A celebration of our volunteers

The Community Connections Thank You event was a lovely evening held last month in the Wills Memorial Building. We welcomed some of our valued volunteers, mentors, and students to reflect on the achievements of the past year and celebrate those who contribute so much to our Bristol volunteering community. Attendees included mentors and mentees from our Bristol Mentors and Bristol Voices programmes, Bristol Connects e-mentors, and active student event organisers.

The evening was wonderful opportunity for volunteers and students to connect, and re-connect, while celebrating together over refreshments and activities which included speeches from Sarah Price (BA 2007) and Ren Renwick (MA 2009), who are both involved with the volunteering community at the University of Bristol.

Sarah Price, an Engagement Officer in the University’s Global Engagement Division, oversees the Bristol Voices programme, a mentor partnership which matches international students with local Bristol alumni to provide support and welcome them to the city. Sarah told the heartwarming story of Khaled Almahmoud (LLM 2023) and alumni Peter Sharkey (BSc 1980) who were involved in the programme in 2020 while Khaled was still a student. Khaled was matched with Peter over the winter holidays and the pair immediately connected:

‘The conversation started strong, straight in with the topic of politics, and that was the first of what would be many long conversations. The two of them hit it off immediately and their 2 hour call on a Tuesday evening became part of their diaries.’










The pair continued their friendship long after the initial mentorship had ended, lending support through Khaled’s studies and beyond. 4 years on, Khaled and Peter are still in touch:

‘They have developed a meaningful friendship, and they both think extremely highly of each other. Khaled describes Peter as a rare find, a kind and extremely successful man for whom family is number one.’

We next heard from Ren Renwick, an active member of the Bristol Mentors programme which pairs widening participation students with mentors, lending support throughout the academic year. Ren, who became a volunteer in 2022, spoke on her meaningful connections with Bristol students, expressing her love for positively impacting their studies as well as learning and developing skills of her own. The mutual learning and bond between mentor and mentee is incredibly valuable, and Ren expressed how she plans to continue her mentoring for many years to come.

If you’d like to find out more about our volunteering programmes and opportunities you can read more on our Get Involved page.










Images (c) Bhagesh Sachania Photography.

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