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Royal Holloway students support the local community as part of their degree

Royal Holloway students support the local community as part of their degree

  • Date31 March 2022

Students at Royal Holloway, University of London, have been supporting the local community as part of their degree for the last five years through the Voluntary Work in the Community module.

Maria Grafin von Schonburg-Glauchau teaching Macbeth at St Peters School.jpg

Royal Holloway student teaching Macbeth to Year 11 at St. Peter's Centre, a medical short stay school in Englefield Green

The module, which is offered by the Department of Social Work, gives students the chance to learn more about volunteering and the voluntary sector. They develop skills such as communication, leadership and problem solving and undertake a 60-hour voluntary placement in the local community.

Karl Mason, lecturer in social work and lead for the Voluntary Work in the Community module at Royal Holloway, said: “It is fantastic to see students embracing opportunities to volunteer in varied settings and growing in confidence with problem-solving, creativity and leadership through their new experiences in their placement. Students tell us that they feel this valuable (and fun) experience can support them to think about future careers or to feel they are contributing to the community through the placement.”

Voluntary Work in the Community gives an introduction to areas such as fundraising, recruitment, retention of volunteers and the importance of motivation. It also involves taking on a 60-hour voluntary placement at local environmental projects, social care organisations, working with older people, as well as local schools, hospitals and heritage organisations.

Some of the current local organisations benefitting from this course are:

  • Egham Museum
  • Englefield Green Community Group
  • Active Surrey
  • Charters School, Sunningdale
  • East to West Trust (youth support via schools)
  • Forest Estate Community Hub
  • Head2Head Sensory Theatre (fundraising research)
  • Heathrow Special Needs Centre
  • Hythe Community Primary School, Staines
  • Manorcroft Primary School, Egham
  • Reengage (impact research)
  • St Jude’s Junior School, Englefield Green
  • St Peters Centre, Englefield Green (medical short stay school)
  • Surrey Coalition of Disabled People
  • Voluntary Support North Surrey

Amy Stone, curator at Egham Museum, said: “As a small charity, we couldn't do what we do without the support of volunteers and we're delighted to have a number of Royal Holloway students on our team - they seem to get a lot out of engaging with their local area and the community, and the permanent residents certainly enjoy working together with students. The structure of the volunteering module enables students who wouldn't otherwise volunteer for an organisation like Egham Museum to learn more about the sector and develop their skills.”

Local Headteacher, Yolande Meade from St Peters Centre, said: “The student from Royal Holloway quickly became a really committed and valued member of our very small team. They supported students, helped out with school admin and generally was a real asset. We were able to give them the opportunity to try teaching and to work directly with our young people. The Royal Holloway Volunteering team have been a pleasure to work with and have been really supportive in a challenging time for education.  We look forward to working with the team in the near future and further developing our excellent partnership.”

Clive Biggins, Early Intervention Co-ordinator for Woking at East to West “The Royal Holloway student at East to West has been able to build rapport with young people within six weeks, providing support and guidance but most importantly giving space for young people to share and feel listened to providing trust and not feeling judged” 

Phil Simcock, Volunteering Manager at Royal Holloway, said: “Engaging the students as part of their degrees is a really great way to introduce them to volunteering and the voluntary sector.

“We find that students who take this course often haven’t registered as volunteers with us before as a student and so the module gives them the opportunity to actively volunteer in a substantial way whilst studying at Royal Holloway.”

Students take this module as part of their academic work and it has grown in popularity in recent years. Students from BSc Social Science, BA Liberal Arts, Languages, Literatures and Culture and BSc Criminology and Sociology have taken the course.

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