The selfless and compassionate acts of students at Northumbria University has spread global cheer and raised much-needed awareness and funds for those who need it most.
During a time, which has been very difficult for many, Northumbria University invited students to share their random acts of kindness. The response was overwhelming. From making someone smile who was having a bad day, to supporting friends and communities who desperately need help, seeking opportunities to provide emergency parcels to children and deprived families, and raising thousands of pounds for charity, Northumbria students continue to make a real difference to people’s lives.
The winners, as selected by students themselves, include Luke Chambers, Josh Fraser and Shashank Javalie Shivayogi. Luke Chambers, a postgraduate student studying Space Law, has been working with Volunteer Riders UK, an organisation made up of bike riders who deliver PPE to frontline workers around Northumberland, since March – when the country first went into lockdown due to COVID-19. He also voluntarily delivers emergency parcels, organised through the local community, to those who are struggling.
Having noticed a significant shift in those asking for help, he decided to get back on his bike, dress up as Santa and meet almost 80 families who often rely on free activities at Christmas. With some help from fellow student, Rosie Purves, his family, and neighbours, he will be safely delivering 270 gifts donated by small local businesses, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, to nearly 100 children across North Tyneside.
Commenting on this he added: ‘Much of the traditional Christmas run-up has been cancelled for so many families, and we wanted to bring a bit of Christmas cheer to children.’ Josh Fraser, who is studying LLM in Legal Practice has also been recognised for his fantastic achievement raising awareness of male mental health as part of charity movement, Movember. He took a socially distanced walk to the extreme when he walked over 60km in one day with a staggered team of friends, who have so far raised over £13,000.
Talking about this experience Josh said: ‘The statistics when it comes to the rate of men committing suicide are truly harrowing – one male suicide every single minute of the day. For too long there’s been a stigma surrounding men and mental health. This needs to change and slowly but surely it is. Although walking 60km in one day was incredibly challenging physically, it pales in comparison to those suffering inside their own minds. The 60km walk, and the wider context behind it can go some way to showing that it’s good to talk openly about our issues and that mental health can affect anyone.’
Meanwhile, project management with advanced practice student, Shashank Javalie Shivayogi, has gifted essential items such as pens, books and clothes, to poor and disadvantaged children from a small school in India, every year on his birthday for the past three years. As he completes his degree at Northumbria, he continues to put the needs of others before his own, sending money he has earned to family and friends who make the donation on his behalf.
Sharing his act of kindness, he commented: ‘I love doing this because I want to bring happiness to poor children who are suffering. I have visited the school myself and have seen the struggles that these children go through. I would rather help those in need on my birthday than spend money on myself.’
Random acts of kindness can make someone’s day and now, more than ever, we should take advantage of that. Last year Northumbria University joined forces with Newcastle University to celebrate the great work students do within their communities, as part of the Best Neighbour on Campus (BNOC) initiative.BNOC awards students who have made a positive contribution to the city each month during term time.