As a new member of Bristol Hub, I wanted to share my previous experience with social action and show my journey. Through this blog, I wanted to explain how my social action journey has evolved, reflect on my different volunteering experiences and share what my next steps will be,
Starting with my experience with Bristol Hub, I found Bristol Hub through the City Challenges set up by the University of Bristol; a great way to be involved with volunteering if you have the odd few hours spare. Our role, as a group of students, was to offer solutions on how to increase Bristol Hubs engagement with students. I became initially involved to complete volunteering hours for the Bristol-PLUS award, which is also a great way to initiate volunteering opportunities as sets a time frame to complete such experiences. Each City Challenge is unique, involving different community organisations which is a key reason why I enjoy them. These spaces help solve problems community organisations may be facing, through the input of students. A key takeaway was definitely taking on the challenge with other students; I was therefore able to develop my problem solving skills within a group environment, indirectly enhancing my teamwork skills.
Other volunteering experiences I was involved in under the PLUS award included volunteering at the St Peters Hospice Shop in Clifton. I specifically enjoy meeting different members of the community, taking donations, whilst also spreading my love of second-hand and sustainable fashion. This was a great way to contribute to the community, in a consistent, long term way. Volunteer opportunities like this are easy to join either by applying online or simply going into the shop itself, making them very accessible.
My social action journey, however, started before university. My first exposure to social action came as a pretty simple one, litter picking around my local community during 6th form. Covid gave me, as well as many other people, a lot more free time. To fill this time I would litter pick around my local area, as I took my dog for walks. This was a pretty simple task, but allowed me to also talk to others along my way to explain what I was doing and how they could do it too. This helped me better understand my community and the struggles many face; pushing me to want to be involved with more community organisations such as St Peters Hospice as mentioned above. Alongside this, I also canvassed during the 2021 local elections, mainly talking to students about voter registration. This was a great way to involve myself in my community.
My social action journey has supported me in other areas of my life. I can now more confidently speak to new people and I am more willing to sign up to new things and try different experiences. This has made me more self-assured. When I look back on these experiences, it’s easy to say I wish I had done them sooner, but I do. They allowed me to be involved with my community in a very simple way.
For the future, I want to now be involved in more fundraising and campaigning, to allow my transferable skills to expand. This will help share volunteer and other social action experiences on a wider scale. As I now enter the Bristol Hub committee as the Student to Inspire coordinator, I hope to develop these skills and gain experience for future employment opportunities. Overall, these social action experiences have made me more confident and self-assured in speaking to new people. I now have more willingness to be involved in my community beyond volunteering.
If you would like to start your social action journey, please look at the opportunities through Bristol Hub, or via the Bristol Students Union. If you wish to share your social action journey with others, pop me an email!