We have a great range of volunteer roles here at the University – from supporting students to working with staff and academics. Meet David Pinney, one of our Family Link Volunteers. He welcomes new international students not only to our campus, but to the sights of Nottingham, Derby, and his home.
Growing up in a village environment in the 1950-60s, David felt lucky to live amongst people who cared for each other and their village. This same feeling returned to him when he worked as a young teacher in East Africa, where he soon formed a bond with those who were so welcoming and kind, despite having few material goods.
Following on as a Leader in the Scout Movement in East Africa and the UK, David found it a privilege helping young people benefit from all that Scouting has to offer: the enjoyment and care of the great outdoors, developing teamwork, learning by doing, respect for oneself and for others. All in all, David gains great satisfaction from being involved in something positive. So it’s no wonder that he ended up reunited, back into the palms of The University of Nottingham.
A former student and Friend of University Park, David has worked to champion the University’s vast and beautiful grounds by helping to open them to the public. By organising a series of events, garden walks and talks, the group does a great job encouraging visitors to enjoy the park.
David’s strong bond with the University has led him to seek new ways to widen his involvement. Discovering the University’s International Family Link scheme, he registered in 2003, and ever since, has looked after two overseas postgraduate students each year, welcoming them to Nottingham and taking them on explorations.
Over the years it has been a pleasure to meet students from many countries including Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Iraq, Nigeria, Taiwan, Saudi, Sudan, Syria, and Uganda. I’m still in touch with some friends who were students in the Scheme twelve years ago. It is fascinating to see what becomes of them.
Not only has David supported an important journey for our students, he’s also noticed many personal benefits from giving his time to the University.
If someone showed an interest in volunteering, I would tell them about the volunteering that I do for The University of Nottingham and how much I enjoy it. Volunteering can open up new friendships, new networks, develop new skills and give you much satisfaction from helping a particular cause or group. A very large number of volunteering opportunities are out there, especially with The University of Nottingham. It doesn’t matter which one you chose, just give it a go.
You can follow in David's footsteps
There are plenty of exciting volunteering opportunities at The University of Nottingham - from becoming a Family Link member like David, to a Dementia Research volunteer, or spending your day as a Superhero walk steward, helping families and individuals along their way at our sponsored on-campus walk for the Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre.
Get that feel-good factor - find your volunteer role!
Search volunteer opportunities
David's volunteering itinerary
Every year, David generously gives his time to enrich the lives of our international students. Here’s a glimpse of what he gets up to as part of his volunteering role:
Meeting 1: I kick off by meeting and greeting my two new students with a mini adventure. This involves a half day visit to local places of personal inspiration and a visit to my home.
Meeting 2: Our next meeting is usually for the full day where we explore further afield. The Derbyshire Peak District is a personal favourite. We enjoy short walks and great conversation across the beautiful countryside as well as visits to different villages and places of special and historical interest.
Meeting 3: If I’m lucky enough, I get to see my students again before they return home after their Master's degrees. For those that I do see again, it’s back to more exploration, socialising and going out for a meal. Excitingly, some students end up bringing their families here and stay on for a PhD!
Staying in touch: Often after their departure we exchange emails. It’s nice that they keep me in their thoughts and update me on their successes.