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Leading academic invited to Russia for volunteering visit

10 December 2014

Rachel Atkinson

Dr Alethea Melling travelled to Moscow to take part in student forum

A leading University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) academic has been invited to Russia to discuss the success of volunteering.

Dr Alethea Melling, Director of the Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership, was invited to Moscow by the Russian Department of Culture to take part in a volunteering student forum held at the Russian State Social University (RSSU).

The forum was organised by Natalia Pochinok, Rector of RSSU, and the Mosvolunter organisation, which was developed to promote volunteering and social action in Moscow.

She gave a presentation on UCLan’s volunteering work, which is regarded as the model for student social action at RSSU, and after the forum she visited a number of Moscow voluntary organisations which are supported by students.

"It was a fantastic trip and very informative. The RSSU and Mosvolunteer are keen to collaborate further with us in the Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership and UCLan Education and Social Sciences"

The first was a special inclusive centre for people with disabilities. The centre encourages integration and inclusion by bringing in the local community to share in activities and learning. The approach is peer led and the centre members with disabilities take a key role in teaching the community a variety of skills including sports, make up and beauty, music, textiles, ceramics and fine art. The unique aspect of the centre is that people with disabilities are not given limits in terms of what they can achieve for themselves or teach others.

Ali also visited a volunteer rescue centre where students train to act as volunteer rescuers in an emergency. The students were training to rescue people from confined spaces such as you would find in an earthquake. She also visited one of Moscow’s new multi-functional youth centres where she met with the staff and young people.

She said: “It was a fantastic trip and very informative. The RSSU and Mosvolunteer are keen to collaborate further with us in the Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership and UCLan Education and Social Sciences around developing student led programmes and a pedagogy that supports student led social action.”

UCLan’s Dr Ali Melling, fourth from the left, who visited one of Moscow’s new multi-functional youth centres to meet with the staff and young people.