Students' generosity means biggest Community Awards yet
Release Date 08 June 2012
Over 20 University of Reading students have been recognised for their sterling volunteer work in the local community with three individuals winning a Student Community Award (SCA).
The SCA scheme is aimed at highlighting the efforts of the many University of Reading students who help others using their own initiative, perhaps by providing support to others, making a contribution to the local community or showing acts of kindness or good neighbourliness. This year a record 25 students were nominated by members of the local community.
Given the number and outstanding work of all the nominees, the SCA Committee decided that this year the nominations fell into three broad areas, those providing help to individuals, those providing help to a local organisation and those who are volunteering in a variety of settings.
Janine Holmes, a final year Psychology student, volunteered at local charity Me2 Club based in Woodley which helps children and young people with additional needs to lead as normal life as possible.
Volunteer Co-ordinator of the Me2 charity Emily Radford said: "Janine's work with us has gone away and above what is expected of volunteers. In particular she has worked with an 11 year old girl with autism called Polly with whom she quickly built a strong relationship providing weekly support and helping her integrate into a mainstream Guides group. Janine undertook specialist training in her spare time, attended weekends away at short notice to support other children when their volunteers were unable to attend, has raised funds for the charity, and helped recruit other volunteers. She will be missed greatly when she graduates and leaves Reading this year."
Third year PhD student Nicola Abram, based in the Department of English Language & Literature, was nominated by Lorraine Joslin the manager for The Rahab Project which offers support, befriending and advocacy for anyone who has been exploited in the sex industry.
Lorraine Joslin said: "Nicola started volunteering as part of the night outreach team contacting and supporting sex workers. Nicola's reliability, enthusiasm and care for the clients meant that she was made team leader in August 2011. Nicola volunteers three times a month, between 9pm and 1am, but also makes herself available during the day to offer transport and assistance to women taking them to and from court, prison visits and getting them to hospital appointments. Nicola is a fantastic team leader, immensely kind and engages easily and humbly with women who are often ignored or marginalised by society."
Art student Laura Truesdale has been working tirelessly within both the student and local communities.
Laura was nominated by fellow art student Emma Clarke who said: "Laura has run self-help groups for students with eating disorders and door knocked in the local community with petitions asking people what they thought needed to improve in their area. She also set-up and ran art workshops for Reading's Drug and Alcohol Information Services and then Elizabeth Fry Bail & Probation Hostel who enlisted Laura's help after hearing of the success of the workshops. Her efforts are truly inspiring given Laura was diagnosed with ME six years ago."
The winners were presented with certificates and cheques for £75, by Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, at a ceremony on Thursday 7 June at Foxhill House on the University's Whiteknights Campus.
Upon receiving her award Janine Holmes said: "I was so surprised when I found out that I had been nominated for a Student Community Award, and even more surprised when I was announced as a winner. I'm delighted to have won as working with Polly is one of the most fulfilling things I've done since coming to Reading and it has definitely enriched my university experience."
Nicola Abram added: "Working within the Rahab project has been very special. It has allowed me to apply my academic research into a real world context and made me feel like I'm having an impact on people's lives. Volunteering has allowed me to experience things I otherwise wouldn't have and opened my eyes to other career opportunities. Everyone should volunteer in the community as there's a lot more to Reading than the campus."
Laura Truesdale commented: "Suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I thought it would be very difficult to get a paid job but I don't like sitting around not doing anything so I started volunteering. It's been incredibly enjoyable and has made me learn a lot about people just being people. It's been great to spend some time outside the university bubble and become more aware of Reading the town."
Further press information from James Barr, University of Reading press office, 0118 378 7115, email@example.com
Notes for editors:
The prize money for the awards came from the generosity of University of Reading alumni, whose donations, made through the Annual Fund, support the project. The Fund aims to enhance the student experience through innovative teaching and learning, extra-curricular activities and financial support.
The Student Community Award Committee is made up of University staff and representatives from the students' union and local community.