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Student Volunteer of the Year – longlist announced

Friday 18-12-2015 - 16:00

Celebrating the amazing commitment, impact, & leadership of student volunteers is important to us at NUS. That’s why a central part of Student Volunteering Week is the national Student Volunteer of the Year award.

Nearly 100 nominations were submitted from all over the country, from colleges, universities, volunteering projects, charities, and national organisations.

We’re happy to share the stories (in no particular order) of the ten longlisted Student Volunteers of the Year. 

Kathleen Crymble from South Lanarkshire College established the Back to School Bank in East Kilbride in summer 2015. The Bank operates in a similar way to a foodbank, but instead provides new school clothes for children living in poverty. Kathleen has used her skills in confectionary to make chocolate bars to raise funds for the project, and has written funding bids to national organisations to bring in even more money to support the project.

Jo Devall from the University of Plymouth is a Volunteer Lifeboat Crewman for the RNLI in Plymouth, and President of UPSU SAINTS Kickboxing Club. In these two volunteering experiences, Jo has developed skills in first aid, has raised money for charity, and lead a community clean up initiative in a local woodland.

Matt Hopgood from the University of Cambridge is the President of the Cambridge Development Initiative, a project that trains volunteers in the UK and Tanzania to run community development projects. Matt successfully managed the UK-Tanzania relationship, trained students to get involved, and organised student trips to Tanzania.

Simron Kandola from the University of Stirling is the President of the Volunteering Society, Treasurer of the Barnardos Society, and is a mentor and course rep within the students’ union. Simron also volunteers for Oxfam and is involved with TedX events at the University. Clearly, Simron is involved in lots of volunteering projects, and through these has fundraised for a local food bank, and led to the development of the Volunteering Society.

Sophie Payne from the University of Bristol is on the Bristol Hub committee, supports the Bristol Bicycle Company, and organised a ‘Careers Beyond Profit’ Fair for her fellow students. The Fair was attended by over 200 students with over 50 organisations presenting, and it was the first of its kind in Bristol.

Liam Rodgers from Sheffield Hallam University is the Project Leader (and founder) of ‘Upscribe’; a creative writing project for homeless people to express themselves through creative writing. Liam led on the creation and publication of a book created through people who participated in the project, and many of them are now published writers!

Jess Tinkler from the University of Southampton is the Schools Plus Co-ordinator, and Marine Education Volunteer, and has been involved in a number of other projects. Jess has grown the Schools Plus project, including more volunteers and reaching out to more community partners. Through her leadership, the project has benefitted over 150 school children.

Jess Vagg from the University of Plymouth is the RAG President and ‘Unicycle’ project leader. Jess has logged more hours than any other University of Plymouth student, and is also on track to fundraise around £500,000 through RAG, with the help of the RAG committee and volunteers. As well as this, Jess is involved with Unicycle, a city-wide clothes recycling project. 

Zoe Webber from Goldsmiths University is the President of RE:mind mental health society, and is clearly dedicated to volunteering to help students to improve their mental health. Zoe co-founded the Dedicated Listeners project, which is a peer-support listening service.

Samuel Wong from Royal Holloway is involved in so many volunteering projects! He is a Cabinet Office Volunteer Advisor, Project Leader for numerous volunteering projects, and is involved with the local Police Independent Advisory Group and Young Community Leaders Network. One of the projects was a community sing-along project for elderly people, and Samuel led a team of volunteers to take part in this.


If you haven’t signed up to join in the fun during Student Volunteering Week, don’t worry! It’s not too late! You can register here.

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