Student volunteers go the extra mile during the pandemic
Six University of Wolverhampton students went above and beyond the call of duty during the recent COVID-19 pandemic by offering their services as volunteers in the local community.
The students are studying for a range of degrees across the University’s three Faculties.
Accounting and Finance student counts up his volunteering hours
Third year Accounting and Finance degree student, Mark Smith, volunteered with Wolverhampton Homes to shop for vulnerable people in the region, delivering shopping for up to eleven people a week, clocking up over 100 voluntary hours.
Mark, who already works two days a week and was studying for his final year exams, has previously volunteered with St John’s Ambulance LINKs and has been involved in community litter picks and park clean-ups.
He said: “For some customers, I have been the only person they had seen consistently throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and this has meant that people have become lonelier and disconnected from their family.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting, talking and providing assistance to these individuals, and have taken a great sense of pride in my volunteering.”
Student in awe of the clear benefits of volunteering
Awe Tolulope Pelumi, studying for a Pre-Master’s degree in Science, volunteered at Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust as a GoodSam Responder, clocking up 213 hours to help the most vulnerable members of the local community during the pandemic.
Awe spent time talking to people, helping to combat loneliness and encouraging people to adhere to government guidelines as well as keeping them calm
He said: “There are clear benefits of volunteering. You can learn various specific skills, demonstrate evidence of communication skills, and develop teamwork attributes by sharing best practise and coordination.
“For me, I have picked up some experiences, been given an understanding into other careers such as mental health, hospitality and caring for others, and created a network of people who can give me a detailed vision into different professions.”
Student rediscovers a passion for counselling
Rebecca Shields, studying for a degree in Childhood, Family and Education Studies in her final year, provided counselling for NHS staff during the pandemic.
As a qualified counsellor, Rebecca, completed 36 hours of volunteering, providing counselling and coaching for staff to help them continue to remain emotionally well throughout the stressful experiences of the pandemic.
She has continued to work as a counselling lecturer at a local college whilst completing her final year course work.
Rebecca said: “I have always been an advocate for mental health and knowing I can support NHS staff with this during this difficult time is highly rewarding.
“It was great to get positive feedback from service users. I will be forever grateful to our NHS staff who have been working under immense pressure, before, during and after the pandemic.
“Volunteering has given me invaluable work experience which will support me in my current role and my life after being a student at the university and I have re-discovered my passion for counselling.”
Ida nurses aspirations to join the NHS after volunteering for the Trust
Ida Paola Swiecka, a Medical Science degree student in her final year, became a Trust Volunteer at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley.
Ida has completed over 60 hours of volunteering, supporting the main reception of the hospital by running errands, transporting patients and delivering patients’ goods. She also carried out the ward ‘drinks rounds’.
She said: “I have definitely learned that no matter where you’re from or who you are, it doesn’t take much to be a decent person and to help those less fortunate.
“I have learned that it doesn’t take much to make somebody’s day even if it’s only a supportive chat over a cup of tea. I have developed further my communication skills as it was necessary for me to communicate clearly and in specific way with some of the very poorly patients who often suffered from dementia and Alzheimers.
“I also had a chance to observe healthcare professionals, especially nurses, directly at work, and it was absolutely inspiring to see how selflessly and with so much effort they cared for all the patients. This experience has definitely influenced my career choices as I am now planning to undertake a degree in Adult nursing. I have been planning to work within the NHS and have now decided that nursing is the pathway I would like to follow.”
Henna donates resources to NHS during pandemic
Henna Saeed, a final year Human Resource Management degree student, volunteered her services for the benefit of the NHS Trust in Wolverhampton.
She volunteered for a total of 24 hours, sewing scrubs for NHS workers in New Cross Hospital, providing funding for meals to be cooked and delivered to the hospital for staff and sewing masks for essential workers.
She said: “I learned how important it is to be part of a noble cause in this global pandemic. I volunteered with my local mosque to make scrubs and masks for frontline workers.
“Not only was it a help to all the hardworking NHS staff, it also improved my sewing skills, accuracy and attention to detail while sewing the PPE. I wanted to make the best possible PPE and made different sizes for anyone who needed it.”
Mohammed gives hospital a helping hand
Mohammed Asad Altaf Rauf, a second year Biomedical Science degree student, volunteered for a total of 58 hours for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. He worked shifts on the wards, making beds, cleaning, helping nurses and transporting equipment in and around the hospital.
He said: “The skills I gained were patience and being caring. I learned how to manage my time and I also helped to train new volunteers and guide them.
“Being able to help others was an another highlight for me as it gave me a sense of belonging and made me feel that I’m helping the public during these hard times. All the work I've done in the hospital is a highlight and I would love to continue doing it.”