Caring West Notts students hailed as “special” for their voluntary work

Some of the young volunteers who have contributed a combined 7,800 hours of voluntary work.
Some of the young volunteers who have contributed a combined 7,800 hours of voluntary work.

Community-minded students at a college in Mansfield have been described as “very special people” for contributing a combined total of 7,800 hours of voluntary work.

More than 350 students at West Nottinghamshire College selflessly gave up their time to help others in a variety of projects.

And at the college’s annual volunteering awards ceremony, held at the Derby Road campus, they received accolades and praise for their efforts and dedication.

Gold awards went to students who had devoted more than 100 hours each, while silver awards went to those who had put in more than 50 hours and bronze awards recognised more than 20 hours.

The college’s vice-principal, Louise Knott, said: “By volunteering even one hour of your time, you have made a massive contribution. Some of the projects you have been involved in wouldn’t have happened without you. You are very special people.”

The community causes supported by the students have included The Hall Homeless Support Project, which runs drop-in centres at St Peter’s Centre in Mansfield for rough sleepers.

They have also carried out planting and maintenance at Little Roots Children’s Community Allotments in Mansfield Woodhouse, built a sensory garden at Churchfield Care Home in Rainworth and taken part in the fifth annual International Clean-Up Day in Mansfield.

Volunteering also took place within the college as students collected provisions for the homeless and took part in a Big Snore sponsored sleep-out to boost funds for the social housing and homelessness charity Framework. They helped out in student-run restaurants and assisted with sporting activities too.

One student, Olivia Smith, contributed an incredible 220 hours, including five hours each week working as a voluntary counsellor with the national charity, Childline. She combined the work with studying sociology, psychology and media.

The 17-year-old, from Annesley, said: “Being a counsellor is ideal because I’ve always loved helping people, and this is the career I want to go into. Volunteering makes such a difference. It makes the world a better place and is hugely important because so many charities rely on volunteers.”

Awards’ organiser Amanda Oldham said: “The students deserve to feel extremely proud of themselves. Going the extra mile is testament to our young people.

“Not only does volunteering support vital causes, it also helps prepare students for the world of work by developing their confidence, social skills and team-working. Hopefully, the students will inspire even more to get involved next year.”