Ever thought about volunteering during your time at Sheffield Hallam University? If so, read on; if not, read on anyway and I’m pretty sure you’ll change your mind…

20-year-old Richard Owen is the Fundraising Officer for volunteering at Sheffield Hallam University. He is currently in his final year and is as enthusiastic as ever about his role in the volunteering sector.

Richard, who is studying Events Management, realised his passion for helping others a few years ago when he raised £2,500 for the charity “Children with Leukaemia”

“The money we raised went towards research in to childhood leukaemia and welfare projects that help minimise stress for the children and their families.”

After weeks of raffles, quizzes and prize draws to raise money for the charity, Richard and his fellow volunteers were flown to Africa for three weeks to work with the local community.

“It gave me such an insight in to the world. I felt ashamed at the easiness of my life when I saw children of three or four walking miles every day just for clean water.”

Keen to continue his quest to help others when he began university, Richard became a project leader for the Time Travellers scheme in Sheffield.

“I went to the Freshers’ Fair in my first week at uni and asked to get involved. From that moment on I felt like part of the team.”

The Time Travellers project involved Richard and his team visiting various primary schools around the city and teaching the children about the ancient Romans and Greeks. This was just the start of his volunteering life in Sheffield.

His second year of university saw Richard becoming a Project Representative, attending children’s project meetings and answering any queries or questions the volunteers had.

“This was a learning curve for me because I had a responsibility to my colleagues as well as to charity.”

Since starting his final year in September 2010, Richard has been nominated as Fundraising Officer and was responsible for organising “Smash It”, where students were invited to eat as many doughnuts as possible in one minute, see how long they could keep their hands in ice, and get involved with many other fun activities. This event, and “Hallam’s Got Talent,” managed to raise £1,100 for the small grants fund that helps to pay for volunteering projects at the university.

Richard said he “couldn’t possibly imagine” his time at Sheffield Hallam without being part of the volunteering sector. He spoke excitedly of the confidence he had built, the friends he had made, the communication skills he had learnt and the sheer pride he felt on the completion of each project.

After graduating, Richard intends to continue his volunteering and would like to become a fundraising manager, and after seeing his passion for helping others I have full faith in his ability to achieve such status.

No experience is required in order to become a volunteer at university. In fact, if you are interested in getting involved you can find information about various upcoming events in Sheffield on the volunteering section of Hallam Union’s website

From climbing Kilimanjaro to help provide Eastern Africa with a stable water supply, to attending the St Luke’s Starlight walk, the list is endless. Those boring, summer days when all your friends are at work could be filled with fun activities like these – and in return you are invited to attend the annual ball thrown at Hallam union to thank all volunteers.

For more information contact any of the following:

r.ripley@shu.ac.uk ( Richard Ripley-Volunteer Support Worker)
c.musgrove@shu.ac.uk (Charley Musgrove-Volunteer Support Worker)
lisa.spink@shu.ac.uk (Lisa Spink-Community Volunteering)

or call 0114 225 5005