We currently have 1032 students who are registered as active on our volunteer portal. Since the first lockdown began (March 2020), commendably , there has been over 11,000 hours recorded on our database, which highlights the commitment, resilience, and willingness of our students to support others, even during a national crisis.
Several students, who are actively involved with the Keele St. Johns Society have been helping on the frontline, aiding the public at Covid testing sites and supporting the setup of vaccination centres, helping with the stewarding, and coordinating the administration, and in some cases, issuing the vaccinations.
Erin Sonhrey is one such student, who has recorded near on 500 hours, which would see her reach the Crystal Volunteering Award. Erin is an advanced first aider and volunteers at local events, like football matches and rallys. She has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic at our Royal Stoke University hospital assisting those patients accessing emergency services as well as directly enabling patients to maintain communication with their relatives who were prevented to visit at the hospital due to Covid restrictions.
Erin recently won our Volunteer of the Month and her story and outstanding contribution can be found in the link:
Whilst living back at home, many student volunteers have signed up for telephone befriending services, helped on their local mental health support lines (Samaritans, Alzheimer's Society), assisted with the delivery of Meals on Wheels, and collected funds and donations for Foodbank. As a swift response the lockdown, numerous students helped bring organisations up to speed using their technology skills. They enabled charities to swiftly adapt their services and reach their service users online (ASHA), helping with marketing and social media (The Gingerbread Centre) or facilitating virtual meetings.
At the end of last year, and prior to the second lockdown, KeeleSU recruited four Virtual Social Events Creatives (the VSECs). Conscious of the sense of fatigue with lockdown and social famine, the idea behind the role was to encourage students to support each other to connect and maintain the feeling of belonging to the Keele Community. The VSECs continue to host and plan social events online for their peers; including quizzes and games nights, cookery sessions, wellbeing support, informal drop ins, and watch parties. They collectively won our award for January 2021 for their voluntary innovation and their dedication to student wellbeing and inclusion.
The local press have also ran a story on our Keele Volunteers, please see the link below: