Welcome to a special section of our website which we have constructed for Volunteers Week.
We would like to dedicate this section to the many volunteers who have, over the years, helped us in the work we do to provide accommodation and support to homeless people and people at risk of homelessness – THANK YOU!
We would like to thank DASH trustees Marie-Therese Pinder and Michele Woods for their contributions to this section of our website and also County Durham Volunteering. Thanks also to volunteers Lauren Powdrell, Natasha Bowles and Izzy Gale for their various contributions.
All at DASH
We asked one of our volunteers, Natasha Bowles, to do some research for us about volunteering and to put together a summary about the nature of volunteering, who volunteers, how they volunteer and how they feel about it. Natasha has also looked at the future of volunteering and volunteering in the Durham community and she explains how you might get involved. We hope you will find this excellent piece of work as informative as we did!
The Nature of Nationwide Volunteering
In January 2019, the NCVO published a summary report entitled ‘Time Well Spent’. This report cast light upon several aspects of the current volunteering situation in the UK.
How Do They Volunteer?
How Do They Feel About Volunteering?
Do They Connect with Others through Volunteering?
What is the Future of Volunteering?
Volunteering within the Local Community
Are There Volunteering Opportunities In Durham?
DASH (Durham Action on Single Housing) is an independent charity that works to combat homelessness within County Durham, supporting those who are without a home, or who are at risk of losing their home.
The organisation offers accommodation across a range of local properties. DASH provides a supportive and stable environment, combined with the requisite specialised services, to allow people to rebuild their lives and move forward into a state of independence.
DASH also runs a Vulnerable Women’s Project dedicated to supporting women with multiple, complex needs and entrenched lifestyles, which prevent them from accessing other support services. The charity assists women who may have issues in the following areas: physical and mental health, child welfare, relationships, offending behaviour, historic abuse, bereavement, substance misuse, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, childhood trauma and/or self-harm.
The organisation receives a grant from Durham County Council to run their services and also generates income through fundraising, rents and charges from their properties. DASH is a registered charity with 18 members of staff and 8 trustees and a range of volunteers, several of whom are from Durham University.
How Can You Get Involved?
If you would be interested in helping to make a significant, positive difference within the local community, why not consider volunteering with DASH?
The programme run by DASH offers volunteers the opportunity to contribute to the vital work carried out by the organisation, in a manner tailored to an individual’s time availability, interests and skill set. Volunteers undertake tasks in a friendly and welcoming environment in which they may work alongside fellow volunteers and develop new abilities that broaden their horizons.
There are a variety of tasks and roles undertaken by volunteers, which include:
Volunteers are recruited through Freshers Week at Durham University, via the DASH website and social media pages, and CSR schemes.
DASH have recently worked with Durham Community Action to receive the County Durham Kite Mark. The Kite Mark is a certificate awarded to organisations that are able to demonstrate how their volunteering programmes endeavour to overcome barriers to volunteering. During this process, Durham Community Action supported DASH in reviewing their processes, implementing volunteer time record sheets and an exit feedback process, creating role descriptions and an induction process.
For further details about how you can support DASH’s mission, please see:
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.
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.
How does it happen?
Somebody says would you like to....? Or you think maybe I could...? You pick up a leaflet and make a phone call, or you go online and find a website...?
Somehow or another YOU can be a VOLUNTEER, offering YOUR enthusiasm, creativity, talents, hopes for making something better than it was, helping a friend, adding an activity to a CV, joining in... The list is endless, as is what happens to YOU, receiving satisfaction, broadening your mind, meeting people, having your ideas challenged, doing things out of your comfort zone, feeling more worthwhile, empowering yourself and others, gaining confidence, social skills, learning something new every day of your life...
This is the other list that can go on and on, every day, week, month and year of being a VOLUNTEER
Marie-Therese Pinder (DASH Trustee)
Durham University students painting one of our properties
How can you help?
Here at DASH we rely on the generosity of businesses like yours to help us achieve our mission. A Partnership with DASH will not only help us in our pursuit to provide shelter to vulnerable people but also help you to generate a positive social impact in the area where you operate, as well as improving your company image and engaging staff in the local community.
You can work with us in a variety of ways. Listed below are several potential CSR opportunities available at DASH. However, we are also open to hearing your suggestions on how your business might work with us.
Helping with Fundraising: We are always keen to fundraise but with limited resources, both financial and human, it becomes difficult to arrange/attend events. Your efforts would be greatly appreciated here, either by organising your own events or helping us to organise our own.
Volunteering: We are always on the look out for volunteers to help us with a range of activities from admin, fundraising events or decorating properties. More information on this can be found in the drop-down menu of the ‘Support Us’ tab in the ‘Volunteering section’. You could help us by advertising our volunteering opportunities with your staff or organising a one-off group volunteering day for your staff with us.
Trustee recruitment: We are looking to recruit trustees for our Management Committee. At present the Committee is made up of 12 trustees who meet once every two months with occasional work in between, however this is mostly by email. Perhaps you have staff who would be interested in joining our Committee? Help us by advertising the role to your staff. More information on trustees is available here: DASH Trustees
In kind support: We occasionally require outside help with projects. Help can vary from requiring consultancy advice on property projects to support with office functions, marketing advice or funding applications. Please get in touch to find out what support we require at present.
Philanthropic social responsibility (PSR): This could involve donations or sponsorship. This may involve a business supporting us on a project e.g. property refurbishments. This could be a one-off sponsorship or fulltime. With regard to non financial donations please contact us at DASH (contact details listed below) to see what we require at present.
Past partnership work:
We have a number of business and corporate supporters, who we are extremely grateful to. Here are a few ways in which they have helped us achieve our goals.
EE organised a group volunteering day for their employees helping us plant our edible garden.
Emmanuel Church also organised a group volunteering session, helping us sort donations.
Alongside these examples we have also had a group of Npower staff volunteer in our office for the day as well as a group of Durham University students help us paint and decorate a property (pictured at the top of the page).
Additional corporate volunteers:
How to get in touch:
If you are interested in getting involved in one of our CSR opportunities or for further information regarding CSR at DASH please get in touch either by phone, email or letter.
Phone: 0191 3845073
Email: reach Trevor Atkinson at: [email protected]
Address: DASH Hudson House, Gort Place, Gilesgate, Durham DH1 1EY
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.
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!
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.
We hope you have enjoyed this special section of our website devoted to volunteering. If you have been inspired to volunteer and would like to know more please visit our volunteering page.
If you would like to know about other volunteering opportunities please see the Durham Community Action website.