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Hello! Welcome to the very first interview of our ‘Stint Meets…’ series, where we will be chatting to various members of our Stint Community. This edition is a conversation with Ben Winch. Ben currently studies Human Rights Law at SOAS, having completed an undergraduate History degree at King’s College London last year. Over the last five months, Ben has attended over thirty Stints at businesses such as Annabel’s, Chipotle and Ping Pong. Ben’s ideal Stint is in a pub, describing himself as a ‘pubby’ guy. You can imagine his disappointment at being asked to meet Stint in a humble caf, then. Ah, well…

(Ben left, Jack right. Photo by Ffion Lavery.)

Thank you for dropping in for a chat Ben, we take it you’re pretty busy at the moment? You’re welcome! Yes, pretty busy yeah. Three days of uni a week and two days of volunteering definitely keeps me on my feet.

Volunteering sounds like a good place to start, can you tell us a bit more? I actually work at two different charities - Great Ormond Street and Access To Justice Foundation, a day per-week at each. Being in my final year at uni has made me think a lot about the future, and I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in these projects. There are a lot of opportunities in London to help out: organisations really rely on volunteers.

Do the children spend much time with the charity?

Yep, they come in to see us all the time! They’re incredible- meeting them really reminds you what matters in life. Child health has always been important to me growing up; my mum works with sick children so it’s always been close to me. Presumably your mum offers you some good advice, then? I’ve learnt a lot from my mum in terms of caring for others. There was no chance of pulling any fake sick days as a kid though! I missed out on some great daytime TV for sure.

(Photos by Ffion Lavery.)

How does volunteering at the hospital compare with the Access to Justice Foundation? Do you find any elements of the work similar? Obviously the people that you’re working for and with have very different battles to fight, but it’s all connected. I think many of us are fighting against selfishness in society as an approach to life. Does helping out at charities remove you from the student experience? Do you still feel like a student? Sort of, I’ve been in education for a long time now. I sometimes question whether it’s all necessary, or even real. But I think it’s about connecting the things you learn with everyday life- that’s important. You mention being in education for a long time, how do you think it’s turned out? School always angled us towards uni, so that’s what most people did. It depends where you grow up, but I don’t think all the pathways in life are spelled out to you as a kid, no matter what your background is. Universities are weird, they’re run like businesses, which I think alienates some people and makes them binge twelve-hour Peep Show marathons instead, but I’m glad I did it. Living somewhere like London is crazy, but you get to see so many different ways of working and living, it isn’t as simple as it probably was twenty or thirty years ago. With that in mind, then, what piece of advice would you offer to your ten year-old self? Stick with the basketball, you’re gonna be very tall when you’re older!

Interviewed and written by Jack,

Student Communications