Published on November 11, 2013 | by Ellen Thomas


UAL students reluctant to volunteer

Volunteers at an American veterinary partnership

Volunteers prepare a cat for surgery at a veterinary civic action project [flickr: Commander]

UAL students are less likely to take part in volunteering activities than their counterparts at other London universities.

The students’ union believes that one of the main reasons for UAL not offering a volunteering programme was “due to a lack of funding and a lack of resources”.

Rosie Black, the activities and volunteering representative for SUARTS, says students are discouraged from giving up their time: “Although we will always offer our support to any students that chose to volunteer, it is difficult for us to offer a specific programme as it is low on the student list of priorities.

“Most students prefer our focus to be on creative opportunities as volunteering for free is not as practical as being paid.”

The situation at UAL is in sharp contrast to other London universities like Westminster, whose students committed 30,000 hours to volunteering in 2012.


King’s College Hospital has 750 volunteers from inside and outside the university who work at least three hours per week as community volunteers, ward visitors or hospital guides.

Peter Blackwell is the London director of Reach Out, a Dalston-based mentoring charity that focuses on disadvantaged young people with the aim of helping them get into university or full-time employment.

He has called for more British students, especially men, to donate some of their time: “It is hugely important to offer young people help and support and although we have a good student response from international students, we need to focus on recruiting more British students.

“We need more students to become committed volunteers. This means donating at least an hour a week of their time and not just once every three weeks, as that can be seen as superficial,” he said. “To do this we really need support from universities to encourage their students to give back to their own communities and help give some young people a push in the right direction that they need”

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