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Why we have launched Your Uni, Their Lives

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On Wednesday 26th February, Hope for Children (HOPE) launched a brand new initiative: Your Uni, Their Lives (YUTL). If you have ever taken part in fundraising at university, how much did you actually know about the organisation you were supporting, and the work they do? 

Hope The ChildrenLast year, Raising and Giving (RAG) Societies across the UK led students to raise in excess of £7 million for numerous local, domestic and international charities, all whilst simultaneously working towards their degrees. 

From 2009-2013, I was one of these students. I got involved with RAG at Nottingham Uni and somehow, from setting off as a fresher on my first RAG raid to Sheffield in a cold, damp, smelly double-decker bus, 4 and a half years later I’m standing in the House of Commons, overlooking the Thames, launching a national initiative, YUTL, and working for a charity that I couldn’t be more passionate about, HOPE. 

Working with a charity is a bit like a drug; the more you do it, the more you find it hard to stop. Don’t get me wrong, the occasional overdose can, and does, happen! A trip to the local cinema was always my remedy. 

What keeps you going is the one thing that almost everyone in the charity sector will agree on: passion

At any charitable organisation, this passion is the driving force that keeps staff and volunteers committed and motivated. At small organisations, like HOPE, there are often many more opportunities to get staff outside of programmes teams to be exposed to what is going on at ground zero. In our case, it was a trip out to Tanzania in 2012 and witnessing the incredible work HOPE implements with children living and working on the streets that truly got me hooked. 

One of the primary goals of YUTL is to force universities, communities and the wider public to recognise and appreciate just how important RAGs are to the survival of small charities. 

And yet, there is still the inevitable drone from the previous generation of how lazy, drunk and useless students are – a stereotype that hasn’t changed a lot since it was first established. Admittedly, today there is more recognition than ever before, but still comparatively minute compared to the endless hours and passion RAGs and students give up to support causes they all too often know very little about. 

I mean if you picked out a student and asked them to actually talk for two minutes about the charity they asked friends, family and often strangers to donate towards, how many actually could? In fact, extend that to any fundraiser of any age. 

If students are this passionate about fundraising for charities and have achieved this much already, imagine what they could do if they really understood what they are supporting. Through YUTL, we want to connect students on a substantial and unprecedented level with the projects that are surviving because of them. 

When a student fundraises for HOPE they won’t just be supporting an ambiguous cause, they’ll be helping tiny projects continue to do their overwhelmingly important work, and they’ll know exactly what that means! 

Check out our brand new website to find out more about Your Uni, Their Lives and Hope for Children here

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