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Our annual Volunteering Awards are our chance to celebrate the wonderful volunteering community here at UCL, and to recognise and thank the incredible contributions of our volunteers and partner organisations.

On Friday 2nd June we held our 2023 Volunteer Awards in the Bloomsbury Theatre, where we were joined by volunteers, partners, and the Student Union to recognise some amazing individuals, teams, and organisations.

Thank you to everyone who came along and celebrated these incredible achievements!

Organisation of the Year Award: Calthorpe Community Garden

Our Organisation of the Year Award was created to thank the community organisations that support UCL volunteers. This year the winner was the amazing Calthorpe Community Garden.

Calthorpe Community Garden in a long-term partner of ours, located just 15 minutes from UCL’s Bloomsbury campus. Our nominee praised them for their inclusivity and open mindedness, supporting with the tasks in the garden, and always being available for a chat!

Volunteers of the Year

Our Volunteer of the Year Award recognises volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their volunteering roles. This year, our panel decided that 1 winner just wasn’t enough. Instead, 3 amazing volunteers were chosen to receive this prize.

Volunteer of the Year: George Way

George was nominated for the work he has done with Aspierations, an organisation that helps individuals with autism to achieve fulfilling and rewarding working lives. George has made a particular impact through recruiting and managing Aspierations’ volunteers, making it possible to progress the organisation’s new web-project, STEEVIE.

You can read more about George’s volunteering experience here!

Volunteer of the Year: Yalin Chen

Yalin was nominated for her work with the National Portrait Gallery, where she has gone above and beyond as a volunteer. The National Portrait Gallery is particularly grateful for Yalin’s help creating a wellbeing section on the Gallery's intranet page, including resources, tips, and support available for staff.

Yalin is also one of our 22-23 Volunteering Officers. Check out our interview with her here!

Volunteer of the Year: Chloe Chan

Chloe Chan has been volunteering with Ronald McDonald House Charities UK. Chloe has had an amazing work ethic and dedication whilst volunteering and has stepped up to take on an integral role in events. So far, she has helped coordinate the Ronald McDonald House Charities UK’s Choir Event in February and is currently leading on a Mayor of Islington Celebration Dinner.

Special Mentions

A special mention went to Ginevra Ramella Pollone and Anastasia Boikova, the Project Leader duo for UCL Lightning Helping Children Discover Cheerleading. Together they have showcased outstanding leadership and teamworking skills this year.

A special mention also went out to Ismat Juma, a masters student in the Institute of Global Prosperity during 21-22, who was supported by the Community Research Initiative to complete her dissertation in partnership with Wonder Foundation.

Oliver Hare Altruism Award

This was our 6th Year presenting this award, which was set up by the organisation Olly's Future, in memory of Oliver Hare. This award is presented each year to a UCL student who has demonstrated great commitment to helping others in both the university and wider community. This year’s winner was Charlotte Choy, who was nominated by her peers for the empathy and altruism she demonstrates in her everyday life.

Benedict Greenwood also received the special Ambassador Award from Olly’s Future. Awarded for the first time this year, this award acknowledged Benedict’s amazing contribution as a volunteer at Olly’s Future.

Student-Led Projects

Our Student-Led Project Programme allows students to create their own volunteering projects that they deliver in partnership with a local community partner and a team of UCL students. Our awards acknowledge some of the amazing teams of students who have been working to deliver these projects.

Best Newcomer: Girls Can Kick

Our Newcomer Award is for our Student-Led Projects that have been running for less than two years. This year, the winner was the project Girls Can Kick, which aims to provide young girls with the opportunity to meet with university football players and to inspire them to see football as an empowering lifelong sport for women.

You can read more about Girls Can Kick in our recent interview with Project Leaders Lily and Emilia here!

Most Innovative Project: Engineers Without Borders         

This year’s winner of Most Innovative Project was Engineers Without Borders, which delivers hands-on sustainable engineering workshops for students in primary and secondary schools all across London, encouraging young people from different backgrounds to choose a career in engineering.

You can read more about it in our interview with Project Leader Rachel here!

Project of the Year: Zero Food Waste

This year’s winner of the Project of the Year Award was the incredible Zero Food Waste. Running since October 2022, this project has saved thousands of food items from UCL cafes from being throw away. Instead, Zero Food Waste redistributes these items to the local homeless community and to residents of the local area impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

You can read more about Zero Food Waste in our interview with Project Leader Daisy here!

That wraps up our 2023 Volunteering Awards. Congratulations again to all winners and nominees for your hard work and dedication. We're looking forward to another amazing year of volunteering!