Plenty to be proud of in Volunteers Week


Date: 3rd Jun 2020

This week is Volunteers Week and we are sharing our pride in all the selfless work many students and staff at Bucks carry out in their spare time to help others, including some providing assistance during the Covid-19 situation.

Alexandra Bode-Tunji, Executive HR Director, said: "Being a responsible corporate citizen is very important to us at Bucks and we thank everyone who gives up their time to make a positive difference to society and the environment."

Last year, our students contributed an incredible 14,300 hours to help others and we applaud them for their efforts and commitment. You can read more about some of their activities in February’s Student Volunteering Week here.

Brooke Pilbeam, Vice President: Education and Welfare for Bucks Students' Union, said volunteering was highly valued by the organisation.

She said: "The Students' Union values its volunteers so much. The selfless act of volunteering means that as an organisation we are able to give back to the local community.

"Not only is it important for the community, but the skills each student gains from volunteering, whether inside or outside the university, are really beneficial for their own development, and well supported by the Students' Union."

Here are some examples of what our people do in their local communities:

Sam Guest, Senior Lecturer in Aviation Management.

Sam Guest
During lockdown, Sam has been continuing to enforce the law in Solihull, in his role as Special Constable with West Midlands Police.

He has been volunteering up to 125 hours a month on evenings, weekends, and Public Holidays, an increase on the amount of time he usually volunteers, and says he's seen plenty of changes during such an unprecedented period.

"Prior to COVID-19, there would be a lot of people and cars around during evenings," says Sam.

"That then dramatically fell during lockdown and the nature of the job slightly changed but I was proud to continue to play my part in looking after our community. It was been a tough but rewarding time.

"Now, more people than ever are out and about on the streets as lockdown eases and more people head out to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors. So, once again, the challenges are changing as the situation develops."

John Paulson, Senior Lecturer on the Military Development Programme, is a volunteer for Blood Bikes.

John Paulson

John is a volunteer rider for Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Northamptonshire Blood Bikes, delivering urgent blood products, platelets (tiny blood cells that help your body form clots to stop bleeding), and samples between hospitals across the area.

Blood Bikes provides an out of hours service to cover the times when the NHS is unable, which usually includes night-time, weekends and Bank Holidays, all year round.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, John says he's taken leave whenever he can to make himself available.

He says: "Blood Bikes has moved to a 24/7 service and we've seen a significant increase in smaller packages such as urgent test samples, and occasionally Covid-19 testing kits, when the usual NHS transport is unable to do the job.

Louise Harvey, Head of Communications, volunteers with Samaritans, which provides emotional support to people in despair 24/7.

Louise is a trained listening volunteer, taking calls and answering emails.

"This is obviously a difficult time for many people who may be afraid, struggling with isolation or finding it hard to cope with juggling their responsibilities. We’re here to listen and be there for anyone when life feels tough," says Louise.

"We make sure our staff and students know that Samaritans is there to support them, in addition to the services and resources provided by the University and Bucks Students’ Union.

"Anyone who is feeling overwhelmed at the moment can contact us. It doesn’t matter if it’s hard to get the words out or if you’re feeling upset. And nothing you share will be dismissed as trivial. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us.

Wayne Palmer, Military Programme Leader, co-founded the charity Hounds for Heroes. Wayne Palmer

Hounds for Heroes, founded in 2010, provides assistance dogs for the military, disabled personnel, and the emergency services and Wayne has carried out roles ranging from voluntary CEO to trustee, and now regularly helps with promoting the charity, including on its website and through social media.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Wayne had been regularly visiting Northern Ireland to build up the reputation of Hounds for Heroes, and says he hopes to have some of the dogs homed there soon.

If any of our staff or students are sharing the voluntary week they do on social media, please use #VolunteersWeek and tag @bucksnewuni in your post.


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