June Update: Staff Updates and Thoughts from Hub Manager, Fiona
It has been a month of wrapping up the year for Southampton Hub, and we have some important updates about staffing and a reflection from Fiona Walsh, our Southampton Hub Manager, on her time at Student Hubs.
A huge congratulations is in order for Sophie Ford, our current Youth Projects Officer, who is being promoted to Programmes Manager. Sophie has done an amazing job as part of our programmes this year and we didn’t want to let her go, so we’ve extended her contract for another year and she will be supporting Southampton Hub across 2019–20.
Our Hub Manager, Fiona Walsh, is also having a change of job. Fiona’s had a fantastic time as Southampton Hub Manager, but at the end of June will be moving on to work for another amazing charity called The Girls’ Network. We are sad to see Fiona go but thrilled for her and this exciting new opportunity.
We have taken the decision that Sophie’s role will have some of Fiona’s previous Hub Manager responsibilities merged within it, which means she will be the main member of staff supporting Southampton Hub next year.
If you have any questions about this change, do get in touch with Sophie, but otherwise it has been a pleasure for Fiona to lead Southampton Hub and she wishes all the volunteers the best of luck. You can find her on LinkedIn if you would like to keep in touch.
PS. If you are filling out any references, it’s best to include Sophie’s details for Southampton Hub and not Fiona’s!
Fiona’s Reflections as Southampton Hub Manager:
Before I leave the organisation, I wanted to share some thoughts and reflections I had from my time in post.
I joined Southampton Hub in late October in 2017, just before volunteering started for the year. It was a really exciting time to be joining Student Hubs, when everything is in full swing — and being in awe of how well Clara, our Southampton Hub Projects Officer at the time, handled it all!
I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many fantastic students, members of the University and local community, and of course the wonderful Student Hubs team as part of this role. There’s way too much to talk about in one blog post, so instead I wanted to focus on four main highlights and takeaways from my time at Student Hubs.
Students have the power and potential to shape a better world:
This is a key part of the Student Hubs vision and mission, and in my role I have definitely witnessed how much power and potential students have! It has been so wonderful to hear all the amazing things students have been doing as part of their volunteering, from debating clubs to tutoring to mentoring to collecting food waste.
Southampton Hub has delivered four programmes this year which were originally developed by students: Code Plus, Libraries Plus, BioCycle and new to this year, Invent Plus. These are great examples of projects where students have identified a real need and gone out there with support from us and met that need directly. You really do have so much power and potential to make change, so get out there and do it!
Our communities need us:
I’ve been lucky enough to support over 25 local partners as part of this job, and hearing them talk about all the ways students have supported them and their beneficiaries has been a real privilege. Here in Southampton, and in communities across the UK, people really do need our support. Volunteering such a small amount of time can make a huge difference, and mean a lot to a local area. So find ways to get involved as much as you can through voluntary groups and organisations, and go out and meet all the great people in your area.
Students should go see the Careers team — as soon as you can!
This is something I feel very strongly about as a hiring manager, as a person who works with students close to graduating, and as a former University of Southampton student. I went to go see Careers in my third year at the University and they were fantastic, they gave me so much support in ways I would have never thought to ask for. Their services are incredibly diverse and so valuable, and they are completely free for students and alumni, which is why I’m so passionate about telling students to use them (and I promise this isn’t an advert or sponsored post, I genuinely do believe this).
They’re based in Building 37 (opposite the Jubilee Sports Centre), and you can find information about what they offer online and on social media. So be brave and go make an appointment — I promise you that you won’t regret it.
Volunteering always has a place in our lives:
Before I started this job, I didn’t do any other volunteering. I had previously volunteered at various times in my life, at my local library, as part of Schools Plus in its very first stage at Southampton Hub, but not since graduating. However the longer I spent with the fantastic team at Student Hubs, many of whom do volunteer in various ways, I realised that it was important.
Volunteering has so many benefits: feeling fulfilled, being connected to the local community, meeting new people, developing skills. I wanted those things in my life outside of my job, so I started volunteering at a local youth club once a week. It has been so lovely to work with young people in my community and meet a brand new group of volunteers that I never would have met otherwise. So no matter what I end up doing in the future or where I go after Student Hubs, I’m still going to volunteer, and I think all of our students should continue to do so too.
I hope you take some of those words on board and it really has been a pleasure to work with you all as part of Southampton Hub. Good luck for the future and I wish you the best of luck with your future journeys — wherever it may take you!