Our Staff Say: #iwill Volunteer

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Some of NTU's Staff Volunteers.
Some of NTU’s Staff Volunteers.

In honour of #iwill week, we want to shout about some of the volunteering that we do as a department. Staff volunteering is very important to us and this is emulated through the great volunteering work our staff members partake in. Want to know why our staff love volunteering so much? Look no further...

Suze’s Volunteering Experience
Suze is in charge of all the staff volunteering in SCCO (Schools, Colleges, Community Outreach) so is a top advocate for it. Here are some of the (many) volunteering opportunities Suze has partaken in.
“I volunteer at Hayward House because it is close to my heart after providing palliative and end of life care to my sister. I also did the ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ in April this year and raised almost £1500 for charity.
Suze completing the 'Three Peaks Challenge' for charity.
Suze completing the ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ for charity.
So, want to know more about my journey in volunteering? I started out in 2001 and haven’t stopped!I started with the ‘Right to Read’ scheme at Henry Whipple Primark school in Bestwood and then volunteered at Glenbrook Primary school in the ‘Homework Club’ for children in care who needed extra educational support.
I am a ‘Befriender’ for a young boy with autism which I signed up for with the National Autistic Society. I was introduced to him and his family when he was 8 years old and he’s now nearly 17!
I’ve also partaken in ad hoc volunteering helping the ‘Daffodil Appeal’ for Marie Curie and been a marshal for ‘Anthony Nolan’s Ladies Vehicle Challenge’ (I got to drive a fire engine and a double-decker bus, which was awesome)! I’ve also completed a charity bike rides for the British Heart Foundation, the ‘Great Nott’s Bike Ride’, ‘Cycle Live’ and charity walks for Rainbows Hospice. 
I have no plans to give up volunteering any time soon! I love it, it makes you feel good, you make new friends, it’s a great addition to your CV and, best of all, I love making a difference to people’s lives. So it’s a win, win!”
Pete’s Volunteering Experience
Pete’s story really comes from the heart. Read on to find out why he has dedicated years to volunteering…
“Joining SCCO in 2005 as an Outreach Officer certainly opened my eyes to the world of education. Specifically, how social mobility was influenced by how you were educated according to your ‘class’, income or parent’s education. After having my eyes opened, I was hooked on trying to make a difference to the children that fit this ‘bracket’ as quickly realised that I was one myself…
The more I worked, the quicker I became aware that individuals like me could not only tell the kids about the opportunities education could bring them but also how important it was to volunteer within the community. 
It’s all very well sitting back and watching the news every night, tutting about the injustices that are out there in the world but you should think. What can I actually do about it?
As a dad of two boys and a girl, I knew from personal experience how the basics in education mattered. I loved reading to them and helping them learn to read. Common sense tells you that without the gift of reading, you’re limiting your life experiences (to say the very least). Can you imagine not being able to read?
NTU offers the most fanastic volunteering experience – ‘Right to Read’, and I couldn’t wait to be a ‘Right to Reader’.
Pete loves working with students.
Pete loves working with students.
So, for over seven years, I went to Forest Field’s Primary school every Tuesday lunchtime and listened to kids read. Why? It helped the teacher concentrate on the children in the class who needed extra support in reading. It also gave my readers a chance to practice reading to an adult and, of course, it improved their reading skills. It also made me feel proud and useful. It was so enjoyable seeing the kids develop their reading skills over the year – amazing to see and heart-warming, too.
After reduced work hours, I had to give this opportunity up but on my last day as a ‘Right to Reader’, I realised that I was sitting in a classroom that my mum used to sit in in 1936! It was also the same building that my uncle was taught in when it was called High Grave Pavement Grammar school in 1947. I later went to the same school myself so I though, ‘I suppose it was all meant to be…’ I had a strong relationship with Forest Fields that I really didn’t want to lose.
So, I became a Governor, another fantastic volunteering opportunity that is supported by NTU. Two years ago, when the Chair of Governors resigned, I took over the role and became the Chair of Governors for Forest Fields school.
Volunteering is tough sometimes and its all unpaid and in this materialistic world in which we live in, instinctively, we look for a reimbursement of our time but it’s not all about money, is itIt’s about giving something back to the community that, on the face of it, has always been there for you.
If you do nothing else, try volunteering, even if it’s only for a short while… I’m sure you will enjoy it and you’ll be making a real difference to people’s lives.”
If you want to hear Pete chatting about his experiences, see the video below:
Lucy’s Volunteering Experience
Staying fit and active is really important to Lucy and she is eager to pass on this enthusiasm to the young people in her community.
“I volunteer at the Junior Park Run on a Sunday morning and it’s fab! I love the ethos and culture of the Park Run and the fact that Rushcliffe offers a junior version is amazing.
Lucy with the participants of Rushcliffe's Junior Park Run.
Lucy with the participants of Rushcliffe’s Junior Park Run.
It boost children’s self-esteem, confidence and engagement with sport, health and well-being. Who wouldn’t feel uplifted when tonnes of people are clapping and cheering you whilst you run? I love seeing the sense of achievement on the kids’ faces as they finish and if you get a PB (Personal Best) then that’s great. It instils grit and resilience as some runs are tough and feel awful. It’s great to see them keep going and coming back each week, too.
The children work towards completing their half-marathon and ultra distances are rewarded with wristbands. 
Lucy and her son, Ted, after running in Rushcliffe's Junior Park Run.
Lucy and her son, Ted, after running in Rushcliffe’s Junior Park Run.

I love volunteering here because I really enjoy seeing how the children progress and, if they fail, how they show great resilience by coming back to improve each week.”

Steve’s Volunteering Experience
Steve, who is part of SCCO’s Volunteering Team, volunteers in two different opportunities. Here’s what he says about it:
“In my own time, I volunteer with a local scout group as an ‘un-uniformed leader’. This group is particularly close to my heart as it was where I was a cub scout myself when I was young. This makes it even more rewarding as I am able to give back what was given to me
There is a small team of volunteers who plan a variety of activities to do each week. These range from archery, camping and outdoor skills to cooking and photography and there are always plenty of games!
Through NTU, I chose to take part in a scheme called ‘Number Partners’. This means every Friday I play a range of maths board games with Year 4 pupils. I am in my third year of the scheme and the children I work with are all lovely and really enjoy the challenge of the games we play together.
Steve in his 'Number Partner' role, working with two children.
Steve in his ‘Number Partner’ role, working with two children.
I really value the relationships, networks and skills that I have developed through volunteering. In particular, with the scouts, as I am part of a community which I really enjoy supporting.”
Amber’s Volunteering Experience
Amber’s experiences of volunteering are so positive that she said “I could have gone on forever writing this”…
“Last year, I took on the role of peer mentor for one of SCCO’s International Volutneering projects. Little John’s House in Romania is an orphanage and summer school for children with physical and developmental needs. It was so rewarding and really enjoyable. I loved my experience so much that I am volunteering for Little John’s House again this year!
Amber and her group of volunteers at Little John's House, Romania.
Amber and her group of volunteers at Little John’s House, Romania.
A large part of the volunteering experience is fundraising. Last year, I took on the challenge of ‘Tough Mudder’ as my personal fundraising for Little John’s House. Having already been out to the charity and seeing what a difference the money I raise makes, I am more determined than ever to raise as much money as possible. I can’t wait to go back to Romania and support a new group of students as they partake in their volunteering experience.”
If you’re interested in volunteering yourself, check out NTU’s Volunteering page or see what’s happening locally to you. For more information on the #iwill campaign, click here.
Blog Administrator. Currently ran by co-author Emilia Denis. Emilia has studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at NTU between years 2017 and 2020.

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