By Taric Matticks, 2nd Year Informatics
London Student Volunteering fortnight is an annual event that was created in 2008 by a set of London universities. Every year they join forces to provide a diverse set of opportunities for students from to get involved in across London. This year City University London took a prominent role in organising two of the events, and I had the privilege of volunteering at one of them: tidying up and enhancing the outdoor space at Islington Arts Factory.
Islington Arts Factory is a community arts centre based in Holloway. They are a registered charity which provides high quality classes, courses, and workshops for children and adults in the areas of dance, visual art and music, and regularly host performances and exhibitions to showcase the talents of their students.
The arts centre needed some assistance in renovating an overgrown outdoor area which had fallen into a state of neglect. Our task was to make it presentable so it could be used by the community once again. I had never really done any work of this nature before so for me personally it was a good experience to try it out. One of the things I like about volunteering is it gives you the opportunity to try out new things that you normally wouldn’t do and takes you out of your comfort zone. I was certainly out of my comfort zone then, but I didn’t let this phase me and got stuck in to activities such as sweeping the churchyard and patio, pulling up weeds, picking up litter, pruning bushes and overgrowth, moving soil and compost, cleaning the garden furniture, raking up the leaves and planting bulbs. It even started raining at one point but we didn’t let that stop us.
I felt like Nick Knowles on an episode of DIY SOS thinking back to how the area looked before, and looking at it afterwards. Amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at this event and left feeling empowered, galvanised and wanting more. The sense of achievement I feel after volunteering and making a tangible difference to the community is priceless. I also got the opportunity to meet new people and make friends and am looking forward to participating in more events in the future.
LSVF finishes on the 10th of November so there’s still time to get involved. For info on the two remaining events click here.