An Edge Hill University student who volunteers at charity shop Barnardo’s has encouraged others to try volunteering.Advertisement
Harriet Thompson, from Preston, is in her 2nd year of studying medicine, with the university encouraging students to undertake voluntary work to understand the charity sector and learn new skills they can use in their careers.
Harriet found the experience rewarding and has encouraged the public to ‘give volunteering a go’ to mark Volunteer Week.
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Harriet said: “It’s all about broadening our perspective and seeing how community groups and charities interact with the NHS.
“A lot of it was about getting the chance to talk to people in the community and interact with different backgrounds and personalities, which is handy for helping patients in the future.
“I chose Barnardo’s because it’s a really worthwhile cause and because it is local and could fit around my schedule.”
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Harriet said voluntary work does not have to be difficult or take up lots of time.
The medical student said: “Just working on the shop floor, chatting with customers, occasionally making someone’s day just by speaking to them and knowing that it was raising money for a charity felt great, and it’s something anyone can do.”
Harriet’s manager, Jackie Iddon, echoed her words and pointed to the various ways in which people can help.
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Jackie said: “We’re always looking for an extra pair of hands – just pop on Barnardo’s website to find your local shop and contact them to see how you can help.
“There are loads of other ways you can help too, such as working with the children we help or raising money.
“Volunteering is really rewarding and can give your CV a real boost. It’s a win, win.”
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Edge Hill said they actively encourage students to volunteer, recognising that it can boost employment options and provide an opportunity to give something back to the community, make friends and find out more about the local area.
Through Edge Hill’s third sector network, more than 200 organisations have benefitted from students interested in volunteering.
The Careers Vacancy Portal lists dozens of volunteering opportunities, and the Extra Edge employability programme rewards students for engagement in voluntary or part-time work.
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The Student Opportunity Fund operated by the university can even help students with costs for some volunteering activities.
Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1 to 7 June each year and is a chance to recognise the contribution volunteers make to our communities.
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Would you try voluntary work? Let us know in the comments below.