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!