Student Volunteering Week is a nationwide initiative that highlights the importance of student volunteers and the significant contributions they make to society. During this week, students are encouraged to explore volunteer opportunities, collaborate with local charities and nonprofits, and make a positive difference in their communities. It’s an excellent way for students to give back, gain practical experience, and build connections.

More than 46 students from Queen Mary’s University London supported a painting workshop during the week to create some beautiful artwork for our children’s bedrooms. Here we catch up with their volunteering officer Natasha Alia Razman. 

What were your motivations? 

I wanted to maximise engagement with students during the Student Volunteering Week and had to think of an idea that would provide them with the most convenient way of volunteering despite the busy exam and assignments season. I wanted to collaborate with a charity that would reach the hearts of the volunteers, and remembered my encounter with Andrea at our Volunteering Fair where I got to learn about the fantastic job that Haven House does! So, I thought what better way than to make an event where students could de-stress whilst unleashing their creativity and spending some leisurely time with friends all whilst volunteering. 

What was the brief?

The event was a three-hour event on campus where students would come after class with their friends, grab an empty canvas, some brushes and some paint to make these beautiful masterpieces for the children. I advertised the event one month prior and collaborated with the university's art society to improve student reach. I provided them with inspiration in advance and followed guidance provided by Andrea and Aisling, ensuring that the theme was always child-friendly and hopeful! Once done I delivered them to Haven House so they could be used to decorate their spaces. 

What did you hope to achieve? 

I wanted to spread the spirit of volunteering and encourage people to volunteer in many different ways - as anything that helps contribute to a community can be counted as volunteering. A lot of the people who attended the event had never volunteered before but were curious about volunteering afterwards and were keen to find out more. I also wanted to provide some uplifting, colourful elements for the children and families at Haven House. Hopefully the paintings will help beautify the already amazing Haven House. 

"I think it's important to engage with volunteering in any way that you can. Every little counts! Haven House has been so dedicated to providing children and their families a safe and compassionate place, so I thought it was only natural to help contribute to such a lovely charity."