23 February 2021
During the first trimester at ARU this year, BA Social Work students studied the module Social Work in Society, the module looks at poverty and the causes for it. Around that same time, during the midst of the pandemic, food poverty came into focus in the media, highlighted due to the campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford around free school meals. As Social Work students inspired by the teaching and the grave situation faced by many in food poverty, a group of us got together with a mission to try and do something to raise awareness, we also wanted to raise money and donations for the foodbank.
The campaign we decided on was to carry out a ‘foodbank challenge’, where a group of us spent a week eating and drinking only what would be provided in a typical food parcel. The week itself was successful in raising awareness and almost £1,000 for the Trussell Trust, although we did find it difficult and quite depressing as the food was very bland and sloppy with not much texture, we were all definitely craving fresh fruit. It felt really good to be doing something positive during such hard times and helped us have a sense of community among our cohort!
Spurred on by the success of our first campaign, one of our lecturers challenged us again, this time to raise donations of coats for refugees in Calais who would spend the winter in makeshift tents in refugee camps, again Social Work students rose to the challenge, donating over 30 bin bags of coats for men, women and children.
In trimester two we have continued our campaigning to help others, this time we are planning an event for Caritas Anchor House, a homeless charity in Newham, London. The charity provides accommodation and life skills mentoring for people who are homeless and has a brilliant record of helping people to move on to successful tenancies and a brighter outlook on life! We are still in the planning phase of the event, but I can share with you that we will be holding an online virtual auction, with some fantastic lots to bid on. Every penny we raise will go to help people in need, people who arguably have found the pandemic even harder than most.
In reflection on our campaigning alongside University, I would recommend for every student to get involved, it’s great to know you are making a difference and create a brilliant sense of comradery amongst your peers, not only that but it’s a great thing to add to your CV, you’ll find that lecturers are so supportive and enthusiastic to the causes you pick and will do all they can to support you.
So, get involved, pick a charity or event you feel passionate about and do something about it!