15 June 2017

Community-minded college students, who have contributed almost 8,000 hours’ of voluntary work between them, have been recognised for their efforts and achievements.

At West Nottinghamshire College’s annual volunteering awards earlier this week (Tuesday 13 June), students received praise and accolades for selflessly giving up their time to help others.

Throughout the academic year, 350 students have supported voluntary projects across the college and within the wider community.

Many of those were in attendance at the lunchtime ceremony at the Derby Road campus, hosted by vice-principal Louise Knott, which saw them formally thanked for their dedication before receiving awards.

Bronze awards were presented to those who had dedicated more than 20 hours’ of volunteering, while those who gave more than 50 hours received a silver award.

Gold awards went to students who had devoted more than 100 hours’ towards voluntary work.

Their combined efforts have resulted in 7,800 hours’ of volunteering throughout the year – smashing last year’s total of 5,000 hours.

Miss Knott told the students:

“By volunteering even one hour of your time, you have made a massive contribution. Some of the projects you’ve been involved in wouldn’t have happened without you. Thank you for giving up your time and making that contribution within college and the wider community. You are very special people.”

Students have supported a host of community causes over the past year including volunteering at The Hall Homeless Support Project, which runs drop-in sessions at St Peter’s Centre, Mansfield, for rough-sleepers; carrying out planting and maintenance at Little Roots Children’s Community Allotments, Mansfield Woodhouse; building a sensory garden at Churchfield Nursing Home, Rainworth; and taking part in the fifth annual International Clean-Up Mansfield Day earlier this month.

Volunteering within the college included supporting this year’s 554 Challenge, an annual collection of essential provisions for the homeless; taking part in the Big Snore sponsored-sleep out to boost funds for social housing and homelessness charity Framework; and helping out in student-run restaurants Refined and Relish, and assisting with sport development activities.

A-level student Olivia Smith, 17, received a gold award for contributing an incredible 220 volunteering hours this academic year. This included 40 hours with the National Citizen Service (NCS) summer programme, with the rest coming from devoting five hours each week working as a voluntary counsellor with national charity Childline.

The 17-year-old, from Annesley, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, has volunteered for the confidential children’s helpline since November, which she combines with studying sociology, psychology and media.

She said:

“Being a voluntary counsellor is ideal because I’ve always loved helping people and this is the career I want to go into. Volunteering makes such a difference – it makes the world a better place and is hugely important, because so many charities rely on volunteers.”

Awards’ organiser, student experience officer Amanda Oldham, said:

“The students deserve to feel extremely proud of themselves. Everybody leads such busy lives these days so going the extra mile, as they have all done, is testament to our young people.

“Not only does volunteering support vital community causes, it helps prepare students for the world of work by developing their confidence, social skills and team-working ability, along with important life-skills.

“Our students actively promote volunteering opportunities amongst their peers, which is why our volunteering hours have rocketed to 7,800. As well as rolling-up their sleeves, they talk about the benefits of voluntary work with their friends and classmates. Hopefully, this will inspire even more to get involved next year.”

West Nottinghamshire College provides education and training to some 30,000 full- and part-time students across all major industry sectors and at pre-GCSE to university level.

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