Everyone benefits from volunteering. Local communities and organisations value the time, energy and enthusiasm that students can offer. For you, it’s a great way to engage with the community, add to your CV, meet new people, and see more of the North East.
Why volunteering is such a good thing to do:
- It's a great way to give back to the local community during your time at Durham. Many of our projects are aimed at helping vulnerable or overlooked people in society, such as children from deprived backgrounds, the elderly or people with complex needs. Our projects work with people all over the county, not just Durham City, so volunteering enables you to be part of the wider community whilst you live in County Durham.
- You meet many different people and make friends for life! Volunteering enables you to meet people from all walks of life and different backgrounds, and spend time with people who share similar values. DUSVO also has a colourful events calendar running throughout the year for you to enjoy, with highlights including Go Volunteer Week, Soul Food Festival, SPARK Community Fun Day and the annual Volunteering Awards.
- It's great experience for your future career! We have ample opportunities for our volunteers to develop skills and leadership experience, with each of our projects having a student Project Manager, the Exec positions and Sabbatical officer opportunities. Volunteers can qualify for the Durham University Leadership Programme and are eligible for the Durham Inspired Award. Each year we offer a range of workshops and qualifications. This year our students enjoyed learning British Sign Language, behaviour management, first aid, children’s engagement activities and Basic Food Hygiene.
- Your valuable contributions are recognised and rewarded. Starting from Michaelmas term 2020, we are introducing the new Durham University Student Volunteers Certification Scheme to recognise the invaluable contribution our students make to the local community through volunteering. The certification scheme recognises 3 different levels of volunteering, based on the total number of accumulated hours a student has volunteered during their time at Durham University: Bronze (30 hours), Silver (60 hours) and Gold (90 hours).
If you're keen to get started, scroll down for more information or watch the FAQs video...
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Durham University Student Volunteering and Outreach (DUSVO)? We are a student volunteering organisation at Durham University, running student-led volunteering projects in the local community. We have over 50 projects across the university, working with adults, children, animals and the environment.
Who can join DUSVO? Any current Durham University student can get involved, from any college.
How can I get involved? Our projects are open to everyone, and most don't require specific skills or experience. For more information on any of our projects, visit their pages using the bar above or contact a member of staff, who can tell you more.
How much does it cost? Absolutely nothing!
What about expenses? Do I have to pay for my travel? We will reimburse your travel costs when volunteering on a DUSVO project, as long as you keep your receipt e.g. bus ticket. We do not usually reimburse taxi fares; these must be agreed with us beforehand.
What is a DBS check? DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service and replaces the old CRB checks. A DBS check is done to establish whether you have anything in your criminal record which would affect our decision to have you as a volunteer.
Do I need one? If you will be working regularly with children you need a DBS check. You generally will not need a DBS check to volunteer at a one-off event. See our 'projects' pages to see if you need a DBS check for the project you would like to join.
How do I get a DBS check? Just pick up a form from the DUSVO office – a staff member will explain how to do the form and what documents we need to see to verify your identity. DBS checks are free for volunteers.
How long does a DBS check take to process? On average they take 2-3 weeks but it can take more or less time – mistakes made on the form can slow down the process so make sure you fill it in carefully.
Can I start volunteering before I get my DBS check back? Some projects will allow you to attend as a one-off before your DBS is back, others will not – just check with a member of staff in the office.
When can I start volunteering? This varies depending on the project – look on the website to find a project you are interested in and then email the project leader for more information.
Where are projects held? Projects are held in various locations; some are based in University buildings and others are in the local community.
Can I join more than one project? Yes, you can join as many projects as you like.
What if no project looks right for me? If you can't picture yourself joining any of our projects, staff are happy to explore opportunities to develop new projects to fit your interests and capabilities. Most projects are started by students with an initial idea, and we encourage creation and change of projects as situations demand. You can also sign up to our mailing list to hear about new opportunities as they become available - email firstname.lastname@example.org from your Durham email address to sign up.
What else does DUSVO do? We run social and fundraising events; one-off volunteering events; volunteer training; and awards to our volunteers at the annual Durham University Volunteering Awards.
I have a problem with my volunteering. Who do I contact? If you have any problems please contact email@example.com initially and we'll identify the best person to get back to you.
Where is the DUSVO Office? We are based in the Palatine Centre, on the ground floor, room PC012. Open 9.30am – 4.30pm Mon - Fri.