Students of York out in force

Students across York are loving being a Move Mate

We want to celebrate all that they’re doing to support their local community…

Volunteers at Move the Masses range from mums working full-time to those who are retired with more spare time but we have been particularly blown away by the amount of students who have joined us over the past few months! 


With the way university education has changed in the last year a lot of students have had more spare time than usual and a good portion have decided to use that time to help us and our beneficiaries out (they are awesome humans). We have been taken aback by their level of commitment to MTM and desire to help.


18 year old Morgane joined us in February this year and explains that volunteering as a Move Mate was a simple decision, ‘I really like going on walks and talking to people, so this seemed like a perfect mix of both things’. 


Ellie who is 21, has been walking with her Move Mate since January and echoes Morgane’s thoughts, saying ‘It is a no pressure environment, you literally are just talking and walking but still making a difference.’ That’s exactly what we think too! In fact Ellie walks twice a week with her Move Mate because they both enjoy it so much.

Ellie and beneficiary Jim Holt
Ellie and her Move Mate Jim

Millie is 22, currently studying at the University of York for a Masters in Psycholinguistics (fancy!) and she has been walking with Leslie for just a few weeks but when we asked her if she’d found anything surprising or challenging since volunteering with us, she said that she had been ‘pleasantly surprised by just how many lovely conversations you can have with someone who you may have thought you wouldn’t have a lot in common with!’


When we pair an older beneficiary with a student volunteer we are always prepared for the fact that it might not click between them, being from such different generations, but we have found time after time that the age gap only seems to add to the experience that both people have!


Volunteers submit a walk log after every walk with their beneficiary and they often leave comments about their walk. We love to hear that the conversation is flowing and that they’re getting to know each other. Morgane sums this up perfectly when we asked her what the best thing she has experienced was since volunteering with us…

‘Honestly, just talking to someone. The conversations I get to have with my move mate range from what we’ve done during the week to deep philosophical ones, and I don’t think I could find anyone else to talk to about these things as easily with, it creates a unique bond with that person.’

Morgane, student Move Mate

And Morgane’s Move Mate had similar things to say about the experience of having a walking buddy…

‘Having a Move Mate buddy has made a big difference to my quality of life…I really look forward to chatting whilst walking to the lake in my village and it’s nice to observe nature together’

Beverly, Beneficiary

student move mate and beneficiary sitting by lake
Morgane and her Move Mate Beverly

Ranran is 23 and moved to York towards the end of 2019 from China, to study Human Resource Management at University of York. She was really grateful to the help her new flatmates showed her when she arrived and she wanted to help someone in a similar way. So she applied to be a Move Mate! 


She started walking with Donald in March. Donald has dementia and when talking to his wife before pairing him with a volunteer she told us that he struggles with conversation but loves to walk. We were really pleased when after a couple of walks with Ranran, she let us know that they had been having more and more conversation each week.


We spoke to Donald’s wife again recently and she had nothing but good things to say about the experience so far!..

‘He really looks forward to it! He really likes Ranran and he says that he chats to her, which is wonderful because he doesn’t really have much conversation due to his dementia. The difficulty is finding things for him to do, he used to read and play the piano but he doesn’t want to do that anymore but he does want to walk and it’s what he enjoys most so it’s invaluable support both for me and Donald’

Elizabeth, Donald’s wife

student volunteer and beneficiary walking
Ranran and her Move Mate Donald

Millie’s walking buddy Leslie thinks it’s great to be able to walk and talk with someone who is from a different generation…

‘It’s really enjoyable and I look forward to having a chat with her. She always has interesting things to say. It’s really good having someone to walk and talk with as it keeps my brain active when I’m walking!’

Leslie, beneficiary


He told us that he has nothing but praise for both Millie and the Move Mates system, saying he knows how invaluable it must be to so many, like himself.


Volunteering as a Move Mate, whether you’re 18 or 80, will make you feel great physically and mentally and we think this lovely bunch of students and their walking buddies have summed that up perfectly.


Keep up the great work team!

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