Skip to the main content

We’re so pleased to say that UCL students have responded to COVID-19 with a determination to help others – in fact, enquiries here at the Volunteering Service have tripled in the last 6 weeks.

Social distancing has put a stop to a lot of face-to-face volunteering for the time being. In its place, online volunteering has sprung into life, with UCL students at the forefront. We’ve gathered up a few examples here to showcase some of this amazing activity.

Student-led Projects

Two UCL student groups had been working with One Housing Group to run art and photography workshops for people who have been affected by homelessness (Art Without a Home and Double Exposure). These workshops had to end when lockdown came into effect. However, the project continued remotely, with students and One Housing residents working together to create an online exhibition called Unleashing Potential.  Project supervisor Cyreeta Donaldson said, “this is an amazing example of how to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances. I’d urge people to take a look at the inspiring work that has been created by the participants.”

Another UCL student group, Amnesty International Outreach, offer citizenship education workshops at UCL Academy in Camden. They’ve moved their sessions online, so they can continue to support the young people they’ve been working with this year.

Individual volunteering

UCL Medical student Antonio Neves responded to a call for volunteers from Age UK Kensington & Chelsea and now runs online Spanish classes for isolated older people. “Before volunteering I was disillusioned with my quarantine situation as I have been in Spains two-month lockdown since its beginning,” he told us. “But now volunteering gives me a reason to wake up earlier, and prepares me for my interactions with patients in my future career.”

Zayna Dar has been volunteering for charity news service Good News Shared for a while, but has now shifted her focus to writing articles about COVID-19. She said, “The virus has triggered a surge in localised relief efforts, and I think now more than ever there is a need for a platform like Good News Shared to publicise and inspire altruism.”

Sadashiv Nayanpally (Education and International Development) and George Washborn (English Language & Literature) both help out as Integration Advice volunteers with the Refugee Council. They are now providing advice to refugees by phone and email, including assistance with filling forms, liaising with government agencies and drafting letters. Sadashiv told us, “Volunteering has helped me connect with people who have seen immense hardships in life and are still going strong in overcoming them. They have been an inspiration for me personally, and also a humbling reminder of how privileged I am.”

Sadashiv Nayanpally standing in a field

Clare Landes has been making use of her spare time by volunteering with online citizen science platform Zooniverse: “The positive aspect of this whole situation is that it has shown me that there are many more opportunities for volunteering that can be done remotely than I thought.”

Public Policy postgrad Nadhirah Rashid has been able to continue mentoring young people with educational attainment charity Project Access UK. She told us, “One thing that I have learned about COVID-19 is that it’s imperative to take a step back and do things that makes you happy.”

Nadhirah Rashid in a library

Feeling inspired?

Have a browse of our online volunteering directory to see the latest opportunities open to UCL students and staff.