Discovery welcomes new director and new term of student volunteering

Discovery, the Swansea University student volunteering charity, is welcoming a new term of activities with a new director at the helm. Eleanor Norton who recently took up her post says she is looking forward to a packed programme of student volunteering this term.

Eleanor, who has a background in the not-for-profit sector, said: “I joined Discovery last term while the charity was celebrating its 50th anniversary year and was pleased find high levels of engagement amongst our students. In the autumn term alone we had 160 active volunteers and recruited a further 140 new volunteers who worked with our 29 student project co-ordinators and recorded more than 2,460 hours of volunteering.”

All Discovery volunteers attend mandatory training and complete an enhanced DBS check before volunteering and some volunteers can also attend additional training where appropriate. They can volunteer in any of four main volunteering areas:

  • Involve which supports vulnerable adults, including supporting people with additional needs to get involved with activities or to volunteer themselves.  It also includes supporting older members of the community, particularly those who may be isolated.
  • Inspire which supports children and young people and volunteers can support a buddy reading scheme or young people affected by autism.  The can also work at Sketty Park Youth Group, or with child refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Interact which focuses on improving the environment and activities include litter picks, serving surplus food meals to vulnerable community members and working on gardening and decorating projects
  • International which centres on the Swansea Siavonga Partnership, a community work project based in Siavonga in Zambia.

Discovery infographicVolunteers can also choose to work directly with a range of Swansea based projects run by other organisations which also help support children and young people, adults with additional needs or focuses on the environment.

It’s not just the students that are getting involved but staff too. The University has recently introduced a Staff Volunteering Policy as part of its commitment to community and wellbeing, where staff can volunteer with Discovery for up to two days each year.

Eleanor said: “Although the community benefits from their volunteering, the student themselves benefit as they have new experiences and opportunities which can help with their personal development. And as we look ahead to the news term we have a number of events planned for our students to get involved with.”

During the Spring term, Discovery have pledged to hold a wide range of activities for the community, including Supporting Community Social Groups.  In February, Discovery will host a Valentine’s Community Meal at Bay Campus including tours of the campus for local residents. 

Discovery will cooperate with primary schools across Swansea, by introducing a Buddied Reading Scheme and provide days out for vulnerable children. Every Friday, Discovery will be hosting quizzes for the elderly at a local sheltered housing from 1.30pm to 4.40 pm. There will also be the opportunity for older people to join weekly tango taster sessions while youngsters in St Thomas can join a youth group.

Updates on activities can be found on Discovery’s Facebook page

Eleanor said: “Discovery students work very hard in the communities they serve and are very positive role models.  They represent a very different side to student life than the clichés embodied in the ‘typical’ student stereotypes and I am very proud of the example they set to other young people as well as the community as a whole.”

More information about volunteering can be found here

Partner-led projects include

  • Bikeability
  • Brynmill Buddies,
  • Circus Eruption
  • COP training
  • Down to Earth
  • English Language Drop In
  • EYST
  • Friendship House
  • Remember Me
  • Surfability
  • Swansea Ethnic Youth Support Team homework club
  • Talking Hands
  • The Vetch
  • Unity in Diversity