Date: 16th Dec 2016
Christmas has become a little brighter for more than 70 homeless people thanks to kind-hearted students and staff at Buckinghamshire New University.
Bucks Students' Union urges students and staff to fill 'homeless hamper' boxes every year with warm clothing, non-perishable food and any other useful items.
This year it collected its highest amount of hampers ever for charity, Wycombe Homeless Connection, in the first of 125 volunteering projects staff and students are supporting to celebrate the University's 125th anniversary.
Amy How, Volunteering and Societies Coordinator at the Union, said: "I'm so proud of the students.
"They have been really inventive, not just putting in warm clothes and food but also items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and wipes. The Feminist Society also included tampons and sanitary towels which are really important. Everyone just put so much thought and effort in to make the appeal such a success."
The hampers were handed over to Wycombe Homeless Connection in the presence of the Mayor of High Wycombe Zia Ahmed, who has chosen the charity as one of his annual causes.
Cllr Ahmed, a former Computing student of Bucks New University himself, said: "I chose the charity because I've seen people sitting round town at night and sleeping out in the cold. I compared that to myself sitting in a nice warm home, and they have no place to sleep.
"I really appreciate that the students have thought to support our homeless with these boxes. It's an excellent idea, especially at Christmas."
Wycombe Homeless Connection, based in Castle Street, helps homeless people rebuild their lives by assisting them to overcome the obstacles in finding or keeping accommodation. The charity also runs a night shelter.
Vickie Morrish, Communications Officer at Wycombe Homeless Connection, said: "I think it's a wonderful gesture by the University's students and staff; it shows those who are vulnerable at Christmas that people do care and that there are people thinking about them."
In the last year alone, 550 Bucks students gave 8,000 hours of their time to support more than 70 different volunteering projects organised by Bucks Students' Union.
University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rebecca Bunting, said she was 'really proud' of everyone involved.
She added: "Volunteering enables the students to develop team-working, interpersonal skills and personal attributes that will be useful in their professional lives beyond university. The University's roots in High Wycombe date back to 1891 and it's important to us that our 125th anniversary celebrations have a positive impact in our local community. We urge local charities and organisations who could benefit from our volunteering support to get in touch and help us reach our pledge to support 125 activities in the coming year."
In further events, entrepreneur Mike Clare and chairman of Chiltern District Council Mimi Harker OBE were on hand with their spades to help the Vice-Chancellor plant three trees to commemorate the University's 125th anniversary.
The saplings were planted at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, which is owned by Bucks New University.
First picture caption: (L-R) Amy How and Rebecca Hamer of Bucks Students' Union; Professor Rebecca Bunting; Councillor Zia Ahmed, Mayor of High Wycombe; and Ohio Orumen, of Bucks Students' Union.
Second picture caption: Professor Rebecca Bunting; Mike Clare; Mimi Harker OBE.