Magee students with some of the raff;e prizes that can be won during the appeal.
Every year since it was established in 2016 the Stand Up for Social Work Society at the Magee campus of the University of Ulster has supported the Churches Trust Food Bank Pantry Project.
This year, they are commencing their fundraising in week eight of semester one and will complete the initiative with a Christmas raffle in the Great Hall, Magee with mince pies and the singing of Christmas carols.
Spokesperson Danielle Harrison said staff and students at the Magee campus and throughout the Ulster University family had always demonstrated amazing generosity to this worthy cause.
She added: “Social work is a human rights and social justice profession and it is essential that Ulster University students actively challenge poverty and austerity measures impacting on our local communities and beyond.”
Danielle added: “We want to make a difference for people in our communities experiencing food poverty and your donations will make that difference!
“In 2016 we established Ulster’s first Stand Up for Social Work Society. Adopting co-creation and co-production strategies we have made a significant impact demonstrating our commitment to civic engagement.
“This is achieved by adopting an organic approach with students to establish local charitable campaigns within the community.
“The Stand Up for Social Work Society is committed to supporting community engagement projects and building positive, sustainable relationships with local communities and charities.
“The students have enhanced their student experience at Ulster by building a collective community and raising the profile of social work at Ulster. The students are the 'heartbeat' of the Society and their commitment, enthusiasm and passion are the driving force behind this annual Christmas appeal.”
Danielle said hunger and poverty were impacting 'significantly' on individuals and families, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic heightening the pressures for local families.
She added: “No one should ever have to go hungry.
“This food bank appeal makes a huge difference to families in the North West who are experiencing food poverty.
“Every penny raised is used to purchase food for individuals and families who need help.
“The coronavirus pandemic has affected how we live, interact, educate and work. This year, more families have been plunged into poverty than ever through furlough, job loss and cuts to Universal Credit. Food bank use increased by 75% in Northern Ireland this year to its highest level ever, with the largest number of emergency parcels distributed in Derry/Strabane Council area.
“This Christmas appeal provides students with opportunities to get involved in their local communities and apply their social work skills and knowledge to tackling real issues. This form of collective activism contributes to establishing students’ sense of professional identity as social workers and locates social work at Ulster University in the heart of local communities.
“Our social work student community want to give back to local communities and highlight the issue of food poverty.”
Danielle added: “We want to try and raise funds this year to support local families in need, Christmas brings added pressures and if we can alleviate some of that pressure then we must try to do so.
“We know our actions will not end food poverty and austerity however we know that raising awareness and lobbying are key to ensuring this issue stays on the agenda of our politicians and policy makers.”
Danielle concluded: “The students utilise their team working and entrepreneurial skills so we have no overheads and every pound we raise through this fundraising appeal will go directly to buying food for families.”
To support the students' crowdfunding appeal go to https://ulster.hubbub.net/p/SUFSWS2021/?ref=265246
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