Ben Farmer Vice President for Charities and Community at Oxford SU highlights the range of volunteering opportunities available for you to get involved in the local Oxford community and beyond.
Many Oxford Uni students have now returned to the city. Lots of them never left.
Medical students from the University were on the frontline in the NHS (check out 5th year Medic Madi’s blog), whilst many others delivered services as key workers. Hundreds of students joined the ongoing community campaigns led by Oxford Hub and Oxford Mutual Aid to support the most vulnerable groups throughout the pandemic.
Of course, not all of us remained in Oxford during the pandemic with many returning to family homes. Despite this we remain part of the Oxford community and have contributed in our own way. For example, through a plethora of virtual events, from Oxide Radio’s musical marathons to sporting challenges at colleges which have raised thousands of pounds for Oxford charities.
But it’s not over yet. The challenges of the pandemic and beyond are still with us and this is a great time to get involved. There’s so much volunteering available in Oxford, in person or online; local, national or international. You can work with older people or younger people and on a broad range of issues including the environment and social inequality.
It’s true that it can be a bit daunting volunteering for the first time, especially in a new city or even country. I’ll always remember the first time I cycled out to a primary school in Rose Hill not really sure what to expect from a tutoring session or the first time I met other students to organise a RAG fundraising event. After getting over those initial nerves I found volunteering is a great way to get out of the Uni bubble as well a learning loads of new skills, culminating in helping to organise a charity bungee jump from a 175ft crane in Gloucester Green!
You’re never too small to make a difference and with so much choice you’re bound to find an opportunity that fits for you and makes an impact.
The best way to begin is to head over to Oxford SU’s volunteering portal which has loads of opportunities to get involved with.