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Durham University

University and City: Growing together

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Students give much-needed help to charities during lockdown

(30 November 2020)

Students preparing Christmas resources for charity

The Covid-19 pandemic has put a lot of strain on many charities and good causes. So we’re really proud that many of our students have kept volunteering, even during lockdown.

About student volunteering at Durham University…

Prior to the pandemic, around 2,500 of our students were active volunteers, together giving over 40,000 hours of their time to good causes.

These good causes included 80 projects in the North East, covering social inclusion and complex needs, education, the environment and sport and physical activity.

Earlier this year, the University’s Student Volunteering and Outreach received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given for community volunteering in the UK.

Volunteering during lockdown…

Under the national restrictions currently in place, providing voluntary or charitable services is a permitted reason to leave home.

We’re proud that, even during the second national lockdown, around 500 students are still volunteering, both online, including through tutoring local young people, and in-person.

Projects include assisting at Beyond Boundaries, an inclusive educational activity centre at Commondale, North Yorkshire; and caring for horses and maintaining stables at Riding for the Disabled, in Washington, Wearside.

Regular donations are being organised for causes including County Durham Foodbank, the Durham City homelessness charity Durham Action on Single Housing (DASH), Red Supported Living in Ferryhill, County Durham, and Feeding Families.

Students are also undertaking organised litter picks, gardening and fundraising activities; and one group is working to make the University campus more hedgehog-friendly.

A group of international students helped with Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens’ Halloween activities for families and, looking ahead to Christmas, student volunteers are donating gifts and making decorations for those in need.

‘Thanks to volunteers’

Pam Lovell, Volunteer Co-ordinator at Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens, said: “Thanks to the support of Durham University volunteers we are able to welcome visitors to our unique heritage and visitor attraction, of glorious Georgian and Victorian Gothic architecture and stunning grounds. All our volunteers are an integral part of Ushaw life, their contribution to the organisation is immeasurable and we value their participation and commitment.”

It’s great to hear the impact our student volunteers are having. We’re really grateful for everyone’s support, and hope we’ll be able to do even more in the New Year.