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Truly inspiring City student volunteers recognised for their contributions to the local community

Student volunteers have been celebrated at City University London’s annual Volunteering Awards.

by Nicola Ranson (Communications Officer)

Over the course of the evening, seven awards were presented to students in recognition of their contributions to the local community and achievements over the past year. Gold, silver and bronze prizes were also awarded to recognise the number of hours volunteering undertaken. 

Cllr Caroline Russell, Councillor for Highbury East ward in Islington, spoke at the event to thank the students for their efforts. She said: 

I was delighted to attend the City Volunteering Awards, the range of volunteering projects undertaken and the enthusiastic engagement of the students is truly inspiring. It is great to see young people giving their time to make a real difference in their local community.

Since September 2014, more than 14 weeks (2,375 hours) Volunteering awards for students at City of volunteering have been completed by volunteers at the University and almost 600 students have signed up to volunteering projects and schemes.

Councillor for Clerkenwell, Cllr Raphael Andrews also attended the awards ceremony where he presented the prize for Best New Volunteer. The award went to MBA student Kelsie Langley for her work as a Community Fundraiser and Volunteer Assistant at St John’s Hospice in St John’s Wood.

winners of City's Volunteering awardsThe ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award went to law student Siobhan Tatum for her work as a mentor and advocate for young people who find themselves in the criminal justice system. Siobhan has spent a significant amount of time monitoring the treatment of detainees, advocating for improvements in custody settings and supporting young people who have been detained. Over the past year, Siobhan has contributed more than 200 hours of volunteering to various projects alongside studying for her Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at the City Law School and caring for her three children. Siobhan said: "Volunteering has enabled me to feel a part of the local community. It is very rewarding when you see the effects of your hard work. In fact, this is priceless, particularly when you start to see your efforts resulting in positive policy changes."

Volunteering awards for students Chiinthu Sarvanthan won ‘Outstanding Achievement in Volunteering’ for her work with the Enfield Nahapooshani Temple, where she teaches dance to children, organises an annual dance competition and assists during the Temple’s festival season. 

students volunteering in Islington Ken Hy won the award for ‘Leadership in Volunteering’. Throughout the year, Ken organised several wildlife conservation projects and inspired many of his fellow classmates to get involved, significantly increasing student engagement in the project.

City University London students volunteering during their time at university‘Secret Santa’ organised by Diana Cleves-Martinez won the ‘Project of the Year’ award. The project, that ran throughout December last year, saw students and staff donating unwanted toys to give to children living in poverty in Islington. 

Volunteer during your studies at university Valentina Aronica won the ‘Team Player’ award in recognition of her work at a care home where she has provided assistance to the elderly, particularly those suffering from dementia, for more than two years.

Volunteering awards for students at City 2015Hamed Jabarkhail won an award for logging the most volunteering hours, having completed 207 since September. He was also highly commended in the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ category for his unpaid work as a Community Police Officer. 

Hamed said: “For me it is an immensely satisfying thing to know that my work serves a greater good. There are plenty of personally rewarding aspects of volunteering with the Met Police, but the knowledge that what you do will hopefully help numerous people in the long run is perhaps the biggest intangible reward. Like many of us I am someone that loves to help others. Working as a police officer fulfills this desire.”

Professor Richard Verrall, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Strategy & Planning) said: 

It was a great pleasure to attend the Volunteering Awards and to hear about some of the initiatives our students are involved in. Here at City we are proud of our place in the Islington community and the role we play in local life. The awards were a chance to recognise the achievements of our student volunteers and the impact they have in the local community.

Geoffrey Safar, Chemara Dennis, Irina Ivanova, Hanish Chavda, Christina Katsouli, Ivy Jiatong Liu, Synove Knudsen and Julia Drahoss were highly commended for their volunteering efforts. 

City runs a community volunteering scheme that aims to have a positive impact on the Islington community, whilst providing staff and students with the opportunity to improve their skills and gain experience. The Volunteer Management Programme, launched in October, is funded by the City Future Fund and encourages students to identify social needs in Islington and organise projects to help tackle them.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.