Thursday, 27 October 2011

Taking volunteering success on tour

Representatives from Leeds will attend a national event in London this weekend, to showcase some of the work that has had such a positive effect on volunteering in the city over the last two years.

The event is part of the European Year of Volunteering (EYV) tour, which has been moving around major cities in Europe during 2011. The aim of the tour is to give volunteers the opportunity to exhibit their work, meet one another, engage with policy-makers and the general public, convey their energy and enthusiasm, and discuss key issues for the future of their work.

Joined by colleagues from the city of Bradford, the volunteering team from Leeds will host a session on Saturday 29 October at 2pm called ‘Supporting volunteering and active citizenship in our cities in 2011’. This will showcase initiatives that have worked well for both cities as they strived to encourage more of their residents to get involved in volunteering.

Leeds and Bradford have both had recent campaigns to encourage volunteering and active citizen participation. In Leeds the focus was on increasing the level of formal and informal volunteering in the city. The Bradford focus has been on encouraging people to be active citizens and to participate in civic activities such as neighbourhood forums.

Both used “themes” as a means of focussing attention on the various ways citizens can become more involved in their respective cities. Both are run by partnerships between the voluntary sector and the public/private sectors

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, champion for volunteering in Leeds said:
“The two year focus on volunteering in Leeds was backed by the whole council, and for very good reason.

“Volunteering a really positive experience for the people who take part in it. It gives them a real sense of belonging to the communities that they live and work in. It also makes a massive contribution to the city’s economy, and with the number of volunteers doubling as a result of this initiative, the value of volunteering in Leeds during 2010 was almost £87million.

“This focus has also helped the council to develop better working relationships with the voluntary sector and other key partners in the city, including the business sector. Both years have been a real joint effort for the benefit of the people of Leeds, and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to share our experiences at the EYV tour event in London.”

Ends
Additional info

The tour stop in London will be at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre. 108 Stamford Street, London, SE1 9PH from Friday, 28 October to 3 November. Please visit http://europa.eu/volunteering/en/tour-stop/london for more information.

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


Consultation sets out principles for housing growth

Business and community leaders have been working with Leeds city council to agree key principles to guide future housing growth in the city.

The eight principles, covering issues like housing targets, affordability and brownfield development were agreed as part of an informal council consultation which took place over the summer.

Business leaders, including housebuilders, housing associations and architects initially met separately from the community representatives before the groups came together to coordinate their responses and agree the principles.

They include setting realistic, phased targets for the delivery of new housing and ensuring new homes reflect local needs, enhance the neighbourhoods and improve the quality of life.

Other ideas include a commitment to facilitate the development and regeneration of brownfield sites and to work with the business community to explore a range of funding opportunities for new affordable homes.

The consultation was undertaken to assess the potential for consensus on housing growth and to help the council prepare its core strategy.

The council is now planning a series of pilot studies in different parts of Leeds to explore how the principles can work in practice.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds city council’s executive member for city development, said:

This consultation brought together people with very varying backgrounds and interests who too often find themselves in opposing camps where housing development is concerned.

“ The fact that they were able to agree on these basic principles is very encouraging and will be extremely helpful as we prepare our long term housing growth strategy.
We know that we have to build more homes but we need to do that in a way that is sustainable and benefits the community as a whole.

“ We hope that the government’s planning reforms will allow us to build on this collaborative approach .”

The principles are on the council’s website : http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Environment_and_planning/Planning/Planning_policy/Housing_growth_in_Leeds.aspx and feedback will be reported to the council’s executive board in November 2011.

For media enquiries please contact:
Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office Tel:0113 2243937
Email: annie.goodyear@leeds.gov.uk