We asked Lauren Powdrell (our Durham University Student Volunteering and Outreach Project Leader) to explain how student volunteering is organised and promoted in the University.

Durham University Student Volunteering (DUSVO)

Durham University Student Volunteering (DUSVO) consists of a group of students and staff in the University who encourage students to help the local community in any way they can. DUSVO has links with community outreach partners, which range from educational, to environmental and social inclusion projects. DASH is one of these partners.

DUSVO recruit student ‘Project Leaders’, who are responsible for coordinating student volunteering with the outreach partner. The main aim for Project Leaders is to fundraise and raise awareness of the partner organisations.

We have one of the most active student volunteering communities of any UK university – and now that has been recognised by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

DUSVO has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. That’s the highest award given for community volunteering in the UK.

Each year, over 2,000 students volunteer – giving a total of over 40,000 hours of their time.

DUSVO support over 80 projects in North East England, covering social inclusion and complex needs, education and environment and sport and physical activities.

Last year, over 2,500 people benefitted directly from these outreach programmes, including people who are young, elderly, homeless or have learning or physical disabilities.

These are my student volunteering highlights from this year;

Outreach Day 1 and 2

Student Volunteers volunteered for 2 Outreach Days throughout the year, which were both a great success. There were around 30 volunteers who got stuck in across both days! Each day involved painting residents’ flats in Gilesgate and helping to prepare stock for DASH’s market stall and pop-up shop, as well as sorting out food donations. It was amazing to have such fantastic volunteers and help DASH in a fun and engaging way.

Community Concert

The DASH Community Concert was full of superb performers from the university. Set in St Giles Church, the concert had a fantastic atmosphere full of both members of the local community and students. The performers were harpist Orlando Riviere, University Folk Society and St. Aidan’s Jazz Band. They played a range of music and were all super talented. The event really helped in spreading the word about DASH and raising awareness about homelessness in general.

Vulnerable Women Panel Talk

The Panel Talk, organised by Durham Women in Law, was thought-provoking. It hosted panelists from DASH, the HALO project and Durham Research Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA). The topic of conversation was highly relevant, discussing domestic abuse, how to detect abuse with loved ones, and how to support the victims. The talk was a great way to raise awareness of the issues present in communities, and how to support its victims.

St Mary’s Pub Quiz

We were really grateful to St. Mary College’s Charity Committee for organising their pub quiz in aid of DASH. The bar was full of participants with some even competing outside! The event was great for raising awareness of DASH, especially at the start of term. They raised a fantastic £93 - a great sum!

St Aidan’s Fashion Show

The St Aidan’s Fashion Show happens each year in order to engage with a local charity to raise funds for them. This year DASH was chosen because the Fashion Show Executive decided that homelessness was a high priority issue within the Durham community, and one they wanted to contribute to.

The Exec. arranged volunteering days at DASH’s offices in Gilesgate where students involved in the show helped with painting the store room, up-cycling furniture and gardening work. The teams of volunteers enjoyed the experience and did a great job too!

The Fashion Show raised £11,400 for the charity which is a massive effort.

The way St Aidan’s organised the fund-raising and volunteering was fantastic, as was the way all of the students engaged with DASH. We are very grateful to all of them for their effort and commitment.

Watch the Fashion Show HERE!

Thank you from DASH

We would like to thank Lauren (pictured left) and all of the Durham University student volunteers who have helped us over the last few years, you have been a fantastic help and we hope our relationship with the University continues to go from strength to strength.