From education to employment

Working hand in hand across the generations

The University of Winchester has pledged to support one of the city’s oldest charities in its work helping older people.

The University and St John’s Winchester signed a new partnership during a ceremony held at the West Downs Centre.

Working across the generations, it is hoped the agreement will benefit the city’s older people while providing students with rewarding voluntary experience.

St John’s, which has run almshouses in Winchester since the 16th century, also operates three outreach services – Hand in Hand, St John’s Homeshare, and Dementia Support – all of which focus on helping older people to live well and independently at home for as long as possible.

Students from the University already volunteer as befrienders with the charity’s Hand in Hand Service.

Under the new partnership it is hoped to offer more volunteering opportunities for students, up to 25 per year, as part of the University’s Volunteering Module.

It also hoped to broaden the experience of student and staff volunteers by offering them the opportunity to take part in Dementia Support, Homeshare and Almshouse Care and Welfare.

Homeshare gives students and recent graduates the chance to be matched with an older person who has a spare room and would like some help and companionship.

The University will also work with St John’s over the next three years on a fundraising project which will involve students.

In return the charity will provide two placements for students from the University’s Nursing BA (Hons) course twice yearly and develop a placement experience model with the University.

St John’s chiefs will also share their expertise and experience of working in the charity sector at a seminar for up to 20 students.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester Professor Sarah Greer said:

“Partnerships such as this are at the heart of the University’s new Strategic Plan. The University of Winchester and St John’s both have a real drive towards making a difference in the city.

“It’s important that our students are well prepared for their future careers and this new partnership agreement with St John’s will offer them interesting volunteering and placement activities so that they can gain the skills they need. It is really important to us that our students give back to society and we can really help them to do that by working with St John’s in a way which is positive for them and for the residents of St John’s and the wider city.”

St John’s CEO Clive Cook said:

“It’s very important for us to partner with a major city institution such as the University in order to fulfil our goals. We are here to help older people and we see how the involvement of younger people can achieve that end.”

“We want to build more inter-generational activity and this partnership provides us with a foundation to do that. To have that interaction between young and old energises our beneficiaries and hopefully energises the students too.”

To find out more about the work of St John’s visit Home – St John’s Winchester (

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