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News article

Celebrating student volunteering

Published: 19 May 2015

  •   Community
  •    Students

Students from York St John University, Askham Bryan College, the University of York and York College came together at York’s Merchant Taylors’ Hall to receive awards for their commitment and dedication to voluntary work in the local area.

York’s Civic Party, along with representatives from local voluntary organisations and York’s universities and colleges, joined them for their celebrations. BBC Look North’s Harry Gration acted as compère for the proceedings.

The voluntary work that hundreds of students in York take up alongside their studies has a huge impact on the local community. Last year student volunteers gave at least 75,000 hours of their time, equating to over £500,000 if they were paid the minimum wage. 

Award winners from York St John have contributed to a wide range of voluntary projects, including delivering music workshops for people with dementia, mentoring young people, and providing night-time welfare and safety support in the city centre.

Seven York St John students received individual awards and two students received an award as part of a group, along with University of York students.

These nine volunteered at a range of organisations:

  • Lucy Bacon, York Museums Trust
  • Paige Bell and Laura Porritt, Door 84
  • Ellen Fitzpatrick, The Children’s Society
  • Eleanor Tanner, Jessie’s Fund
  • Lauren Wilson, Musical Connections
  • Rachael Booth, The Island
  • Jessica White and Ellen Willson, Refugee Action York

Ellen Fitzpatrick, who volunteers with the Children’s Society, said: “My whole year and a half working with The Children’s Society has been incredibly rewarding and I have loved every minute.” 

The value of the contribution made by student volunteers was summed up by Carrie Wheater, from Refugee Action York, who commented: “We could not run our service without our group of committed student volunteers.”

Suzanne Dickinson, Employability Projects Co-ordinator at York St John University, co-ordinates volunteering for the University and sat on the awards judging panel.

She said: “We help students find the best volunteering opportunities which link with their course to help them gain relevant work experience in relation to their future career aspirations.”

Volunteering opportunities are advertised on the website.

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