Hannah Produced by

Final year

BA (Hons) Social Work

Whilst at university, it is a great time to be able to add to your CV and explore all your interests and opportunities by volunteering. There are so many great and diverse options to volunteer, from overseas volunteering, to helping your local community right on your doorstep. It’s a great way to show future employers your passions and commitment to something.

Whilst at the Freshers fair in my first year and term at Bournemouth University, I signed up to Play Action International which gives you the opportunity to fundraise and go overseas to Uganda during your summer and build a playground for disadvantaged children and schools. You get to work closely with apprenticeship schemes out there, encouraging those once on the streets to take up welding and building apprenticeships to support their families. The opportunities to fundraise also and support given were a valuable experience as I got to meet so many other like-minded students who were passionate about helping disadvantaged communities and working with wildlife and children. I ran bake sales, pub quiz nights, London street donations in fancy dress, movie nights, started my own sweet and chocolate cone business, attended Christmas and spring fairs to sell products and kindly received donations from friends and family. Whilst out there, there’s a range of add on once in a lifetime experience’s to visiting the last silverback gorillas in the wild and spend a few days trekking the rainforests with the local communities and experience how they live. 

During my first year at BU, I also campaigned to become a member of the women’s committee, where I helped raise awareness of cervical cancer with stalls and stands at the university, giving out freebies and encouraging those eligible to book their appointments on the NHS and offering alternative private solutions to those who may not be eligible but possibly interested in being checked. As a member, I assisted with raising awareness of women’s safety in Bournemouth at night and around campus including meetings with the local police to encourage working collaboratively with our community members. We also arranged movie nights and self-care nights for ladies to celebrate being women and bring together a safe space to socialise in.

In my second year, as part of my course’s compulsory placement I worked with the substance misuse team in the community with adults. After completing my 70 days, I chose to stay on and volunteer for this company for a further 4 months, gaining valuable experience for when I graduate.

SUBU, our Students’ Union, offers a huge range of volunteering experience. During my first and second years, I helped with local beach clean ups and adding to food banks for those in need in Bournemouth. The great part is that there’s something for everyone, as you can volunteer on a regular basis and commit to something long term or just participate in a one-off event.

Now that I am in my final year, I am volunteering with a new charity set up by Bournemouth University lecturers, called ‘The Storyworks’, where I spend weekends on campus running workshops in creative writing for marginalised children that may have yet to experience a university setting. It gives them the chance to be imaginative and explore their creative side without the pressures and formality of school and education. 

Volunteering opportunities can range from assisting in research projects, to being an active befriender for care home residents, working with animals, or assisting with media projects to boost your own portfolio. There is something for everybody, it just depends on what your interests are.

Not only can volunteering help you feel like you’re contributing to the local community, for me it helped me to meet other like-minded people, widen my own social network and be able to demonstrate skills that employers really value.

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