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Celebrating our valuable volunteers

Saturday 22nd October 2022

In an activity-packed, often frantic world of busy-ness, limited time is a precious commodity. So, charities and organisations like The Oxford Trust, and its Science Oxford team, are immensely grateful to all the volunteers who choose to spend their valuable time to support and work with us.

The Marsh Volunteer Award

We are thrilled that volunteers who support science centres, like the Science Oxford Centre, and museums across the UK have been recognised through the Marsh Volunteer Award. The award was launched this year by the Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) and the Marsh Charitable Trust. It aims to celebrate inspiring examples of volunteer contributions, recognising key areas of impact, passion and inclusion.

The ASDC states, “We also hope that the award will highlight the charitable status of our organisations and the need for support whether that be with time or through other forms of resource.” The winner was announced at the annual conference of the ASDC at the end of September.

One of our own

Among those recognised by the judges was Science Oxford’s very own volunteer, John Gouk, who has supported many of the activities of our team since the pandemic. John has been an asset to our Technology Project Officer, Sarah Townson, supporting online coding workshops and clubs, Saturday Creative Computing Clubs, and Holiday Tech Clubs. Sarah says, “His support with online clubs has been invaluable, enabling them to run successfully and allowing young people to learn and have fun with computing.”

After retiring from a long career in the commercial IT sector, John was drawn to volunteering in order to help children better understand computers, which are so much a part of our lives. He believes children appreciate the time spent supporting them, someone listening and sharing ideas, and having enthusiasm as they explore STEM learning.

John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role. “He is always willing and available to discuss ideas and code with me, testing out activity ideas and suggesting things to try out for the future,” says Sarah.

Benefitting from engagement

But it’s not only the children who benefit from the engagement. John says, “I benefit too from doing these things with the children. Seeing them achieve something, especially when they didn’t think they could, is always a joy!” He appreciates that it has also helped him see things from a different perspective. “Bending my mind to understand what they’re thinking and trying to do is a challenge, and often opens my eyes to completely different ways of seeing things.”

When reflecting on some of the highlights of volunteering, John remarks, “Volunteering with Science Oxford, which employs a fantastically motivated group of people, who treat me as an equal and provide lots of support, is itself a highlight. Also, Sarah’s enthusiasm and imaginative powers are very inspiring!”

John has continued to expand his volunteer work and impact stemming from his work with Science Oxford. He is currently setting up a Code Club at a local secondary school, which was borne after working on a two-day STEM Careers Challenge led by Madelaine Swift, also a Science Oxford STEM Projects Officer.

Thank you, John, for your contribution, enthusiasm and your precious time!

We are always looking for volunteers to support our Science Oxford programmes. For more information on volunteering with us, please visit:


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