First UK university to launch platform for students to engage in volunteering

17 December 2020

Volunteering opportunities at university are usually vast and students often help in local communities or take part in fundraising events, but this has been disrupted due to Covid-19.

To offer an alternative experience, Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University (LBU) has launched an online platform to connect students to the city of Leeds and beyond.

LBU is the first UK university to make use of this innovative platform, which was realised with the help of Deedmob, a European social tech start-up based in Amsterdam.

Deedmob is a sophisticated, extensive platform that connects students, employees and staff with social organisations to help them volunteer, collaborate and communicate.

Students can search for suitable opportunities in their chosen area, by filtering on location, duration of the volunteering, and the type of work.

Moreover, they can track their volunteering activities on their personal page, and organisations can leave them a review.

Meri Nasilyan-Lowe, Course Director for Digital Pedogagy in the Carnegie School of Education at LBU, said:

Since students are not able to experience our beautiful campus, we wanted to give them an alternative campus experience, where students can be connected to the course, find volunteering opportunities in Leeds, network and share ideas.

This partnership will enable us to bring innovative change for our students and staff and help them engage in civic and volunteering opportunities and create campaigns on the causes they are passionate about.

It’s particularly vital amid Covid-19, when possibilities of having ‘campus’ student experiences are limited across the country.

The partnership will also allow us to engage widely with our international and distance learning students. Our aim is to provide innovative opportunities to our students to bring in change in the community and their studies.

For organisations, the platform offers an overview of their volunteers, and statistical tools such as which volunteer did what at which location, and at which period.

Another part of the platform regularly uploads podcasts and interesting materials for students to broaden and elevate their student experience.

The platform recently hosted two LBU-led online events as part of the Being Human Festival, including Saving Anksi – an immersive online adventure which explores eco-literacy and the joy of wellbeing associated with ‘making’ creatively together.

Commenting on the partnership with LBU, Boudewijn Wijnands, Founder & CEO of Deedmob, said:

Leeds Beckett University is truly innovative. They are making the most of this complex Covid-19 period, they are continuing to look for different ways to make an impact both on their students and their community.

Deedmob is one of the largest online volunteer platforms representing over 1.5 million volunteers in Europe that enables more people to volunteer via its technological tools.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, they launched – a coalition of more than 150 local organisations including municipalities, corporates and charities to coordinate help requests with volunteers.

In the first three weeks alone, over 700,000 people have been reached and over 3,500 people were helped via the platform.

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