Each year, the first week in June is dedicated to celebrating the impact of volunteers in the UK and thanking the millions of people who give their time to help others. We at the University of Bristol have been celebrating our 1,500 strong network of alumni volunteers, and the profound impact they have on the Bristol community.
Bristol Volunteers give time to the University of Bristol by organising events and activities to connect alumni, supporting students through mentoring and sharing career insight; helping the University with invaluable advice; or providing potential students with guidance on making the right study choices for them.
If you’re inspired to join the Bristol Volunteers network, you can find out more about current volunteering programmes on our website. If you would like to hear about volunteering opportunities as they arise, then you can sign up to our Volunteer Digest email newsletter.
This year, we are especially proud to work with volunteers on two new programmes, designed specifically to help the Bristol community during the pandemic. The Bristol Voices programme connects alumni with students who may be facing isolation; and a network of MBChB graduates are offering support to the 2020 cohort who graduated early to begin their careers in the NHS at this critical time.
We also asked all our Bristol Volunteers for their advice on coping with COVID-19- if you are in need of inspiration, please read on to find out what they have been up to.
From all of us at the University of Bristol- thank you!
“Have a structure to your day, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always follow it. Take time out to enjoy nature- birdsong, plants, even clouds if you can’t go out. Contact friends every day, not to moan but to make them laugh”
Alison Wilson (BA 1966), Cambridge Branch
“Be kind to everyone- your friends and families and the people who serve you in the shops, who pass you your takeaway coffee, and take your bins every Tuesday. But just as importantly, be kind to yourself”
Tabitha Tossell (MSc 2019), Alumni Association representative on Court
“Be aware that others may like to hear the human voice rather than a text message and speak for a little longer than usual at this time. I set up a reading group for young family members, the North Somerset Temporary Literary Society. Seeing responses to each other’s readings and the chance to feel connected has really has been a huge boost to me”
Steve Peters (MSc 2010), Programme Advisor
“It is important to focus on your mental health. Be easy on yourself, don’t feel like you have to do anything special like learning a new language, just do things that make you feel good“
Hayley Ryan (MSc 2015), Speaker: Life Sciences
“If you can, look for the calming benefits of a slower pace in isolation”
John Barnbrook (BSc 1974, PGCE 1975), Bristol Branch
“Use this time for introspection with a view to focusing on what really motivates you and what you want to spend your time doing going forwards”
Simon Woodhouse (BSc 2017), Alumni Networker: Finance, Business and Law
“Keep your brain active by learning something new every day by mixing up the skillset… It can be how to do a handstand, basic ukulele tunes, cultures around the world, Microsoft Excel, build a website, and writing. This keeps you sane”
Kevin Chong (MSc 2014), Alumni Networker: Malaysia Careers
“Dealing with a pandemic is tough… Most importantly, let us all stay positive and work towards a better tomorrow. Surely, after the storm, the skies will clear and the sun will shine brighter”
Nusrat Nur (MSc 2015), Bristol Connects volunteer
Many congratulations to Tabitha, Max and Nusrat, who won the 2020 Volunteers Thank You Draw.