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York students honoured with award for volunteering to support local community

Posted on 9 May 2024

Students who have made outstanding contributions in the local area were celebrated at the Student Community and Volunteering Awards this week.

Image credit: University of York

University of York students volunteer for a vast range of projects to tackle city priorities, such as inequalities in health and wellbeing, loneliness and helping to close the educational attainment gap for young people struggling to achieve their potential. 

In 2022-2023, over 2,041 University of York students gave nearly 34,201 hours of their time to volunteering and community engaged activities, equating to over £356,374 if they were paid the national living wage.

Variety of skills

The volunteers recognised at the awards were nominated by 27 diverse host organisations across York, reflecting the variety of skills and general enthusiasm the University’s students bring to the community. 

The ceremony, held at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, was hosted by Professor Matt Matravers, Chair of the University’s Community Volunteering Committee and BBC Radio York’s Elly Fiorentini. The Lord Mayor of York also attended the awards along with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery and other members of the University Executive Board. 

The Councillor Chris Cullwick, Rt Hon Lord Mayor of York thanked student volunteers on behalf of the City.  

Important role

Professor Charlie Jeffery noted “As a University founded on the principle of promoting the public good, volunteering has always played an important role in the experience of a York student.” 

The award winning York Students in Schools programme (YSIS) was congratulated as it celebrates its 30th birthday with students contributing nearly half a million hours to volunteering in York schools. One YSIS Alumni shared their experience, saying: “it was this scheme that made me want to be a teacher. I went on to study a PGCE at York, and have been working as an English teacher for the last (almost) decade. I really believe the opportunities YSIS gave me helped form me into the teacher I am today.” 

The Vice-Chancellor noted that the University is increasingly placing efforts to make a difference to the local community at the heart of its taught curriculum, using our long standing experience of developing community projects that link to academic disciplines. He made specific reference to two credit bearing modules based on the idea of ‘Community Engaged Learning’ that were launched in September (Public History and Sustainability Clinic) with plans for two more next year.  

Longstanding tradition

Chair of the University’s Community Volunteering Committee, Professor Matt Matravers, said: “University of York students have an impressive and longstanding tradition of volunteering and community engaged activities and we are delighted by the numbers of students that continue to give their time to support the wider community.

“Supporting so many aspects of life in York, this year's awards recognise time spent working with groups from nursery-school age to older citizens, and on issues from environmental impact to cost of living support.  

“The University is, as always, immensely proud of the contribution our students make to the City of York and beyond”. 


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