My Volunteering Experience

Volunteering opportunities

Please find a guest post, written by Qaisar Ali, who is a Postgraduate Researcher, within the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development.

I am a postgraduate researcher in the final year of my degree. I am a local resident in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and I offer my volunteering services around my availability to the LBBD local community. I have recently completed a few hours in volunteering as a ‘Digital Champion’ at Robert Jeyes Library. Enthusiastic students at degree level at UoR could search and consider suitable roles in various local governments and their community centres. This can help them in many ways subject to the type of their role, but not limited to building up confidence in delivery of public service, interpersonal skills, conflict management etc. I wanted to share my experience in the above role for future potential volunteers.

I found the staff genuinely friendly and very customer oriented at Robert Jeyes Library. The residents who attend the library are also very friendly and cooperative. My experience as a digital champion has been great indeed. I felt glad to help residents who needed some technical support towards learning basic computing skills such as setting up username accounts, passwords, key board skills, formatting document letters, designing display and invitation cards using MS tools. I met range of customers which were not only limited to senior citizens, and beyond the BAME communities. This exposure has not only helped me boosting confidence through interacting diverse citizens and understand the variety of technical aspects in computing, which the residents look around for free help services. This helps them becoming a confident user who can benefit from available digital services offered by the borough. Last but not least, this opportunity has given me a chance to enhance my CV, highlighting some generous public service delivery record to local community for achieving sustainability through digitizing.

This experience has also provided me with an opportunity to share my thoughts related to my research area to the concerned stakeholders at the borough. I expressed these as below.

Being a student exploring climate change impacts, I would like to highlight related challenges through community involvement for climate action initiatives. For instance, the borough could design a pilot project to find the response from residents for their support towards improving our environment. This could be started by experimenting available free areas to bring under woodlands through incentivising related businesses and encouraging others to sponsor through their nominated plantation in designated areas/ spots in the local parks throughout the borough. This can help creating awareness towards carbon sequestrations and encouraging the afforestation.

I trust that my generous volunteering services and ideas could leave a decent impression with my borough, and they would like to keep me in the loop for relevant potential career roles where aroused. I would also like to apply and consider an appropriate role ahead where I can serve my local community at the local government platform.

Best regards,

Qaisar Ali – Postgraduate Researcher, SAPD, University of Reading


For more ideas and volunteering opportunites, check out our curated selection at the linked Careers page.