Sally – our student volunteer

Volunteers are amazing, and that's why we're excited to be sharing Sally's story to celebrate Student Volunteer Week! Keep reading to find out more and be inspired!

In February 2019, Sally walked through the doors of the Lai Yin Association hoping to find new friendships and a chance to become more involved with the local Chinese community in Sheffield. What Sally wasn’t expecting was to discover all these things, and more!

Sally first visited Lai Yin when she was studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield. After going along to some coffee mornings and chatting with lots of people, Sally soon realised that, in addition to developing new connections, Lai Yin offered a unique opportunity to combine her studies with an exciting volunteer position!

The role was borne out of Sally’s enthusiasm and focused on the Ageing Friendly Sheffield project, which is being co-led by Lai Yin and Age UK.

Excitingly, Sally was encouraged by Pauline (the project manager at Lai Yin) to test out her own ideas around the best ways to make an impact. Over 12 months Sally:

  • co-designed an ageing friendly park with participants at one of the community workshops
  • delivered her own workshop to teach older people how to access information on local services online
  • used the contributions of older people to create the infographics for an ageing friendly bus stop

Sally told us, “I wasn’t expecting I could contribute so much”.

As one of the aims of the Ageing Friendly Sheffield project is to encourage and enable older people to “age actively” in their communities, Sally also developed knowledge and skills around individual voice and choice – and the importance of older people being involved in what happens in their lives, rather than having things ‘done for them’ or ‘to them’.

“Ruby (Project Consultant at Lai Yin) taught me what was good help and what was bad help…”

Getting involved in volunteering was unlike anything else Sally experienced in Sheffield, and it was as valuable to the Age Better in Sheffield Project as it was for her. Along with new friendships, Sally found an unexpected way to use the learning from her degree. If you’d also like to get involved with volunteering you can get in touch today by emailing

Thank you Sally. We’re so glad that you bravely pursued a volunteering opportunity and that you were able to get involved with something that was truly meaningful to you. Good luck with everything in the future!