Staff Volunteering and Outreach (SVO)
The developments around Covid-19, the escalation of preventative measures and the increasing transition of University staff to home working have unsurprisingly meant that the current University Staff and Student Volunteering programmes cannot be able to operate as they have. As we transition into different modes of working and living our spirit of volunteering and desire to contribute to our local communities will become more important than ever. Our position, which is fully endorsed by the Vice Chancellor and UEC, is that our message must be to support and encourage everyone to contribute to their local communities in any ways that they can (safely within the current government guidelines https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance).
It’s clear that many communities are already self-mobilising but within the Volunteering team here we hope to be able to still act as a source of information, a signpost for activities and a link to community partners where required, giving staff and students a point of contact for volunteering and community support going forward. We are also in close contact with key local organisations such as County Durham Community Foundation who are developing financial models to support local communities.
Our view is that this University community has long supported a culture of volunteering, civic engagement and compassion and these principals should continue to guide us when back home in our communities. Registering volunteering or recording hours are not priorities for us during this time – we merely ask that if you are actively working from home that you consider taking some time, if you can, to consider a voluntary act of support in any way that you feel comfortable (in discussion with your line manager and, of course again, observing current government Covid-19 advice).
Rather than create new groups we would advise working directly with established activities, whether they be Parish Councils, Residents Associations or via some of the proactive social media support forums which have already become established. We are still gathering some information in these areas but, e.g. we can provide a summary of Durham based Resident Association contacts. They are actively co-ordinating areas of need within their local areas and are also a good point of contact if you wish to contribute in these localities. We also attach some example of online/remote voluntary support activities that you can get involved in now that may wish to consider – we will seek to grow and develop these as we move forward.
We will try to maintain a regular flow of information and updates via the website www.durham.ac.uk/volunteer, social media and please feel free to send enquiries through to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do what we can to help. Thank you in advance – I know that everyone will do the best they can to support our local communities at this difficult time.
Andy, Stacy & Katie
The Staff Volunteering Team
Durham Community Action has a very useful page which offers guidance for our community partners also: https://www.durhamcommunityaction.org.uk/coronavirus.html
The Staff Volunteering and Outreach (SVO) team provides an opportunity for Durham University staff to engage with a range of local community organisations that benefit from working in partnership with the University.
Durham University operates an employer supported volunteering scheme, enabling University staff members to volunteer for up to 5 days per year during work-time. Opportunities range from individual placements utilising an individual's professional experience, to departmental team challenges involving practical tasks. Through the following pages you can find out more about the Staff Volunteering scheme and how you can get involved.
As a Community Partner, the SVO team can provide community groups, organisations and charities and with teams of staff volunteers or individuals to help you out on a short-term and occasionally longer-term basis. To find out how you can work with us, contact the team on the email address or phone number given below.