Monday, 11 January 2010

2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering – the big launch

The new year is traditionally a time for people to set themselves new goals and challenges. If you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual getting fit and losing weight, why not consider sharing your knowledge and experience with others in your local community by becoming a volunteer?

2010 is the Leeds Year of Volunteering, an initiative led by the council and Voluntary Action Leeds. Its aim is to engage every citizen in a volunteering activity during the year. A brand new volunteer centre will be opening in the city centre this Wednesday to make it easier for people to find out how they can get involved and help match them to volunteering opportunities.

The official launch of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering will take place on Wednesday, 13 January from 10.30am at Leeds City Museum. Loads of volunteers will come together to form the shape of the Leeds Year of Volunteering logo for a big photo opportunity, and entertainment will be provided by volunteers from Leeds College of Music. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, and joint council leaders Richard Brett and Andrew Carter will formally launch the initiative, with Leeds Rhinos star Carl Ablett and Ronnie the Rhino also there to lend their support. Martin Patterson from St George’s Crypt and teenager Phil Hall of Leeds Youth Action Team, who also works with the city’s No to Knives campaign will also be recounting their volunteering stories. If you volunteer already or are interested in finding out more about volunteering, please come along and join in the fun.

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Media are invited to Leeds City Museum at 10.30am on Wednesday, 13 January for a photo opportunity and to speak to councillors and officers about the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering.
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Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Year of Volunteering said:
“Designating 2010 as the Leeds Year of Volunteering gives us the opportunity to promote the benefits of volunteering for the community and for people’s own personal development. It is also a great chance for us to celebrate the fantastic work that already takes place in the city.

“We want to make it easier for people to find out about volunteering opportunities and the new Volunteer Centre Leeds will help us to do this. Its at a brand new city centre location and will be open longer hours to help the process of matching volunteers with the organisations that need their help. There’s also a Year of Volunteering website, which will provide lots of useful information and news about the events taking place throughout the year featuring different types of volunteering.

“We also want people to start thinking about volunteers who are making a real difference to other people’s lives for our celebration and awards night in December. Details on how to nominate people can be found on the website.”

Councillor Judith Elliott, the Lord Mayor of Leeds said:
“Thousands of residents already give up their spare time to work as volunteers and the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering is a celebration of the splendid work that they do.

“We want to encourage more people to do their bit for the city and the communities they live in, and this initiative will help to highlight all the different volunteering opportunities that there are.

“Volunteering can be a one-off activity or a more long-term arrangement, so whatever time you have to spare there’s sure to be an opportunity to suit.

ENDS
Additional info

The Year of Volunteering website will be up and running from 13 January at www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk
Organisations who have volunteering opportunities can get information on how to register via the website or by contacting Volunteer Centre Leeds on 0113 395 0405.
First Direct are main sponsors of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk