Meet our volunteers
Celebrating the charitable activities and achievements of our students and staff
The following students and staff represent just a small number of the many who have been recognised for their voluntary work by receiving the LJMU Citizenship Award.
An Events Management student, Victoria has received the LJMU Citizenship Award for her volunteer work with hard-to-reach groups. She volunteered with Sunderland Children for very personal reasons – she wanted give something back to the organisation for the support she received from them as a teenager. After having been bullied at school at the age of 13, Victoria refused to attend her lessons and was subsequently diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Sunderland Children Centre’s – East supported her over the next three years until she finished high school. Lacking in confidence and self-esteem, the organisation helped her with her studies and encouraged her to attend college. By 16, Victoria was studying at college and began volunteering with the Centres working with hard-to-reach target groups such as ‘Dads n Kids’, the BME community and lone and young parents. Victoria was able to make a tangible difference in the community by establishing a new mentoring programme to support other young volunteers and helping young parents with their CVs and personal statements. Helping to raise the educational aspirations of disadvantaged young parents in the area without qualifications or prospects for the future, Victoria found extremely rewarding.
“Attending LJMU for my degree is something at 13 I wouldn’t and couldn’t have even dreamed of. I’m confident now more than ever and I owe it to the brilliant and lovely team at Sunderland Children Centre’s – East. The work I do for them pales in comparison to what they did for me.”
A Learning, Development and Support student at LJMU, Daniel has been awarded the Citizenship Award for his volunteer work with Liverpool’s homeless. Daniel helped out at the Liverpool City Mission sorting out donations of food and clothes, giving advice on housing and rehabilitation, and cooking for and feeding the homeless. Part of his duties found him walking the city streets with hot food looking for those in need. Handing out sleeping bags in the winter months gave him an opportunity to sit down and take on a pastoral role with those he met – a chance to chat and share experiences. Seeing the problems the homeless had to overcome on a daily basis opened Daniel’s eyes and made him appreciate what he had. To him, the most important part of his role was simply being a friendly face to those he helped. He describes his voluntary work as ‘heartbreaking but very rewarding’.
An Impact Officer for Research and Innovation Services at LJMU, Lucy received the Citizenship Award for her volunteer work with Liverpool Pride. Lucy played a major role in helping to shape Liverpool’s LGBT community and its place in the wider Merseyside community. Lucy’s role as a Trustee and Chair of the Board saw her placed in strategic decision-making positions within the organisation – responsible for the charity governance and overseeing the delivery of the event. Lucy has been instrumental in growing the size, reputation and meaning of the event. She successfully provided both leadership and stability in a challenging funding landscape, helping to raise £100,000 per year through fundraising and sponsorship to put on the event. Her work not only had a positive impact on the city but also helped to change the lives of the thousands of people within the local LGBT community for the better.
A Food Design and Technology student, Paul received his Citizenship Award as a result of having volunteered over 500 hours to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals. Although he had a number of roles within the hospital setting, he most enjoyed being based in the acute medical unit and A&E. As a hospital guide he would show patients and their families around the hospital to various departments and clinics, ensuring they felt comfortable in what were often very traumatic times in their lives.
Paul later became involved in administration – helping ward clerks and office staff with the day-to-day duties such as manning clinic desks, signing outpatients and filing confidential case notes. Knowing that he was able to take some of the pressure off busy hospital staff was reward enough to Paul.
Paul’s volunteer work in the hospital was challenging as it often meant working with the public during very emotionally-charged situations. Despite these challenges, he loved every moment of his time, especially in A&E where he was able to work with different people and no two days were ever the same.
An Education Studies and Special Inclusive Needs student, Vicki was rewarded the Citizenship Award for her extensive voluntary work spanning over six years. She began volunteering at the Plaza Community Cinema, Crosby High School and Aim Higher Sefton. She worked as an assistant leader in her local Scout group where she supported children in a range of activities including sports and crafts, as well as attending camps where she cared for children on a 24-hour basis.
As an activity leader in summer camps for the siblings of seriously ill children, she was responsible for planning, preparing and running environmentally friendly activities for the children.
Vicki has also volunteered for Sense, the charity that works with disabled children and young adults. She was responsible for supporting children with visual and hearing impairments to enjoy activities on Sense holidays such as zip wire, den building, cooking, swimming and crafts. Alongside this, Vicki has developed skills in sign language and is hoping to make a difference to sign users in her local community by helping to break down the communication barriers they face.
Among Vicki’s other volunteering activities is her time spent assisting children in her local primary school. The literacy development programme she has taken part in requires her to volunteer in the classroom for one or two days a week. Vicki has also been a member of the Maghull Wind Orchestra, which performs fundraising concerts, the most recent raising over £3,000 for a local hospice.
A postgraduate research student within the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Kirsty is also a student advocate for LJMU’s Outreach Team. She received her Citizenship Award based on her volunteer work with stroke survivors.
As the primary caregiver to a stroke survivor herself, Kirsty struggled to find local support. For this reason, she set up and became the Vice-Chair of SUEvivor Stroke Support – a voluntary-led community group based in Wirral. The organisation provides free peer support to both the stroke victim and their wider support network such as family and friends. Kirsty worked closely with the management committee to organise meetings and events to help support their members and raise awareness in the community. She was also responsible for implementing social media coverage, maintaining and designing the group’s website content, developing SUEvivor’s promotional adverts, literature and hand-outs, as well as actively participating in the organisation and implementation of fundraising activities. Using the graduate skills she developed at LJMU, Kirsty was able to write grant applications in order to secure much-needed funding for the group.
Kirsty’s focus within the group tackled issues for stroke survivors such as social isolation and depression. Getting group members to find alternative interests and try new hobbies helped break down barriers, reduce embarrassment and improve communication for many of their members.
Kalopi (Poppy) Brennan
Coaching Development student, Poppy has received the Citizenship Award for her volunteer work with young people in football. For the past six years, she has been involved in the FA’s youth programme, Football Futures. Poppy has coached local boys under 7’s teams as well as the women’s LJMU football team. She really enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve the under 7’s abilities while making sure they had fun and learned about teamwork and friendship.
Within her role at the Liverpool County FA Youth Council, she was responsible for making strategic decisions for whole counties Football Futures projects. She helped organise a number of events for young leaders, such as a two-day county FA Football Futures camp where she invited 50 young leaders to take part in different workshops and put them through their Junior Football Leaders course.
Poppy was one of four young leaders from England to be selected to represent the FA in Rwanda on the FA Changing Lives trip. The aim of the trip was to give 20 Rwandan footballing youth leaders the opportunity to learn new coaching skills and techniques and to offer them mentor support for a week. Poppy saw this opportunity as a life-changing experience and the most rewarding voluntary work she has ever done.
More recently, her volunteer work has seen her help out in the county FA office with the National Women’s and Girl’s Development Officer – work which informs national policies on women’s future in football.
Brett, who studies on the Science and Football course at LJMU, has received a Volunteer Recognition Award for contributing a number of hours to the Liverpool FC Foundation. He joined the Liverpool FC Foundation/LJMU Volunteering programme not only because he is a huge Liverpool Football Club fan but also because volunteering is one of his passions. Volunteering with the LFC Foundation as a community delivery assistant has given him a wide range of opportunities, from supporting sessions in the park to a programme with Malawian coaches – he was even given the chance to meet the first team players, managers and the CEO of the football club. The challenging yet extremely rewarding experience has helped him develop his confidence, as he explains: