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Durham University News


Staff volunteers making a difference

(18 April 2017)

Staff from Durham University Business School help tidy Stockton Road Cemetery, Durham City

As part of the So Much More campaign, we celebrate our Staff Volunteering and Outreach.

DURHAM University is inviting more charities and good causes to benefit from its staff volunteering programme.

The University operates one of the country’s leading Employer Supported Volunteer (ESV) programmes, which offers staff the opportunity to volunteer, in work time, for up to five days per year.

More than 850 staff have volunteered since the programme was launched in 2010, giving more than 3,000 hours of practical help each year.

Volunteering ranges from individual placements that make use of a staff member’s professional expertise to team challenges for whole departments.

More than 100 charities have already benefitted from the scheme, but the University’s Staff Volunteering and Outreach (SVO) team is always keen to hear from more good causes that would like to be involved.

Positive contribution

Dr Andy Cattermole, Head of SVO, said: “Durham University is proud of the positive contribution we make to the communities we are part of, and staff volunteering is a key part of that.

“Our staff find the volunteering they do, whether it be as individuals, teams or departments, very rewarding, and it’s great to see the difference they make to the charities and good causes we support.

“But we want to do more, and I would encourage anyone interested in benefitting from our volunteers to get in touch.”

Community Partners

Among the causes currently receiving practical help are Old Durham Gardens, Groundwork North East and Cumbria, Durham Wildlife Trust, Friends of Stockton Road Cemetery in Durham City and Lionmouth Rural Centre, near Esh Winning.

Roz Layton, from the Friends of Stockton Road Cemetery (FSRC), said: “We have worked with the University since soon after the FSRC was established and the support that they have given us has been invaluable.

“We rely on a very small number of regular volunteers so when teams of staff visit for a day, the work that they achieve in just a few hours is immense.”

Volunteers also help out at the Waddington Street Centre, If U Care Share Foundation, Changing Lives, Willowburn Hospice and St Cuthbert’s Hospice.

'Great satisfaction'

Jen Barton, who works in the University’s Student Recruitment and Admissions team, said: “Getting out of the office for a day is a great way to get to know colleagues. We’re quite a large office and through volunteering for a day you get to spend time with people that you might not usually chat too.

“Everyone always seems a lot more motivated when they return to work and there is a great sense of satisfaction that comes from completing a task altogether.”

Additionally, the University’s Staff Volunteering and Outreach team also supports staff in other volunteering, giving to good causes directly from their pay and developing their volunteering skills.

More information

For more information on Durham University Staff Volunteering and Outreach, visit

For more information on the contribution Durham University makes to North East England, visit

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