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Student Volunteers Celebrated at Awards

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Dozens of students from the University of Worcester who clocked up more than 15,000 hours of volunteering have been recognised at a special awards ceremony.

Worcester Students’ Union held its annual Volunteering and Societies Awards at Worcestershire County Cricket Club, rewarding students for their significant contribution to the community and the University.

Joined by John Ryan, University Secretary & Pro Vice Chancellor, and members of the community, the students celebrated smashing its 12,000 hours target, by clocking up 15,000 hours of volunteering.

Community Volunteer of the Year, supported by Worcestershire Ambassadors, went to Debbie South, who also won Headway Worcester Student Volunteer of the Year, and Stuart Frost.

“I really cannot define in words how grateful and shocked I was to receive these awards,” Debbie said. “I was touched emotionally, it really means a lot to me to volunteer and I regard volunteering as a hobby.”

Worcester Students’ Union President Recognition Award went to Stephanie Johnston. “Winning the award was a huge shock - I genuinely didn't expect it,” said the 22-year-old. “I didn't participate in volunteering to win awards or to get special praise, but it means so much to have been recognised and hear the reasons why.”

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year went to Chantal Vinyard. Fifteen students were awarded Special Volunteering awards; six were named as best Student Academic Representatives of the Year and three received awards for contribution to student societies. Other students picked up Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for their volunteering efforts.

Kynton Swingle, President of Worcester’s Students’ Union, said: “The Volunteering and Societies Awards are a great event showcasing the fantastic work our students do outside of their studies. The variety of work and the massive number of hours they put in is phenomenal, so it’s a great way to celebrate their achievements and show how amazing our students are.”

The nominated students took part in activities, such as volunteering for the Maggs Day Centre for the homeless, Brownies, teaching the elderly about computers at Riverside building and Headway Worcester Trust.

Kynton added: “In a time when it’s becoming even more difficult to find employment, voluntary work is a valuable way not only to get some real hands on experience, but also a great way for personal development. I think it’s also important that we help our students become active citizens within the local community and through undertaking voluntary work, it helps bring the students of Worcester even closer to the residents of Worcester.”

Read the stories of four of the winners below:

Debbie South

Psychology Student Lands Two Awards for Volunteering

A Psychology student from Luton has won two awards after clocking up more than 220 hours of volunteering.

Debbie South, who is currently studying for a Masters in Occupational Psychology at the University of Worcester, after completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University last year, was jointly awarded Community Volunteer of the Year, and also won Headway Worcester Student Volunteer of the Year, at Worcester Students’ Union’s annual Volunteering and Societies Awards.

Since September 2013, she has volunteered around 222 hours working on a telephone helpline and also for brain injury charity, Headway, within both their day centre and their charity shop. Debbie has also done volunteering at the University and with the 'Crisis Christmas' campaign, in a homeless dependency centre.

“I really cannot define in words how grateful and shocked I was to receive these awards,” said the 24-year-old. “I was touched emotionally. It really means a lot to me to volunteer and I regard volunteering as a hobby. I consider myself lucky for being able to experience these opportunities.

“The charities that I volunteer for have been incredibly welcoming and supportive; they are charities that mean a lot to me. I am incredibly grateful to receive these awards.”

Debbie was one of a number of University of Worcester students to receive an award after a combined effort saw them clock up more than 15,000 hours of volunteering.

Fifteen students were awarded Special Volunteering awards; six were named as best Student Academic Representatives of the Year and three received awards for contribution to student societies. Other students picked up Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for their volunteering efforts.

Kynton Swingle, President of Worcester’s Students’ Union, said: “The Volunteering and Societies Awards are a great event showcasing the fantastic work our students do outside of their studies. The variety of work and the massive number of hours they put in is phenomenal, so it’s a great way to celebrate their achievements and show how amazing our students are.”

 


Stephanie Johnston

Business Student Lands Award for Volunteering

A Business student from Grimsby has won an award after clocking up more than 100 hours of volunteering.

Stephanie Johnston, who is currently studying for a Business, Human Resource Management and Public Relations degree at the University of Worcester, picked up the Worcester Students’ Union’s President’s Recognition Award at the Union’s annual Volunteering and Societies Awards.

