(Nominations close Sunday 10th November, 11.59pm)
The Community Outreach Award took us by storm. When we decided to apply the application the deadline was merely days away but we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to improve ourselves and demonstrate what we could do for the community if we won. Personally, I had never done a video application before and was excited at the prospect of creating something that could capture what Bristol Hub meant in 2 minutes. Our first thought was people. Everything we are and do is for the people in our community and for the students who help us make those small changes into a big difference. It seemed safe to say that our volunteers should be the one to get our message across. The enthusiasm our team gave towards coming in for the recordings was inspirational and I couldn’t have been happier with the result that came from it.
When we got shortlisted we were overjoyed! Coming to London to show Bright Network, companies and other societies our work was the highlight of my week! Bright Networks truly outdid themselves with the event - phenomenal food, excellent company and a great chance to meet like-minded people who wanted to make a difference in all sorts of creative ways. Personally, meeting individuals from different universities all looking to improve the lives of others really warmed my heart. I particularly enjoyed meeting the University of Oxford African and Caribbean Society, it was really interesting hearing about their reach to the younger generation and encouraging them to apply for university, if it was part of their dream. The impact we all bring to the next generation can encourage and make our society a better place in the future and I was happy to hear these steps had been made in other cities outside of Bristol.
I can safely say that winning the award took the Bristol Hub team by surprise as the competition, the RAG society at Warwick and the African and Caribbean society at Oxford were themselves strong candidates. It was amazing to hear our names being called and realise that our impact could grow and flourish. The money we won has been dedicated to one of our current concerns: the gender imbalance among volunteers. At Bristol, as well as many other places, there are significantly more female volunteers than male volunteers. This is an issue we wanted to tackle because we wanted to ensure that everyone understands that they can volunteer and have something to offer, and we wanted to ensure that young people in our local community had strong male role models.
Consequently, our next step is our men in volunteering campaign. This will involve a series of events, such as our video case studies. These will be of current and past male volunteers, talking about their experiences, why they got into volunteering, how it has benefited them. This will then, in turn, be displayed around university to encourage men to become curious about volunteering opportunities. We were also inspired by some of the presentations from other societies at Bright Network, and from this decided to organise a volunteering mingle and bring in males within Bristol who have inspired us with their voluntary work and their continued work in the charity sector now. This hopefully will encourage male students to sign up and bring their own expertise to the table. Long-term this could increase our community impact creating positive male role models for our local community, and as we always say: small changes make a big difference.
Winning this award has given us the opportunity to widen our impact in our local community and we would like to thank those at Marsh and McLennan and Bright Network for understanding our vision, what we do and helping us to bring this into more people’s lives. We look forward to showing everyone what happens next at Bristol Hub and sharing how our students are making their mark on the local community in Bristol.
By Sorcha Young
Bristol Hub Brand Ambassador