By running educational services with us, our volunteers fundraise for charities of their choice. Since OxFizz was founded in 2007, our volunteers have raised nearly £1m in charity donations.
We’re proud of the social impact our volunteers have — so from now until April we’ll be publishing blogs on their charities. We hope you find inspiration in what follows.
Campus Children’s Holidays
The seventh of these posts comes from volunteer Helen Scott, who last year has raised over £800 for Campus Children’s Holidays through OxFizz, as well as referring plenty of other volunteers too.
In 2018 OxFizz is looking forward to working in closer partnership with Campus and its wonderful team.
Helen, how did you get involved with Campus?
I first volunteered on a Campus Residential Project at the end of my second year of university , back in 2014. It looked like a fun and worthwhile way to spend a week of my long summer holiday.
I never expected that it would be anything more than a one-off volunteering opportunity.
One week later — after a lot of face paint, hours on a bouncy castle, and a crash course in Liverpool’s dialect — I was hooked. I joined the Charity’s Executive Committee, and took on real responsibility for the year-round running of Campus. Since then, I’ve been the Chair and then the Fundraising Officer.
And how did you get involved in OxFizz?
I heard about OxFizz through a friend at Campus, back in 2016. He’d volunteered previously and assured me it was super flexible, fun, and an easy way of raising money for charity. I was very nervous before my first interview day, but I quickly got into the swing of it.
I knew a few years earlier Campus had raised a significant amount of money through OxFizz, but this had trailed off. But as Campus has so many Cambridge graduates as volunteers, we decided it would be worth pushing again. We’re lucky that our volunteers really rose to the challenge, and happily got involved with OxFizz.
What does Campus do?
Campus is an entirely volunteer-run charity committed to providing annual respite breaks for disadvantaged children. Campus was founded in 1967, and has run summer projects every year since.
We work with some of the most vulnerable children in Liverpool and Wirril: children in care, some who have been abused, young carers, and children living in poverty or violent neighbourhoods.
What is the impact of Campus’s work?
Campus provides a safe and supportive environment within which vulnerable children can make friends, try new activities, build their confidence and create positive memories.
The families of children who attend our projects also benefit from respite during the summer holidays. This is a time at which pressures on families - like poverty, social isolation, or additional support needs — are especially acute, owing to the lack of school-based provision. Feedback from social workers has indicated that, in some cases, the break provided by Campus has been instrumental in preventing family breakdown.
Who benefits from the charity’s services?
Campus provides holidays to over 150 disadvantaged children aged 6–13 from Liverpool and Wirral every summer. Children are referred by either social services or Barnardo’s, on the basis that they’d benefit from a break from challenging home lives. Once a child has attended, they’re invited to return every summer until they turn 13, to provide them with a sense of continuity.
Every year, up to eight of our 13-year-old leavers who demonstrated leadership potential are invited to volunteer on Campus projects as “Young Helpers”. We give them a meaningful volunteering opportunity, building their confidence and increasing their educational/career aspirations. Many continue to volunteer into adulthood, and some have gone on to fundraise for Campus and even join our Executive Committee.
What motivates you personally to be involved?
It’s brilliant to see how much the children benefit from being on Campus. New children grow in confidence, returning children are delighted to be back. It really is great to make that happen. At the end of the week I coordinated last summer, there were lots of tears from the children when they had to leave. That’s an image I draw upon to motivate myself to do the essential year-round tasks necessary to make our summer projects a reality — the end result is worth it.
I also, personally, gain a huge amount from my Campus involvement. I get to take a week out during summer for something radically different to a normal working week. Indeed, there’s a lot to be said for spending time developing close working relationships with people of different backgrounds and ages (both children and helpers). You realise you have a lot in common!
What are the barriers to growing your impact?
Our volunteers have a huge amount of energy and a strong desire to ensure that as many children as possible can benefit from our provision, but this is only possible if we have enough volunteers and money to run our projects to full capacity.
We have an extremely tight annual budget, and are hardly a household name. From a financial perspective, the past few years have been really tough for small charities, so we’ve had to work really hard to ensure our model of income generation can be sustained year on year.
We depend heavily on volunteers and supporters spreading the word in their networks to encourage them to contribute to what we do, whether that’s fundraising, signing up to make a regular donation, or volunteering on our projects. Keeping this going is something I’m really proud of, but we’re conscious of the need to keep our momentum.
And why should OxFizz volunteers consider donating to Campus?
I’m confident that attending our projects really does provide many of the children with whom we work the highlight of their year. As a small charity, all donations go a long way toward enabling us to provide much needed holidays to the vulnerable children with whom we work.
The proceeds of one day of volunteering with OxFizz would fund a child’s place on our week-long Residential Project — something which would have a massively positive impact on that child and their family.
Finally, how else can OxFizz volunteers support Campus?
We’re currently recruiting new volunteers for Summer 2018 projects — further info can be found on our website. Once you’ve volunteered on a project, you can join our Executive Committee and get involved with the vital talks which ensure the smooth running of the charity.
Whether you’re interested in fundraising, recruitment, managing child allocations, finance, or something else — there are plenty of roles and we’re always looking for more people to get involved.