Burnley student awarded for commitment to volunteering

A second year Children, Schools and Families student has been awarded a “Community Hero” certificate for her commitment to volunteering alongside studying on her full-time course in Burnley.

Skye, 19, from Barnoldswick, has been recognised by the University's Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership (CVCL) for completing over 200 hours of voluntary work alongside her BA (Hons) Children, Schools & Families (Graduate Practitioner) course.

Skye had been working as an apprentice in a nursery before deciding to come to university. She commented, “my role was furloughed during the pandemic and that gave me the push I needed. It was all a bit last minute, but it worked out really well for me – I definitely made the right decision!”

“I only found out about the course because my hairdresser was on a Health and Social Care course at Burnley. I didn’t want to move away from home, so I didn’t think that university was an option for me.”

Skye Barnes, BSc (Hons) Children, Schools and Families
Skye Barnes, BSc (Hons) Children, Schools and Families

When talking about the course, Skye talked about the how different the first year was, “The first year was a bit weird because a lot of it was online because the restrictions came in. I got lots of support from the tutors. It was hard at times, especially when working on group assignments!”

“One of the assignments was to research local children’s organisations in the community and I found a local Children’s charity, SELFA in Skipton. I then saw an advert looking for volunteers over the summer so ended up doing that. That then became my placement in my second year.”

Founded in 2007, SELFA provided an inclusive holiday club and some holiday workshops for young people aged 4-19. Skye commented, “This was my first experience of working with older children. It was a bit bizarre as first, but I grew into the role. After a few months I was offered a paid role with the organisation, which is great.”

Alongside the voluntary work with SELFA, Skye also volunteers with her local Brownies. She was presented with her award at an awards evening held at the Preston Campus.

"The tutors are amazing. They are so supportive and always there when I need extra help with something."

“Year two has been a bit harder but better because we’ve been in class and been able to go on placements. Year 1 felt like an introduction, whereas now we are going into things in a lot more depth. We have a course group chat and we all support each other.”

Looking ahead to next year, Skye is already looking for new opportunities to further her experience and knowledge. She added, “I’d like to work in a primary school next. My experience is in youth group and fun activities. I’d like to see the difference in the more formal settings of a school.”

When talking about studying at UCLan Burnley, Skye highlighted the tutors as being key to her success on the course, “the tutors are amazing. They are so supportive and always there when I need extra help with something.”

“After I graduate from the course, I will have lots of options because of the course I’ve studied and the experiences that I have gained. I’m interested in working in residential care for children but I’m keeping my options open.”