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Staff Volunteering and Outreach

Team Challenge Vacancies

Team Challenges are a great way of helping community organisations with a particular problem, rallying together a team of volunteers to really bring light to the saying "many hands make light work". Whilst the majority of our Team Challenges are arranged on request from a department or group, the Open Challenges listed below are open to any individuals wishing to volunteer. They're a great opportunity to meet and work with people from across the University as well as elsewhere. If you're looking for more of a continuous opportunity or a smaller scale activity, please see our individual opportunities or external opportunities.

The Open Challenges listed below are arranged throughout the year, and are designed so that they appeal to a wide range of staff. If you would like to take part in any of the below, please fill in our registration of interest form

If your department or a group of colleagues is interested in arranging a Team Challenge, please get in touch with us to see what is currently available, or take a look on our community partners page which will be updated with opportunities. It is possible to tailor a challenge to your needs and interests and we are always happy to try different activities and work with new organisations.

Open Challenges

If U Care Share

If U Care Share are one of SVO's most longstanding partners; their work surrounds suicide prevention in young people. They have a range of activities that a team of volunteers could assist with including putting together awareness packs for use in schools and sports clubs, assisting in campaign planning for their annual Inside-Out campaign, and coming up with creative marketing ideas. If you are interested in taking part in a Team Challenge with If U Care Share, please register your interest.

Stray Aid

Local charity that cares for stray dogs are looking for groups of volunteer dog walkers on Tuesday mornings, from their centre close to Coxhoe. Groups should be a maxmum of three people. Please get in touch if you are interested in this opportunity.

Gateshead Crossroads

Gateshead Crossroads are a leading local provider of quality support services for Carers, the people they support and their families. They work with over 900 families in the Gateshead area, helping Carers to make a life of their own outside their caring responsibilities. Their facility in Gateshead includes a residential home 'Kites' Rise' which is available for respite for carers to have a break from their caring commitments. The charity are looking for a team to do some painting to refresh the Old School House in February, and from March to maintain the gardens at Kites' Rise. Please register your interest if you would like to help.

County Durham Foodbanks

Over the past year Durham University staff, through SVO, have volunteered at a number of occasions at the Trussell Trust Foodbanks in Chester-le-Street and Billingham. The foodbanks are always grateful for volunteer groups helping them out with sorting donations, and putting together food parcels. Group sizes should be between 3 and 5 volunteers, and preferred days are Thursday morning (Billingham) and Friday morning (Chester-le-Street).

RT Projects

RT Projects are a charity that provides art and creative activities to promote good mental health, based in Gilesgate. For staff to learn more about one of the University’s most local charities, SVO are looking to organise an innovative open Team Challenge. There will be an interactive workshop with the project leaders, giving you the chance to learn more about mental health issues and how they can be combatted through creativity. In the afternoon, volunteers will be helping out with painting, sorting the art store and handyman jobs such as putting up shelves.

Old Durham Gardens

Local to Durham University, the gardens are the product of a volunteer led restoration programme started in 1985. To enable members of the public to fully enjoy the gardens; regular volunteers are needed to assist in their maintenance. So pop over to the gardens; usual volunteering hours are Thursday afternoons 2-4 pm (in the summer months), to meet colleagues whilst pulling out weeds to relieve some stress. All tools will be provided, but it is advised that you wear suitable layers (possibly waterproofs) and sturdy shoes/wellies. Sign up here.

St Cuthbert's Hospice

The local hospice are looking for a small group of volunteers to assist with their Sunflower Appeal in June 2016. This would entail marking handmade sunflowers with the names of those to be remembered and 'planting' them in specially made planters. Please get in touch if this appeals to you.

First Point Training- Community Hub

This is an interesting opportunity for a department or team who perhaps wants to ‘adopt’ a community partner and see a long term project progress through a number of Team Challenges. Groups that are interested in community regeneration will also find this project interesting. First Point Training provide holistic services, from help gaining employment skills to lifestyle and fitness, for people in recovery from a wide range of situations. Their new site “The Village” in Stanley will become a hub for these services as well as community activities, and they are looking for the University to be involved in the creation of an upcycled coffee lounge and courtyard area, provisionally from Spring 2016. This will involve indoor and outdoor work both practical and creative and is a chance to be involved in the creation of a unique community space. Please contact us if you or your team would like to be involved.

Rainbow Trust Children's Charity

Rainbow Trust Children's Charity provides emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life threatening illness. Family Support Workers care for families from diagnosis, during treatment and, if needed, through bereavement and beyond. When a family is in crisis, 24-hour support can be provided. They are looking for teams to undertake various tasks to assist the charity's development. For example; research based tasks to increase local community engagement by contacting community groups with fundraising tasks, event planning including marketing and promotional activity and helping out on the day, one day administrative support tasks at Durham office helping with mailshots or preparing materials for an event, organising a fun, exciting and dynamic team fundraising event. Please register your interest if you think this is something your department would enjoy.

Durham Cathedral- Marketing and Events

Durham Cathedral events team are working towards the launch of their Open Treasure exhibition spaces - please see the link They are looking for a group of volunteers to undertake a Team Challenge supporting the Cathedral’s digital marketing function and data base research to promote Open Treasure to new audiences.