Make a positive impact in the community, improve your CV and enhance your employment skills. These are just some of the benefits that students can get out of the University of Lincoln’s volunteer service.

Volunteer co-ordinator Pam Holbrook says that since the beginning of the 2008/09 academic year the Student Opportunities, Activities and Participation (SOAP) Centre, which opened in 2007, has got around 150 students volunteering regularly.

The kind of volunteer role undertaken by Lincoln students have been extremely wide and diverse, and ranges from working in schools, care homes, prisons, and for a number of charities.

Despite the success of the SOAP centre so far Ms Holbrook believes that more can be done: “We’ve helped about 150 students get volunteer work this year and we believe we can improve on that next year. We have links with all major charities and also encourage students to find their own placements too.

“Volunteering is something that benefits everyone, the organisation you volunteer for and the individual, who gets excellent preparation for their work life and career, employees see volunteering as a real positive thing for students to have done.”

She also said that all ‘out of pocket’ expenses will be covered by the university and, as an added bonus, all volunteers are invited to an annual celebration which acknowledges the efforts made by the volunteers.

Volunteer England, a national group, reports that  in 2007 there were about 20m volunteers in the country. The group also says that there are thousands of charities and other organisations that rely on volunteers.

They say that work commitments, a busy social life, and not being aware of volunteer opportunities prevent more people from giving their time. However, despite the volunteer numbers reaching such a high level there are always more opportunities and great causes to be a part of.

To become one of the millions involved in volunteering you can contact the SOAP centre, which is located inside the Student’s Union building, or their website.