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Leeds’ Leading Magazine for Volunteers

Give the gift of Christmas to a Child Less Fortunate than You Page 19

“My Month in Malawi,” An Unforgetable Volunteering Exprience Page 24

How You Can Get Involved in Community Christmas Funraising Page 12

Find Out What Kind of Volunteering Best Suits Your Personality Page 16

‘Tis The Season to be Giving


Fundraising Samantha McGarry

Helping Hand


Above: The White Rose Christmas is about spending time with your loved ones and Marie Curie Cancer Care helps terminally ill to do just that.


his year volunteering couldn’t be easier. Marie Curie Cancer Care is appealing for volunteers to help with their Christmas collections in supermarkets across Yorkshire. The money raised by the collections will help to pay for Marie Curie home nursing services over Christmas and New Year. Volunteers are being asked to spare two hours of their time packing bags and standing with collection boxes at the doors of supermarkets. Every £20 raised will pay for one hour of Marie Curie home nursing care in West Yorkshrie. Kathryn Cordrey, Marie Curie community fundraiser says: “We are helping people be in their place of choice at the end of their life. Most people would rather be at home surrounded by their loved ones, but sadly only a small percentage gets this wish. For every one person


Above: Christmas collections in Headingley we care for, there are three that Local volunteer Rebecca Swan, we can’t.” helped with Marie Curie’s first Collections are being held in Christmas collection outside Sainsbury Arndale Centre, Sainsbury’s in Headingly. Headingly and Sainsbury’s Dressed in the charity’s signaWhite Rose ture yellow colours Centre, Leeds. and a Santa hat, “Most people would As well as In Swan says: “Christrather be at home surWakefield at mas is all about rounded by their loved Lidl, Morrison’s ones, but sadly only a giving, so what in Huddersfield small percentage gets better time to donate town centre, this wish. For every one a couple of hours, and in Pudsey person we care for, there or spare that pound at Marks and coin from your shopare three that we can’t.” Spencer’s. ping trolley to help someone a little less Last year over 1,300 people in fortunate than you.” Yorkshire with terminal cancer and other illnesses were helped Once donations have been by Marie Curie Nurses in their counted, volunteers will receive homes over the Christmas a letter of thanks from Marie period. Curie telling them how much money they have raised. According to Cancer Research UK statics are now as high as If you are interested in volun‘more than one in three people teering and think you can help, in the United Kingdom will contact Katherine or Claire on develop some form of cancer in 01274 386 191 or email Kathertheir life time’.

Volunteer and Recyle Samantha McGarry

Helping Hand

Above: Seagulls Re-use


All it takes is a lick of paint for Seagulls Reuse. Recycling left over and unwanted paint, with community spirit at the heart of their social mission.


he nation has gone Kate Pearson met whilst voleco-crazy, everyone is unteering around Leeds when reducing their carbon they came up with their idea for footprint and trying to the project. save the planet one recycling bin at a time. But Run as a social have you ever enterprise, a busi“There are no half ness which exists considered recycling your left over empty paint pots to address social on our shelves paint? or environmental and the paint has needs, Seagulls At Seagulls Re-use gone through a has built three controlled process main strands on Kirkstall road to ensure it is of Leeds, volunteers within the organigood quality.” do exactly this in sation. The Paint order to benefit store, ReDecorate their community. and Mosaic. Seagulls aim is to: “Tackle the issue of waste in the area by finding positive and effective ways to encourage people to reuse, with a focus on community participation offering training , support, volunteering and job opportunities for local people.” The founders of the non-profit organisation, Cat Moore and


At the paint store unwanted and leftover paint is mixed and resold by volunteers as a value alternative for low income customers. They collect and reuse over 90 tonnes of paint per year. Seagulls say: “There are no half empty paint pots on our shelves and the paint has gone through a controlled process to ensure it

is of good quality.” ReDecorate offers a high quality and affordable painting and decorating service, where volunteers can help with community and environmental projects, with benefits built into its daily operations. Mosaic provides workshops, where volunteers become involved with schools and community groups to make mural projects and site specific public arts for the community. “Volunteers promote mosaic making and other artistic activities to support local development and improve people’s quality of life” Says Seagulls. To date, seagulls have saved and reused over 400 Tonnes of paint, which would otherwise be treated as waste.

