THE University of Winchester and St John’s Winchester have signed a new partnership.

The aim of the agreement is to benefit the city’s older people while providing students with rewarding voluntary experiences.

St John’s, which has run alms houses in Winchester since the 16th century, operates three outreach services – Hand in Hand, St John’s Homeshare, and Dementia Support – to support 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.

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Hampshire Chronicle: St John's CEO Clive Cook and Professor Sarah GreerSt John's CEO Clive Cook and Professor Sarah Greer (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Under the partnership, the charity is providing more volunteering opportunities for students, up to 25 per year, for volunteering modules.

Student and staff volunteers will also be able 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, in exchange for some help and companionship.

Additionally, the university will work with St John’s over the next three years on a fundraising project involving students.

Hampshire Chronicle: The signing eventThe signing event (Image: Adele Bouchard)

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.

St John’s leaders will also share their expertise on working in the charity sector at a seminar for up to 20 students. 

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Professor Sarah Greer, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester, 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.”

Clive Cook, CEO of St John’s, 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.”