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Student volunteer makes a difference in community

Daniel made the most of his sporting ability to build some great relationships with the kids, fostering social skills among children and young people through activities such as tennis with the Regenerate Bus Project. 

Posted: 28 May 2012

image for news story Student volunteer makes a difference in community
Daniel Fenton, Regenerate Volunteer

Daniel Fenton is a third-year Sport and Exercise Science student at University of Roehampton. He recently volunteered for the Regenerate Bus Project, a mobile youth centre for the young people of Roehampton and other estates in London. The bus is a fun and safe place for young people to go and is equipped with a sound system, gaming equipment, and arts and craft resources.

Daniel made the most of his sporting ability to build some great relationships with the kids, fostering social skills among children and young people through activities such as tennis. Recently, we caught up with Daniel, who is now on his way to graduation, and spoke to him about his experience as a volunteer and why he would encourage other Roehampton students to get involved.

How did you hear about the opportunities with Regenerate?
I spoke to James Ayres from Sport Roehampton and he mentioned that there were some great ways to volunteer using sport to help reach out to kids in the local community. I thought it would be a great way to combine my love for tennis and an opportunity to get a bit more coaching experience.

What are the types of activities did you do as a volunteer with the Regenerate Bus Project?
Basically, the bus functions like an after-school programme. It pulls up outside local estates and the kids all come out to take part in activities. I set-up tennis nets and pulled out racquets and balls and the kids just went for it. To my amazement, they loved it! And I got to see some of them really develop in their skill level.
In addition to sport, the kids have the opportunity to go on the bus and participate in music and art projects. They also have access to healthy snacks and are surrounded by adults wanting to build into their lives.

Was there anything that surprised you about the experience of being a volunteer?
I think I was surprised how really lovely the kids were and how they genuinely wanted to learn. Some people might think they won’t be able to relate to the kids because they don’t have the same background or much in common. The truth is the kids were great and it was really cool to get to know some of them.

How would you encourage more Roehampton students to get involved with projects like this?
As students, we really need to get involved in the local community and build into the positive things that kids can take part in. After working with Regenerate, I can now walk down the street near campus and say ‘hi’ to a kid passing by; knowing that I helped him get better at sport and spent time actually showing him he mattered. It builds such a more positive atmosphere and helps to connect the university to those outside.

What’s next for you after graduation?
I would really like to get into training on a higher level; something that combines strength conditioning and possibly coaching either tennis or football.

For more information on ways to volunteer visit the RSU Volunteering Zone.
For more information on Regenerate visit their website.

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