Today in a debate in Parliament I paid tribute to the thousands of students who volunteer in a wide range of community projects in Sheffield, but urged the Government to do more to ensure students from all backgrounds can volunteer alongside their studies.
During the debate on student volunteering, I was proud to congratulate Liam Rodgers, a creative writing student at Sheffield Hallam University who was named national 2016 Student Volunteer of the Year for his Upscribe creative writing project with homeless people.
Liam Rodgers, Student Volunteer of the Year 2016
But evidence suggests that the need to get paid work alongside their studies leaves some students little time for volunteering activities. I pushed the Government Minister to do more to address this as it’s a particular barrier to those from low income families and may become a bigger problem with the abolition of maintenance grants.
I was disappointed the Minister didn’t address the issue of how we ensure students who need to work to study can be involved in volunteering. If we don’t do so, there’s a growing risk that volunteering will be increasingly limited to those who can afford to do it, giving extra advantage to already advantaged students.