Businesses ‘give and gain’ at Herd Farm Activity Centre

Picture caption: The former Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Ann Castle, with volunteers at Herd Farm for Give and Gain day.

Over 120 volunteers from companies across Leeds rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty at Herd Farm Activity Centre last week to ‘give something back’ to their local community.

As part of national ‘Give & Gain Day’, organised by Business in the Community, the volunteers took on the task of helping to maintain the 16 acre site, which is primarily used as an outdoor activity centre for vulnerable or disadvantaged children and young people. This year, Give & Gain Day has a focus on supporting young people.

Herd Farm is a council-run outdoor educational resource centre which offers a range of activities for 11 – 19 year olds and for disabled people up to 25. It works with agencies who work with young people at risk: the Youth Offending Service, Multi-systemic therapy services, wraparound services, and teams working with young people who have disabilities.

The volunteers took on a variety of tasks at the centre including:

• Making over the pond area including making a rockery and associated planting, cutting back shrubbery, clearing the pond, cutting back the elder tree and creating bird houses to hang on the branches.

• Creating a BBQ area.

• Re-staining the activity equipment and assault course

• Weed clearance

• Creating a new activity of shallow underground mini caving network using pipes donated by Yorkshire Water

• Completing a sensory garden for disabled visitors.

Tony Edwards, Herd Farm Activity Centre manager, said:“Whilst our core business is serving the young people of Leeds offering personal development through outdoor and environmental activities support such as this via Business in the Community is welcomed.

“Herd Farm covers 16 acres and managing the site requires a lot of work from a small team. Therefore we are very grateful to all the businesses that release their staff and the staff themselves for their dedication, hard work and willingness to often take on tasks that are often completely different from their usual working day.

“For us Give and Gain Day was an outstanding success and of real benefit to Herd Farm and the young people who visit.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said: “Herd Farm provides a valuable resource for some of the city’s most vulnerable children, giving them a chance to learn important life skills whilst having a great time.

“It is fantastic that so many people were willing to give up their time to help make the activity centre an even better place for the children and young people of Leeds.”

The volunteers also received a visit from the then Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Ann Castle who came to see some of the groups in action.

Give & Gain Day is the only global day of employee volunteering organised by Business in the Community which encourages thousands of people across the world to spend a working day volunteering for good causes in their local community. Since 2008, over 60,000 people in 31 countries around the world have taken part.

Notes for editorsBusiness in the Community stands for responsible business. With a membership of over 850 companies, engagement in 10,700 organisations internationally and an employee reach of 14.7 million, Business in the Community is raising the benchmark for responsible business practice. They offer our members practical support to help them transform their businesses and integrate responsible practices into their operations. They ask members to work in partnership to help transform communities and tackle serious social issues where business can make a real difference. Business in the Community is one of the Prince’s Charities, a group of not-for-profit organisations of which The Prince of Wales is President. www.bitc.org.uk

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk