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Community challenge brings staff and postgrads together

Nick Walker: remembers the incredible energy of the volunteers

Nick Walker: remembers the incredible energy of the volunteers

28 August 2006

Royal Society Research Fellow, Dr Nick Walker, reflects on the benefits of teamwork exemplified by the School of Chemistry’s recent community challenge at Weston Park Primary School.

I would strongly recommend anyone within the University to get involved in a community challenge. When the atmosphere is right, working together with other people to achieve a shared goal can be uplifting.  

Ours took place over a weekend in July when the School of Chemistry’s enthusiastic team of volunteers used around 70 litres of paint to decorate the walls, ceilings and skirting boards of Weston Park Primary School in Lawrence Weston. It was the conclusion of months of planning and activity.

Our challenge was possible because our team invested loads of time and energy in making sure that every detail was right. We raised £1,000 ourselves towards the cost of materials through two pub quizzes, a cake sale and a paintbrush “amnesty”. The sheer variety of events meant everyone in the department could get involved, there were so many different ways to help out. Our fundraisers also won support from organisations such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and Astra Zeneca. Whether this was because of the involvement of our postgraduate chemists or simply because of the connection to our school of study, it’s hard to say, but these fundraising efforts definitely created a buzz and had a snowballing effect.

When the weekend finally came, we were prepared for anything – and we also had fun! M&S, Sainsbury’s and Domino’s provided free food and refreshments and the school let us use its games equipment so we could amuse ourselves while the paint was drying between coats. I will remember the weekend for the incredible energy of the volunteers, the camaraderie, the many moments of humour and the beautiful sight of the painted walls when we finished. I’d never even painted my own flat before, but why start small?     

Nick Walker


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