A banner reading 'Volunteers Week' with two volunteers in high-vis jackets facing away from camera

Celebrating Our Volunteers

“Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things” – Dr Nancy Mudenyo Hunt’s words from the Celebration of Volunteering Awards remind us of the huge impact volunteering has. In celebration of Volunteers’ Week, CONNECTED shares stories from some of our volunteers who are doing extraordinary things to make our community shine even brighter.

Watch Nancy speaking at the Celebration of Volunteering event in the video below, or read more of Nancy’s story here.

Volunteers’ Week

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering in their communities. This year it was celebrated 1-7 June 2023 and the University of Reading Alumni Team celebrated by sharing the stories of some our fantastic volunteers in our own community making a difference.

As Volunteers’ Week draws to a close, CONNECTED brings you a round-up of these inspirational stories. From changing the lives of young girls in Ghana to helping people rebuild their independence after spinal cord injury – our volunteers are dedicated to helping support their communities.

  • Mabel Senaa Bonsuuri is the founder of iHelpAfrica, a non-profit operating in the Volta region of Ghana, helping change the lives of young girls in Ghana.
  • Alison Wheeler has been volunteering for national spinal cord injuries charity, BackUp, for over 20 years, helping people and their families to rebuild their independence after spinal cord injury. 
  • Junxin Wang and Junyuan Shao have supported our student recruitment team in their work in China, by drawing postcards of campus and speaking with prospective students.
  • Amy Tisi is committed to helping her community. Through her teaching, setting up one of the first baby banks, and being a local councillor, she has helped thousands of families in desperate need.
  • Come rain or shine, Clive and Sheila Payne can be seen litter-picking around campus. What started three years ago as part of their daily permitted outdoor activity during lockdown, is now part of their weekly life.
  • Brian Heathcote has been volunteering as a Ranger for the Peak District National Park for the past 15 years, helping young people experience the countryside and preserving it for future generations.
  • Jack Abrey dedicates much of his time to volunteering, including for the Scouts, narrating audio books for blind people, and helping local primary schools.
  • Karen Dwyer has been volunteering with Girlguiding for nearly 45 years. Her longstanding commitment is inspired by her love of Girlguiding and helping young girls grow into confident women.
  • Hilary Withey has a passion for helping others, from her career in social work, to volunteering with female survivors of abuse in Nepal.
  • Marie Nicholsby is the founder of Alkionides UK – a life-changing charity that supports Cypriot citizens undergoing critical medical treatment in the UK.
  • Peter Norman has been volunteering with Cruse Bereavement Care for the past 45 years, supervising bereavement volunteers and counsellors and training volunteers.

Watch a video from some of our volunteers, sharing why they volunteer:

Get involved

Are you a volunteer, or interested in volunteering with the University of Reading? Email our Alumni Volunteering Officer, Rachel Dean, to get involved or share your story.

You can get involved with our community too by taking the opportunity to share your voice with us in the Alumni Survey and the chance to mingle with the alumni community over drinks and nibbles at our upcoming London Alumni drinks.