Sheffield students double volunteering hours during the pandemic
- Students from the University of Sheffield dedicated 20,510 hours to volunteering in the city this year, double the amount expected
- Student volunteers spent time in local primary and secondary schools, and Sheffield-based charities to help rebuild the city in the wake of the pandemic
Students from the University of Sheffield have clocked up a total of 20,510 hours of volunteering in the local community this academic year, double the amount of hours typically expected by the University’s student volunteering hub.
Students signed up to Sheffield Volunteering - part of Sheffield Students’ Union - to give their time both online and in-person to community organisations in the city. This included educational programmes in local primary and secondary schools, volunteering with Sheffield-based charities and running student-led projects.
South Yorkshire based charity B:friend, which aims to combat loneliness and isolation, was one of the local charities involved with the volunteering programme. A spokesperson from B:Friend said: "We've been overwhelmed by how awesome Sheffield University volunteers have been. They've been calling and visiting older neighbours across Sheffield during the pandemic to offer companionship which has made such a huge difference to people's lives."
In April and May, Sheffield Volunteering ran ‘4 Weeks of Action’. The topics —Food Poverty, Loneliness, Nature and Wildlife, and Refugees and Asylum Seekers — resonated with students, with 70 volunteers accumulating nearly 250 hours over the four weeks, getting stuck in with everything from remote telephone befriending and letter writing to in-person gardening, painting and sorting food parcels.
With an increase in demand for food banks during the coronavirus pandemic, students also stepped up to support the S6 Foodbank which currently supports 1,000 local families every week with emergency food parcels.
Our members have a diverse and impressive range of skills ready to offer to our community. It’s amazing to think of the positive change that the total of 20,000 hours will have had on our city
Sheffield Students' Union President 2021-22
Digital-savvy students also offered their expertise to 12 local charities, helping staff adjust to a new online pandemic life by upskilling them on video conference software like Teams and Zoom.
Another project included Mountain Biking for Young Care Leavers, a collaboration between the University Cycling Club and Sheffield City Council. Originally set up by students in 2019, the project provides an opportunity for care leavers to take part in regular mountain biking sessions.
Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “We are very proud that our students have dedicated their time to help improve the lives of people in the region.
“The fact that they have contributed more than 20,000 volunteering hours in one academic year is testament to the responsibility and pride our students take in being part of the Sheffield community. I would like to thank them for everything they have done.”
More information on student volunteering can be found via the Sheffield Volunteering website.
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