Volunteering

We offer students an opportunity to participate in, and to help shape Multilingual Manchester activities. These activities are quite varied and include work in the community, working with services and helping us run our interactive exhibition.

Multilingual Manchester activities are accredited by the Manchester Leadership Programme and Higher Education Academic Report. To get credits for MLP, use the time-sheet to log your hours of work with Multilingual Manchester.

To see what activities are currently available to student volunteers, please download our Volunteer Handbook by clicking the icon below.

Front cover of the Volunteer handbook

Engaging with the public around an interactive exhibition

Our volunteers engage with members of the public around an interactive exhibition that aims to raise awareness of language diversity in the region. Volunteers help to set up and run the exhibition, which has taken place in museums, hospitals, community centres and more. You can watch a short video about the exhibition here.

Recording patient experience at Central Manchester Hospitals

Student volunteers have the opportunity to record patient experience testimonies for non-English speaking patients at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT). The volunteers work closely with the hospitals’ interpreters to collect this feedback, and then input and help to analyse the data that they collect. Their work supports CMFT in reviewing the experiences of all patients, regardless of language spoken, and ensuring equality of access to care.

Supporting service providers in their communication with a diverse public

Multilingual Manchester volunteers worked in collaboration with Greater Manchester Police to improve communication with victims of crime. The group conducted focus groups across Manchester to gather public feedback on letters issued by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in the aftermath of a crime. Approaching residents from a wide range of backgrounds, the group’s aim was to ensure that the new Victim of Crime letters used accessible language to communicate with Manchester’s diverse public.

The volunteers produced redrafted letters that reflected the views expressed in the focus groups, as well as a series of guidelines and recommendations for future communication. They presented their findings to senior figures from Greater Manchester Police in November 2015. A report on their work is available to read here.

Kelly Murphy, postgraduate student at the University of Manchester, said: “Taking part in this activity allowed me to explore Manchester’s rich language diversity first-hand, and to better understand the flexible way in which local services can respond to this diversity.”

Representatives from Greater Manchester Police and The University of Manchester

Student volunteers present their findings to representatives from Greater Manchester Police and The University of Manchester.

Providing English language support

Our volunteers help local residents to improve their English.

Through the ‘Speak Up!’ scheme, facilitated by Enactus Manchester, students deliver English language support sessions to parents of schoolchildren at local primary schools.

Multilingual Manchester volunteers also lead weekly English conversation sessions at The Chrysalis Family Centre in Moss Side. As well as giving the participants – many of whom are asylum seekers and refugees – the chance to practise their English in an informal environment, the conversation sessions are a valuable opportunity for student volunteers to learn more about the experiences of newly arrived communities in Manchester.

Emily Mitchell, undergraduate student at The University of Manchester, said: “After hearing so much about the refugee crisis on the news, I wondered how I could contribute something positive. Meeting local residents who are refugees and hearing their experiences gave me perspective and helped me understand real-life issues, rather than just learning about them in a classroom.”

ChrysalisConversation

Student volunteers shared their experiences of providing English conversation support at an event at The University of Manchester in June 2016, joined by The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan, and Greater Manchester Interim Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd. A report on their work and the background to the activity is available to read here.

Student volunteers are joined by The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan, and Greater Manchester Interim Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, as well as representatives from The Chrysalis Family Centre and The University of Manchester.

Creating audio-visual resources

Our student volunteers create audio-visual resources that support service providers and practitioners in sharing key messages around language diversity and bilingualism.

Multilingual Manchester volunteers worked closely with local Speech and Language Therapists to produce a short film that explores the benefits of bilingualism for children. ‘Your Language is a Gift’ features interviews with four local families, who share their experiences of raising their children to speak their home language(s) as well as English. The film addresses common concerns and dispels myths around bilingualism, and sends a message of encouragement to other parents. The film is available as a resource to be used by Speech and Language Therapists, as well as healthcare and education practitioners, and others.

To watch the short film ‘Your Language is a Gift’ by Elena Petitpierre, click here. A version with subtitles is available here. You can also find out more about the background and aims of the film in this short commentary.

I absolutely loved spending time at the Interpretation Services and really appreciate the opportunity I was given .. So many patients really appreciate being able to share either good or bad experiences – they had something to say, but no way to say it without being asked.. These are people who live in Manchester and the huge variety of languages is amazing .. Seeing on the news that 150 languages are spoken in Manchester is one thing but in volunteering at the hospital I got to see the evidence first-hand.

Louise Middleton (November 2014)

The opportunity to assist some of the hospital staff of interpreters was one of the most interesting experiences of my life: It taught me a lot of things about hospitals and the job of interpreters, but also about life.

Lea Ramparany (April 2013)

I found out about Multilingual Manchester shortly after I arrived at the University. As it is a research activity focusing on languages in Manchester, I was drawn to the idea as I speak several myself. It has been a real pleasure to volunteer in setting up exhibitions with fellow volunteers and, at the same time, being social with visitors and the general public. I was glad that I gave time to Multilingual Manchester as it was a valuable experience, and it will especially enhance my CV.

Jennifer Lau (May 2014)

Multilingual Manchester presentation stand

Working with new arrivals to support English conversation was the most meaningful activity that I engaged in during my degree in Manchester.

Fearghus O'Sullivan (June 2016)

Sign up

If you’d like to volunteer with Multilingual Manchester, register your interest using the form and someone from the team will be in touch.

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