SCA: Everything You Need to Know

SCA – Student Community Action

So you’ve heard of DUCK, you’ve heard of DSU, you’ve more than likely heard of (or been hit by) Assassin’s Society or been cajoled into a sport you’d never previously heard of (Ultimate Frisbee anyone?), but just who on earth are these blue-hoodied warriors I’ve seen patrolling my streets and asking for my time…for free? SCA (or Student Community Action) have been an integral part of Durham University since 1989, making them one of the longest-running organisations our historic educational institution has to offer. It’s completely student-lead, with a student exec and a team of hard-working project leaders, who conduct a mammoth 37 volunteering projects – from working with children, elderly and vulnerable adults, to conservation and working with animals.

Thought volunteering was all about sorting through used nightwear in charity shops? Think again. With projects as diverse as horseriding for the disabled, working with prisoners and the homeless, and conducting activities like snake handling and African drumming with young adults with learning disabilities, you’d be hard pushed not to find something that tickles your benevolent fancy. Get your creative juices flowing at Thursdon – running drama and dance workshops for local children, or wave those pompoms and lead a cheerleading session.

Aside from all this frivolity, let’s not forget the obvious impact that volunteering has on one’s CV – that daunting document that you’ll be wanting to pimp as much as possible in today’s shaky economic climate. A candidate who’s volunteered their time for free and gained real-world experience versus one who’s, well, spent three years drinking beer from a funnel? – not exactly a hard choice is it? The great think about the sheer size of SCA and breadth of its projects is the ability this gives you to treat your volunteering as work experience if you so wish – for example, psychology students may wish to participate in the Mental Health project, education students with One-to-One Tutoring.

Time commitments vary and can be flexible – or for those wishing to dip in and out of volunteering, a range of one-off projects are readily available. The recent Make a Difference Day saw Old Durham Gardens recieve a much-needed pamper session, and a tea party complete with entertainment for Durham’s elderly residents. Look out for future opportunities to help hosting Christmas parties in local hospitals and shopping days for elderly residents!

And what’s in it for you? Well, aside from the glittering CV, escaping from the ‘bubble’ and meeting new people as well as gaining a wealth of new skills, SCA can provide volunteer support tailored to YOU, transport and materials, as well as social extravaganzas to help you unwind from all this do-gooding – tickets are selling rapidly for Jazz and Wine on the 2nd December – a classy affair with tickets as just £5 (or an extra £2 for luxury return travel) including two glasses of wine, buffet and a multitude of performances with one or two surprises thrown in. Don’t want to pay the cost of a week’s rent to attend a college ball? This is the perfect alternative.

If you’re feeling tempted and didn’t sign up to our mailing list at the fresher’s fairs or the project fair, or would simply like some more information, drop a line to community.action@dur.ac.uk or pop into the Durham office Monday – Friday, 10 – 4.30pm or the Queen’s office Monday – Wednesday, 10 – 4.30pm (Room D215 Ebsworth Building). Check out our website at http://www.dur.ac.uk/community.action, and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/durham.sca. Now’s also a good time to get those volunteer registration forms done, and CRBs if you’re wanting to work with children or vulnerable adults (don’t worry – we pay for them and they’re valid for three years).

SCA is going BIG this year – see you all out there.

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