Student Spotlight: Student Community Action

Elsa Maishman 24 January 2015

Cambridge Student Community Action is a registered charity seeking to help and support disadvantaged children in the Cambridge area. They have more than 70 opportunities to choose from, 10 of which are managed internally by SCA, and cater specifically to the interests of Cambridge students. These internally organised projects include taking vulnerable children to the park, befriending the elderly and teaching English as a second language. The other projects are run by a wide range of  external organisations which SCA recruit for. 

According to Laura Brown, a student volunteer for SCA, it can sometimes feel hard to fit in the time to volunteer around coursework. However, taking part in the ‘Big Sib’ program is, for her, an opportunity to get out into the ‘real world’ and have a genuinely positive impact on someone else’s life. “I go and visit a 10 year-old girl for about an hour each week. Seeing her face light up whenever I arrive is really rewarding – over my time with her I’ve seen her really grow in confidence.” 

Another volunteer, Becky Hart, has spent time helping out at an understaffed homework club in a local  school. The student volunteers support individual children who struggle with their work, as well as generally overseeing groups of pupils working on particular projects. 

“We work with children between the ages of four and eleven, in all class groups, chatting with them and attempting to engage them in their work… something that is particularly important when we’re with children who are either struggling to focus or complete their task. I personally love volunteering at the homework club because I enjoy developing working relationships with children. I have seen the immediate benefits of our presence to the school in that it enables the headteacher to continue to run the club herself with our help, when she does not have enough staff to run it regularly otherwise… a number of the children have parents who do not speak English as their first language. Spelling and grammar is  something I feel I can help with in particular.” 

Volunteers also listen to children’s worries and help to advise them, where appropriate, on any questions they have. Hart said that ‘working with SCA has, I feel, kept me sane at times – it takes me out of the intensified stress of college life. I would encourage anyone interested to contact SCA directly or through a college representative as they are extremely  friendly and work very hard to place you in a role that you enjoy and feel useful in!”