Why Volunteer? FAQS

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

If you’re keen to get started, scroll down for more information on how to start!

What is SCA? Student Community Action (SCA) is a student volunteering organisation at Durham University, running student-led volunteering projects in the local community. We have over 40 projects across both campuses, working with adults, children, animals and the environment.

Who can join SCA? Any current Durham University student can get involved.

How can I get involved? SCA’s 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 SCA staff, who can tell you more.

How much does it cost? Absolutely nothing!

What about expenses? Do I have to pay for my travel? SCA will reimburse your travel costs when volunteering on an SCA project, as long as you keep your receipt e.g. bus ticket. We do not usually reimburse taxi fares; these must be agreed with SCA beforehand.

What is a DBS check? DBS stands for Disclousure and Barring Serivce 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. A list projects that require a DBS check can be found here

How do I get a DBS check? Just pick up a form from the SCA office – a staff member will explain how to do the form and what documents we need to see to verify your identity. DBS’s 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 at both campuses; some are based in University buildings and others are in the local community.

Where can I find out about the projects? Get hold of an SCA Rough Guide from one of the offices or take a look at the project pages here on the website.

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 in any of SCA’s 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 – just send us an e-mail and we’ll get in touch! (community.action@durham.ac.uk)

What else does SCA do? We run social events, such as socials, Jazz and Wine, and Comedy and Cocktails; one-off volunteering events; volunteer training; awards to our volunteers both at the oSCArs awards ceremony and throughout the year with hours certificates.

I’m interested in getting involved, but I have questions. Who can I ask? You can email the office at community.action@durham.ac.uk with any queries. Your College Ambassador or an exec member may be able to help.

I have a problem with my volunteering. Who do I contact? If you have any problems whatsoever, please contact the SCA Office on 0191 334 1797 or at community.action@durham.ac.uk.

Where is the SCA Office? We have two offices, one at each campus. Durham Campus – in the Palatine Centre, on the ground floor, room PCL012. Open 9.30am – 4.30pm Mon – Fri. Queen’s Campus – in the Sports centre. Open 9.30am-4.30pm Mon-Thurs