We are launching new community spotlights this year, led by our Community and Volunteering Officer, Charlotte Colombo. These spotlights will cover some of the brilliant volunteering opportunities you can get involved with in and around Southampton alongside your studies. Charlotte is launching the series with a look at Naomi House & Jacksplace.

What is Naomi House?
Naomi House & Jacksplace is a locally-based hospice which treats approximately 325 children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. Naomi’s House focuses on the care of younger people whilst Jacksplace provides care to teenagers and young adults with serious conditions.

How does Naomi House help people?
Whilst the nursing and care teams ensure all of the children’s clinical needs are met, the play and family support teams help improve the quality of life for these children by providing fun trips, activities, and essential respite/support for the children’s families.

What long-term volunteering opportunities does Naomi House offer to students?
One way students can get involved is through the Young Ambassadors Programme (YAP!), which aims to give students the freedom to organise their own fundraising events from scratch as well as becoming a part-time volunteer in their shops or warehouses, giving them a large breadth of skills and a certificate they can add to their CV.

Why would the Young Ambassadors Programme be especially useful for students?
It’s flexible and can be fit around your studies, so you can do it gradually over a year or more intensely over a few months. If you’re interested in marketing, events management or retail then this experience will be especially useful for you!

Are there more casual volunteering opportunities that are flexible around university life?
There is also an opportunity for student drivers to get involved in the rewarding Jacksmates programme. If you’re reliable, chatty and enjoy getting to know new people, this would be the perfect volunteering opportunity for you! It doesn’t require much commitment – all you need is a drivers license and the willingness to give up one Wednesday evening a month.

What does the Jacksmate programme entail?
You will take on the role of a befriender for vulnerable young people under the hospice’s care, and find common ground with them such as sports or music taste to help them cultivate essential social skills and come out of their shell. If you’re interested in a career in education, psychology or social work this would be the perfect opportunity for you, and could make a very significant difference to peoples lives.

Are there more retail-based volunteering opportunities?
You can also learn transferable and professional skills as a volunteer in one of their charity shops, where you will be able to get first-hand insight how a retail and not-for-profit business runs.

Can I volunteer with the hospice directly?
If you’d rather get more involved in the hospice itself you can volunteer as a care administrator or receptionist; playing a crucial role of support in the day-to-day running of the hospice. Again, this can be completely flexible around your University timetable and give you work experience in a variety of sectors.

Are there one-off volunteering opportunities if you can’t commit to regular ones?
You can help support the charity by volunteering at one of their one-off events. You can help fundraise, become a volunteer ‘cheerer’ to keep event morale high or even help run the event as a marshal.

Why should students volunteer for Naomi House and Jackspace?
Not only will you be able to apply for a ‘Serving Community’ STRIVE e-badge, but you will also be helping to improve the quality of life for those all over Hampshire who are under Naomi House & Jacksplace care.

To find out more about this local charity, visit their website: www.naomihouse.org.uk

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