Students Staff

22 February 2011

Students and footballers to transform Community Centre

Colchester Campus

This week sees a major flagship volunteering initiative between the University of Essex Students’ Union and Colchester United FC taking place on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 February.

The BIG Project will see volunteers, including students, local residents, professional tradesmen, Colchester United players and supporters, join forces to transform the Greenstead Community Centre.

The BIG Project has been designed as the showpiece finale of seven days worth of intensive volunteering to commemorate national Student Volunteering Week.
Other projects during the week include a Community Paving Project, Broomgrove Junior School’s ‘Quiet Garden’ refurbishment and a Family Fun day ‘Treasure Hunt’.

Matt Hudson from Colchester United FC said: “We are really looking forward to working alongside the students from the University for this year’s Big Project. The club has received plenty of support over the years from students who want to watch their local team in action whilst at University.”

“The Big Project will hopefully leave a lasting impression at Greenstead Community Centre, an area where many students also live. The club is proud to be working in their local community and hope that the project will be a great success.”

Toni Knights, of Greenstead Community Centre, said: “We need to re-decorate and refurbish the centre on the whole. Being self sufficient and relying totally on the income of hall hire to keep this much needed Centre open to the public we need to increase our bookings, hopefully with a fresh lick of paint the hall will be more appealing to people”

The University of Essex’s vTeam, the Students’ Union’s student volunteering arm, has over 400 student members across 32 nationalities who contribute around 150 hours a week to regular voluntary projects. Projects work with local schools, youth clubs, residential homes, charities and other local organisations and groups.

Keith Rowland, Community Volunteering Manager at the Students’ Union said: “There are over 42,000 student volunteers in Britain and last year student volunteers gave over three million hours. Our volunteers are always keen to get involved at a local level and be active members of their local communities, we hope the BIG project will become an annual event and grow bigger each year”

Notes to editors
Press and photographers are invited to see The Big Project Takes place on Friday 25 (2pm) and Saturday 26 February (4pm) at Greenstead Community Centre. Students and the SU’s volunteering manager will be available for interviews – please contact Keith Rowland, telephone:01206 863 211, fax: 01206 870 915 or e-mail: for further details.

For more information about the Students’ Union’s volunteering work please visit
For more information about Student Volunteering Week or Volunteering England please contact Kimberley Rowley, telephonen 0207 520 8932.

 Each student volunteer gives on average 82 hours per year to their community, contributing £1000 to the economy.

Other vteam projects this week include:
- Bridgefield Close Community Paving Project – Ongoing project until the end of March 2011
- Broomgrove Junior School ‘Quiet Garden’ Project taking place on Wednesday 23rd February 2011, between 10am and 4pm
- Family Funday ‘Treasure Hunt’ on Friday 25th February 2011 at the University of Essex Colchester campus
- Photographers and Journalists are invited to contact Keith Rowland should they wish to attend other events
- Photographs available on request from the Students' Union.

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