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Manchester University officially recognises benefits of volunteering

06 Jul 2007

Students, staff and alumni from The University of Manchester are being officially recognised for their contribution to society in the University's inaugural Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Jane Ratchford, Director of the Manchester Leadership Programme, Careers & Employability Division, which managed the awards, said: "Volunteering is increasingly being recognised by employers, employees, politicians, students and society in general as a valuable way to assist the local community whilst boosting the personal and professional development of individuals.

"These new Awards both represent The University of Manchester's commitment to encouraging its members to contribute to the local community, and demonstrate the positive impact of education on communities around the world. We are very proud of the fantastic achievements of our colleagues, which are an inspiration to us all."

Medical student Vivienne Birch won the Student category for a variety of volunteering work, including tutoring Somali children in an after-school club, assisting refugee and asylum-seeking doctors, and working with homeless, disadvantaged and mentally disabled people.

Vivienne took part in this year's University's Manchester Leadership Programme, which combines a taught academic module with voluntary work. She said: "I realise now that for me to get the most out of university and life, I need to be involved in projects that help others in the local community. This has had a hugely positive impact on me, and those who I help."

Veronique Rizzuto, Secretary in the Teaching and Learning Assessment Office, was voted Staff Volunteer of the Year, as a founder member, trustee and treasurer of a charity which works to raise the standard of living in a poverty-stricken area of Dessie in Ethiopia.

The UK Alumni category was topped by Dr Daniel Morris, a 1999 Medicine graduate who set up the Ol Malo Eye Project, which organises outreach surgical camps in Kenya in order to combat the risk of painful blindness amongst the nomadic Samburu tribe.

Bernice Heloo, 1992 graduate in Adult Education Literacy for Rural Development, won the International Alumni Award for her role as President of a pan-African organisation which works to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and children, advocating for better access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

Winners received cheques for £500, second places received £300 and third places £200, made payable to the organisations where the participants volunteer. Prizes were provided courtesy of BP, which sponsored the Awards. The Awards were judged by representatives of voluntary organisations, alumni and University staff.

Notes to editors

1. Further information on the winners of The University of Manchester's Volunteer of the Year Awards - including images, more details on their volunteering work and further quotes - is available on request.

2. Further information is also available on the Volunteer of the Year website:


Tammy Goldfeld, Head of Marketing
MLP Careers & Employability Division, The University of Manchester
0161 275 2828

Rowena Forbes, Marketing & Communications Executive
MLP Careers & Employability Division, The University of Manchester
0161 275 2828 /