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Get Involved in Hope's Community Engagement Team

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Liverpool Hope University’s Community Engagement Team is about to launch some exciting new projects - and here’s how YOU can get involved, too.   

The Community Engagement initiative was set-up at the beginning of the global pandemic in bid to do good for both the wider university family and the local community. 

Staff and students came together to deliver food, make personal protective equipment (PPE) and even launched an art competition to spread hope for the future. 

You can hear about some of the incredible work the Community Engagement Team has undertaken at this week’s Foundation Hour - Weds 26th, 1pm-2pm, via Zoom

And now the Community Engagement members are about to launch some new endeavours - and the group is keen to see even more people get involved. 

Tracy Ramsey, Senior Professional Tutor in Youth and Community at Hope and a key member of the Community Engagement Team, says: “We’re always looking for new volunteers and we’re also keen to hear any ideas or suggestions about new projects for us to sink our teeth into. 

“If you have an idea for a project or activity that you think will benefit Hope students and staff, please get in touch with us by emailing hopecommunityengagement@hope.ac.uk.”

One new enterprise about to be launched is a ‘Pen Pal Project’, which is being led by Hope Social Sciences students Jordan Lighty and Sarah Bacon. 

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Jordan says that during the various lockdowns she noticed what she describes as a ‘universal struggle’ - across society in general and not just universities - where people struggled to make social connections with others. 

The Pen Pal Project will randomly allocate participants to one another, and they’ll then be encouraged to share messages with each other, in whatever form they like, whether it’s WhatsApp, email or traditional hand-written letters. 

And once that initial contact is made, each participant will also be encouraged to consider meeting up in person and to perhaps share a coffee together. 

Jordan says: “The Pen Pal Project is underpinned by the idea that ‘There are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met’. 

“It’s about finding new ways for students at Hope to engage with one another, and in a more creative and stress-free way. 

“Going to university can present a really different experience compared to what people might be used to. I know that I, for one, would have really appreciated a pen pal in my first year of study.”

Jordan says it’s absolutely the choice of the pen pals how they want to interact with each other, and pairings will be chosen completely at random.

She adds: “I’ve seen examples of pen pals where they just make TikTok videos and send them back and forth, which I thought was a really great way of communication. 

“But then there’s also something really special about receiving actual mail to your door - because most of the time we just get bills if we’re being honest! 

“We’re hoping there will be some students who want to write physical letters, and we’ll rely on the existing student mail system here at Hope, so that pen pals do not need to share their addresses with strangers.

“Ultimately, people want the same things - they want to be heard, and they want physical connections. 

“I saw a lot of social media posts during lockdown where people were sitting around and essentially saying, ‘I don’t feel like I have many friends’. I don’t want anyone at Hope to feel like that. And this is a way for those initial social interactions to feel slightly less awkward.”

The Pen Pal Project is due to launch later this week - so if you’re interesting in taking part simply email hopecommunityengagement@hope.ac.uk

Another initiative which is gathering momentum is the ‘Growing Spaces’ group, which meets weekly and encourages Hope staff and students to try their hand at gardening. 

growing plants

From decorating pots to planting bulbs and seedlings, it’s hoped the Growing Spaces team will help more people to become green fingered - and more environmentally conscious, too. 

Organiser Sarah Bacon says future ‘foraging’ trips in the woods that surround Hope Park are planned for the near future, with help from colleagues and partners at the Friends of Childwall Woods and Fields group. 

The sessions run from 12-1pm on Wednesday afternoons at Hope Park. To register your interest, email hopecommunityengagement@hope.ac.uk

And Sarah says: “It’s a really relaxed, friendly group with an easy-going structure. If you don’t get something finished one week, just leave it where it is and pick it up a week later. 

“And we definitely encourage participants to stop what they’re doing and have a good natter! 

“At Hope Park we’re surrounded by the campus’ incredible gardens and well-kept landscapes, and I think just being in that environment might inspire others to take an interest in gardening and growing.”

The Hope Community Choir is also making a welcome return for 2022, starting this week. 

hope xmas lights 2021

The group meets every Thursday at 7pm in the Hope Park Chapel. And singers of all abilities are encouraged to get involved. 

For full details about the Community Choir, email Tracy at ramseyt@hope.ac.uk.

Meanwhile there are also plans to launch a city-wide photography competition in the coming weeks - the details of which are due to be announced shortly. 

You can check out the Community Engagement Team’s dedicated webpages as well as its Facebook group


Published on 24/01/2022