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Making a Difference this #GivingTuesday

28 Nov 2017

Making a Difference Fair today in the Renold Building

Giving Tuesday

For the past three years, do-gooders from around the country have been combating the consumerism of Black Friday weekend by taking part in an international day of “doing good stuff” for charity. As we approach the UK’s fourth instalment of #GivingTuesday, find out how you can Make a Difference.

Championing the idea that “the smallest acts of giving can have the biggest impact”, #GivingTuesday has been a huge success since its inception in the US in 2012. As of 2017, the movement founded by 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation has spread to 70 countries worldwide including Russia, Singapore and Brazil, with the UK joining the party in 2014.

This year, the global day of charity is hoping to top its 2016 record of £135m raised worldwide, a campaign which saw the Guinness World Record for the “most amount of money raised online for charity in 24-hours” smashed with a massive £36.7m donated through PayPal on the day.

To support this aim we are holding a number of events across the University campus where staff and students can discover ways in which they can give, be it time, money or expertise. So why not use your lunchtime to pop along to one of our many events.   

In the meantime here are just a few ideas…

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is defined as ‘any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims primarily to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than close relatives’. Giving time and attention to a worthwhile cause can have a transformative effect on the lives of others, and while this is reason enough for most to give a little for charity, volunteering can also have a positive effect on your own life.

It goes without saying that volunteering makes you ‘feel good’, but what you may not know is that helping others can improve your life, and even your health.

The connections you make whilst volunteering can have a huge benefit not only on your social life, but also your physical wellbeing. Socialising has been strongly linked to improved physical and mental health and has even been said to increase your immune strength. Volunteering offers a great chance to mix with people who share common interests, build connections and develop your social skills, as well as a chance to showcase the expertise and experience you’ve acquired whilst volunteering to potential future employers.

Research into hormones and brain activity has supported the existence of what some call a “helpers high”, or the warm feeling when you donate time to a good cause. The act of giving has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, boost self-confidence and combat depression. Volunteers have even been shown to have a lower mortality rate, with those who give time for charity possessing a reduced risk of heart disease and high blood pressure compared with those who do not.

Importantly, volunteering gives you the chance to explore your passions and work towards something you find truly meaningful.

Giving in Manchester

None embody the spirit of #GivingTuesday more than Manchester’s VoluntHeroes, students at the University who have gone above and beyond in the name of charity.

Naima, an exchange student from Australia, volunteered through the Manchester Leadership Programme as a way of experiencing life in the UK. Working on community projects, such as re-vamping an alleyway in Fallowfield, brought Naima a deeper connection with the community, and even led her to discover a mutual acquaintance with one of the locals; a woman fighting for indigenous rights back in Australia!

Alessia Xu hadn’t been exposed to volunteering before she moved to Manchester from a small town in Italy, but spurred on by the campaigns on display during Welcome Week she soon began volunteering with Incredible Edible Manchester, an initiative providing free organic food to the local community. Now in her third year, Alessia is a project leader with the campaign and volunteers with HeartStart, providing free first aid training for the community.

Jonah volunteers with the Big Change Society, raising awareness and funds to help eradicate homelessness in Manchester. He recently launched the ‘Love For The Streets’ campaign which provides training on how best to help Manchester’s homeless and holds events bringing the issue of homelessness to the attention of students and the wider community.

Further information

Love for the Streets, along with many more Manchester-based charities and initiatives will be at the Making a Difference Fair on Tuesday 28 November in the Renold Building. To find out more about the events on campus this #GivingTuesday visit: www.manchester.ac.uk/givingtuesday