Working to help regenerate our city

dmu-localDe Montfort University students contributed a total of 20,465 hours of volunteering in the community during last year – the vast majority of that on projects in Leicester. 

Students gave their time to more than 100 projects as part of the DMU Local programme, including everything from working in food hubs, at cafes to help reduce social isolation among the elderly, helping out at youth clubs and working with schools across the city. 

The work is all part of DMU’s commitment to the public good, while at the same time giving students new skills that help them find work on completion of their course. 

Work in the community of Leicester was the founding principle of DMU’s student volunteering programme back in 2011. 

A community project started in Fosse area of the city, a square mile neighbouring the university’s city centre campus. 

From those first five projects, the programme has expanded into the Beaumont Leys and Thurnby Lodge areas of Leicester and now across the whole of the city. 

DMU volunteers changing lives at Thurnby Lodge café

Watch: Student volunteers donate their spare time and help out at the café through DMU Local, making a real difference to the regulars’ quality of life.

In 2016, the university through the DMU Local programme and Leicester City Council signed a strategic alliance to work in all communities with the aim of improving the lives of people. 

In the same year, DMU launched an innovative project at HMP Leicester, where the prison was plagued with overcrowding, drugs and violence and an initiative was launched to change that environment. 

A series of projects, mainly centred around the arts with workshops and events, was launched to engage with prisoners and give them more activities within the jail. 

The result was a reduction in violence and the governor at the time credited the volunteering work done by students as playing a vital part in that change. 

Another vital part of the university’s volunteering work within the community has been helping refugees and asylum seekers settle into life in Leicester after arriving in this country. 

The outreach work with refugees was among some of the earliest projects run by university and has been recognised by the United Nations, which in early 2018 choose DMU as the world lead among higher education institutions on its JoinTogether programme to highlight the issues of forced migration. 

DMU Local runs a series of schemes to help refugees and asylum seekers, including men’s and women’s football sessions, English classes, providing volunteers for help groups in the city and running community events.

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