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The City of York celebrated the achievements of student volunteers at the annual Higher York Student Volunteering Awards. Students from York College, Askham Bryan College, the University of York and York St John University came together at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall to receive awards for their commitment and dedication to voluntary work in the local area.

Higher York Volunteering Awards Whole group 2WEB

York’s Civic Party, along with representatives from local voluntary organisations and York’s colleges and universities, joined them for their celebrations. BBC Look North’s Harry Gration compered the proceedings.

The voluntary work that hundreds of students in York take up alongside their studies has a huge impact on the local community. Last year student volunteers gave at least 75,000 hours of their time, equating to over £500,000 if they were paid the minimum wage. The award winners contributed to a wide range of voluntary projects, including delivering music workshops for people with dementia, mentoring young people, and providing night-time welfare and safety support in the city centre.

Jake Fletcher (aged 23), studies the Foundation Degree in Community and Public Services at York College and volunteers with St Catherine’s Hospice in Pickering. He said: “ I felt highly honoured when I found out I would receive an award for my volunteering. My advice to anybody would be to volunteer within your local community as it is very rewarding.”

Higher York Volunteering Awards 2015 York College picWEB

Sarah Bayes, Manager of St Catherine’s Hospice Shop in Pickering said: “Jake volunteers in St Catherine’s Hospice Shop, his main job is to work on the till serving customers and processing gift aid items. Working under the instruction of the shop manager, he also works well alongside other volunteers. Jake helps customers with enquiries and keeps to keep the shop clean and tidy, he also takes it upon himself to visit the hospice and gain lots of knowledge about the organisation , learning about how it is run and funded. Jake is enthusiastic , he is also a keen team player, he is always pleasant and keen to learn more and he is a joy to have working in the Hospice Shop environment.”

Photo credit: ‘Damian James Bramley, DJBPhotography.com’

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