UCL News


UCL students win national volunteering award

12 December 2006

For the second year in a row, UCL students have won a Higher Education Active Community Fund (HEACF) Student Volunteering Award.

heacf awards 2006

This year's winner, 'The Music Project' - set up by student Joyce Ngai (UCL Medicine) - runs weekly music workshops with children from the King's Cross area.

Established by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the awards celebrate outstanding achievements in the field of student volunteering. The judges described 'The Music Project' as "an exemplar of good practice in volunteering - student-led, sustainable, imaginative and fulfilling a genuine need."

Joyce started 'The Music Project' in 2005 as a way of sharing her interest in music with children in the local community, and to give other UCL students a chance to put their musical talents to good use. She teamed up with the Calthorpe Project, a local environmental charity and community centre, which provided a venue and identified a group of local children who would benefit from the sessions.  

Whilst the original plan was to run the project as a one-off activity, the event was such a success that Joyce and her team were asked to offer weekly music sessions. Since then the project has gone from strength to strength.

In June 2006, Joyce handed over the reins to Sharon Khoo (UCL Mathematics) and Katherine Haworth (UCL Medicine), who now plan to expand to another site in January 2007, as well as continuing the sessions at Calthorpe.

Joyce, Sharon and Katherine have been supported by UCL Union's Voluntary Services Unit (VSU), a joint venture with UCL that helps students and staff get involved in voluntary work in the local community.

'The Music Project' is part of the VSU's Innovations Programme, a scheme where students who want to lead their own volunteering projects are provided with training, resources and advice. Last year, another Innovations Programme group, the UCL Language Skills Pool, won an HEACF Student Volunteering Award.

Mr John Braime, Voluntary Services Coordinator at UCL Union, said, "We're really proud of Joyce, Sharon and Katherine and their team of volunteers. They thoroughly deserve this award, both for the hard work they've put in, and for the difference they've made to a group of local children."

Ms Mila Campoy from the Calthorpe Project said, "The parents have told me that they are so impressed with the UCL students. They think it's wonderful that their children can have one-to-one support, and that they're really learning music."

Joyce added: "It is wonderful to know that some of the children have taken up playing an instrument as a result of the project. I have made wonderful friends in the community, who I would not have met otherwise. I think the award should belong as much to the children, parents and Calthorpe Project, as it would not have been such a success without their support. A huge thank you to the VSU for giving me the opportunity and helping me realise what is possible."

Image: Joyce Ngai and Sharon Koo receive their award

Links:UCL Voluntary Services UnitHEACF Awards