University students show their love for the city by volunteering

Students Amie Blackman, Tom Parsley, Ria Archer and Chris jones with S.A.D. chief executive  Jonathan Challacombe    Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Students Amie Blackman, Tom Parsley, Ria Archer and Chris jones with S.A.D. chief executive Jonathan Challacombe Picture: Duncan Shepherd
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UNIVERSITY students make up more than 10 per cent of the city’s population – and one group wants to give back.

Early childhood studies with pyschology student Amie Blackburn offers her time at weekly sessions run by Portsmouth S.A.D (Stress, Anxiety and Depression).

The 20-year-old said: ‘I was looking for volunteering in mental health as I wanted to give back to the community and support people in the city.’

Amie and the other volunteers provide support and weekly workshops.

She added: I think the people at the charity are quite impressed that students want to make a difference and give back to the community and it gives me a way of getting involved in the wider community outside the usual student life.’

University of Portsmouth students can get volunteering opportunities and work experience through Purple Door which connects them to local groups.

Portsmouth S.A.D chief executive Jonathan Challacombe said: ‘This is our first year and I put an advert on with Purple Door and we had a huge response.

‘All our volunteers been really great and the people who come to the sessions have really benefitted from the experience.’

Software engineer student Chris Jones uses his knowledge of technology to educate primary school pupils at Craneswater Junior School in Southsea.

The 20-year-old said: ‘It has been so rewarding and all the kids have learnt so much and picked it up really quickly.

‘They are teaching their teachers who use it in their lessons and for me I have learnt more about my own communication.’

Originally from Portchester, biomedical science student Thomas Parsley has been running a wheelchair basketball team for children for the past four years.

Thomas said: ‘It is great to have an alternative sport for the kids and it makes me proud especially when they improve. We have even had one go on to trial for Team GB.’

Ria Archer is currently completing her masters in translation studies and spends her spare time co-ordinating the StudentWatch initiative by Hampshire Constabulary.

The 24-year-old said: ‘I have loved working on this scheme and I now want to work in the police force in this city.’

Alison Earle from League of Friends has been involved with Purple Door for 11 years.

She added: ‘The students give a lot to it and also get a lot out of it for themselves.

‘I think it is a really great thing for them to do in the city.’