Volunteer with Homless Samantha McGarry

Helping Hand

WINTER WARMER FOR THE HOMELESS IN LEEDS Homeless charity, Simon on the Streets, offers soup-runs and street outreach work this Christmas


n February of this year, a survey was conducted by ‘Inside Housing’ revealing a 40% increase in the number of rough-sleepers in Leeds alone. Simon on the Streets, located on the outskirts of Leeds, is an independent street based charity that works with the homeless and vulnerable in Leeds, Huddersfield and Bradford.

Above: Simon on the Streets Campaign Poster

Director of Simon on the of the volunteers, the support Streets, Clive Sandle says: “We workers can say I’m not just a focus on those with issues lone voice that thinks you are relating to rough-sleeping and decent person who deserves a leading a street fair crack at life, lifestyle. We aim look at all these “Most people would to bring these other people rather be at home surpeople, often who don’t earn rounded by their loved leading solitary, any money who ones, but sadly only a harmful lives in choose to spend small percentage gets from the margins this wish. For every one some of their time of society.” person we care for, there with you,’ which is With the help of a hugely powerful are three that we can’t.” volunteers, full message.” time support workers Spend Street outreach over 900 hours on the streets programs and soup-runs are engaging with those in need some of the activities for volunand have supportive contact teers at the homeless charity to with over 50 people each get involved in. month. Tom Muller, a street outreach There are currently 20 volunvolunteer says: “I expected to teers working for the homeless be met with a certain degree charity assisting the full time of hostility for the first couple support workers. Due to the of sessions. However, I felt nature of the work Simon on more welcomed by some of our the Streets offers, they do not clients than most of the stuhave a high turnover of volundents I have met when walking teers. However the work that through the door of most Hyde the volunteers do is invaluable. Park house parties.” Sandle says: “With the help Muller added: “Handing out


coffee and listening these people’s stories, is doing more for me than the people I am helping.” Programs like the soup-run, where volunteers circle the streets of Leeds city centres, are not designed to feed the homeless. They are there to engage with those that need help. Sandle says: “Our service users are not the sort of people who would say ‘I’m going down to the soup-run for some quality time with people who care about me’, they say they are coming for some soup. But we all know the former is usually the case.” Each Year Simon on the Streets organise sponsored ‘Sleep-over’ where people sleep out in the open air for the night and get the chance to learn more about the work the organisation does. This year the event was held in Millennium Square. Ex Rough sleepers tell stories about their experiences on the street and event raised over £5000.

Volunteer Centre Samantha McGarry

Helping Hand


With opportunities for everyone, Leeds Volunteer Centre offers support, training and guidance for anyone looking to get involved. Natasha Mort tells Helping Hand how easy it can be to take part.


ucked away on a side street, sandwiched between a Cathedral and the hustle and bustle of city shoppers, you will find the Volunteer Centre, Leeds. Part of Voluntary Action in Leeds, the Volunteer Centre is based in the city councils One Stop Centre. Accredited through Volunteer England,Voluntary Action in Leeds is one of a number of accredited volunteer centres throughout the United Kingdom. The volunteer centre acts as a brokerage service for volunteering placements. The service offers a database of over 500 opportunities throughout Leeds and its surrounding areas. Volunteering development manager at the centre, Natasha Mort says: “New opportunities crop up weekly from a number of different organisations with Leeds postcodes.” A handful of advisers are available by appointment at Voluntary Action Leeds, to discuss the different types of volunteering roles the centre offers. Mort says: “It only takes 15 to 20 minutes to find suitable options that meet the needs and interests of the person who wishes to volunteer with us.” Last year the Volunteer Centre helped over 11,000 people to volunteer. Some of these were


through the ‘Do it’ website, a national database where volunteering opportunities are uploaded, but mostly helped by the advisers.

benefitting yourself.” The work that the volunteer centre does attempts to remove boundaries and make all opportunities accessible for everyone who wishes to take part. Mort says: “We believe volunteering should be open for everybody in the city. People with mental health issues or criminal records may find particular routes to be stressful for them and CRB (criminal record bureau) checks are sometimes needed. We encourage people to think outside the box sometimes with their volunteering choices.”

