Continuing with the Student Led Volunteering Projects (formally HUSSO) 60th celebrations, we spoke to Roger Millns, a University alumnus who volunteered for HUSSO in the early 1970s. Here’s what Roger had to say about the experience, the memories he has carried with him and the impact it has had on his career ever since:
Whilst doing a degree in Social Studies from 1971-1974, I got involved as a volunteer specifically helping to run an adventure playground in the summer of 1972 on the disused railway line just off Botanic Crossing at the corner of Spring Bank and Princess Avenue. We were given loads of wood supplies for free and lots of swings, dens, rope slides and sheds emerged with what seemed like hundreds of kids of all ages descending on us from all around. They certainly kept us busy, and we did them, including feeding most of them all day as parents out at work or sent them out for the day. An early foodbank of sorts, I think. We didn’t have much Health and Safety evidence or safeguarding policies in those days, which I’m sure is different now! But we had great support from the local police as well as permission from British Rail to use the site – which we built fences at each end.
Successful as it was as the kids were so busy vandalising our playground that the police confirmed that summer holiday crime in the area had reduced to zero! However, immediate neighbours were not happy about having the playground near them – what with all the kids – and complained to British Rail who sent us a stern letter telling us to close, which we were doing anyway. We replied about our success but soon wondered – how were we going to close the playground without a fight? Well, we took all the kids to the seaside for the day, Hornsea I think it was, and while they were away, we had a huge bonfire with Fire Brigade assistance and when the kids came back it was sadly all gone.
HUSSO was a formative experience for me, and I had many fond memories. The outcome was doing my social work qualification at Hull after I graduated, I then began working as a social worker in Hull for 9 years from 1975 to 1984, before moving on to Cheshire where I am now retired after 39 years in social work, working with children’s,’ mental health and disability services including rising up the greasy pole of social services management. The role of volunteering has stuck with me, and I now volunteer in a local charity for older people and in the Methodist Church doing pastoral work.
Many thanks to Roger Millns for getting in touch with us to share his story.
Would you like to share your story as part of our celebrations? Please fill in this google form to tell us all about your HUSSO volunteering experiences whilst at Hull University. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HD-00jIfB0TDflZCNj5k-OZVfijn7BqdqudaTORmwoQ/edit
Cover Image Credit: Hull University Students’ Union