27 May 2015

Volunteer to join city's growing band of unpaid helpers

More people are urged to join Leeds’ fast growing band of unpaid helpers as part of Leeds Volunteers Month.From now until 7 June, a series of events to promote volunteering are being staged by Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds, among others.

The message of Leeds Volunteers Month is simple – those who help others get so much in return. Studies highlight many personal benefits, including better health, greater skills, feeling valued and making new friends.Leeds has a great record on volunteering. So far in 2015, 455 people have found opportunities after visiting the Volunteer Centre. This compares with 1,232 face-to-face appointments and 5,290 online applications in 2014. But while popularity soars, so do the needs of Leeds communities.The highlight of the month of events is a public recruitment day on 30 May, 11am–3pm, at Victoria Gardens on The Headrow.

With many of Leeds’ third sector groups on hand, there will be plenty on offer for anyone interested in volunteering.Before then, both Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds are keen to hear from people who may be interested in volunteering.Visit Leeds City Council volunteering for many enjoyable opportunities in council services such as parks and countryside, museums and galleries and others.Voluntary Action Leeds, meanwhile, is a great first port of call, either via their Volunteer Centre Leeds – at the City Centre One Stop at 2 Great George Street – or by visiting doinggoodleeds.org.uk. The latter lists a rich source of events, advice and groups who need help on top of a place to upload opportunities.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:

“Volunteering is a great way of both passing on and learning valuable skills while also gaining unforgettable experiences at the same time.“Most importantly volunteers are an invaluable resource to charities and third sector organisations across Leeds who often work with some of the most vulnerable people in the city. I myself am very much looking forward to volunteering in my local area.”

James Rogers, Volunteer Champion and Assistant Chief Executive for Leeds City Council, said:

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organisations providing essential support to communities and thousands of families and individuals across the city.“Leeds Volunteers Month is a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work that is done by volunteers and to also encourage even more people to volunteer their time, capacity and skills. Personally I have been a keen volunteer for well over 15 years and I get a lot of satisfaction from working in my local community and supporting local community organisations."

Leeds City Council is very much committed to volunteering, as illustrated by its pledge to staff and in its iVolunteer Leeds ebook. This features staff testimonies explaining why they gave their own time for no money and it can be found at bit.ly/ivolunteerleeds.Each council employee is allowed 10 hours of working time without pay to carry out volunteering – a potential massive total of 16 years unpaid support each year.The ebook, meanwhile, features a host of staff testimonies explaining why they give their own time for no money, not just in Leeds but also across the globe. When it comes to volunteering, Leeds has ‘Big Horizons’ – the theme of Leeds Volunteers Month.

Notes to editors

Other notable events includes Youth Giving Time, a Voluntary Action Leeds project which supports young people who are vulnerable or have criminal convictions to access volunteering opportunities. A ‘Thank You’ event with the Lord Mayor of Leeds took place on 14 May.Doing Good Leeds is managed by Voluntary Action Leeds, who can be contacted on 0113 297 7920 or info@val.org.uk.Volunteering opportunities, meanwhile, are available from Volunteer Centre Leeds via 0113 395 0405 or volunteering@val.org.uk.The iVolunteerLeeds ebook is available to embed for any online editorial. Please contact mark.travis@leeds.gov.uk for the necessary code.

Contact information

Leeds City Council Communications team