How did you get involved with the Learning Station Project?
I started volunteering as an English teacher with the Learning Station Project in 2017 during my bachelor’s in international Relations at King’s College London. When I came back to King’s in 2019 for my Master’s in International Peace and Security, the charity had an opening on the board of trustees and the founder asked me to step into the role, which I happily accepted.
What do your roles as a trustee and Head of Student Coordination involve?
Being a trustee for a grassroots charity like the Learning Station Project means that you do not have a clear set of responsibilities. Although each of the trustees have been assigned specific roles, our responsibilities often cut across our different roles and we often find ourselves spinning several plates at once. It is a real group effort. From one day to the next, I find myself bouncing from inducting and training new volunteers, writing grant applications, helping to set up partnerships with fellow charities and businesses, to teaching English.
During the COVID-19 crisis, my role as a trustee has almost turned into a part-time job, which I am managing alongside my studies, and which my colleagues Margot and Louise have been managing alongside their full-time jobs. We have been dedicating countless hours to this project, especially over the past couple of months, and it has been a truly positive experience. The board of trustees, alongside our spectacular team of over 50 volunteer English teachers, is incredibly dedicated to the charity and supporting the students – it is inspiring to see! Students also regularly send us heart-warming feedback, which only reinforces our commitment to the charity.
Most of my time working on the charity as a trustee is split between teaching English and overseeing our network of over 50 students. As the Head of Student Coordination, my role entails onboarding all our new students before they start taking English classes with us in order to understand their background and their reason for learning English – whether it is to pass an exam, move on to university studies, improve their chances of finding a job, or to build their social life here in the UK. This is an important step in ensuring that we match a student with the right volunteer. I act as the main point of contact for our students, helping to answer any questions they may have.
We have also taken the initiative to streamline some of our processes in light of the number of students and volunteers who recently joined us. We created a Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct for volunteers and students. The goal of this is to create a safe environment in which both our students and volunteers can work safely and in confidence. This has been particularly useful for our volunteers to signpost any issues a student could be facing elsewhere in their life, around housing, mental health or financial challenges. Our charity is then able to act quickly and refer our students to other charities which may be able to offer the specific support the student requires.