MORE than 1,200 young people across the city signed up to learn a foreign language, play board games and plant seeds as part of Student Volunteering Week.

The event saw 300 students from student volunteering organisation Oxford Hub, put on more than 30 events across Oxford, working with charities such as community gardening group OxGrow and the Thirsty Meeples cafe, in Gloucester Green.

A further 800 students worked with the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes Hubs by taking part in various events from February 22 to February 28.

Harry Jenkins, the Oxford Hub manager, said the week was a great way to support over 30 ongoing community projects in the city.

He said: "Students have a real opportunity to support those in need and broaden their horizons at university through volunteering, and Student Volunteering Week is a great celebration of all the amazing things student volunteers achieve week in, week out."

One session involved working with the charity Jacari, which gave students a taster class in the mother tongues of pupils who do not speak English as a first language.

Tim Stevenson, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, said student volunteering made a considerable difference to the lives of disadvantaged people.

He said: "The Oxford Hub has transformed the opportunity for volunteering by students from both of our universities in the city.

"The organisation – Winner of a national Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – provides the back-up needed for this volunteering to achieve maximum effectiveness.

"The skills, enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers make a very substantial difference to the lives of the many disadvantaged in our communities – and at a time when the state’s ability to provide needed support is seriously diminished, this is of growing importance.

"The Hub deserves encouragement and financial backing from all of our local communities."

Minerva Lim, Linkages project coordinator for the Hub, said it was her family members that had first inspired her to volunteer.

She said: "The reason why I volunteer is because I’m so close to my grandparents, and I love to make a difference to a group of people I really care about.

"The good thing about Oxford Hub is that there are so many volunteering projects you can find something you really care


"There’s no point volunteering if you don’t care. Coordinating the group has taught me lots, but fundamentally it’s just great to help people you believe in."

Ronja Lustig, President of the student Oxford Hub committee, said volunteering was a vital part of contributing to the community.

She said: "I volunteer because it’s the easiest way to engage with the local community in a meaningful way.

"Plus, it allows me to meet like-minded people who are committed to similar causes."