Delivering our civic commitment through student volunteering

The University’s Student Volunteering programme continues to be a significant part of our civic engagement and partnership working with local voluntary and residents’ organisations. Students as volunteers work with over 700 partners across the city region. From addressing homelessness to greening up alleyways, the University is proud of the work our students do with partners across Greater Manchester.

Our students volunteer with a range of community organisations such as Withington Assist, residential groups such as Withington Civic Society and Friends groups such as Friends of Whitworth Park and Friends of Ladybarn Park.

Withington Assist is a neighbourhood care group serving older people in Withington and Fallowfield, providing a range of support services and activities for older people designed to help them continue to live independent, active and fulfilling lives. Throughout the years we have held Volunteer Days with Assist, most recently in February 2024 with a group of student volunteers helping out at an afternoon tea event. Students also volunteered at an Assist Christmas lunch and coffee group, where they served refreshments and helped with the raffle. Assist also recruits student volunteers via Volunteer Hub for a range of roles and activities, including befrienders; event support for group days out where Assist has provided students with wheelchair support training; and its digital drop-in, where students are paired with an older person to help them to use their technology. This includes help with using their smart phone or booking a doctor’s appointment online.

Its not only local community groups that our students work with. Since 2006, they have worked with Manchester City Council’s Neighbourhood Teams, especially the South Neighbourhood Team (covering the Fallowfield, Old Moat and Withington wards) and the Central Neighbourhood Team (covering the Moss Side, Rusholme, Ardwick, Hulme, Longsight and Levenshulme wards).

The University and our students have an impact on all these wards as the University is either physically based in them, or a high density of students live in them. Throughout the years we have held a range of Volunteer Days in partnership with the MCC Neighbourhood Teams. For example, in late 2021 the Council had 40,000 spring bulbs to plant across the city. We therefore worked in partnership with the Council to hold a series of ‘Bulb Blitzes’ across many of the wards, with a great number of our students helping to plant the bulbs.

The University’s Big Volunteer Day has been held in partnership with Manchester City Council for the past few years. In 2022, 167 students volunteered on a wide variety of environmental activities in Moss Side and Hulme. On the 14 February this year, students volunteered to green up alleyways, residential areas and community gardens in Fallowfield.  In addition to cleaning up the alleys ways the teams hosted a visit from leaders from Delft University, who are developing their own civic engagement strategy.

From supporting homeless charities to alley tidy ups the University is proud of the work our students do with partners across Greater Manchester.