Stephanie was the Chair of the Student Council and a Student Trustee with the Union and also helped out as a Fresher Volunteer. She also spent time volunteering for the Infirmary Museum at the University’s City Campus.

“Winning the award was a huge shock - I genuinely didn't expect it,” said the 22-year-old. “I didn't participate in volunteering to win awards or to get special praise, but it means so much to have been recognised and hear the reasons why. My time here at the University of Worcester has been enriched and made a more enjoyable experience thanks to the Students’ Union and all of the people involved. I've met so many amazing and wonderful people as a result and I can't imagine having not been a part of it.”

Stephanie was one of a number of University of Worcester students to receive an award after a combined effort saw them clock up more than 15,000 hours of volunteering.

Fifteen students were awarded Special Volunteering awards; six were named as best Student Academic Representatives of the Year and three received awards for contribution to student societies. Other students picked up Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for their volunteering efforts.

Kynton Swingle, President of Worcester’s Students’ Union, said: “The Volunteering and Societies Awards are a great event showcasing the fantastic work our students do outside of their studies. The variety of work and the massive number of hours they put in is phenomenal, so it’s a great way to celebrate their achievements and show how amazing our students are.”

 


Stuart Frost

Flood Rescue Volunteer Wins Award

A 40-year-old Mental Health Nursing student from Kidderminster has won an award after clocking up more than 120 hours volunteering in his local community.

Stuart Frost was jointly awarded Community Volunteer of the Year at Worcester Students’ Union’s annual Volunteering and Societies Awards.

In his spare time, Stuart, who is in his final year of a degree in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Worcester, volunteers for the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) Wyre Forest division. SARA’s duties include land searches for vulnerable and missing persons and flood rescue.

“Whilst I am proud to be recognised individually for my volunteer work, the most important thing is the team at SARA Wyre Forest and the contribution they make to the local community, being on call 24/7 to help those in trouble on land or water,” he said.

Stuart was one of a number of University of Worcester students to receive an award after a combined effort saw them clock up more than 15,000 hours of volunteering.

Fifteen students were awarded Special Volunteering awards; six were named as best Student Academic Representatives of the Year and three received awards for contribution to student societies. Other students picked up Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for their volunteering efforts.

Kynton Swingle, President of Worcester’s Students’ Union, said: “The Volunteering and Societies Awards are a great event showcasing the fantastic work our students do outside of their studies. The variety of work and the massive number of hours they put in is phenomenal, so it’s a great way to celebrate their achievements and show how amazing our students are.”

 


Chantal Vinyard

Worcester Student Sweeps Students' Union Awards

A first year Psychology student from Worcester was named Outstanding Volunteer of the Year at this year’s Worcester Students’ Union Volunteering & Society Awards.

Hard work and more than 200 hours of volunteering paid off for Chantal Vinyard, who has contributed greatly to the local community and the University.

Chantal, who grew up in the City, was awarded the 200 Hours Exceptional Attainment in Volunteering and the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year awards at the ceremony.

Thirty-year-old Chantal has been helping two local charities, Samaritans and Maggs Day Centre, as well as advising young people how deal with difficulties as an online life mentor at Mindfull.org.

Her work in improving the student experience at Worcester has also been recognised with the Student Academic Representative of the Year for the Institute of Heath & Society award and Gold Accreditation for her exceptional work.

Chantal will have the ambitious task of juggling studies with her work as the newly appointed role as Institute Representative, the Chair of the Psychology Students’ Society, and the first ever elected Students’ Union Women’s Officer in the next academic year.

Alongside the Students’ Union awards, Chantal is also the recipient of a University Scholarship for Extra-Curricular Activities.

She has been awarded £750 from the Scholarship Fund to cover the travel expenses of her voluntary work placement in Sri Lanka in June.

She said: “I feel very fortunate that the University of Worcester is so supportive of students’ extra-curricular activities, and have helped me to take this exciting opportunity to live and work in a different culture.

“It will be fantastic to gain first-hand observation and experience in the treatment and care of vulnerable people and those with mental health issues in Sri Lanka.”

During the four-week-long placement, Chantal will be working in psychiatric hospitals and residential centres for people with mental health disorders, as well as teach and run activities with children at centres for people with special needs.