could mean the world to someone. I want to thank St Wilfrid’s for giving me the opportunity to volunteer there.”
Wanjun Yao (Illustration) worked on the mural and with the 2016 Photo Fringe, Film City 2016, Brighton Fringe 2017 and he is currently volunteering at Fabrica: “I really enjoyed every volunteering job I did. It is a great opportunity for meeting new people, getting inspired by other artists, and getting involved with events and exhibitions.”
Beth Thomas-Hancock, Student Volunteering Manager for the Active Student Volunteering Service, said: “Volunteering offers a great chance for students to develop their employability skills and engage in local community projects. Two of the core values of the university, inclusivity and partnership, are demonstrated by our student volunteers on a regular basis in their interactions with members of the local community, in particular with more isolated groups – for example, a student volunteer can brighten an older person’s day in a Befriender role or be an advocate for a person with a disability.”
You can find out more information by contacting the Active Student Volunteering Service on 01273 64415, for student volunteers, for community organisations or for University of Brighton staff.