Celebrating Volunteer’s Week 2020

Volunteers’ Week takes place during the first week of June every year. It’s a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.

As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing too, after all, it’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out. Volunteering can also help you boost your confidence, plus get valuable new skills and experiences that you can use to benefit the wider community.

Many of the events MSP usually recruits volunteers for have sadly had to be cancelled this year due to COVID-19. However, it doesn’t take away from our enormous gratitude to those who were poised to help us this year, as they have in previous years, so we wanted to firstly start by just acknowledging that and saying a massive THANK YOU!

Happily, we’ve still been able to engage a number of volunteers in some really important work here on Merseyside during the midst of the pandemic. Below we catch up with them and their MSP mentors to find out how their placements have been going during this rather unusual time…

Placement students
Ollie (left) and James (right) pictured at MSP’s office shortly before lockdown.

Sam Alder – LJMU Student on placement with MSP says,

My volunteer work placement experience with MSP has been amazing given the circumstances. Everybody has been really friendly and welcoming and I only wish I could have met more of you before lockdown. Conducting research and generating insights for the insight team has been really useful for developing my skills as a researcher in an applied setting. But more importantly, it has also been incredibly rewarding for me, realising the importance of the work myself and the MSP team are doing and how the projects are genuinely making a difference and a positive change to people’s lives. This experience provided me with the opportunity to combine the research and insight generation that I love doing so much at university with a professional workplace. I have particularly enjoyed working alongside Kenny and Matt who have been really helpful and supportive throughout my time at MSP.

Kenny Chu, MSP Research & Insight Officer, speaking about Sam says,

A current master’s student at Liverpool John Moore’s University, Sam has been providing data and intelligence support to MSP. Amidst all the uncertainty and chaos created by COVID-19, Sam has been busy helping on a strategic project that looks to identify ‘cold spot’ priority areas across Merseyside with populations most at risk, to help direct Sport England relief funding to. This experience outside of academia has helped expose Sam to a ‘real-world’ setting, where he can apply his skills in ways where his efforts help direct high-level strategic decision-making. Going beyond his minimum requirement of 40 hours for his placement, Sam has extended this stay and juggles the rest of his time between his studies, his part-time work at a care home and walking his dogs.
I’d personally like to thanks Sam for all his hard work.

James Harrison, LJMU Student on placement with MSP, says,

My time working with MSP has been invaluable, providing me with the opportunity to work within an organisation that uses both sport and physical activity to enrich the lives and wellbeing of people living across the Liverpool region. During my time with MSP, my primary role has been assisting with the evaluation of their sport and physical activity programmes. Specifically, this has involved me using my expertise as a psychology student to help create detailed questionnaires, with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of specific programmes, to enable MSP to understand the impact of their work. The thing I have enjoyed most about my experience and time working with MSP has been a combination of things – most notably the opportunity to offer something valuable and important to the organisation through the work I was doing. Furthermore, I valued the opportunity to build relationships with members of the MSP staff – particularly Kyle who I have learnt a lot from during my time on placement, and who is someone I would like to thank.

Kyle Tunstall, Sport & Physical Activity Officer for MSP, speaking about James says

James has contributed so much to the team at MSP in such a short amount of time. He has remained enthusiastic and willing to get stuck in, facing challenges head-on in response to Covid19. He has helped to develop a consultation framework and will soon be using this to measure the impact of some of our work. He will also help MSP to learn and from this and direct our future work to suit the community need. Thanks James!

Oliver Wakefield, Edge Hill University Student, on placement with MSP, says:

Being able to undertake a placement in such a forward-thinking and welcoming organisation has been a brilliant experience.  MSP have provided me with the opportunity to gain an understanding of the contemporary practices used within the sport development sector. The opportunity allowed me to attend a series of events and gain an understanding of the planning required for these. In doing so, the experience has helped to shape the direction of my career aspirations.  All of the staff I worked with at MSP were able to provide me with a valuable insight into the sector.  I would like to thank everyone at MSP for providing me with such a valuable placement opportunity.

Amy Fisher, MSP School Games Officer, speaking about Ollie, says:

Ollie from Edge Hill University helped prepare numerous aspects of the Merseyside School Games Winter events 2020, as well as producing elements to be used during the 2021 School Games. I’d like to thank Ollie for all his hard work and wish him all the best for the future.

Lottery Funded and Sport England logos