In 2010, the government conducted a survey sent out to a random number of households, to record the number of people volunteering in Leeds. The survey showed that only 19% of people in Leeds volunteered. Mort says: “We were not entirely happy with this figure as it was below the national average, and so we launched the Leeds year of volunteering.” The year of volunteering celebrated the work done by volunteers in the city and its surround“It only takes 15 ing areas. At the to 20 minutes to end of the year, find suitable opan independent tions that meet the evaluation showed needs and interthe number of ests of the person people volunteerwho wishes to ing had risen to volunteer with us.” 26%. The evaluation also showed that the work done by Voluntary Action Leeds amounted to £38 million a year, which would otherwise have to be funded by Leeds City Council and local business. There is no legal guideline of what volunteering is but the definition Volunteer England give is ‘Volunteering work is freely given’. Mort says: “Nobody should be forced into volunteering. It is about benefiting the community but also

The people that volunteer reflect the community of Leeds, and there is no longer a typical volunteer Mort says: “Volunteers used to be people like my mother. A typical volunteer was usually retired or a stay at home mum that wants to give back to her community.” Now, there are more people from the ages of 18-30 who want to get involved in volunteering. The recession has had an impact on third sector organisations, but Mort insists it has been a positive one. The centre has seen a rise in the number of people that are out of work, looking to volunteering as a

Above: Natasha Mort Volunteering Development Manager at The Volunter way to fill their time and in turn, improve their CV. “The experiences that can be taken from Volunteering are seen as valid skills for increasing knowledge and employability.” Mort says: ”When I was doing my CV, I would only include volunteering in my hobbies section. Now people are putting it in amongst their working experiences.” New Health and safety regulations have also had an impact on voluntary work, making it more difficult for organisations like Voluntary Action Leeds to place volunteers in certain roles. This is especially true with people that want to volunteer over Christmas. Organisations are unable to afford the costs of training people up for one day a year over. However some charity’s do offer seasonal volunteering placements, because they are aware that people want to be involved in something over the Christmas period. This kind of volunteering is

now very rare says Mort: “It While working at the Volunused to be the case that you teer Centre Mort has seen the could turn up on the 25th Deeffects of volunteering on those cember at a soup kitchen and in need: “The main thing is if offer yourself as a volunteer. you spoke to a hundred people Now there is trainabout the times ing to go through; “It used to be they needed supCRB checks and port, most of them the case that safety briefs.” will have got this you could turn from non for profit up on the 25th Although a lot of organisations December at a the work Volunand charities.” soup kitchen and tary Action Leeds offer yourself as a Mort continued: do is based in “I think what volunteer. ” the city centre, people forget is rural areas around that if every single Leeds also make volunteer in the up a large part of the work united Kingdom downed tools available through the centre. tomorrow, then the social imFor example in Gipton the volpact would be enormous”. unteering roles are, are different to the roles in Mooretown and Mort stressed that outside of the needs of the community. their organisation, people are Mort says: “Volunteering also volunteering without even completely depends on the knowing:“There are thousands person. My list of reasons to of people that volunteer. They volunteer will be different to help out in their community. other peoples. I am a working They are the people that do mum, whose desire to volunthe shopping for their elderly teer is base purely around my neighbour to the mothers that interests and available time.” help out at sports clubs. These are the unsung heroes of today.”


Helping Hand Volunteering Magazine  
Helping Hand Volunteering Magazine  

Helping Hand