Bank it

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​University of Gloucestershire students and staff undertake a huge amount of voluntary work in the local community and further afield.

Bank It is a joint initiative by the university and the Students' Union that aims to capture the volunteering hours carried out by students and staff throughout the year.

Over the past 4 years our students and staff have contributed over 70,000 hours of volunteering to the local community and beyond. During each academic year we aim to 'bank' as many volunteering hours as possible.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor, says: "At the University of Gloucestershire, we are committed to playing a full and active part in the life of the community. One way of doing this is through students and staff getting involved in volunteering and fundraising activities. They put enormous time, effort and enthusiasm into a huge range of good causes, and we are very proud of the contribution they make."

From volunteering work with Girlguiding groups and coaching local sports teams to being a school governor or giving up time to fundraise for local charities, our students and staff devote many unpaid hours to the Gloucestershire community and beyond. Read about how just some of our students and staff devote their time to great causes below.

Organisations, businesses and groups who have volunteering opportunities can email Bank It.



Our staff and students devote many hours to great causes:​


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Meg volunteers for Plastic Free Cheltenham

Applied Ecology student Meg Stone, community leader for Plastic Free Cheltenham, organised a litter-picking event in St Pauls, tidying up over 5,000 pieces of litter from the streets.

Meg decided to become involved with Plastic Free Cheltenham after watching a series of documentaries about plastic pollution. Her desire to do something about plastic consumption was also inspired by her course.

"For my BSc Animal Biology dissertation I chose to dissect the regurgitated pellets from gulls to analyse the plastic that they were eating and unfortunately I found a lot more than I was expecting. This motivated me to do even more to raise awareness about plastic pollution."

For more info about the campaign, search for 'Plastic Free Cheltenham' on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Sports students volunteer for London's Vitality Big Half

12 students from the School of Sport and Exercise, studying Sports Leadership, Education and Society, volunteered at the Vitality Big Half in London. Students from the University were asked to support the event again following the fantastic contribution they made to the London Marathon in 2018.

Organisers were very impressed with the students’ contribution to the race, identifying them as very organised, enthusiastic and professional throughout the day.

Students are able to use experiences such as this to apply the skills they have learned within their courses and to gain a greater understanding of organisations which play a large part in physical activity and health promotion activities across the country.​

 

Education student Izzy volunteers for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice

BA Education student Izzy Biggs has been volunteering for local charity Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, supporting the fundraising team, participating in a number of community fundraising events, and volunteering in the day hospice. She has left a lasting impression on the Sue Ryder team, who describe her as “very proactive and very reliable” and “a wonderful ambassador for the University and the younger generation”. Last year Izzy was instrumental in organising a fundraising Fashion Show for Sue Ryder, held at our Park campus.

Izzy on volunteering: “…since volunteering with the hospice, my confidence has grown tremendously… My advice would be to get involved, as you never know what good is going to come from it. You also gain valuable experience, new skills and meet new people!”​

 

Kathryn volunteers for Contact the Elderly

Staff member Kathryn Wagstaff has volunteered with Contact the Elderly for over 10 years.

“I have volunteered with Contact the Elderly for over 10 years, it is a national charity but they have a network of local groups. I am a driver for my local group and once a month I collect three isolated older people and take them out for afternoon tea at a host’s house. Other drivers do the same and there is usually about 10-12 of us.

“Our guests love it, many do not have family, or their family live far away. They tend to be very immobile and don’t go beyond their garden gate, so it is a chance for them to get out of their houses, go somewhere different and meet and chat to people they wouldn’t normally come into contact with. I love it as I get to chat to people who have lived through so many things.”

 

Sue Ryder benefit from Ellie's time

Education Studies student Ellie Dimery has been volunteering for local charity Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, after joining through a recruitment event at the University.

Ellie was lucky enough to be one of the volunteers selected to attend a visit by the Prince of Wales at the Hospice just before Christmas.

Stewart Walton, Chairman of the Development Board at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, said: “Ellie has offered pre-event support specifically for our Autumn Fayre over the last couple of years. This is one of the key Hospice fundraising events of the year, raising £10,000 per annum. She also stepped into a 'Volunteer Coordinator' role for the Fayre last year which meant she was the volunteers' first point of contact prior to and on the day of the event - she did a fantastic job. She will often help out with other hospice-led events (on the day) as well. [Ellie is] a trusty volunteer!"​​​

 

Jonathan runs schools' allotment club

Jonathan Wye is the University's Health, Safety and Quality Manager and for the past 18 months, he has given up his Thursday lunchtimes to run an Allotment Club at St Mary's Infant and Junior Schools in Prestbury, Cheltenham.

