On 27 April, eighteen Chevening Scholars participated in a day of volunteering at Hope Pastures Horse & Pony Sanctuary, a charity organisation in Leeds that caters to the needs of horses and ponies in distress through rescues, rehabilitation and re-homing. The organisation also gives people an opportunity to meet the animals and learn about how to look after them. The day was co-organised by Leeds Beckett University, where three Chevening Scholars are currently studying.

Our day of volunteering included several outdoor activities, despite the varying weather. It was an opportunity to help give the centre a facelift through gardening, planting, and painting fences. It was also an opportunity to learn new skills and share ideas. Together we created a beautiful environment for the ponies and spent time talking about our work over lunch. We also watched the ponies as they went on their outdoor walk, and spent time petting and talking to them. My favourite pony was Sparky, who seemed to enjoy having us there.

Hope Pastures

I enjoy volunteering and have participated in numerous volunteer activities over the years. It is the one time that I get to learn something new that is not taught, structured or even placed in a job description. It is also an opportunity to disconnect from serving myself and serve others instead. It gives me a sense of not just existing, but living with and for others. I focus entirely on the needs of those I am serving and give my all in the same way I would want to be served. It also helps me to reflect on myself through the needs of others.

At the end of the day, all of us Cheveners were proud of the work we had done and the difference we had made to Hope Pastures. Our work was also very much appreciated by Hope Pastures’ trustee, Sue Sarucan.

Being a Chevening Scholar has given me many opportunities to volunteer in the UK and my experience at Hope Pastures was just one such opportunity.

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