University of Nottingham honours inspirational volunteers


November 4th, 2019

The University of Nottingham has recognised the outstanding voluntary efforts of a number of alumni and residents at its annual Supporter Reception this week.

From increasing awareness of the positive impact sport can have on student mental health, to raising thousands of pounds for the University’s Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, volunteers are at the heart of the University’s student experience and research initiatives.

Over 800 alumni and community volunteers contributed time over the last academic year, with 27 different individuals or groups recognised in the Volunteer Awards which were introduced by the University Vice-Chancellor Shearer West.

This year’s Alumni Volunteer of the Year is Emily Seto (Clinical Microbiology, 2016), one of the University’s most passionate ambassadors despite her busy job working for NASA. She inspires both students and recent graduates through her roles as a student recruitment ambassador and careers speaker.

For the first time ever, the University’s Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to two winners, both of whom have made an outstanding contribution in the area of University Sport. Martin Austin was recognised for giving over 350 hours to coach the University’s Wheelchair Basketball Club over the past three years. Sharing the honour is Stephen Hadfield, who has been volunteering as an instructor in the Sub Aqua society for many years and regularly gives up his time to personally ensure students get to complete their diving courses.

The University also continues to honour its invaluable community volunteers; the Music and Memories Choir received the first Community Volunteer Group Award for helping people with dementia and their carers to fully participate in a singing group led by professional musicians – several members also featured in the recent BBC documentary ‘Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure”. Valentine Nkoyo, a local anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaigner received this year’s individual Community Volunteer Award for her ongoing support of the University’s Rights Lab and for helping provide over 20 internships for students.

This year’s Special Recognition Award goes to Emily Smith, who was named as ”one of the top 50 disabled leaders in work and education” – and regularly gives her time to teach student nurses and promote inclusion and widening participation.

With so many members of University staff playing an instrumental role in managing volunteers, the awards have been extended to recognise them as well. Dr Martha Jones received the inaugural Volunteer Co-ordinator Award for her tireless co-ordination of alumni volunteers in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Rachael Green, University of Nottingham Head of Volunteering said: “Our volunteers are the lifeblood of so much of the University’s activity, giving their time, energy and inspiration for the benefit of others. Volunteers, including our local community and global alumni community, are incredibly generous with their time and their support helps current students, researchers and fellow alumni be the best they can.”

Other winners include:

  • Yasmin Ali (Chemical Engineering, 2010), for supporting University STEM projects and Engineering students
  • Ed Tarlton (Psychology, 2011) for spreading awareness of the University’s Men’s Health Active scheme
  • Aymun Khan (Mechanical Engineering, 2019) for supporting UoN Disability Sport
  • Jenny Ireland and Jo Horsey for their tireless efforts in the University’s Medical School
  • Jan Perret MBE for continuing to support the University’s Manuscripts and Special Collections team with a variety of archival projects
  • Reverend Jenny Hills for leading on the coordinator of community reading initiatives in partnership with the School of English
  • David Waldram for his efforts in support of the University’s Institute of Mental Health
  • Friends of Impact CBTRC – for their longstanding efforts as community fundraising group for the University’s Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC)

The University of Nottingham has a number of volunteering opportunities which are open to both alumni and non-alumni. For more information, visit the University’s volunteering web pages.

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