Community To Benefit From University's 80 Exciting Projects

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Community To Benefit From University's 80 Exciting Projects

Date posted: 2 December 2013

Investigating the history of one of the UK's oldest trees, filming 'how to' videos and creating mobile phone apps to promote walking are among the 80 student projects being organised by the University of Derby to help the community.

The University has launched its 'WildVolunteering' initiative for 2014, supporting students in a wide range of opportunities to volunteer in the community.

Projects include:

  • creating a timeline leaflet for a 500-year-old Markeaton Park oak tree;
  • developing an arts exhibition space at Belper North Mill, World Heritage Site;
  • a feasibility study, working with a University of Derby graduate at Nestlé in Hatton;
  • developing a phone app for a self-guided trail along a Findern footpath;
  • mapping fruit trees in Derby;
  • a history project at Darley and Nutwood Local Nature Reserve;
  • a rebranding project at Derby Citizens' Advice and Law Centre;
  • internet taster sessions and homework help in Derby libraries;
  • photography and 'how to' video projects with Derbyshire County Council's Environmental Studies Service;
  • organising a fashion show to raise money for a community centre.

Another of the projects for 2014 is a Bat Survey at Meynell Langley which will be completed by first year BSc (Hons) Zoology students Siobhan Hillman, 18, from Liverpool, and Rebecca Rose, 19, from Newstead Village, Nottinghamshire. Siobhan and Rebecca are both keen to volunteer and gain more experience to help their future careers.

Siobhan said "There is a bat group at the University which will provide the training required to complete the survey. I have been interested in bats since I was young and have always wanted to help towards their conservation.

"We will be equipped with a bat detector and survey different areas to compare how many different bats can be found. We hope to identify the differences in habitats and human interference between areas and help improve bat conservation."

There is also an overall project to rebrand WildVolunteering as 'Go Volunteer', as the diversity of the initiaitive has increased. Second-year BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree students from the University put forward design concepts for a new logo, and one student will be chosen to develop the design for the website and marketing material.

The WildVolunteering project began in 2012 with an environmental scheme and as the initiative has grown, students now have the chance to volunteer for other types of community work. During 2013 students took part in 40 projects on which they produced reports, and they will receive a reference for these to present to prospective employers.

The scheme is coordinated by the University's Community Relations team, with support from Estates and Student Services departments, and delivers valuable activities benefiting students and fulfilling stated community needs . Projects help students to develop life skills, gain hands on work experience and provide the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace.

Jason Nichols, Community Relations Assistant at the University added: "We are really pleased the initiative has grown and there are now more opportunities for our students. We are working with a wider range of community groups and organisations to offer a variety of opportunities.

I am particularly looking forward to the rebranding project which will give the initiative a new look."

For more information about this University of Derby Community Relations news story contact Peter Walker on 01332 591945 or email

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