Last week we interviewed Annie, LSE Volunteer of the Year 2019 and this week we’ve interviewed ReachOut UK, LSE Voluntary Organisation of the Year 2019. They were nominated by one of their LSE student volunteers for their ongoing support for the people that volunteer with them. Read on to find out more about ReachOut UK..

What does ReachOut UK do?

ReachOut is a mentoring organisation that works with young people from disadvantaged communities to give them the help they need to improve their academic attainment, develop their character and grow their confidence. We do this by providing one-to-one mentoring within the schools our young people attend; and this is where our LSE students come in.

Our projects are two hours every week during term time. The young people range from 9-16 years old, and the project sizes range from 10 young people and 10 mentors, to 16 young people and 16 mentors. The majority of our LSE student mentors volunteer at our primary school projects (ages 9-11). They spend two hours each week enjoying a mixture of one-to-one time to tackle some academic work and to have a chat, and then the second hour is dominated by group activities which range from baking, debating, playing football or dodgeball to crafting! Each week is never the same – except the young person you work with.

How have LSE students volunteered in your work this year?

LSE students have volunteered as mentors on our primary school projects for many years. They spend time having conversations with their mentees, talking about future goals, what they did at school that day and character. Don’t worry the sessions aren’t only about having a nice chat with the mentees, the sessions are also very productive in other ways – the mentors and mentees work through a maths or English worksheets together, set weekly goals, and complete group activities. The wide range of tasks our young people do alongside their mentors help them develop the skills and confidence needed to become the best versions of themselves.

What attitude do they bring to your organisation?

LSE students really care about giving back to the community, especially students who have just moved to London. LSE students actively show a lot of care and dedication to the young people through listening carefully to what the mentees have to say, throwing themselves into the activities, and showing up consistently.

How has the Volunteer Centre helped you in recruiting these students?

We work closely with the Volunteer Centre to arrange engagement opportunities with LSE students, and they also put students in touch with us! This year we won LSE’s Community Organisation of the Year which really sums up how incredible our LSE student mentors are, and demonstrates the lasting the impact volunteering with us has one them as students and on the young people they work with.

If ReachOut UK have inspired you to volunteer, check out one of our other 200+ ongoing opportunities or book a one-to-one with David Coles, the Volunteer Centre Manager if you have more questions. If you are short on time, then take a look at the one-off opportunities organised by the LSE Volunteer Centre. And why not follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date with our events and opportunities and read our blog for more volunteering tips and stories.