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Durham University News


Kind-hearted students ready to give boost to community

(3 February 2017)

Durham University students Moriah Kennedy, Israa Daoud, Jake Goldman, Ben Leigh, Charlotte Wheeler and Katie Stobbs make a meal for Syrian refugees

DURHAM University students are ready to help more good causes in the region.

More than 1,000 Durham students already undertake regular volunteering, giving nearly 14,000 hours of practical support every year across 84 student-led projects.

But leaders of Experience Durham, which co-ordinates all University sport, student theatre, music and staff and student volunteering, are always ready to hear from more charities and other groups in need of support.

Emma Hall-Craggs, Head of Student Volunteering and Outreach at Experience Durham, said: “Our students realise both how lucky they are to receive the world-class education on offer at Durham University and how lucky they are to live in such a beautiful city, with such warm, welcoming people.

“As a result, many are keen to give something back through volunteering. There is a really strong volunteering ethic at Durham University and we’re keen to help as many charities and good causes as we can.”

Much student volunteering at Durham University is organised through Student Community Action (SCA), a student-led organisation focused on responding to the needs of the local community. Its projects include residential trips for children referred to SCA by social services, dog walking for the housebound and computer classes for the elderly. Students also volunteer in schools, care homes, and prisons across the region.

Emma Wall has volunteered with SCA for four years, including providing one-to-one tutoring for an A-level student and supporting Modern Foreign Languages teaching in a secondary school.

She said: “My involvement in SCA has definitely been the most rewarding element of my time at Durham because of the real difference our projects make in the local area.”

Volunteering also takes place through student sport, with Team Durham running community-based programmes for local children to enjoy world-class sporting facilities and learn and participate in sport. More than 750 children took part in such programmes last year.

Students also run sports classes for adults who are going through rehabilitation or have learning disabilities or mobility issues.

In addition, Music and Theatre also run outreach programmes locally. Durham University Palatinate Orchestra offers a performance and stories to school children and the Opera Ensemble has helped run a children’s choir. Music Durham worked with more than 500 children last year.

Durham Student Theatre also offers school outreach programmes to around 100 children every year, increasing children’s confidence through drama programmes.

Ms Hall-Craggs said: “Student volunteers can provide a local good cause with hands-on help, enthusiasm and, often, much-needed project-specific skills.

“We get a lot of positive comments from the projects we support and volunteering helps students gain valuable life experience. We would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.”

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For more information on Durham University’s contribution to the North-East, visit

This article was originally featured in the Durham Times.

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