Students at the University of Worcester have been putting their business skills to good use, raising tens of thousands of pounds for worthy local causes.
An annual business skills project challenges the University's Business Management, and related degree, students to work with a charity to help them either raise funds or raise awareness over a period of several months.
In total, this year's students raised £5,019, bringing the total raised since the project began to more than £37,000.
Efforts included a charity promotional video, which received 3,900 views in less than a month, a sponsored skydive, several sponsored walks, organising a charity ball and producing charity materials, including leaflets and wristbands.
Charities to benefit from the project this year were Worcestershire Animal Rescue Shelter (WARS), St Richard’s Hospice, Acorns Hospice, Primrose Hospice, Worcester Snoezelen, Fort Royal Community Primary School and Tiyeni, a charity assisting rural communities in Malawi.
First year Business, Marketing and Management student, Kayleigh Barker, 20, who was helping WARS, said: "It’s been a great experience and a real learning curve because you learn a lot about how to deal with groups and a lot about yourself. It’s definitely been helpful for the future because if you end up working in business you will have to work in teams to achieve goals and by understanding that everyone works differently you are able to adapt to that. So you’re having this great learning experience, but it’s also so rewarding being able to help the charities that need the money and awareness the most."
Olivia Tomkinson, 19, a first year Business Management student, who led her team raising money for Primrose Hospice, said: "We had a few things that went wrong but you work with it and always have a back-up plan, we know that now. It’s taught me patience and I learnt to delegate. I think that has helped me with my confidence."
At a showcase event, which brought together the charities and their students, the charities got to hear more from the students about what they had done.
Liz Hallam, Head of Fundraising at Worcestershire Animal Rescue Shelter, which received more than £1,800 this year, has been involved in the project since it began. “It’s fantastic,” she said. “The students have been pro-active and imaginative. We are completely reliant on donations and fundraising work, so just to raise awareness, for us, that’s massive. As a small independent charity, it’s just what we need to survive and carry on our work and I think it’s great that the University gets involved in the wider community in this way.”
Natalia Solanki, Corporate and Community Fundraising Manager at Acorns, said: “The students we have worked with have put a lot of energy and dedication into their fundraising and volunteering with Acorns. The scheme has been successful as it allows us to get involved directly with the students to help them come up with some innovative fundraising ideas, and engage the local community in doing so.”
Doug Wotherspoon, Senior Lecturer in Business Management at the University’s Business School, said: “This module aims to teach students business skills by asking them to design, develop and deliver a real-world project of value to one of our seven charity partners. It is mutually rewarding, with the charities receiving a boost to funds or increased awareness and in some cases a tangible legacy from our students’ efforts. The experience gives the students the chance to acquire and provide evidence to employers of practical employability skills, which are in great demand in the workplace. But, it is also great for our students to be using the skills they acquire at the University for worthy causes in the local community.”