STAFF and students at Durham University have found a variety of safe ways to support the local community during the holiday season.
The University has a volunteer program, which gives staff the opportunity to apply to volunteer during paid working time for up to five days per year. Since January, University staff have dedicated 1,391 hours to a wide variety of local causes.
This month alone, staff helped make 1,500 festive crafts, which were donated to local charities to be sold at Christmas fairs or given as gifts to their service users.
Staff continue to support the Durham Food Bank on a monthly basis by sorting and packaging food donations. This is in addition to support from Feeding Families, a northeast-based charity that provides Christmas baskets to families in the area, collecting items for food parcels.
This year also saw the return of the University Christmas tree to the Bill Bryson Library. It is a two-week campaign where the University invites staff, students and, for the first time, members of the local community, to make donations or physical gifts for selected charities.
This year, the Christmas Wish Tree campaign supported Moving on Durham and Durham Foodbank. Dozens of gifts were offered and over Â£ 400 was raised.
But it’s not just the university staff who support the local community, the students too are doing their part.
In the previous academic year, 2020-2021, students volunteered 10,000 hours. Many of those hours were spent during the lockdown restrictions and students had to think of other ways to support the community.
They have taught one-to-one online lessons, tackled generational isolation through letter writing, and hosted virtual teas and bingo sessions.
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