Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Happy half year for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering




The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering is now six months old, and doing a great job of highlighting the amazing work of volunteers in the city and encouraging new people to get involved.

The aim of the initiative, a joint venture led by Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds, is to get every citizen of Leeds to take part in some form of volunteering during the year.

Its now much easier for people to find out about all the volunteering opportunities that are available. A new volunteer centre opened in the city centre in January and people can drop in and speak to an adviser about what kind of volunteering they might be interested in and look through the database of current opportunities. There’s also a website (www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk) full of useful information about volunteering events taking place throughout the year and how people can get involved.

The number of people registering for volunteering opportunities at the centre is increasing month by month, and is currently running at four times more than the last quarter of 2009. Many of the people coming forward to volunteer are students or people that have found themselves unemployed as a result of the current economic situation. Getting involved in voluntary work can be really beneficial for people’s CVs, and give them useful work experience that can help them to find long term employment.

Volunteer Centre Leeds is also keen to get more organisations to come forward with their volunteering opportunities so they have lots of different possibilities to offer to people.

There have already been lots of events promoting volunteering opportunities this year and there are still many more to come, including ones highlighting opportunities for volunteers in leisure, sports, arts and culture, environment, parks and countryside, community safety, and for children and young people and volunteering for all.

Volunteers play a vital role in our city, with the unpaid work they do being worth approximately £39.5 million each year. Without them many vulnerable people in our community would suffer through not getting the support they need and activities for young and old not taking place.

There are lots of people who give up their time to make things better for others without even considering themselves to be volunteers. Think of the army of people running junior football and rugby teams just because they love sport; how about the good neighbours that pick up shopping and look out for the elderly in their communities; and don’t forget the mums that set up and run mother and toddler groups all across the city. These are all volunteers doing unpaid work that they probably don’t think is all that important, but makes a huge difference to people living in our city.

We want you to nominate these people for a volunteering award so we can thank them and celebrate the contribution that they make. Any resident of Leeds can nominate a volunteer or group of volunteers that they feel deserve a pat on the back for the unpaid work they do to the benefit of others. Volunteers can also nominate themselves or the group that they work with.

You can nominate by visiting the year of volunteering website: http://www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk and completing an online form. Alternatively, pick up a form from Volunteer Centre Leeds, Enterprise House, 12 St Pauls Street, LS1 2LE and post it back to us for free.

The closing date for nominations is 30 September 2010. Everyone who is nominated for an award will be sent a certificate of congratulations. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to the awards evening on 1 December at Leeds Civic Hall.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“The Leeds Year of Volunteering is doing a great job of promoting volunteering opportunities and encouraging new people to get involved. We’d like to see even more people coming forward though, to show local people’s commitment to supporting their communities and some of the more vulnerable people that live in them.

“We also want our volunteers to know how much we value them. There are lots of local events taking place this year to celebrate the work that happens in the different areas, and also a citywide volunteering awards scheme. I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take a few minutes out to nominate the volunteers who they feel are making a real difference to local lives and communities, so that we can acknowledge the vital contribution they make.”

Leeds Community Foundation are supporters of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering, and launched a series of grants earlier this year to help people get involved. One of these is the community activity grants scheme, which provides £250 to individuals and groups of individuals who may never have been involved in formal volunteering before. Nine of these grants have been awarded this year funding a range of activities including: individuals with mental health difficulties leading walks in the local countryside and running beading workshops, running a parents breakfast club, preparing meals as a treat for an older person in their own home and supporting a local community culture festival.

Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive of Leeds Community Foundation said:
"We are delighted to be running a number of grants programmes in support of the Leeds Year of Volunteering.

“We find that community-based organisations can use small amounts of money to achieve quite extraordinary things, and we are really pleased to have been able to help support some new and ongoing voluntary activity through our grants scheme."

The grants scheme is still open so if you need help to recruit new volunteers or celebrate the work of your current volunteers, offer a more quality volunteering experience or expand on what volunteers can provide in your organisation, please get in touch. For more information on applying for a grant go to www.leedscommunityfoundation.org.uk/grant-making.htm

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Additional info

For more information about volunteering opportunities visit Volunteer Centre Leeds, 12b St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2LE, telephone 0113 395 0405 – open Mondays to Thursdays 10am to 3pm. Alternatively visit our website www.leedsyearofvolunteering.org.uk

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

Have your say on the future of sustainable development in Leeds

A consultation is open for the people of Leeds to have their say on future proposals for sustainable and eco-friendly developments in the city.

Leeds City Council’s draft version of their ‘Building for Tomorrow Today’ document advises on how future developments in Leeds can result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, better adaptation to climate change, reduced impact on the environment overall and inclusive development for all users.

The document has been designed to provide practical guidance to developers in Leeds wishing to build to high levels of sustainable design and construction.

The draft plan has been put together as part of the council’s commitment to being a greener local authority and to ensure Leeds continues to be a competitive, leading European city for both business and leisure.

Tom Knowland, head of sustainable development said:
“There are many issues which need to be considered as part of the development of this city, a major one being the impact that any new building or refurbishment has on the environment.

“There is an expectation that developments now be more eco-friendly in their design, construction and long term use, so it is important that we have a document that can put these ideas in place.

“The consultation will give an opportunity to local people to have an input into the city’s future developments.”

The new planning documents outline what standards new major developments should aim to meet, and includes guidance on: energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions; water usage; using reused, recycled or local building materials; and providing adequate space for recycling and composting.

The draft version of the Council's Sustainable Design & Construction Supplementary Planning Document (Building for Tomorrow Today) is currently available at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Business/Planning/Planning_consultations/Building_for_tomorrow_today__sustainable_design_and_construction__SPD_(LDF).aspx for public consultation until 1 September 2010.

Comments during the consultation period should be emailed to ldf@leeds.gov.uk using the consultation questionnaire.

Notes to editors:

The document provides guidance on a number of different issues including
• Site appraisal
• Design considerations
• Energy & CO2 emissions
• Water
• Materials
• Surface water run-off
• Waste
• Pollution
• Health & Wellbeing
• Management
• Ecology
• Climate change adaptation


Once all comments have been considered, the document will be adopted by 31 December 2010.

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For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds in Bloom Children's Design a Flowerbed 2010 competition winners




Caption: Competition winners Pepper White (top image), Saffron Catterick (middle) and Tom Murray (above) pose with their planted flowerbeds

The winning entries from this year’s Leeds in Bloom Children's Design a Flowerbed competition have now been turned into the real thing.

Over 1600 young people aged 4-14 from schools across the city took part in the competition run by Leeds in Bloom and sponsored by Evans Property Group to design summer flowerbeds.

The winning designs from each age range have now been created by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service in parks in Leeds.

The winners and runners-up in each category all received certificates and quality art sets, while their schools received gift vouchers for the Red Hall Nurseries and everyone who entered was given a named certificate.

This year’s winners were as follows:

Age category 4-7:

Pepper White age 5 of Horsforth Featherbank Infants School. Flowerbed planted at Park Square.

Age category 8-10:
Saffron Catterick age 8 of Kippax North Junior and Infants School. Flowerbed planted at York Street

Age category 11-14:
Tom Murray age 12 of Benton Park School Technology College. Flowerbed planted at Park Square.

The runners-up were as follows:
Age category 4-7 – Amber Hull age 7 of Tranmere Park Primary School
Age category 8-10 – Mitcham Chambers age 9 of Rufford Park Primary School
Age category 11-14 – Amy Wilks age 11 of Cardinal Heenan High School

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk