Schemer Ricky's volunteer plan

By Jennifer Lipman, April 14, 2011
Award winner: Ricky Kaplan (centre)

Award winner: Ricky Kaplan (centre)

A Nottingham Trent student who developed a volunteering scheme for Jewish students hopes to expand it to other campuses before the end of the university year.

Ricky Kaplan came up with the idea for VScheme last April after working with autistic children at a special needs school for five years.

The scheme operates by bringing together a range of volunteering options for students to find one that suits them.

Last week it won the WJR Social Action category at the annual UJS student awards night.

Before launching, Ricky, from Romford, Essex, spent weeks meeting charity representatives, arranging police checks for volunteers and publicising the idea to his peers.

One group of volunteers took children with special needs to the Space Centre in Leicester. Others work with homeless people or the elderly or teach Hebrew classes for Nottingham's Jewish children.

Plans for the future include sending volunteers to the children's ward at the Queen's Medical Centre hospital.

Ricky said: "University is the perfect time in life to give something back. There are busy periods but we have enough hours in the day to help the community. From a more selfish perspective it's also good for building your own future."

The 24-year-old said he was proud of building VScheme in Nottingham and is now dedicated to spreading the word, first to Birmingham and Leeds and then to other campuses around the country.

"The ultimate dream is to see VScheme develop into a national volunteering charity for Jewish students," he said. "Even though it's a dream I will certainly try to make it happen."

Last updated: 12:57pm, April 14 2011