12 December 2005
UCL's Language Skills Pool (LSP), part of the UCL Union Voluntary Services Unit, has won the Outstanding Project Award at the Higher Education Active Community Fund (HEACF) Student Volunteering Awards.
The Language Skills Pool is a free translation service for community organisations. The idea for the pool came from UCL student Soumaya Mauthoor (UCL Physics and Astronomy) who set it up in August 2004 with help from the Innovations Programme, a scheme for UCL students and staff to establish projects that benefit the wider community.
The ceremony was held at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead on 7 December 2005, and was a celebration of the achievements of student and staff volunteers across the country.
John Braime, UCL Voluntary Services Coordinator said: "Congratulations to all of the students involved in the Language Skills Pool, this award is thoroughly deserved. The project really puts some of UCL's assets - our excellent language departments, and the cultural diversity of our student body - to good use within the local community. The volunteers have also had the opportunity to use their languages, broaden their experience and receive good quality translation training."
Soumaya said: "Our volunteers have enjoyed working for organisations as diverse as Age Concern Camden and the National Trust. Altogether, it was a highly successful and productive first year, which has formed a strong foundation for further community work. Feedback from partner organisations has been equally positive, with many comments on the high standard of documents and how the LSP is meeting an area of need. One of the most frequent comments was the need to provide a wider range of languages, so we hope that more students will volunteer to provide us with an even larger array of languages. The thing I'm most pleased about is that two other universities have now approached me about setting up similar projects. I'd stress that the Language Skills Pool was a team effort, set up with help of Alison Gordon and Natasha Ludlam from UCL Union's Voluntary Services Unit, the other project leader Monsiree Jirasarunya, and our team of 16 student translators. The project is now in its second year, and is prospering under the leadership of Hidy Fu.""
Image: Soumaya receiving the award