Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Volunteering for all with the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering


Fancy doing some volunteering, but feel that there are barriers preventing you from doing so? Worried that being disabled, having a long term health condition or being of a certain age might work against you? The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering’s theme this month is volunteering for all, and can help you to find a suitable opportunity whatever your personal circumstances.

Anyone can volunteer, and there are lots of opportunities in Leeds for people to get involved in. Volunteering can be a one-off event or a more long-term commitment, and there are opportunities in lots of different areas of work including health, sport, art and culture, community safety, improvements to the local environment, literacy and learning, and working with young and older people - there really is something for everyone. Find out more by visiting Volunteer Centre Leeds, who specialise in matching people’s skills and experiences with appropriate opportunities.

To coincide with this month’s theme a new leaflet will be launched this week called ‘Making Volunteering Inclusive’. This will advise organisations about what they need to think about and have in place should they decide to use volunteers. Anyone interested can come along to the launch on Thursday, 10.30am to 12.30pm at St Chad’s Parish Centre, Headingley. A short film about inclusive volunteering will also be shown. Copies of the leaflet will be available to take away on the day, and from Volunteer Centre Leeds on an ongoing basis.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“Volunteering is for everybody. We all have something to contribute to society, and its vital that everyone is given an equal opportunity to get involved.

“This month we’re focusing on making sure that volunteering opportunities across the city are inclusive, and helping organisations put systems in place to support this.

“Volunteer Centre Leeds are a fantastic resource for individuals and organisations to get advice on how to get the best out of volunteering, and I would strongly urge anyone with an interest that has previously thought that they might not be able to volunteer, to get in touch for confidential advice on how they can get involved.”

Also in October is Change Leeds Week (11 to 15 October), where people are being invited to do something – big or small – to make a difference to their city. This includes fundraising to support small charities and community groups, who may be struggling in difficult time, and volunteering your time to for the good of the city. Find out more by visiting www.changeleeds.com or http://www.leedsvolunteering/news/149-change-leeds-week-10-15th-october

As part of Change Leeds Week, Volunteer Centre Leeds will open from 8am to 8pm on Wednesday, 13 October to give more people an opportunity to drop in for information. Please call Leeds 395 0405 for more information.

Ends
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 Friday 10am to 3pm. Alternatively visit our website www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk

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

Senior councillors to discuss library changes plan


Caption: The new children and family mobile recently launched in Leeds

Proposals to improve the services provided by libraries in Leeds will be discussed by senior councillors next week (Oct 13).

Members of the executive board are being asked to give the go-ahead for consultation with residents on possible changes which would see some libraries open for longer, greatly improved mobile library services and whether some libraries should have cafes in them.

The consultation will also ask for Leeds residents’ views on bringing a range of council and local services together under the same roof in parts of the city, as has been successfully seen at new centres in Garforth, the Compton Centre in Harehills and the soon-to-open Reginald Centre in Chapeltown.

The possible changes have been based on consultation already held with library users, who have called for greater flexibility from their library services in terms of longer opening hours, increased access to computers and the internet, a wider selection of books and the ability to use new technology formats such as e-books.

Leeds currently has 53 libraries, which in the financial year 2009/2010 received four million visits. Of those, 1.5 million visits were to just four of those libraries and 2.8 million visits were made to just 13 libraries.

The use of 20 of the 53 libraries has been falling steadily with some seeing declines in borrowing of 50 per cent year on year. These 20 libraries received just 132,000 visits in 12 months and due to their limited opening hours the result is over £1 million pounds of book stock which currently cannot be fully accessed.

In these areas, the consultation will ask local people about the continued viability of these libraries and their views on a new service. This would be based on regular visits direct to communities by improved modern mobile libraries such as the recently launched state-of-the-art children and family mobile, taking services to them rather than expecting people to travel themselves to a static building.

Opening hours at many other libraries would be extended under these proposals, with the number of libraries being open for over 60 hours a week rising from four to 15 and an overall rise across the city of over 40 hours in total.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, executive board member with responsibility for libraries, said:

“This consultation would be all about giving the people of Leeds the chance to tell us what kind of library service they want.

“The advance of technology has seen people now able to access library services in a number of different ways and without even physically needing to visit a library building, so we want to offer people greater access to our services by adopting a modern approach which meets their needs.

“Should this consultation proposal go ahead it would be hugely important for as many people as possible to tell us what they think – their views are absolutely vital in making any change a success.”

Should the executive board approve the consultation plan, further details will then be announced as to how it will be carried out.


ENDS

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