"My children attended the school and I thought it would be nice to give something back as they have both done really well in their chosen careers, thanks in part to St Mary's. Twenty or so children aged 8-12 years come over to the Parish Council allotments every week where I've constructed a plot for them with raised beds, a greenhouse, a pond, a herb garden and lots of wildlife habitats. At weekends I tend the plot to keep it ticking over.

The children really enjoy getting outside and take an active interest in planting, growing and observing the wildlife that is attracted to the plot. It is something completely different to my day job and the children can be really funny with their questions! For many, it's the first time they've done some gardening.”​​

 

Queen of volunteering visits Buckingham Palace

When it comes to volunteering, there’s no disputing that Barbara Rainbow is devoted to giving up significant amounts of her own time to help others.

Barbara, the Sustainability team’s Co-ordinator and Administrator, has won four Staff Bank It Volunteer of Year awards since their inception at the 2016 Staff Awards.

For the past 14 years, Barbara, from Leckhampton, has been travelling to India to help disadvantaged families with the Good News Children Education Mission (GNCEM). As a Girls Brigade team leader for over 30 years at Charlton Kings Baptist Church last summer she yet again (self-funded) her way to just over a fortnight of overseas volunteering that included visits to both Zambia and Uganda.

Barbara was rewarded for her efforts by being invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in May 2019.

“I was really honoured and excited to receive an invitation to the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. The organisation - Girls Brigade - who I volunteer with in both this country and overseas recommended me for the invitation in recognition of my service to the organisation.”

“There are plenty of organisations in Gloucestershire that need help. I run a Girl’s Brigade at our church on a Monday night. It is a commitment, but it’s very rewarding. A lot of these organisations wouldn’t work without help, and it’s not just charities, it could be helping out sports teams or events or helping the elderly.”​

 

Staff come together for charity walk

From the Schools of Education and Art and Design to LTI, Finance and Planning and Student Services, colleagues from across the University donned their walking boots and rucksacks to walk 20 miles on Saturday 18 May 2019.

The group had been training for many weeks to get fit for the 6-7hrs of walking that took them from Blenheim Palace around the villages of Oxfordshire as part of the Pink Ribbon Walk to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Care Charity.

Our wonderful walkers included: Jane Robinson, Laura Gavin, Ruth Moore, Karen Samuels, Emma Allchurch, Sian Wyman, Maryam Rezaeian and Liz Rudge.

Jane Robinson, IT Trainer, said: "This group came together following an item I put out on the Staff Discussion Board in March. Most of us know someone who has needed the support of this particular charity so we want to support them and help fund future research. We fitted in some 12 and 14 mile training walks at weekends where a lot of chat went on as we walked together for several hours making new friends with other staff members from across the University.”​

 

Bank It Staff Volunteers of the Year 2019 - supported by Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court

A special mention goes to our five Bank It Staff Volunteers of the Year who received their certificates at our annual Staff Awards from Alysia Cameron-Price, Community Fundraising Manager at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court.

Our Bank It Staff Volunteers of the Year 2019 are: Chris Short, Amanda Evans, Isabel Fielden, Stewart Dove and Barbara Rainbow.​

 

Sarah volunteers for New Start Cat Rescue

Service desk Officer Sarah Woodward volunteers as part of the homing team at New Start Cat Rescue Centre in Huntley.

“The charity helped me with a colony of feral cats at the farm where I live. When we finished, I wanted to give something back and I was invited to join the team. I help out with homing th​​e cats on a Saturday afternoon, which consists of showing prospective adopters the cats, filling in relevant paperwork and then seeing the kitties off to their new homes. We then check and clean trays and feed the residence at the end of the shift. The centre is run entirely by a great team of dedicated volunteers. I love it as I am very passionate about cats and it’s so rewarding being able to make a difference and see them find their forever homes. I think it’s great that the University are encouraging volunteering with the Bank It scheme.” ​

 

Charlotte Foster’s work with the Cheltenham Guardians

Charlotte is a third year Criminology and Psychology student who volunteers with the Cheltenham Guardians. They're a group of welfare officers who go out on a Saturday night to ensure that people are safe in the night-time economy. One of the core aims of the Guardians is the safeguarding of lone females in the night-time economy.

“After getting in touch with the Guardians…I realised the importance of their work.”

