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Students, staff and charities joined together in person for the first time in three years, to celebrate the achievements and contributions to society throughout the year and share their congratulations and pride.

The event recognised 84 University of Chester Volunteering (UCV) award winners. This award evidences a student’s commitment to volunteering, based on the hours they log, and also gives them an opportunity to record and reflect on their volunteer experience.

This year, students gave an impressive 8,461 hours to 112 organisations. The UCV Excellence Award, the highest award possible, was achieved by one inspirational student, who logged more than 500 hours for their good causes.

Winners and runner ups were also announced in the following categories which were designed to allow students, charities and University staff to celebrate outstanding volunteers:

  • Student’s Choice Award – Student volunteers were asked to nominate a charity they believe has provided them with an outstanding volunteer experience; one that has given them the chance to develop their skills through a flexible, exciting opportunity that allows them to make a difference. This year’s winner was DIAL West Cheshire, nominated by student Anthony Isiwele, who praised the organisation for taking their position of being a student into consideration and providing them with an “awesome” experience.
  • Charity’s Choice Award – For this award, linked charities were asked to nominate students who have gone above-and-beyond in their volunteer role. This year’s winner was Sophie Rice, for her exceptional work volunteering at Heswall Disabled Children’s Holiday Fund during the past five years. Nominating Sophie, Vinny Keating (from Heswall Disabled Children’s Holiday Fund) shared how Sophie “is calm, caring, and conscientious when providing one to one care… encourages others to have the highest standards in a positive and engaging way. Without Sophie's help we would not have been able to offer essential support.”

    Current student, Anna Jackson, was also welcomed as a guest speaker. A volunteer at Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club, Clatterbridge Cancer Support Centre, Hospice of the Good Shepherd and other organisations, Anna shared how their time volunteering has been a rewarding experience.

The event was also honoured to welcome the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Eunice Simmons, who was delighted to announce the first Highly Commended Volunteer Award. This award was designed to recognise volunteers who have displayed exceptional leadership, creativity, and a determination to bring change, welcome opportunities and make a difference.

The winners of this award were Cerith Pierce and Rhiannydd Stock, for their incredible delivery of the Welly Wednesdays student-led project. The pair gave a presentation, sharing their aim to “be mindful of the environment” and “to do what we can to bring people together and help nature thrive.”

Sian Owen and Katie Halliday also received this award for the creation, implementation, and delivery of the University’s newest student-led project; Get Talking.

Jo Morison, Volunteering and Mentoring Manager, said: “We are thrilled to be able once again to host our Volunteer Celebration event in person. There are so many students giving their time to the community, and this event allows us to celebrate and recognise our Citizen Students, awarding them but also thanking them for their time as a volunteer.

“We heard some incredible and inspiring stories during the event, and we are so grateful to those who helped to make this special event happen.”

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