Belfast Harbour has gone ‘back to school’ with Queen’s Students’ Union to help hundreds of children from inner-city Belfast aspire to a university-level education.
Thanks to support from Belfast Harbour, 130 Queen’s students have volunteered to help out at 17 homework clubs across the city. In addition to helping children with academic work the students are also providing one-to-one tutoring and supporting recreational activities.
The scheme is organised by Volunteer SU, the volunteering department of Queen’s Students’ Union, and is delivered through youth centres, community groups and schools.
Jenni Barkley, Belfast Harbour’s Communications & Corporate Responsibility Manager, said:
“For children who don’t have friends and family who have gone to university, the prospect of going themselves can seem alien. This is a great scheme which allows students to spend an hour every week with the children, helping with their homework and demystifying what university entails.
“It’s also an excellent opportunity for the students to enhance their CVs, receive training on key skills to support them in their position and act as a role model for children who may not otherwise consider going onto third-level education.”
Stephen McCrystall, President of Queen’s Students’ Union, said:
“We appreciate Belfast Harbour’s support of the Homework Clubs Initiative, which gives student volunteers the opportunity to make a positive change in their community by improving the academic achievement of local children and young people, building their confidence and raising their aspirations, whilst getting hands-on experience supporting young people. “
The scheme includes Belfast’s refugee and asylum-seeking community who can also benefit from free tutoring and support in core curriculum areas.
In addition to the homework clubs, Volunteer SU has also planned a series of events at Queen’s Film Theatre (QFT) for participating children and young people.