Students from Queen Mary, University of London have taken part in a national competition to celebrate their enterprising volunteer work, which has directly helped 300 Tower Hamlets residents.
In the 2011-2012 academic year QM’s 43 Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) put in 1,227 hours of volunteer work. They submitted three of their projects to the SIFE UK National Competition 2012 and presented the results to a judging panel of business executives on Wednesday 18 April.
SIFE sponsor Enterprise Rent-A-Car gave the students a commendation for diversity initiatives within their projects. The team received £100 to put towards their next round of volunteering.
Queen Mary SIFE has worked closely with Ocean Women’s Association at the Ocean Estate, Tower Hamlets, to help Bengali and Somali immigrants with English language skills. Volunteers carry out English lessons on a weekly basis, teaching grammar and precise written and spoken English. The project is now in its second year and is likely to continue, strengthening employment prospects for the residents who take part.
Another SIFE initiative sees students encouraging young local people to come up with an idea and concept for a potential mobile phone app. Participants in the Represent London Enterprise Project are required to consider the basic elements of a marketing campaign and pricing in a series of student-led workshops that teach life-long business, communication and enterprise skills.
The projects were presented alongside the work of volunteers from across the UK. The competition’s overall winner will go forward to represent the UK in the 2012 SIFE World Cup in Washington DC, competing against the National Champion team from 39 other SIFE countries.
The SIFE students are guided by university and business advisers in developing sustainable projects which create economic opportunity for others.
James Weaver, Employer Liaison and Events Manager at Queen Mary Careers, and a SIFE advisor comments: “The QM SIFE team is helping to give young people self-confidence and experience of team work and leadership, raising their aspirations. All the participants in the Represent London Enterprise Project have also gone on to apply as volunteers for the 2012 Olympics as London Ambassadors.”
Other SIFE volunteers have worked with trustees at east London’s Stepney City Farm, improving the site’s marketing strategy, organising events and encouraging people to buy local produce. SIFE intends to help the farm open a café on the premises.
Tom Voice, 2012 Queen Mary SIFE President says: “The work we’re doing at Stepney City Farm not only raises awareness of healthy living and the importance of open space to London, but it also encourages social cohesion and increased economic activity in Tower Hamlets through an ongoing series of events.”
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