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Student volunteers spring into action to help the local community

Posted on 25/02/2010

Student volunteers get their hands dirty for the Big Spring Clean

The miserable weather failed to dampen the spirits of dedicated student volunteers at Royal Holloway, University of London, who took part in this year’s Big Spring Clean to help spruce up the local community.


On Wednesday 24 February and Friday 26 February, more than 100 volunteers took to the streets of Egham, Englefield Green and neighbouring villages to help with projects including rubbing down, priming and repainting huge planters at St Jude’s School in Englefield Green, cleaning up and removing trolleys from the River Thames, and preparing gardens at Lynwood Residential Home in Sunninghill. Students from Absolute Harmony and Rev Rock Gospel societies helped with the first ever children’s Sing Up at Englefield Green Infant School.


The College’s Basketball Club helped with the Supergrounds project to create an outdoor classroom area at Stepgates Community School. The Men’s Rugby Club partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car staff for part two of the Sunken Garden transformation project at Merlewood Residential Home, and a volunteer team painted interior design work on the walls at the new BIZ venue which will be a non-contact Boxing gym and learning arena set up by Surrey Police and Runnymede Borough Council to target, in particular, disaffected young people in the Runnymede area.


Sergeant Alan Sproston, Community Safety Sergeant for Runnymede and treasurer for the BIZ venue, said: “The students really pushed the boat out and came up with some really imaginative and creative designs. Their help was absolutely invaluable to us. It’s great to see students volunteering in this way. They really put themselves out and the work they did was marvellous.”


Now in its fourth year, the Big Spring Clean aims to help make the local community a cleaner environment and coincides with national Student Volunteering Week.


Phil Simcock, Community Action Volunteer Manager at Royal Holloway, said, “This has become a really successful initiative over the past few years, seeing more than 40 individual projects completed in the local area by more than 300 enthusiastic Royal Holloway student volunteers, and we look forward to seeing the impact in the community of the 14 projects this year.”


As part of Student Volunteering Week, Royal Holloway hosted its first ever Community Partners’ Network Lunch held at Founders’ Picture Gallery, which was attended by more than 80 guests from more than 25 Community Action Partners where student volunteers work with in the local community, as well as the Mayor of Runnymede Cllr Paul Tuley and Acting Principal Professor Rob Kemp.


Michael Hiskail and Cristobal Sanchez Florez from Santander, official sponsors of Student Volunteering Week, presented students Beth Rowley, Maciej Szymanski and Luka Blackman-Gibbs with the prestigious Volunteering England Gold Award. This recognises students who have shown considerable achievement, dedication and leadership through their community volunteering.


For more information visit: www.rhul.ac.uk/volunteering


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