On 25th April, as part of their bi-annual Field Weekend, Community Action pupils at Oundle School were inspired to volunteer with a visit from ‘The Volunteer’, Hugo Chittenden, who recounted life changing stories, memories and anecdotes, teaching pupils the lessons of endurance, teamwork, leadership and humanity, as well as providing some handy tips to answer the who, what, why and how of volunteering.
In his book, The Volunteer: A Guide to Volunteering, Hugo raises awareness of the benefits of volunteering and inspires readers to get involved and become the volunteers of the future.
Pupil, Sam Evans (18) commented, “Hugo was very passionate about volunteering and his talk was both inspiring and heart-warming. I especially liked his ‘life vest’ concept with acts of kindness being shown to be passed on.”
Head of Community Action at Oundle School, Liz Dillarstone added, “Pupils at Oundle School are already very active volunteering and in fact between them did over 16,000 hours of volunteering last year alone. With volunteering now obligatory on most university applications, helping to make a difference to the lives of others is becoming an essential part of every pupil’s career path.”
Over 300 Oundle pupils are engaged during the year in providing service in the community in Oundle and surrounding villages and as far afield as Corby, Kettering and Peterborough. Pupils work in schools and nurseries, with the elderly and infirm; provide drama for special needs schools, environmental support work at the country park; offer ICT lessons for beginners; help at a local special needs club and produce a Community Newspaper (Oundle Chronicle) to name but a few of the 50+ activities. Pupils also help with Inner city holiday schemes and have regularly slept rough to raise money for St Basils’ homeless shelter in Birmingham.
Background on Hugo:
Hugo Chittenden is a teacher and documentary filmmaker who lives between Moscow, Spain and London. Following a near-fatal illness at the age of 31, Chittenden decided to transform his life by dedicating himself to helping raise awareness, funding and support for UK charities overseas. He has since become known as ‘The Volunteer’, volunteering and documenting projects for causes across the globe. He also works with inspirational speakers looking to share their experiences around the world.
About the book:
The Volunteer: A Guide To Volunteering, which includes a foreword from Bear Grylls and an introduction by David Cameron, provides a unique insight into the benefits of volunteering on charity projects overseas by charting the adventures of 10 influential and intrepid volunteers who include former UN Colonel Mark Cook, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammed Yunus, former Conservative MP Anne Widdecombe and Musician James Blunt.