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7 Jun 2017

Students’ volunteering commitment celebrated at awards ceremony
 
Student volunteering in the community and its positive impact has been recognised at the University of Chester’s annual Volunteer Celebration Evening.
 
group_photo.jpgCaption: Guests at the awards evening, including UCV award winners; the Choice award finalists and University of Chester staff and students.
 
Students at the University volunteer for a wide range of organisations, including Cancer Research, Childreach International (a global child rights movement) and Claire House Hospice in the Wirral. This year students who completed the University of Chester Volunteering (UCV) award scheme were invited to attend the evening at the Queen’s Park Campus, where two brand new awards (the Student’s Choice and the Charity’s Choice Award 2017) were also presented.
 
In the last academic year (2015/16), students and staff at the institution volunteered for 33,226 hours, in the community and in the University. So far, this academic year, 20,000 volunteering hours have already been achieved.
 
Entertainment was provided by sisters Natalie and Katrina McCroy, who performed songs at the start of the evening. Natalie is a graduate of the University and Katrina is a current undergraduate student. One of the guest speakers was Elitsa Seymour from Chester’s Pay as you Feel Café (where many of its volunteers are students from the University). The student guest speaker was Millie Frith, who is the Women’s Rowing Team Captain. Millie was one of the Excellence award winners and gave an inspirational talk on volunteer leadership.
 
Two new accolades were celebrated during the evening – the Students Choice Award, which was developed to allow student volunteers the opportunity to recognise organisations that have provided an outstanding student volunteering experience. The second new accolade is the Charity’s Choice Award, where charities were encouraged to nominate exceptional student volunteers who had gone ‘above and beyond’ in the work they have carried out, voluntarily, in the last academic year, and who have demonstrated real volunteer leadership qualities.
 
The winner of the Students’ Choice Award was PAPYRUS, the national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. PAPYRUS was nominated by student Lauren Cooper, a third year Psychology student who has volunteered with PAPYRUS for three years.
 
Papyrus.jpg
Caption: Collecting the award for PAPYRUS are Sarah Blackie, Head of Operations (left), and Catherine Parsons, Community Projects Officer (right).
 
Lauren said: “I nominated PAPYRUS because they do so much for so many young people who may feel alone and without hope, as well as helping to support families, and raise awareness. They even offer training in the wider community so people can learn how to spot and react to invitations for help.”
 
The winner of The Charity’s Choice Award was second year Games Development student Abigail Hunt, who had been nominated by Anne Hesketh, from the charity, Dee Sign Choir. Anne said: “I can't thank the University enough for being given the opportunity to nominate someone. Abigail has been a volunteer member of ‘Dee-Sign’ British Sign Language choir since the age of 10 and continues today, going into her 12th year, completing too many hours to even begin to calculate, and has helped to raise the wonderful sum of £180,000.”
 
Abigail Hunt.jpg
Caption: Second year Games Development student Abigail Hunt, who won the Charity’s Choice Award for her voluntary work with Dee Sign Choir.
 
Dr Chris Haslam, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Student Experience and Corporate Performance, at the University of Chester, said: “We are extremely proud of all our volunteers and the great work they do as ambassadors of the University of Chester. Volunteering is a great way of gaining new skills, meeting new people and making a huge difference to the lives of other people.”
 
Alumni, what types of volunteering are you involved with? It’s always great to hear about the ways you contribute to the community, even after you have left the University. We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch!