Thursday 3 April 2014
On Wednesday 19 March, Queen Mary students welcomed young people aged 7-21 from across Tower Hamlets, to celebrate a series of ‘Life Skills’ volunteering projects they have been collaborating on, supported by J.P. Morgan and coordinated by the National Children’s Bureau. The 12 projects, including a family fun day in Bow, a DIY project in Whitechapel Youth Centre and celebration of international culture on the Isle of Dogs, were designed to give the students experience of leading a volunteer project while passing on valuable employability skills and raising the confidence and aspirations of the young people taking part.
The students, who are the first in their family to attend university, were able to share their enthusiasm for education and to give the young people they worked with a guided tour of the Mile End campus where they study.
Shalin Heber, aged 24, studying for an MSc in Marketing at Queen Mary, was quick to praise the positive impact of the cultural event she helped organise in Mile End: "It was really fantastic to see young people from different backgrounds working together to make our event happen. I learnt a lot, and it has been great showing the girls we worked with what life at university is like."
Sarah Gifford, Volunteer Manager at Queen Mary, University of London, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Life Skills programme which taps into the energy and enthusiasm of students at Queen Mary. The students get to learn valuable project management skills while inspiring local young people to get hands on with projects that benefit the wider community. We’ve had terrific support from Tower Hamlets Council, Girlguiding UK, Leaders in the Community and St Hilda’s Community Centre on the individual volunteer projects.”
Sophie Wood, Manager of Participation and Involvement at the National Children’s Bureau said: “Many of the young people that this project engages with may not, for one reason or another, be considering further education and training. This project brings them together with university students, who can show them what education has to offer and give them the confidence to reach higher.”
The Life Skills programme is taking place at two universities: Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Roehampton.