A campaign to log the thousands of volunteering hours students and staff at the University of Gloucestershire undertake within the local community and further afield has reached its target.
Bank It, a joint campaign by the university and its Students’ Union (SU), set a challenging goal to ‘bank’ 18,000 hours of volunteering time during the 2015-16 academic year.
The campaign hit its target during national Volunteers’ Week (1 – 12 June) and was celebrated at the university’s Staff Awards and SU Student Awards at Cheltenham Town Hall, where staff and students were honoured.
Five staff members, who between them have volunteered 1,650 hours, were awarded the ‘Bank It Staff Volunteer of the Year Award’. These included Barbara Rainbow, Prof Janet Dwyer, Lorea Sarobe, Naomi Mackrill and Louise Painter who have contributed their spare time to activities ranging from Girl guiding to coaching.
The ‘Bank It Student Volunteer of the Year’ was Charlotte Cutler who devoted 361 hours to volunteering as a Homeless Health Care Assistant with Homeless Healthcare Gloucestershire. She has also just started volunteering as a conversation partner with the NHS Speech and Language scheme.
During the 2015-16 academic year, 15 students contributed between 100 and 200 hours and a further seven students banked in excess of 200 hours. More than 50 students banked over 50 hours, achieving an SU Volunteering Award.
Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire, said: "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 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.
“I am delighted that our students and staff have contributed 18,000 hours of volunteering during this academic year, organising tea dances for older residents, working with school and community sports clubs, fundraising for good causes, running our Students’ Union projects such as Hub Club and Splash, and many, many others.”
“Bank It is a great initiative to enable us to capture and celebrate the vast amount of volunteering time our students and staff contribute to the community in Gloucestershire and further afield, especially to help individuals and groups facing difficulty and disadvantage. Volunteering plays an important role in helping our students build their skills, confidence and capabilities. But this is also our way of giving something back, and playing our part in promoting the well-being of the community in which we live and work.”
Hope Fawsitt, Students’ Union Community Officer, said: “University life is all about the experiences. I am extremely passionate about students making the most of their experience at this university. Making space for some voluntary work can really add value to their overall university experience and future plans, so the Students’ Union is very excited for the Bank It campaign to have achieved 18,000 hours of volunteering and fundraising during this academic year.”