Voluntary groups and students help each other after successful fair at Hartlepool Sixth Form College

Young people and Hartlepool’s voluntary sector came together to find out how they can help each other at a successful event.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 4:45 am

Hartlepool Sixth Form College hosted a bustling volunteers fair when students wishing to broaden their life skills got to meet and offer their time to a host of organisations looking to recruit 16 to 18 year-olds.

It was organised in partnership with Hartlepool Action Lab, a collection of collection of individuals, voluntary community groups and public sector agencies.

The aim of the event was twofold – enabling students to gain valuable work experience and skills and helping the organisations to continue to support the community after Covid.

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Hartlepool Sixth Form College students Harry Beadard and Sophia Cook talking with Lesley Mulcahy from The Simple Weigh during the Volunteer Fair. Picture by FRANK REID

Darren Leighton, of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which started the Hartlepool Action Lab, said: “We wanted to bring all the voluntary services together today that we work with to show the students what opportunities are available.

"Try and get people feeling a bit more invested and involved in the town and all the good work that’s going on behind the scenes and across the voluntary sector to support the people who’ve been locked in isolation and who are just coming out of lockdown.”

Organisations with stands included Burbank Community Centre, the Friends of Hartlepool’s Wild Green Spaces, Justice First, and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Gary Dougherty from Let’s Connect, formerly Hartlepool and East Durham Mind, which also had a stand, said: “There’s loads of different opportunities.

The Volunteer Fair held at the Hartlepool Sixth Form College. Picture by FRANK REID

"The young ones are brilliant for the service. They’re full of energy and especially with the digital side they can teach us.”

Lesley Mulcahy from The Simple Weigh eco-friendly shop was also signing up volunteers for opportunities in retail, environmental studies and social media.

She said: “We’re trying to get students involved and help us on our journey to make an impact on the environment.

"We are only a small company so they will be helping us and we will be helping them.”

Student Georgia Pallister talks with Jason Hussein from Justice First. Picture by FRANK REID

Students Kate Bulmer, Aimee Stone and Beth Strain expressed an interest in a new homework club at the college with Hartlepool Action Lab which will let children use the college’s computers.

Colleen Sawicki, a curriculum manager at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “We think it’s really important for students to be involved with their local community.

"We’re hoping this will be an annual event.”

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