Students Staff

5 February 2018

Keep calm and volunteer

Filed under: News — Heather Leathley @ 12.02 pm

Research carried out by our Green Exercise team found that volunteering outside improves mental health after just six weeks and we’ve plenty of ideas to inspire you.

Volunteers clean up Colchester campus friends

Our Students’  Union’s Engagement co-ordinator in Southend Adrian Patsalos said: “One of the main reasons would be improving your CV. Volunteering experience is a real plus for employers.

“It’s also valuable out of the classroom experience, volunteers became part of the community, either within the University or your local area. You get to meet people with a common interest or a common goal.”

With National Student Volunteering Week 2018 around the corner, starting on Monday 19 February, there’s an opportunity to find out more about what’s involved.

Essex Business School student Codie Yau from Cambridge now helps out at a soup kitchen in Southend, having come across it as she walked to campus.

“I generally go on Saturdays, “she said. “I like doing charity work, giving some of my time to the community.

“I know that whenever I have spare time I am going to do something for my local community.”

While Codie found her own opportunity, the Students’ Union has plenty of options, either through the fantastic v-team that works with local organisations or even starting your own society.

Clea Moore, a second year French and English Law student and communications assistant vTeam, highly recommends French’s Care Haven, near Ipswich, a rescue centre and safe haven for unwanted and neglected horses.

French's Care Haven volunteers weekly

Clea said: “The vTeam contacted French’s Care Haven about 18 months ago and now volunteers go about five times a term for a couple of hours each time, travelling on the SU minibus.

“When we arrive we are assigned different tasks and it’s always varied.  When I went we had to clear out a barn and re-organise it, clean around the stables and groom a couple of horses. We had a nice lunch break with a picnic.

“I would absolutely recommend this project to other students. It’s a great opportunity to get some fresh air all the while contributing to a great cause. It’s really nice being around animals and helping out the lovely owner, Jann Turner.”

Adrian said: “You can start a society about almost anything, bringing together a group of like-minded students. You could even opt to be a course representative.”

As part of National Student Volunteering Week the vTeam will run lots of different sessions, either in schools or one-off projects around the local area.


  • painting at the Signals media centre
  • volunteering at the wellies on farm
  • junior special at Iceni academy
  • volunteering at Fordham Heath

Clea said: “We will also be holding a new event called “Volunteering for the future” as an interactive talk with our partners and ex-volunteers about the charity sector.

“We will also be hosting a new Employability workshop, to help students with their skills and putting together a great CV.”

Students can find out more about the week here.

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