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Student volunteers battle challenges for local charities- all from their laptops

Winchester Hub has re-launched the Social Innovation Programme (SIP), a six-week volunteering course that aims to get more people involved with their community.

The charity, in association with Winchester University, will provide weekly training and support- to help students come up with solutions to the problems their organisation is facing.

In the summer, the programme moved online and saw students tackle challenges associated to Covid-19.

Following the summer success, this term, students will take to their screens again to work with local organisations MHA Community Winchester and TowerHouseHorses.

Susie Little, the CEO of TowerHouseHorses, told Winol: “Becoming involved with the Social Innovation Programme gives us a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of our charity, to improve communication and to research and attract a younger audience that wants to get involved”.

A total of nine local charities were part of the scheme last year, including organisations such as WinAcc, Age Concern Hampshire and Wessex Green Hub, who praised students for their hard work and commitment.

Despite being forced online again, Programmes Manager Sorcha Young remains positive, telling WINOL the benefits or running the project remotely: “I think one thing that makes the programme great online is that we get a lot more students who aren’t living in Winchester and with other commitments. In June, we had a lot more mature students and students that were carers beyond our programme”.

“First-hand experience with a charity can be really beneficial but the programme itself naturally leads to students becoming invested into the charities they work with by doing the research and actually learning about the social issue the charity faces.”

The programme will start later this month and finish with a showcase where the student consultants will present their recommendations to their community partners.

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