During the 2019-20 academic year more than 1,600 Sheffield Hallam students gave up their time to volunteer in a range of roles within local organisations, student-led projects and charities.
Co-ordinated by the Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union (SHSU), volunteering roles are a way for students to gain rewarding experience, support the local community and can help them decide on a career path.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, SHSU and their members have found new ways to support local people and help make a difference.
Final year student, Laura Green, spent 650 hours volunteering through the NHS Check In and Chat Plus telephone volunteer scheme, talking to people who were self-isolating during the lockdown earlier this year.
Laura Green said: “I’ve always volunteered whilst I have been at university, and I’ve volunteered as much as I can alongside my final year studies and caring responsibilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I had a lovely chat with someone who was self-isolating about how they were managing, what they were up to and to see if they needed referring onto any further support services."
Laura has also spent time making crocheted ear protectors for care agent staff in Sheffield and NHS workers in Northamptonshire to wear with face masks. In addition, she helped raise the spirits of care home residents by creating crocheted hearts for them and volunteers for a charity pen pal scheme, helping improve people’s mental health and combat loneliness through letter writing.
Sheffield Hallam graduate Emily Williams created a series of eye-catching illustrations called Frontline during lockdown.
The images depicted keyworkers at the forefront of the pandemic including NHS staff, teachers, supermarket staff, police officers and armed forces personnel.
Working in collaboration with fine art and framing shop The Framery located on Sharrowvale Road, Sheffield, the prints were sold online, going on to raise nearly £3,000 for NHS Charities Together and the Sheffield Hospitals Charity.
Emily Williams said: “At the beginning of lockdown, like many people, I felt helpless, so it’s been incredible collaborating with The Framery to help raise money for our amazing NHS.
“From soldiers to supermarket staff, my artworks celebrate just some of the many inspiring frontline workers who are doing what they can to shield us from harm. Creating the prints during lockdown also gave me something to do which took my mind off things a little, which really helped!”
The STAR (Student Action for Refugees) volunteer group at Sheffield Hallam’s Student Union organised a virtual marathon during lockdown. Participants were asked to run walk or cycle 26.2 miles over a day, week or month raising £320 for vulnerable people in Sheffield.
Andrew Adegbola, President of Sheffield Hallam Student’s Union said: “I am immensely proud of all our students that give their free time supporting activities and causes that make our city, and the region, a better place for all.
We are working with local organisations and charities to develop further volunteering opportunities, so that our students can continue to make a difference in the face of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”