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Name: Aidan Bannon
Age: 23
Aidan Bannon
Where do you volunteer?
QUB Red Cross (QURC)
What inspired you to get involved?
When I was 16 as part of my school work experience I spent 2 days volunteering with the British Red Cross. This experience inspired me to get involved in more volunteering as I enjoyed working with other people, developing my skills set and meeting new people. Seeing the impact my volunteering made and leaving a legacy was very rewarding and inspired me to do more.
What does your volunteering involve?
I founded the Queen’s University Red Cross (QURC), which has developed to a 60+ strong committed team of active, regular volunteers, with a social network of over 1000 students reaching over 3,500 young people through campaigns/workshops from 2011/12. Within QURC I developed a 3 month long Community Engagement project which focuses on supporting the personal development of young people aged 10-18 from interface areas in Belfast. 3rd year medical students were trained to engage and motivate the young people involved, who are often disengaged, unsupported and not performing at school. The project comprises a First Aid qualification, Humanitarian Education Programme, a Community Action Project and an outreach trip to QUB. In 2012-1, along with two other students we spearheaded the QUB ‘Mind Yer Mate Campaign’, an innovative suicide awareness project. This year I was recruited as a steering group member for the Patient and Client Council, “Young People Priorities for Healthcare Report”. This report; the first of its kind, acknowledged the input of young people in healthcare policy.
What skills or qualities are required for your volunteering role?
I think it is important in my role to work well as part of a team and respecting other people’s differences. I have to have a vision of what I hope to achieve in order to get the best out of other volunteers around me and lead effectively.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering and what has been your highlight?
The thing I most enjoy are the new experiences volunteering offers. I am able to create projects and see my vision materialise whilst expanding my interests and skills set. One of my highlights has to be the formation of the Personal Development programme for 10-18 year olds in Belfast schools, which I mentioned earlier. I heard testimonies from some young people that their involvement in this programme was the catalyst which led them to apply to study at QUB after school.
Why would you encourage others to become a Millennium Volunteer and what advice would you give them?
Taking part in Millennium Volunteers and volunteering in general expands and increases your opportunities. Through volunteering you can meet new people, develop your own character and realise your own passion and ideas. My advice is to think carefully about what you are interested in and genuinely passionate about when considering what volunteering you would like to get involved in.