No in-person volunteering? No problem for the UStA Dance Club
Last week the Dance Club and St Can-drews Foodbank Collection hosted the fundraising marathon ‘We Can-drew It’. This was done in aid of local food bank organisations, The Storehouse NE Fife in St Andrews, and The Trussell Trust’s Cupar Foodbank.
The event took place from 9am to 9pm on the 31st of March and 1st of April, with 12 different dance classes held on the first day followed by 11 sports clubs running training workshops on the second day. Each session was streamed via both St Can-drews Facebook Live, and by the sports clubs taking part.
During the first day, 12 Dance Club teachers and choreographers led 1-hour dance classes in a range of different styles, from Highland to Theatre, and were available for anyone to access. The second day saw workshops held by Athletics and Cross-country, Korfball, Badminton, Jujitsu, Football, Golf, Cheerleading, Rowing, Netball, Windsurfing and Ultimate Frisbee; ranging from agility to strength and conditioning to information about their sport.
Describing the cross-collaboration as ‘wonderful’, Dance Club President, Faye Bottomley, commented that not only should it continue, but that plans have already been made to host another inter-sport event in the future. Such events allow club members to try different sports, as well as being the reason behind attaining their fundraising goals and increase awareness of food-banks and hunger. Dance Club Outreach Officer, Ciara, was astounded by the level of engagement that had welcomed the virtual event, admitting that ‘So much work went into the planning and organisation of the fundraiser, so to have 11 other clubs and 12 Dance Club teachers all participating was just wonderful!’. Discussing how well the numerous clubs worked together, Ciara added that she was ‘blown away by everyone’s creativity’ from yoga to virtual walks.
The same spirit is held by St Can-drews President, Darcey, who applauded Dance Club’s innovation and approach. She explained that ever since the initial idea stages to its final 48-hour fruition, the Club ‘worked within restrictions but still managed to build upon the community that exists in student spaces to see tangible results’. Stressing the importance of the charities, Darcey added that similar to other food banks, the Trussell Trust saw a 47% increase in need for emergency food parcels at the start of the pandemic, which is why ‘the turnout of so many people volunteering their time, skills and money at this event’ was so great to see and ‘is a testament to the compassion and drive that is needed to see a hunger free future’.
The Dance Club President extended her gratitude, beyond Darcey and Ciara, to thank the IT and Publicity Officers who ‘coordinated the livestreams and all things technology, and ensured that the event ran smoothly’.
The success of the event is evident through the surpassing of the initial fundraising goal of £500, accumulating over £700. The fundraising page is still live and donations are being welcomed through this link. All donations will be used by St Can-drews to purchase the food bank items which are most in need.
Dance Club has supported St Can-drews for several years through canned food collections at events, classes and socials. However, due to the pandemic, the Club sought for new ways to support their long-term charity partner. This itself was a problem experienced by many clubs at Saints Sport, which encouraged them to work together to run the ‘We Can-drew It’ event.
Beyond this charity event, Dance Club have creatively sought to continue volunteering opportunities for their members despite the COVID-19 restrictions. At the beginning of the year Dance Club introduced a brand-new volunteering bank, which allowed them to publicise all of their volunteering opportunities to those wanting to get involved. One of the examples of this was the distribution of virtual dance tutorials across schools in Fife. These classes have been commended by parents and teachers for improving the scope of school engagement. Alongside this, Dance Club volunteers also recently put together presentations for “Health Week” in Fife schools, where the benefits of dance, exercise, and expression will be explored. This was among other volunteering opportunities like the Just Dance Challenge RAG week event. So it’s safe to say that whether it be virtual or in-person, our Dance Club have plenty of opportunities ahead.
As the outgoing Club President, Faye extended a ‘a huge thank you to everyone who tuned in, and to those who were able to donate’ to the ‘We Can-drew It’ event, as well as the overall contribution the Dance Club has had in the community over the last year, commenting, ‘I am so proud of our achievements over the past couple of days, and super proud to be President of such an amazing club!’.