Michelle Woods - Trustee

I joined DASH in 2019.  As a Durham resident since the age of 5, it is an opportunity to support my local community in a positive way.  I have enjoyed getting to know the staff and other Trustees and learning about the broad range of opportunities DASH offers.

My background as a Hospice Fundraiser will hopefully be useful to explore avenues of income to support the activities of DASH going forward.

As a newly appointed Registered Provider, there are exciting opportunities ahead for future development of DASH, expanding further the range of support available to local people in need.

There are exciting changes ahead for me too.  Having successfully run my own small soft furnishing business for the last 7 years,  I am about to embark upon a teacher training course.

Lauren's case study

Hi, I’m Lauren, a second year English Literature student at Durham University. I started volunteering for DASH through Durham University Student Volunteering (DUSVO), which has links with community outreach partners, such as DASH. Student ‘Project Leaders’ are responsible for coordinating student volunteering with the outreach partner. I applied for the DASH Project Leader because homelessness is sadly so prominent throughout the UK, and I wanted to help in any small way to alleviate the social issue. DASH does such incredible work for the community, and it has been a privilege to be involved this year.

For me, the best thing about being Durham University’s Project Leader this year has been the variation in activities, the flexibility and meeting so many incredible volunteers. I have really enjoyed helping to organise the Outreach Days, which have entailed student volunteers helping at the DASH offices and accommodation. It was great to see so many students get stuck in with activities such as painting accommodation, sorting donations and upcycling furniture. As well as this, it’s been really good to be involved with Pub Quizzes in aid of DASH and promote DASH across the Colleges in the University. I also really enjoyed helping at the Christmas market stall, as well as the pop-up shop in December.

This year, I have also been volunteering for Durham for Refugees each week. For this, I helped entertain refugee children who have just arrived in the Durham area, while their families are given advice on things such as applying for jobs and finding long-term accommodation.

I would really recommend volunteering with DASH because the staff are really supportive and flexible, and the volunteering activities are super rewarding!

Natasha's case study

Hi, I’m Natasha.

I have always been acutely aware of how fortunate I was to grow up in a secure household and so I wanted to personally contribute to combatting the deprivation that is the grim reality for so many.

I am currently studying English Literature at Durham University and upon commencing undergraduate study, I swiftly realised how busy and all-consuming student life can be. I decided that it was important to me to do something that advanced a cause beyond the scope of my daily life.

My chance to study at university rendered me more mindful of the women who do not grow up in an environment of domestic stability and receive educational opportunities. Therefore, when I began to look into local volunteering opportunities, it was the Vulnerable Women’s Project that instigated my desire to volunteer with DASH. When I learned more about the practical work that DASH does to directly improve the lives of the disadvantaged in Durham, I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved.

I had never lived in Durham prior to attending university but I felt that I wanted to do something in the interest of the city that would be my home for three years. As a literature student, I hoped that I might be able to use my passion for the written word to assist with the invaluable work undertaken by DASH. Indeed, the breadth of tasks encompassed by the charity’s mission enables everyone to play to their individual strengths, while working together towards the shared goal of eliminating homelessness. The perspicacity of leadership and clarity of structure that governs DASH’s operation maximises the efficiency of all that is done here. This makes every completed task feel like a truly meaningful step towards furthering the dignity, and improving the quality of life, of Durham’s homeless. The selflessness and indefatigable resolve that characterises the work carried out by the organisation has inspired me throughout every aspect of my experience with DASH.