 

Stewart volunteers in three ways

Student Registrar Stewart Dove spends a significant amount of his spare time volunteering in three different roles – as a governor for a local junior school, as a panel member for the city council’s remuneration panel for elected members and as a coach for a local youth football team, Churchdown Panthers Youth FC.

“What started as an initial training session for just 5 boys, has led to over 80 kids playing for the club, across three teams, over the past 6 and a half years. I volunteer because I believe that if you are able to help your local community then you should seek to do so.”​

 

Sam Rooks volunteers with Scouts and Tone Radio

Student Sam Rooks volunteered two nights a week with Scouts and with student radio station Tone Radio as Head of Visual Content. Aside from this regular volunteering, he also worked as overnight security for the Forest Marathon, and manned a checkpoint for the Cotswold marathon.

"The main bulk of my volunteering was through Scouts. Volunteering allowed me to give something back to the 'next generation'. It also kept me sane at uni by giving me a break from work!" ​

 

Maggie’s volunteer Ellen Lee says volunteer work is very rewarding

Ellen Lee, a Marketing and Student Recruitment Officer, devotes time to the Maggie’s charity – which runs cancer support centres - to help raise funds for the local centre in Cheltenham.

“Having taken advantage of Maggie’s cancer support centre myself I decided that I wanted to give something back so I offer a few hours of my time when I am able to help raise funds for and awareness of the centre.” ​

 

Staff help elderly dog owners locally

Three staff members devote their spare time to The Cinnamon Trust, a national charity for elderly and terminally ill people and their pets. Pippin the whippet, Wendy the collie and Muffyn the staffy/westy cross all get out for fresh air and freedom with their respective volunteer walkers – Helpzone Adviser Emma Allchurch, Accommodation Support Assistant Gemma Hill and Deputy Payments Manager Amanda Evans.

“I became a volunteer for the Cinnamon Trust a year ago as I wanted to help with the issue of loneliness in elderly people. I walk Muffyn 3 or 4 times a week, and it’s a win-win as his owner gets to keep her much-loved pet and I get to have more fresh air and exercise.” ​

 

Lecturer Lottie devotes time to Mencap

Lecturer in Law Lottie Park-Morton volunteers at the local Cheltenham Spa Social Club which is run as part of Mencap.

"I have been working with this local charity for 8 years and think it is so important to continue supporting these wonderful, local organisations that are making a real difference to the lives of people in our community. I think it is great that the University is acknowledging and trying to encourage people to reach out and support groups and causes that are close to our hearts."

 

Students’ Union Tea Dance brings student volunteers together with the community

Our Students’ Union host an annual Tea Dance on the lead-up to Christmas, playing host to guests from local retirement homes and beyond for an afternoon of tea, waltzes and jives. The Tea Dance is a long-standing tradition at the University, having been taking place since 1996. It's an excellent opportunity for students to volunteer and interact with members of the community.

"This is a unique event and a highlight in our calendars. It's great to see the local community enjoying themselves with our student volunteers at a festive time of year."

 

Super-student volunteer Jess devotes her time to Gloucestershire Young Carers

Super-student volunteer Jess Anderson volunteers for Project Shoebox Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire Young Carers and internationally in Sierra Leone as part of the International Citizen Service. Jess was recently honoured with a Young Adult Upstander Award for her work to integrate different communities, both at home and abroad.

"I love the quote 'be the change you want to see in the world' and I try to live by this. I see volunteering as a two way thing. It's a mix of putting back into the community where you live and it's a great way of developing yourself."

 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Richard O’Doherty gives up time to help at a homeless shelter

For the past 3 years Deputy Vice-Chancellor Richard O’Doherty has volunteered at a homeless shelter in the St. Pauls area of Bristol, working as part of the charity’s Caring at Christmas project. He was part of a 15-strong volunteer kitchen team who cooked and prepared Christmas dinner for around 175 guests for the past three years.

"I like to give some money but this seemed like a deeper commitment and was actually far more rewarding. I hadn’t volunteered for many years, but this rekindled my interest."

 

Students and staff volunteer as part of Sport Malawi

Every year since 2008 our staff and students have used the power of sport to engage some of the most exciting practitioners in Malawi. In 2018 eight students and three members of staff volunteered as part of Sport Malawi – a partnership between the University and agencies in Malawi to foster outreach and sport development. This year a new group will set-off on a four-week expedition to deliver Coaching, Mentoring and Education focused workshops and engagement sessions to more than 100 people living in Malawi. ​

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