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Cash boost for community projects from University Fellowship scheme

Published: 
15 February 2006

Tackling anti-social behaviour, giving local artists a chance to exhibit their work and taking music to elderly people in care homes are just some of the ways the University of Southampton is helping to give something back to the local community through volunteering as it announces its Community Fellowship Awards for 2006.

Recipients of this year's Fellowships will gather at the John Hansard Gallery on the University's Highfield campus at 12.15pm on Wednesday 22 February for a cheque presentation ceremony. Professor Caroline Thomas, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University, will be joined at the ceremony by Alan Whitehead MP, and Councillor Edwina Cooke, the Right Worshipful Mayor of Southampton. The event coincides with national Student Volunteering Week (20 - 26 February).

The purpose of the Fellowships is to forge closer links between the University and the local community through volunteering. The scheme has so far offered opportunities for over 500 student and staff volunteers to get involved with different projects which directly benefit local people and groups. Since they began in 2003, over £50,000 of funding has been awarded to 33 projects.

This year, the £12,000 a year Fellowship scheme is supporting a new project to improve the environment around the Violet Road area of Swaythling by clearing a local footpath and creating a mural in conjunction with the John Hansard Gallery. The project has already been highly praised by Home Office Minister Paul Goggins MP. Another new project will see teddy bear clinics run in primary schools, in which University medical students will help young children understand the medical world through play.

Projects which continue to receive support include Heartstart, where students from the School of Medicine teach young people in schools and other youth and community groups the vital skills to save lives, and Friends of Fernhill, which sees student volunteers lead fortnightly music sessions in care homes for residents with dementia.

Richard Kennett, Head of the University's Outreach and Partnership Team, says: "There is no doubt that volunteering helps to build bridges between communities and local organisations such as universities. This University's involvement with local communities helps our staff and students to gain new perspectives, enables students to develop employment skills, and most importantly helps to enhance the quality of life in sometimes disadvantaged sections of the community."

Notes for editors

  1. You are invited to attend the cheque presentation ceremony at 12.15pm on Wednesday 22 February when there will be an opportunity to take photographs and talk to the organisations and volunteers present about their projects. If you would like to attend, please contact Sue Wilson in Media Relations on 023 8059 5457.
  2. The ten projects receiving University Community Fellowship Awards in 2006 are:

    * Artvaults 2006 - a space
    * Violet Road clean up and arts project - Community Safety
    * Music in care homes - Friends of Fernhill
    * First Impressions - John Hansard Gallery
    * Southampton Teddy Bear Hospital - Medsin, University of Southampton Medical School
    * Educational project based on Jason and the Argonauts - The Nuffield Theatre
    * Enhancing Partnerships with Parents (focus group discussion days: children with difficult behaviour) - University of Southampton School of Psychology
    * A Support and Information Centre for people living with HIV - The Ribbons Centre
    * Heartstart - University of Southampton Medical School
    * Supported Volunteering Scheme - Solent Youth Action

    For more details about individual projects, please contact Kate Smith, Volunteer Activity Coordinator, on 023 8059 8484.
  3. The Community Fellowships have been made possible by the Higher Education Active Community Fund (HEACF) and are administered by the University's Educational Development Service.
  4. The University of Southampton is one of the UK's top 10 research universities, with a global reputation for excellence in both teaching and research. With first-rate opportunities and facilities across a wide range of subjects in science and engineering, health, arts and humanities, the University has around 20,000 students and 5000 staff at its campuses in Southampton and Winchester. Its annual turnover is in the region of £274 million.
    Southampton is recognised internationally for its leading-edge research in engineering, science, computer science and medicine, and for its strong enterprise agenda. It is home to world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton; the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research; the Optoelectronics Research Centre; the Textile Conservation Centre; the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease; and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.

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