UEL Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering Award

Shahina Sultana was recently awarded a UEL Outstanding Contribution to Volunteering Award. She is a UEL graduate in Law and has been volunteering at the Helena Kennedy Foundation (HKF). HKF is based at UEL’s Stratford campus; the Foundation exists to overcome social injustice by providing financial bursaries, mentoring and support to disadvantaged students.

Shahina has been supporting HKF with general admin and also played an important role in helping organise their awards ceremony. She also gets regular progress reports from students who are receiving support from the foundation.

Shahina is positive about the way the role has developer her skills, she stated: “It has really helped me with my confidence and with my communication skills as I regularly have to speak to a diverse range of people. Volunteering gives you a wide range of skills; nowadays having an education is good but having practical experience is important too. Prior to this I had only ever worked in retail. Getting experience in an office environment is valuable as is having contacts outside of academia.”

Shahina also appreciates how volunteering can fit around her other commitments: “What I love most is how flexible it is. The staff members at HKF understand that if I have exams then I might not be able to volunteer during that time and they are really supportive.”

Glenda Pringle, Projects Manager at HKF says: “We are used to volunteers not wanting to do telephone work, or avoiding areas where they lack experience. Shahina is one of the first to grab this opportunity and use it as a chance to develop. She works to a high standard and is always well-mannered and professional.”

What is Shahina’s advice for those thinking about volunteering? “Go for it. You work with different people from different ages and backgrounds which is a better reflection of the world of work. It helps get you ready for life after studying.”

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