By Amy Collyer
Business School Green Impact team member
Volunteering is a wonderful way to get involved with interests and issues that matter to you, by supporting local community groups, charities and non-profit organisations, whilst learning and developing new skills, meeting like-minded people, and opening doors to further opportunities.
Fellow Business School students and staff share their experiences of volunteering and its benefits:
Volunteering as a team
Last year, Business School Professional Services staff helped Ronald McDonald House, Brighton (associated with the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital) prepare for their 30th Birthday Summer Party. The House provides home from home accommodation around the world for families whose children are seriously ill in hospital.
“We made paper chains and photo booth props, and donated a custom photo frame prop for them to use. Something small like decorations can make a big difference when you are staying away from home, sometimes for months at a time,” says Harriet Blackband, a member of the Student Experience team.
Helping the local community
Debbie Sperring, an Academic Success Advisor, has been volunteering with the St John Ambulance Brighton Homeless Service (SJA), one of many organisations helping our local community.
“My role involves talking and listening to people, offering empathetic support and guidance, and signposting to local support services. Volunteering with SJA helps me to understand and be more involved in my community.
“SJA offers a range of ongoing training to support the role, and my own personal development, creating an opportunity to meet other volunteers. Volunteering is good for my soul and general wellbeing; after a shift I feel a multitude of emotions, but ultimately lucky to be a member of an organisation whose aim is to help people.”
Providing support on-campus
There are a number of volunteer opportunities within the campus community. Final year Business and Management Studies student Matt Chapelle decided to join the Buddy Scheme after a difficult first year at university. The Scheme aims to provide friendly, informal, 1-1 support to new students.
“I found it challenging settling into university when I was in my first year. The new environment and different lifestyle took some time getting used to. During my second year, I felt ready to give back and decided to volunteer to be a Buddy. I helped students become familiar with student life and we attended social events with other members of the Buddy Scheme. It was a very rewarding experience and I still keep in touch with my Buddy to this date!”
An opportunity to make new friends
When you volunteer, you are surrounded by people that share your passion. I had the chance to volunteer at Preston Manor during a Halloween event, showing guests around the stately home. There was questionable taxidermy, skeletons and elaborate costumes! I was part of an amazingly lovely team of people who loved history, just like me. I absolutely love working there, five years on.