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Students give up their time to help others

building a greenhouse

Creating a greenhouse for the University Nursery from old two-litre drinks bottles

University of Reading students came together last week to celebrate giving their time for nothing as part of National Student Volunteering Week.

Reading University Students' Union (RUSU), which co-ordinates scores of volunteering activities, celebrated the week with a busy programme of events including greenhouse building, music, talks and a volunteering fair.

The week began with Voices of Reading, the new RUSU community choir, holding its first rehearsal at George Palmer Primary School, which attracted 22 inaugural members aged six months to 70 years. Choir leaders are now looking for more people to join the free choir, with no prior musical experience necessary. Rehearsals take place every Monday 7-8pm at George Palmer primary school - all are welcome.

Student volunteers also helped children at the on-campus Little Learners Nursery to begin construction of a recycled greenhouse using hundreds of plastic drinks bottles. Organisers hope to finish the building before spring and have asked people to donate old two-litre drinks bottles to RUSU for the purpose.

Students were able to speak to representatives from 38 charities and community groups at a volunteering fair, while the students' union also announced the launch of a new network to co-ordinate volunteering on and off campus - the Reading University Volunteering Society.

Emily Shaw, RUSU Societies and Volunteering Co-ordinator, said: "By the summer term we hope to have had an afternoon tea for local elderly people on campus, an art mural painted at a local school and a weekly activity programme for children and young people with disabilities up and running.

"As the society grows, with the help of the Students' Union, it will support and connect students who are interested in volunteering with events and projects throughout the year."

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