18 May 2016

Celebrating student volunteering in York

York once again celebrated the achievements of student volunteers at the ninth annual Higher York Student Volunteering Awards.

All award winners smallerStudents from Askham Bryan College, the University of York, York College and York St John University came together at the National Centre for Early Music to receive awards for their commitment and dedication to voluntary work in the local area.  York’s Civic Party, along with representatives from local voluntary organisations and York’s universities and colleges, joined them for their celebrations. Radio York’s Elly Fiorentini acted as compere for the proceedings.

The voluntary work that hundreds of students in York take up alongside their studies has a huge impact on the local community. Last year student volunteers gave at least 75,000 hours of their time, equating to over £500,000 if they were paid the minimum wage. 

The award winners have contributed to a wide range of voluntary projects and have worked with all ages of the community, from babies and toddlers in York’s Children’s Centres, to more elderly residents in local care homes.  A number of awards were also being given to student support and welfare initiatives such as the ‘Mind Your Head’ mental health campaign, which was devised by a group of graduate students at the University of York. 

Catherine Mason, who studies at York St John University and volunteers with York Rescue Boat, said: “I really enjoy giving my time to this charity, it’s a brilliant feeling that you get when you know that you are making a difference to people’s lives. Even though they are very late nights in all weather conditions, I love every minute of it.”

The value of the contribution made by student volunteers like Catherine was summed up by Dave Horn from York Rescue Boat, who commented “Catherine is a committed member of the team.  She brings enthusiasm during what can be demanding circumstances, and has shown maturity and self-control in her dealings with the public.  We would very much welcome more student volunteers like Catherine.”

Three of the awards for University of York students were sponsored by the Shepherd Group, to recognise achievements across the University’s York Students in Schools and York Students in Communities programmes.

Photo credit: Peter Byrne