The vinspired students project grant programme funded ten pilot projects in 2009/2010 to test and trial new ideas around student volunteering. The fund had three key themes:
- Enhancing good practice
- Tackling gaps and barriers
- Promoting innovation and growth
Projects were selected that could contribute to learning about student volunteering within one or more of these themes, and could create high quality volunteering opportunities for students. The projects supported were innovative in the ways they created and supported volunteering opportunities, and stimulated new ways for students and Higher Education Institutions to engage with the wider community.
The Pilot Project Fund was set up because the project's initial research showed that students, through their voluntary contributions to their communities, offer a huge potential resource for quality engagement between universities and the public.
The research identified the three pilot project themes which needed further exploration. By funding exploration of these themes the vinspired student project can promote innovation and test new ideas in student volunteering, advance its strategic learning on this topic, and help to embed it within the core culture of universities.
Our aim is that learning from these pilots provides evidence of the impact of volunteering on students, communities and institutions, and demonstrates the unique contribution that universities can make through the strategic management of volunteering.
Establishing community connections where both students and permanent residents volunteered together, to overcome growing community issues of 'studentification'.
i-Buddy is the realisation of a student's idea to create a more inclusive atmosphere within volunteering in the University of Plymouth, through the establishment of a 'buddying' scheme where students support each other to meet any particular needs they may have.
The project facilitated inter-disciplinary student volunteer teams who designed, developed and delivered innovative and exciting learning modules for primary school children at risk of disengaging with education. It is a collaboration between the university, schools and business supporters.
As part of the University of Derby's 'Two to the left, Two to the right' initiative, which encourages students to get to know their neighbours, the University of Derby Students Union (UDSU) set up a community fete in a joint venture with various local groups.
A student-led project to help the community express themselves in creative ways while gaining a sense of achievement, pride and confidence.
Community organisations working with sports clubs and societies of Warwick Students Union to develop community volunteering projects based around their activities.
Breaking down barriers between the elderly and local school children through student volunteer facilitated workshops, which focused on two-way communication of knowledge and life experience. A wide range of partner organisations were involved.
Post-graduate students in the School of Management volunteered with social enterprises as an innovative means of meeting learning outcomes and overcoming barriers to volunteering.
Students in the University of Bath led a feasibility study into the demand for and the practicalities of students and residents in the local community working together on the up-keep of student household gardens.