What a year it's been! We've run so many volunteering events, fundraisers and opportunities throughout the year, most of the time we've been too focused on our next goal than to appreciate how much we've achieved already. Now that we're a lot less busy, we'd like to take this time to reflect upon what we've achieved together.
Here's an overview of what we've done since September, and nine different ways we've made a difference:
1) We provided free performing arts workshops for primary school children
As state schools have suffered a lack of funding due to government austerity measures, the provision of performing arts sessions for children have declined dramatically. (Pun intended!)
Our Youth Theatre project organise free performing workshops for children aged 8-11. These workshops are vital to their education, as increasingly less and less schools are able to offer a regular performing arts programme.
'I have made a difference in children's lives by giving them free access to the arts and a space to learn new skills.' Carmen, Youth Theatre Coordinator
This year, we've continued to offer these sessions, and even started working on a full production of Peter Pan. Unfortunately, the final performance had to be cancelled due to social distancing measures, but our young performers still were able to hone their talents and increase their confidence in a safe and supportive environment. Read more about our Youth Theatre programme here.
2) We continued to tackle elderly isolation
On the first Sunday of each month, we teamed up with FirstBite to serve a free Sunday lunch for the elderly residents of Winchester. We sent student volunteers to support this event each week, and promote inter-generational friendship.
Sporting Memories and WiFi Workshops
Our Sporting Memories initiative allowed students and older generations to connect over light sports and a cuppa. We also offered opportunities for students to teach an older person how to use their PC in our WiFi workshops.
3) We continued to tackle educational disadvantage
Our Schools+ programme continued to support local children's education, as our student volunteers led extra-curricular clubs and offered additional academic tutoring.
'I have made a difference this year by engaging more students to get involved with volunteering within schools. In addition, by getting involved in the Tri-Tables Challenge, I believe I helped to make students more aware of educational disadvantage.' Charlotte, Schools+ Coordinator
4) We took ownership over our world, tackling climate change head-on
One of our values at Winchester Hub is being 'long-term.' This means investing in and looking after our planet, and that's why lots of our events are geared towards sustainability and taking care of the environment.
'I've made a difference by getting people talking about the environment, getting them involved in projects, and connecting different groups so that more great stuff has been able to happen.' Steve, Social Enterprise Coordinator
We ran several Project SOUP fundraisers this year, where we made soup from vegetables that would have otherwise gone to waste. After the event, there was also lots of leftovers, which we gave away to students for free to promote healthy eating and encourage them to make their own soup at home!
Special thanks to Sainsburys, Waitrose and FareShare for donating vegetables and making this event possible.
Throughout the year, we've organised and participated in lots of litter-picking events, and encouraged lots more students to get involved in cleaning up our local area.
As well as creating our own opportunities to help the planet, our committee also got supported the climate strike in Winchester City Centre in September 2019.
5) We provided help where it's most needed
Our Woolly Matters group continued to knit and crochet for good causes. This year, they've donated items they've made to Trinity to support vulnerable and homeless people, as well as making octopi for premature babies at the maternity ward in the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
'Joining Woolly Matters was one of the best decisions I made at uni. I was able to learn a new skill and develop a passion out of it. Knitting is now one of my favourite things to do, and being able to use it in such a great way makes it even better. Woolly Matters is an amazing way to learn a skill and benefit the Winchester community at the same time.' Lydia, Woolly Matters Coordinator
Right now, Woolly Matters are still making a difference remotely! They're making baby booties to donate to the maternity ward. You can get involved too - watch the video on how to make them and follow the Facebook event for regular updates!
In honour of International Women's Day, we set up a sanitary donation drive to collect feminine hygiene products for vulnerable and homeless women in Winchester. All proceeds were donated to Trinity to help those most in need.
Covid-19 Response: Remote Volunteering
We're still helping those in need. We're supporting students to help their local community in these challenging times, including opportunities to:
- Volunteer by phone to help socially isolated older adults
- Tutor local young people that are isolating at home
- Deliver food to those in self-isolation
- Create care packages for high-risk individuals (i.e. a book you enjoyed reading, a game for people to play, a candle etc.)
- Complete a random act of kindness
6) We made volunteering more accessible
We offered a variety of one-off and micro-volunteering events, where students with limited time and busy schedules could still volunteer.
Fundraising and Events Coordinator Beth gave a committee training session about autism awareness, and how we can be more accommodating to autistic individuals.
Closing the gender gap
Another issue that is close to our hearts is the gender gap in volunteering. Student Executive Aaron started looking into this phenomenon and what can be done to include more male volunteers. You can read more about our work on this here.
This year, we've introduced remote volunteering activities so those who are self-isolating can still make a difference. Visit our website find out more about our remote volunteering opportunities.
7) We fundraised to support next year's programme
Our fundraising efforts this year included bake sales, book sales, movie marathons, and several Project SOUP events. But by far, one of our most popular fundraising events was the Dance-A-Thon we held in March:
Our sponsored Dance-A-Thon event caused quite a storm on social media - see the best bits on our Instagram story highlights! We asked our followers to post a video of themselves dancing, and nominate others to do the same.
Our Dance-A-Thon was so successful, we raised more than double our original target, weighing in at £433!
8) We aided students' professional development
As well as raising money for and supporting worthy causes, we also helped students further their career prospects.
'This year I have aimed to make a difference in creating the space and support needed for our committee, aiding in personal development, employability and mental health. I hope in doing so the committee, volunteers and community partners have got the most of Winchester Hub as possible.' Alice, Student Executive
Social Innovation Programme
Our Social Innovation Programme gave participating students the opportunity to discuss solutions to real business problems with local charities in Winchester.
SIP offers a great opportunity to apply and develop research, problem-solving, and project management skills - which is something employers love to see! Find out more about SIP here.
Our committee organised a range of training sessions, where they were able to give a talk about something they were passionate about, and practice their public speaking skills. As well as these committee-led sessions, our staff also ran a diverse programme of careers-focused events, covering topics like how to talk about volunteering on a CV or find a job in the third sector.
9) We gave students even more opportunities to volunteer
As always, we've given students even more opportunities to volunteer this year, and raised awareness of what's on offer through attending Fresher's Fayre and the Tri-Table Challenge.
Student Volunteering Week
In celebration of Student Volunteering Week 2020, we organised a varied programme of volunteering events for students to sign up for.
LinkAges Tea Party: We were delighted with the number of applications we received for volunteering at the LinkAges Tea Party this year! Our inter-generational 1960's themed shindig was a roaring success, bringing all ages together over tea, cake, and a quiz.
Community Action Day: This event brought the community together to spruce up Stanmore Park, planting over 180 trees and making bug habitats to increase biodiversity.
Community Action Day was supported by Winchester City Council, Winchester Student Union, Osborne, and Winchester Bat Society.
Hedgehog House Building: Our last event for SVW2020 was building hedgehog houses that would be distributed around campus, and encourage Hampshire's hedgehog population to grow.
As always, all our events are advertised on our website and on social media:
'This year I've made a difference by enthusing others to take up volunteering. I knew I wanted an active role in the committee and from the start, I had my heart set on the newsletter. It feels me with great pride when I see high open rates and know that people are interacting with my content and getting involved.' Rosanna, Marketing and Communications Officer
We've done so much, and we're so grateful to our student committee, volunteers, and community partners who have made this all possible.
If didn't get the chance to volunteer this year, don't worry. We'll be back in September with more events and our usual programme of projects.