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8th October 2012, 9:34am  (updated 10th October 2012, 5:20pm)
Dedication to volunteering leads to national award nomination for sports student
Alice receiving her Voluntary Sector Recognition Award A University of Lincoln student who devotes most of her spare time to helping disadvantaged young children has been nominated for a British Volunteer Award, run by The Sunday Telegraph.

Alice Carter, 21, who volunteers for Off the Bench, a Lincoln-based voluntary organisation that delivers youth sports projects for the under 25s, only discovered her nomination when she saw it in the newspaper.

She said: “It was a bit of a surprise and it has made me feel incredibly humble. I didn’t really think what I’m doing would be recognised at a national level.”

Now in her final year of a Sports Development and Coaching degree at the University, Alice had been spending upwards of 50 hours a week working with disadvantaged youngsters between May and September.

Working as the Sports Development Manager, Alice was in charge of putting together funding bids which amounted to £15,000 for new equipment while also heading up a staff of five, plus a dozen apprentices.

Despite being back at University full-time, Alice still devotes five nights a week and every Wednesday to the project.

Alice said: “It’s such a great experience. Over the summer we ran a free holiday club every day at the Sincil Bank football ground. As I live in the area I know the issues around there with the kids not having things to do. It was really rewarding to see 30 young people coming along every day and to know we were providing an alternative to roaming the streets.”

Following her degree Alice is keen to stay within the not-for-profit sector and hopes to remain with Off the Bench.

Pete Genders, Off the Bench Chief Executive, said: “In the spring of 2012, due to a reduction of funding, we were forced to let our Sports Development Manager go and an uncertain future lay before us. In a truly radical and visionary step Alice offered to take this role on as a full-time volunteer while she was between years at University. In this time Alice has radically changed the fortunes and drive of the Sports Development Team. Since March 2012 Alice has completed more than 1,000 hours of volunteering and received two awards: a StreetGames Local Hero Award and the Highly Commended Award for Commitment to Volunteering from the University of Lincoln Students’ Union. Alice deserves the recognition for the outstanding achievements and commitment she has made to volunteering on sports projects within Lincoln. On a personal level I can never thank Alice enough for what she has done to establish a long-term future for Off the Bench.”

On Alice’s achievements, Cathy Thomas, the Head of the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “Alice is an excellent student and it is really pleasing for her to receive this recognition. The University is proud of her exceptional dedication and commitment to the charity and recognise that a great many of our students give up their time to help local community projects.”

Jane Kilby, University of Lincoln Students’ Union Volunteering Coordinator, added: “We have never seen so many students want to volunteer, both for altruistic reasons and for building employability skills. Alice is one of many students who devote their free time in this way and I am delighted her hard work has been recognised.”

Winners of The Sunday Telegraph’s British Volunteer Awards will be announced in November with an awards ceremony to take place on a date yet to be confirmed.

Alice also won the 'Prestige Award' as Voluntary Youth Sector volunteer of the year at the Voluntary Sector Recognition Awards 2012 on Tuesday, 9th October.

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