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University honours volunteers

University of Portsmouth students who spend their free time giving back to the community have been honoured at a special awards ceremony, organised by the Students’ Union in co-operation with Purple Door and Sport and Recreation.

More than 220 people attended the Student Volunteering Awards held at the Student Union’s Third Space to recognise students for their extensive volunteering achievements not only within the University and Union, but also in Portsmouth, Hampshire and nationally.

volunteer awards

Waqar Yonas, Laura Porcza and Kieran Milton receive their awards from Professor Graham Galbraith

Mario Oliveros, Student Union Vice-President Welfare and Community, said: “Volunteering at the University covers so many different areas, from being a president of a society, fundraising through raising and giving, working for a local charity, running sports programmes for local schools or mentoring others– to name a few.

“Our volunteers also work across our Sports Development programmes making sure our students and staff have opportunities to try a range of sporting activities.

“This year the department of Sport and Recreation have supported more than 100 students in gaining nationally recognised qualifications and experience in a range of sports and activities. This had led to the delivery of more than 4300 hours of activities both within the University and wider community, which is an amazing achievement.”

Victoria Ray won Purple Door’s Outstanding Contribution Award for volunteering with Spurgeons charity at Winchester prison in the visitors centre, providing regular and additional shifts each month, training new volunteers and supporting on family visit days. Her commitment is outstanding and she has become an integral part of the volunteering team.

An Outstanding Contribution Award also went to Matt Cutter for his work developing futsal across the University and local community

Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith presented the Union’s Outstanding Contribution Awards, which were given to seven students. Recipients included Laura Porcza, for her incredible commitment to the Course Rep scheme, Waqar Younas for being one of the most dedicated volunteers in every area and Kieran Milton for his overall support to student opportunities.

Professor Galbraith said: “It is humbling to hear how many students choose to freely give their time and make such great contributions to University life and the local community. It is an honour to meet and thank such driven and busy individuals.”

This year there have been over 5500 students taking part in unpaid volunteering in sporting roles, one-day beach cleans, fundraising, reading schemes in local schools and skilled volunteering roles within third sector organisations.

This is the fourth year that the University and Students’ Union have joined forces to celebrate the achievements of students who volunteer their time and skills to the city.

The Student Volunteering Awards ceremony was part of the Union’s Celebration Week, which also included the student-led Teaching Awards, Student Activities and AU Awards Dinners, celebrating students’ extra-curricular achievements. Celebration Week was produced in-house by the Union’s Events Team with support from University of Portsmouth Catering.

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