As another year comes to an end, we'd like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all of our volunteers! Whether you had a cuppa in a care home with LinkAges, helped a child with their schoolwork with Schools+, or made a difference knitting with Woolly Matters, thank you! Winchester Hub couldn't run without you!
If you're still on the fence about volunteering with us, we recently sent a survey to all our volunteers, which asked what they enjoyed most about volunteering with us. The results are now in!
Good for wellbeing and mental health
Did you know that volunteering benefits your mental health? One volunteer described their experience as "very relaxing and therapeutic, and it makes you feel good as you are both doing something positive for yourself and others."
Others commented on "being left with a good feeling" after volunteering, and that they enjoyed "being able to relax and take a break from studying."
Making a difference
Our aim is to empower students to get involved in social action and make a real difference! That's why lots of volunteers said they enjoyed "knowing that [they]'ve helped to make a difference (no matter how small) within the community."
One LinkAges volunteer said they enjoy volunteering with us because "I feel like I'm giving back to the community and making a difference to people's lives every week, which is so rewarding."
Volunteering can also help you figure out what kind of career you want to pursue after you graduate. Volunteering with Schools+ had a real impact on this volunteer: “I feel happy that by doing this I am now really confident that teaching is the right career for me. This has been invaluable for me. I have really enjoyed my time and am really grateful for the opportunity.”
As well as our regular volunteering projects that can provide insight into specific career areas, such as working with children or elderly people, we also offer a range of events and short courses that can give you transferable skills employers want:
- Our Social Innovation Programme gives students the opportunity to work with real charities and discuss solutions for big business problems.
- The Try It Awards are an opportunity for students to get their social enterprise idea off the ground.
- Plus lots more one-off training sessions throughout the year!
Quality training and resources
We strive to offer a varied programme of voluntary opportunities for students, while maintaining a high standard for our resources and training. One Woolly Matters volunteer commented on "the quality of teaching on how to actually knit."
Encouraging and welcoming environment
Our network of volunteers, student committee, and staff is a close-knit family. We want everyone to be their best, and try to build each other up wherever we can!
One of our Schools+ volunteers said they enjoyed volunteering with us because "everyone has been so welcoming! The groups I was with were wonderful, because I got to do some one-to-one support work with the children."
Two other volunteers said they liked the "encouraging" and "friendly" atmosphere, which made one person "feel like [they]’ve managed to do more."
Connecting with the local community
Another benefit of volunteering with us is getting to know the Winchester community. One Youth Theatre volunteer noted the highlights of their volunteering journey: "connecting with the local community in Weeke and the lasting memories I made, from working with other volunteers, to the amazing Youth Theatre children."
Another volunteer said their highlight was "exploring new parts of Winchester." A third person told us they "enjoyed helping out in the community, getting to spend time with local residents and getting to know the Winchester community more."
Meet like-minded people
Getting involved in volunteering is also a great way to meet new people! When you volunteer with one of our projects or at one of our events, you'll be working alongside a team of passionate and dedicated student volunteers.
Most of our volunteers are students at the University of Winchester, so in the words of one volunteer, volunteering with us is "a great way to meet like-minded people from the university."
If you're keen to make a difference, and want to meet others who do too, why not sign up for one of our projects or attend one of our events? One volunteer did, and they enjoyed "working with people who all had different volunteering interests which meant that it was easy to bond as team over our passion for social action!"
Make a difference remotely - volunteer from home!
The year's not quite over yet! You can still get involved and volunteer from home. Here's how you can make a difference to the local community during lockdown:
Knit baby booties
Woolly Matters are knitting baby booties that will be donated to the maternity ward at Royal Hampshire County Hospital. If you're a proficient knitter, (or even if you aren't) you can get involved too - find out how to make baby booties here.
Find out more about this event here.
Volunteer over the phone
We need more over-the-phone volunteers to call socially isolated older adults during this challenging time.
Make a difference by checking in with an older person, and help them feel less alone. Find out more here.
Shop for vulnerable people
If you're still in Winchester, you can sign up to collect shopping deliveries for vulnerable people in self-isolation.
We've also got more volunteering opportunities to help the local community during the pandemic. Find out more about volunteering as an online tutor for schoolchildren, completing a random act of kindness or making a care package for a high-risk individual here.