Make a Difference Weeks

Make a Difference

Make a Difference Weeks are an opportunity for students and staff to make a positive difference through supporting causes that impact the local community. These are one-off activities that don’t require ongoing commitment, giving you the opportunity to gain experience and support your personal development, well-being and sense of community. Make a Difference Weeks are part of the get involved stage of My Student Journey: a framework to complete throughout your degree, offering helpful guidance, CV-enhancing opportunities and skills development, so you can shape your future, as you prepare for life after you graduate.

This year’s programme has now ended but there are several ways you can continue to make a difference.  At the moment, we’re focusing on ways in which you can help others during the coronavirus pandemic.  Please see details below of opportunities to help others and make a difference – some can even be done from the comfort of your own home.

Volunteering opportunities during coronavirus

Help From Home: Micro-Volunteering

Micro-volunteering describes a volunteer, or team of volunteers, completing small tasks that make up a larger project.
Most of the opportunities available on HelpFromHome are virtual, and can be done in as little as 10 mins to 30 minutes including animal welfare, aquatic life & oceans, art and culture and more. Find out more here:

Anthony Nolan

Age 16-30 and want to help save lives during lockdown? Have 10 minutes to spare?

Anthony Nolan is a charity which matches incredible individuals willing to donate their stem cells to patients in need of a stem cell transplant. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a huge drop in people registering as a potential stem cell donor and Anthony Nolan urgently need to recruit more potential lifesavers to their register.

If you’re aged 16-30 and in good health, you can apply to save a life today. Joining is simple. To take the first stem, go to and fill in your application form and get a sign-up kit sent straight to your door! Want to find out more?

Watch this short video to find out what stem cell donation involves.

Already on the register? Can't donate? Help us to spread awareness by joining our virtual volunteering roles. Just get in contact with us for more information.

Care Home Pen Pals

Would you like to help support an elderly person in a Leicester care home by writing letters to keep in touch? Residents in care homes are not able to receive visitors currently and are at risk of loneliness.  To help combat this, Learning for the 4th Age, would like to match up students with a care home resident to become pen pals.  It doesn't matter where you live, as long as you can write and post a letter.  If you're interested in getting involved please email

Volunteer for the NHS

The NHS is looking for volunteers to help with telephone call centres, administrative work, catering duties, portering duties and lab support. Register your interest online.

Adopt a grandparent

Help combat loneliness by volunteering to be paired up with an elderly resident of a UK care home. ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ was launched to bring a sense of comfort to young people and the elderly who may not have grandparents/grandchildren of their own, with the aim of creating long-lasting intergenerational friendships.

What’s involved? Simply fill in an online form and someone will be in touch to pair you with your new ‘Grandma’ or ‘Grandpa’. After that, these are some of the ways in which you can help:

  • Having phone calls/video calls with your new friend
  • Sending cheerful pictures/stories/poems (post or email) for them to enjoy
  • Sharing stories from different generations
  • Sending letters/postcards to your new friend, much like a penpal

Trussell Trust – Food Bank Volunteer

Volunteer to support your local community during the coronavirus outbreak.

During this challenging time, food banks in the Trussell Trust network need your help to continue to provide essential community services to people in crisis.

Covid Mutual Aid UK

This network of volunteers supports local community groups, organising mutual aid throughout the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. They focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need. To find out more and to join, visit their website.

British Red Cross

Community reserve volunteers are ready to help in an emergency, supporting their community by sharing public health messages, connecting with others safely and helping provide basic supplies. Find out more about how to become one.

NHS Blood and Transplant

Giving blood and platelets is still essential to the NHS and vulnerable patients. Hospitals need our blood supply now and in the coming weeks more than ever. Travelling to donate blood is permitted because it helps meet the medical needs of vulnerable people. To find out how you can donate, visit their website.

Post Pals – Brighten the life of a sick child

Post Pals is a charity helping you to post a smile on a sick child’s face by the sending of cards, letters, emails and little gifts to seriously ill children and their siblings in the UK. It couldn’t be easier for anyone of any age to get involved, requires no commitment and costs only a stamp and 5 minutes of your time.

British Red Cross training for coronavirus volunteers

The British Red Cross have created an online training course for anyone who is responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Whether you’ve been deployed by a charity or have decided to lend a hand to a neighbour, it tells you what you need to know to look after yourselves and others. The content of this course is regularly updated to reflect the latest situation and advice from government.

You can also visit the Students’ Union website for further information on volunteering opportunities.

Further guidance and support

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