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Students make an ‘Impact’ in Manchester

04 Nov 2011

More than 200 University of Manchester students are hitting the streets next week to make a positive impact on the local community.

Student volunteers at work

This large-scale volunteering event takes place over four days as students from the Manchester Leadership Programme (MLP) volunteer to make a positive impact in the neighbourhoods where they live.

MLP is a credit-rated unit that has been developed to help students from The University of Manchester to understand the importance of leadership, embracing social, economic and environmental sustainability, as well as providing them with a range of transferable skills to boost their employability.

Students undertake up to 60 hours voluntary work within the community and this year the University has more than 1,250 students undertaking the MLP.

Lindsay Gilbert, Head of Volunteering and Community Engagement within the Careers & Employability Division at the University said: “Students in Manchester can often get a bad press, but they are an important part of the community and events like this show that they are just as keen as the long-term residents to demonstrate their pride in the city.

“The ‘I Love Manchester’ campaign has been a huge success since the summer, and Operation Impact is a natural progression.   Community partners have identified key projects that need some TLC to transform them; students are responding to this call to action, thus enhancing the lives of the local community.

Reporters and photographers are invited to see the projects at the following locations:

Birchfields Primary School, Lytham Roam - Tues 8 Nov (9.00am to 2.30pm)
Create a new Outdoor Learning Area

Birchfields Primary School is the joint-largest in Manchester with 800 children attending from diverse communities. The school has a large outdoor area but it needs lots of 'Tender Loving Care' to get it back to its original glory, so it can be used by the children again and stimulate their learning.

The volunteers will:

  • Increase the wildlife by cleaning out the pond, creating a compost area, tidying up planters, and planting herbs and flowers - to help teach the children about biodiversity;
  • Create a stimulating learning environment for the children use by painting the benches and seating areas in bright colours;
  • Clear pathways and lay new ones to make the outdoor area more accessible to the children;
  • And…engage and work with the children on some of these activities, as the children are really looking forward to the students visiting their school.

The children will come out for some of the morning to meet with all and take part in some of the easier tasks.  The school will be celebrating Eid on the day of this event, so there should be a real sense of fun and excitement.

Withington Scouts Hall, Heaton Road, Withington - Wed 9 and Thurs 10 Nov (10.00am to 4.00pm)
Renovate the Scout Hut

Withington Scouts, Cubs and Beavers have their own hut and land, which needs significant renovation.  Once the renovation is complete, the Scouts group aims to make the hut into a ‘community hub’ so it can be used by other community groups and individuals from Withington and Old Moat.

The MLP volunteers will carry out the bulk of the renovation, ensuring that the hut is also ready for their Centenary celebrations, taking place next weekend (12 & 13 November).

Over two days, the volunteers will:

  • Paint the main hall, in time for the Centenary celebrations next weekend;
  • Tidy up the garden, including building planters so the Scouts can plant their own flowers and vegetables;
  • Remove graffiti on the outside of the hut, helping to restore it to its original glory;
  • Paint the accessible ramp to the hut, making it more inviting for everyone;
  • Create banners and signs for the Centenary open day.

This is a massive community project that will have a positive impact in the local community as the Scout Hut is based on Heaton Road in the heart of Withington, where many students live alongside long-term residents.  

Winifred Massey Court, Aked Close, Ardwick – Fri 11 Nov (10.00am to 4.00pm)
Revamp the garden areas

Winifred Massey Court is a sheltered accommodation scheme located in the Coverdale estate in Ardwick which has older residents (aged 60 plus) living there. It is also home to some people with learning difficulties. Winifred Massey Court is managed by a local housing trust, Eastlands Homes, which provides affordable housing to people across Manchester.

The MLP volunteers will:

  • Increase sustainability at the scheme by creating a herb/berry and vegetable plots for the residents to grow their own food;
  • Help make it an inviting and tranquil place by making up and placing hanging baskets around the scheme, tiding up flower beds and creating borders to plant bulbs;
  • Engage with residents living on the Coverdale estate by demonstrating recycling activities.

The students will make a real and positive difference to the people living in this sheltered accommodation scheme. Many are unable to tend to the gardens themselves, and this will be a real help to making the gardens ready for their use again.