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Queen’s student volunteer: ‘I want to make the world a little happier’

Queen’s student Jo is volunteering through a local community group, offering friendship and delivering essential items to people who are self-isolating.

Our student volunteers may not be able to work on their usual volunteer projects due to lockdown, but many are focussing their efforts on helping the most vulnerable in society. 

Queen’s student Jo, 33, is volunteering informally in her local community.

“I am aware that not everyone has close family or friends nearby to help them, so I took it upon myself to reach out and offer assistance to those around me, particularly those who may be at ‘high risk’ to leave their homes right now, and offer them help,” says Jo. “I am a believer in the idea that if everyone looked out for one another, we would live in a happier world!”

During lockdown, Jo has been helping those around her, which includes: “Running errands to pick up local essentials and dropping them off at the person’s home, and generally talking to them to make sure that they are keeping okay,” she explains.

Jo - student volunteer

Jo, student volunteer

A life-long volunteer

Jo’s ‘usual’ volunteer work is similarly based around friendship and helping others. “I have been involved in various aspects of volunteering over the years. This experience just continues to enforce my passion for helping others.

“During my first year at Queen’s, I got involved volunteering within my local community, mainly helping run a weekly ‘friendship group’.

“This weekly group is run with the idea that it can help tackle the community’s social isolation and help people of all ages make new friends - and maybe bump into old friends!”

Jo’s Friendship Group has had to stop running amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but her life-long love of volunteering has not stopped.

Giving back

Among the many reasons Jo lists as to why she wanted to get into volunteering, she includes the Queen’s Lloyds Scholarship Programme.

“Through Queen’s,  I am lucky to be a part of the Lloyds Scholarship Programme and with their support (and with the support of the volunteering team at Queens), I was able to set my sights on giving back to my local community and help make a difference to the lives of others.

“Throughout my life, I have always been drawn to helping others and being involved in some aspect of volunteering to help others, or an animal, in need! I am naturally an altruistic person, and I gain a lot of satisfaction from making the world a little bit happier for someone else.”

Personal risk

Embedding herself in the local community during the pandemic, it not without its challenges, Jo admits.

“When out and about, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about picking up something. I think this is true for the majority of people right now; however, I am of the mindset that as long as I take as many precautions as I can, I should be relatively okay,” she adds.

It’s also been challenging juggling the work with her studies. “Managing my time for running errands, whilst juggling other home duties, I have found to be somewhat challenging at times,” she admits.

Adding: “However, it is very rewarding to know that my small actions are helping others feel a little less isolated and helpless for themselves! We’re all ‘in it’ together, after all.”

Are you a student interested in volunteering? Visit Volunteer SU