Oxford Brookes students make a real difference for Student Volunteering Week

Monday, 25 February 2019

Volunteering at Oxford Brookes

At the end of Student Volunteering Week 2019, we take a look at the variety of volunteering projects Oxford Brookes students have been working on.

Over the years, Oxford Brookes has established itself as a valued partner in the community. The University actively supports important city-wide causes, collaborating with local authorities, businesses, charities and community groups.

I am hoping to continuously grow OxSNOW and for it to become a well-known organisation in Oxford through the winter months. It will also help older people reduce their loneliness, which is a key social concern.

Oxford Brookes student Suzi Braithwaite

From social enterprises that tackle local issues to raising the aspirations of young people and adults from disadvantaged backgrounds, the University’s students and staff contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of our communities. Helping others and bringing people together is core to our values at Oxford Brookes. This is reflected in the University’s guiding principles: generosity of spirit, connectedness, enterprising creativity and confidence.

Oxford Brookes’ students are encouraged to give back to the local community through a variety of initiatives. The University’s Careers Centre, based at our Headington Campus, organises a yearly volunteer fair as well as Volunteer Wednesday sessions when different charities come to Oxford Brookes to talk to students about their opportunities. 

This Student Volunteering Week, the Careers Centre focused on volunteering opportunities for our students at Grendon Underwood and Springhill prisons. Grendon Underwood is the only prison in Britain that operates entirely as a therapeutic community for men with severe personality disorders. 

Springhill is an open prison, category D, for low risk prisoners at the end of their sentences preparing for release. First and second year students have been volunteering at the prisons for the past three years, teaching Level 1 and 2 English, Maths and IT as well as horticulture and other vocational subjects.

In addition, Oxford Hub, a student-led charity, is dedicated to offering student volunteering opportunities. This Student Volunteering Week they ran a range of activities lined up to promote social and environmental volunteering opportunities in addition to their ongoing projects, which include IT classes for older people, helping local children with their homework, reading and environmental projects.

New opportunities for volunteering are popping up all the time. For example, in response to severe weather and snow, Oxford Brookes student Suzi Braithwaite wanted to do something to help people who might be vulnerable or isolated. So she created OxSNOW, a group of volunteers who help bring shopping to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to make it out for food or other necessities. Anyone who would like to get involved should the weather turn cold once more should email hello@oxsnow.co.uk for more information.

Speaking about OxSNOW, Suzi said: “I was inspired by the Co-op Ice Advert a few years ago, in which a young man helps someone get supplies through the snow. I am hoping to continuously grow the network to become a well-known organisation in Oxford through the winter months. The use of OxSNOW will also help older people reduce their loneliness, which is a key social concern.”

Oxford Brookes is proud of its links with the city of Oxford and the wider county and will continue to contribute to, and play a full part in, our communities. 

You can find out more about some of Oxford Brookes’ social and environmental initiatives which aim to make a positive difference on the University’s social responsibility webpages.