Richmond students have been researching a chosen issue in the London community and the work of an organisation operating in the area as part of their “Transitions: London Calling” first year course. Now they are proving themselves to be active citizens by developing a wide range of transferable skills in order to help others in many different ways. Read their stories below.
Georgios Argyros – Befriender at St George’s hospital
“I have started my service learning at St. George’s Hospital almost a month ago and I belong in a team of 300 volunteers across the Trust. I volunteer as a befriender and my main role is to keep company to patients who have no visitors. I can confirm, from personal experience, how lonely hospitals can be. Therefore, I am very thankful I got the chance through Transitions to give something back to the local community and most importantly make some people feel that they are not alone.”
Srna Petrovic St Elizabeth’s Homeless lunches
Volunteering at the homeless lunches at the local, St. Elizabeth’s church, was a beyond positive experience. Trying to connect and talk with them was the hardest part of the volunteering since not all of them wanted to interact with volunteers. However, once you get their attention it was lovely talking to them and hearing their stories. Moreover, by the end of volunteering, quite a lot of them were thankful for the attention that they got from volunteers.
Natalya von Gaisberg Royal Academy of Arts
Since January 2016, I am a Friends Experience Volunteer at the Royal Academy of Arts, one of the UK’s leading art institutions.
I work at the Friends Information Desk as part of a small team to provide a friendly welcome and general information about the exhibitions. The volunteers at the Royal Academy are ambassadors for the institution by giving directions and demonstrating knowledge of the Guided Tours and Gallery Talks.
Volunteering at the Royal Academy of Arts enables me to pursue my passions but simultaneously being flexible and creative regarding how to manage difficult situations as well as working in a team. It is a unique, venerable and exciting place in the heart of London and as an art lover, I feel honoured to be part of the RA.
Francesco Rampolla – Cancer Research
As stated by the economist Andy Haldane, there is a “hidden engine of the British economy- its volunteers”.  Among these fifteen million volunteers, there are forty thousand who lend their time to Cancer Research UK, hoping to improve the situation of cancer in the country. I am one of them!
 “Volunteer Nation.” BBC Radio 1. BBC, 20 Dec. 2015. Web. 26 Mar. 2016
Nayan Gurung and Tina Atat – working in a charity boutique for Mary’s Living and Giving, Richmond
“For me, volunteering in Mary’s Living and Giving Shop was life-changing experience. It was my first volunteering job in a charity shop, and made me to realize that I need to change direction of my life, and work to be the voice for children. Everyone was very friendly and I soon felt like another member of the group. I have learned new skills, improved my CV and met new people. I am so lucky that I had an opportunity to take part in this project. There is no doubt in my mind that volunteer work is extremely beneficial, and I will definitely volunteer there again. ” Tina Atat
‘I volunteer at Mary’s Living and Giving shop in Richmond; it is a charity boutique shop, which sells high-end clothing and accessories new and old. The majority of the work we do is retail based, but we also research brands and manage social media platforms. I have also had the opportunity to help out at charity events, fashion shows and charity balls. 100% of the profits go to the charity Save the Children. I have learnt a lot from volunteering at Mary’s living and giving. As well as basic practical skills such as till work and steaming clothes, it has also helped me take a greater initiative, take on more responsibilities and leadership roles. Another huge benefit has been that I have had the opportunity to make wider connections from both my colleagues and the customers.’ Nayan Gurung
Paige Prior and Mary Sullivan – Musical event in Twickenham to raise money for SANE and Children in Need
“For my Transition course I had to participate in a service learning project or ‘volunteering’ task within my community. Being a Theatre major I jumped at the chance to host a Charity Music Concert displaying some of the most talented up and coming artist of the community. I had the pleasure of inviting such artists as Ana Louise to come and perform after recently releasing her latest EP on Spotify and ITunes alongside other performers such as Dominic Harrison and Haymisha Francis who both were brilliant enough to take the time to come and raise money for some wonderful charities. The event took place at the Turk’s Head in Twickenham and raised just over £870 in total. All our equipment, venue and performers were free so as to raise as much money as we could for our chosen charities SANE and Children In Need. SANE being an incredibly devoted charity to helping fight the stigma of mental illness and Children In Need to provide a better childhood for those all across the world. I enjoyed the experience immensely, the chance to do something like this was an incredible opportunity to be handed and I’m very grateful to everyone who bought tickets, donated and attended the event. I learnt a great deal about the industry that I wish to enter and much about the organisation process that it takes to pull off something like that. It was really the perfect opportunity and I’m glad I had the chance to participate in this course.” Paige Prior
Radomir Codreanu – Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham – art activities with local children
Laura Engel – buddying a girl with learning difficulties for Richmond Aid
I’ve never been in for an interview before, so it was really great to get the feel of one. I learned about the charity and how they will be placing me with a young disabled person. I also learned about the health safety rules of the project. I think after a few more sessions with my buddy, I will be better at being around people with disabilities and know the right things to say and how to handle bad situations.
Michael Chen – Carmelite priory church in Kensington – helping at a soup kitchen for the homeless
“People who have failed seek for another chance. As a student majoring in business management, when I have my own company, I will give chances to those who would do anything in order to get back on their feet.
From my experience, people tend to think that Asians are cold people who never volunteer or help other people. Hopefully, I proved that they are wrong, and that they will start to get rid of this stereotype.”
Alexia Celio –Museum steward at Fulham Place
As a museum steward I have learnt all the main features of the palace and its current restoration project and brief history of the palace and the Bishops of London who lived there for the last few centuries. We received many visitors who also had many enquiries about the Palace’s history. I was able to answer several questions although I am still not aware of all that there is to know as it will take time and hard work. .I am very happy and pleased for the staff that works in Fulham Palace: they are extremely helpful and nice to all of us volunteers.