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Prime Minister’s Big Society Award for Loughborough Students' Action Group

Loughborough Students’ Action Group was founded in 1997.

Loughborough Students’ Union is celebrating today (Wednesday 5 March) after learning its Action Group is the latest winner of the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.

The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010.  The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrates the Big Society in their work or activities.  The Action Group has been honoured for harnessing the volunteering power of students to help community groups across Loughborough.

Commenting on the award Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We have seen through the National Citizen Service that once someone has tried volunteering they are likely to carry on giving their time.  That’s why the work Loughborough Students’ Action Group does in helping a whole generation of local students make their first steps in volunteering is so important. Their commitment to involving the whole student community including international students with the local community is fantastic.

“By making volunteering the norm in their community Action has given thousands of hours of time to making a difference to local people and this Big Society Award recognises that.  I hope they continue to inspire even more people to get involved.”

The Action Group has been operating since 1997 and offers students volunteering opportunities ranging from one-off mass events like litter picking or making over a community centre, to regular sessions like a weekly soup kitchen or delivering reading support in schools.  During 2011-12 the group

  • had 2300 volunteers
  • contributed 19,000 hours of time volunteering worth £120,000
  • Raised over £70,000 to fund projects
  • Ran 36 regular projects and 150 one-off projects

Billy Marsh, Chair of Action said: “Winning this Big Society Award is indescribable – it’s something I’ve always believed in and I believe that Action embodies. There are a hundred and one reasons why people volunteer but at the end of the day, we like to think that our volunteers do it because they genuinely care.”

Congratulating the Action Group Professor Robert Allison, Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University commented: “This is great news for Loughborough University and Loughborough Students’ Union.  Year after year the Action Group volunteers quietly go about their outstanding volunteering work supporting many different projects and groups across Loughborough.  We know they are tremendously valued locally for the work that they do but recognition at a national level is wonderful for all involved.”

Action were nominated for the Big Society Award by local MP, Nicky Morgan who has seen Action’s work first-hand after attending a number of events and volunteering herself at their first soup kitchen project in October 2011.  She said: “I am thrilled Action has won this award. They do such wonderful work in our local community and they have helped so many people in Loughborough – we are very lucky to have them all. Each and every one of them deserve this award. Congratulations to the whole team!”

Each year Loughborough University acknowledges the contribution student volunteers make to the local community by presenting the TS Shipman and Hannah awards.  The presentations for this year will take place in May at a celebration event to be held at Loughborough Town Hall.