Students from the University of Leeds volunteered their time in March 2012 to work in local community projects. This was part of the Leeds Enterprise Centre’s CSR in Action project, sponsored by Santander.
The Community Projects involved were The Growing Zone, Holbeck in Bloom and Wyke Beck Valley Pride who presented their CSR policies to students in early February. Students were then able to choose which project they volunteered with.
Ten students volunteered with the Growing Zone; an allotment project in Kippax for both adults and children with special needs who are given the opportunity to engage in gardening projects and have access to a sensory garden. This allows the group to mix with people from the wider community, increasing their confidence and breaking down barriers. Students volunteered in the garden, potting plants and painting walls.
The Holbeck in Bloom community project is aimed at regenerating the area during its stage of transition. Three students volunteered cutting back over-grown vegetation, digging and weeding and helped to improve the communal green space in this area.
A further ten students also volunteered with Wyke Beck Valley Pride, a collaborative project with Leeds Ahead, Leeds City Council, BTCV, Groundwork, Leeds Voice and the Wyke Beck Valley Forum. The project engages deprived communities around this area to encourage active participation, lifelong interest and pride in their local environment. Student volunteers planted trees and a donation was made to aid the creation of a ‘Friends of’ group to ensure the work is continued.
The volunteering opportunities benefitted the community projects and local residents, as well as the students themselves who were able to gain new skills, make contacts with high-profile organizations and increase their employability.
“The CSR in Action Day was truly rewarding. The fact that fellow students and Associates from Grant Thornton and Santander joined forces, demonstrated our shared vision in benefiting our local community. This truly made the Growing Zone project a success.“
Letetia King (LLB Law finalist)
“It has been a fantastic opportunity to take part in such a worthwhile cause that has no doubt allowed me to develop many skills whilst also being able to give something back to the community.Thank You.” Iram Hasan
The volunteering day was followed up with a celebratory lunch time event on the 27th March during which the projects were presented with their cheques. Staff from the projects, Leeds Ahead, Santander and Leeds Enterprise Centre were in attendance. As a thank you for the voluntary work, the Growing Zone kindly donated two pear trees; one to the University and the other to Santander which were accepted and planted during a ceremony on the 10th July.
For more information on this year’s CSR in Action project, or to find out about and sign up for next year’s, please see the Undergraduate Module Catalogue.