Dedication to Volunteering Award 2020

This award goes to an individual or group who has demonstrated a positive attitude and stands out from others. They will have shown a high level of commitment, enthusiasm and a passion volunteering while representing that activity in a positive way.  

The winner is...

Ben Nixon 

During Ben’s time at the University of Plymouth, he’s accumulated over 2000 hours of community volunteering (1,100+ this year alone) and continues to push and develop himself in all aspects of his work. Ben volunteers with St John Ambulance where he provides medical care at events across the city and wider region. As well as a ‘front line’ clinical role, he holds a vital role on the Unit Management Team, training and developing new volunteers to be competent but also confident in their own skills and abilities. 

Ben can often be found on events actively engaging with members of the public and mentoring/guiding volunteers with less experience, frequently giving support in all aspects of St John. In addition to this, he constantly tries to develop his own ability, pushing his personal development. Through Ben’s dedication, the latest cohort of new volunteers were operational within two months of applying, the quickest turn around the unit has ever had 

From his professional conduct and the working relationship’s he’s built, the unit frequently receives feedback from events which he supports, including one who commented she always feels at ease when she knows Ben is among the team providing medical cover as she knows work will be to a high and professional standard Ben also finds time to volunteer with the Royal Air Force Air Cadets working with and helping develop the younger generation, often pushing them out of their comfort zones and boosting their self-confidence. He actively promotes the aims of the Corps ‘To foster the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship useful in the Services and civilian life’ and this can be seen from the devotion he gives to all elements of his volunteering. 

 


The following were shortlisted for this award, read more about what they’ve achieved this year: 
 

University of Plymouth Tennis Club

This year the University of Plymouth Tennis Club (UPTC) have been involved in a range of volunteering events including; helping out with bucket collections for Devon Mind at Drake Circus and Plymouth Argyle (raising over £460), helping with the Christmas Food Bank collection and running their first tennis session with the Special Olympics Plymouth & District (SOPD). The club recognises the benefits of volunteering in showing community spirit, increasing self confidence and the impact on individual’s mental and physical health of coming together and doing good for others

Following the success of the first session with the SOPD a further five sessions were planned that were unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but this has not deterred them and next year they hope to carry on building their relationship with the charity and encouraging other clubs to get involved. People with an intellectual (Learning) disability are often excluded and isolated from society, and sport is a powerful way to ensure this changes. SOPD rely on individuals, just like UPTC members, giving up their time to volunteer and help run the sessions every Wednesday to help provide the activities for those involved.

 


Timmy Ajibode 

This year Timmy has dedicated his time towards improving the lives of University of Plymouth students by volunteering in a range of roles that cover multiple aspect of the student experience. As the International Students Part-Time Officer, Timmy has “stepped up to allow the voice of international students be heard” by realising his manifesto points, creating opportunities and allowing better transition by creating trips.  

"He has been very active in volunteering in this regard by being vocal and also echoing the voices that might have been previously unheard” 

Timmy has also volunteered with the Give it a Go scheme, encouraging students to try new activities without the commitment of signing up. His leadership and management skills have been praised ensuring the success of these sessions and his personality has shone through making the sessions not only well run but also fun. 

 


Plymouth Marrow 

This year Plymouth Marrow have raised an incredible £10,500+ while also raising awareness for the importance of their cause. One of their main aims this year was to increase collaborations by volunteering in different student groups, including clubs and societies, to increase awareness of the work that Plymouth Marrow do, what they’re working towards and why. They’ve teamed up with over 15 different groups this year alone and have acted as positive role models to all around them. 

 


Nikolaos Arkoulis 

Nikolaos volunteers with six organisations: Advice Plymouth, Victim Support, British Red Cross, Circles South West, Citizens Advice Witness Service and Devon and Cornwall Police. In all his roles he cultivates his volunteering skills and shows his enthusiasm and commitment to building something larger. 

His vast range of roles require a huge number of different skills and personal qualities. With Advice Plymouth, Nikolaos signposts people to information on topics such as debt and benefits. In his role at Victim Support he is trained to help victims to overcome the physiological effects of crime. He helps people affected by loneliness to improve their confidence with the Red Cross. Nikolaos also works with the Police to monitor offenders’ safe reintegration into the community and with the Citizens Advice Witness Service supports witnesses with the emotional effects of testifying in Court. 

“Nikolaos apart from an excellent student is also an amazing volunteer, professional, and leader. In whichever activity he has engaged this year has further developed his communication, teamwork, problem-solving and interpersonal skills.” 

“He is adaptable and works well under pressure. He also explains the court processes and legal terminologies in a clear and understandable way, which demonstrates exceptional knowledge of the subject.” 

Nikolaos is described by those who’ve nominated as “an amazing volunteer, professional, and leader”