Students show caring side with Who Cares? Scotland fundraiser

Thu, 25 Mar 2021 16:19:00 GMT
Barbara was inspired to set up the fundraiser through a guest lecture
Barbara was inspired to set up the fundraiser through a guest lecture

Social Work students have found inspiration in a brand new module to raise more than £500 for a national voluntary organisation. 

As part of the innovative Advanced Social Work Skills module, Who Cares? Scotland delivered a powerful presentation on the experiences of Care Experienced individuals accessing their care records. This is just one of the many ways the charity provides support to people that have come through the care system in Scotland – something which third year student Barbara Czyrwik took great inspiration from. 

She said: “We received the guest lecture from Who Cares? Scotland and their input just made such a big difference to our learning.  

When a social worker compiles a record of someone who’s went through the care system, there’s the chance in the future that the individual would like to access it. I imagine it must be a really powerful moment for them to see so much information about their life and it’s amazing that the charity provides such great support - I never realised it was such an emotional process! 

The presentation really contributed to our learning and it was great to see them take the time to talk with us. Our lecturer, Dave Clarke, realised we liked it a lot and suggested doing a fundraiser - I was desperate to help. 

Initially, the idea was for students to donate £1 each as a thank you to the organisation for taking the time out to have a chat about the work that they do. However, Barbara didn’t want students to feel pressured during such a difficult financial time – so instead used her initiative in a move which certainly paid off. 

She explained: “We didn’t want anyone to feel under pressure, so I decided to set up a JustGiving page and that way people could donate what they wanted. Students and lecturers then immediately got involved and we’ve also had friends and family donating as well – there’s been more than 80 people that have given so far. 

The last time I checked, we’d managed to get to £530 – which is just incredible! I’ve never helped raise that much money before - it was such a great feeling and I can’t really compare it to anything else. 

Barbara also explained how delighted she was to be involved in the Advanced Social Work Skills module - which was developed by GCU, UWS and Strathclyde University. 

The ground-breaking new concept acts as a means of providing students with learning experiences to support practice skills ahead of their final year placement and social work practice. 

Barbara said: “We were all very nervous because we didn’t know how we would go about practical learning that was based online. However, once the module developed and we were split into groups, we began to feel much more enthusiastic about the learning and it really helped to back-up previous learning. I was personally really happy with how it was rolled out and everything I got from it. 

She was also keen to show her appreciation to GCU lecturer, Dave Clarke – who played a key role in the organisation of the module. 

Barbara said: “Dave gave 100% every single time. You could see he put his heart into this and it was great to see that he really cared about our learning. He acknowledged that it’s not the same as placement but I’ve always felt that he’s been doing his best to make things work for us. 

The appreciation was mutual, with Dave expressing his pride in all of the students involved.  

He said: “As a lecturer in Social Work at GCU, I am proud of students’ efforts to raise funds for such a worthy charity.  

Beyond providing advocacy support for children and young people in care, they also run a range of activities including Christmas dinner events, for the Care community to come together as a family. I am really encouraged by students’ appetites for activism and supporting good causes. These values will serve students well as they continue on their exciting journey towards professional social work practice.  

I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this endeavour, particularly how quickly it was all pulled together. 

Feeling inspired after reading our article? You can donate to Barbara’s Who Cares? Scotland fund via this link. 

By Ross Clark 
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