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York Cares seeking an army of volunteers for community projects
AN army of volunteers is needed to support a year-long programme of projects in 2014 designed to improve life for people in York.
Hopes are high that the 1,000 people who donated a total of 10,000 hours to community ventures last year will continue to help as demand rises from charities which have seen their funding cut.
Thirty-six firms, representing more than a quarter of York’s workforce, are signed up to York Cares – a partnership of the city’s leading firms committed to making a difference through employee-volunteering.
Their support means York Cares is able to work with more than 200 community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations, public services and schools each year.
Launched in 2006, York Cares has seen the number of members fall in recent years as firms have been hit by the recession and felt unable to offer the same level of support.
Holly Hennell, operations manager, said: “We still have a great appetite from organisations for their staff to volunteer but over the past few years there’s been a drop in the number of volunteers.
“But equally at the same time, because charities have seen their funding streams cut, there’s more demand from them for support. It’s about trying to balance that.”
She added: “We are incredibly grateful to all of our employer members and employee volunteers who together are helping to make York a better place. We would be delighted to hear from any local employers who are keen to get engaged in their local community.”
Projects in 2013 included the Big Community Challenge when 200 volunteers worked for three days on making the adventure playground at Bell Farm more accessible to young families. The new-look playground now has a new seating area, a willow den, mosaics, a shelter, scooter ramp and a bug hotel.
Plans are taking shape for the 2014 programme, with a new event to be launched in February entitled CU In The City. It involves York Children’s University, which brings learning to life for youngsters, and organisations including the University of York.
Events will be held to bring pupils and their families together to learn about topics ranging from space to sport, through interactive, university-style lectures.
How project joins interests and skills
YORK Cares matches the interests, skills and expertise of employers and employees to community projects where they can have most impact.
It offers York employers of all sizes a wide range of volunteering opportunities all year round as well as through special projects:
Ways to get involved in 2014 include:
• York Children’s University: Help inspire youngsters by developing sessions themed around your business area (current modules include advertising, cooking, money and transport); deliver interactive university-style lecture about your industry; support children with their reading for an hour once a week/ fortnight.
• Enterprise Hub: share business expertise with charities at networking events themed around topics such as marketing; help new charities with their strategy and business plan; support university student volunteers tackling projects for charities.
• Starting Blocks: give young care leavers and young unemployed people an insight into the work environment through behind-the-scenes work taster sessions and offering work placements.
• York Cares at Christmas – collect and deliver gifts to homeless people; host a party with colleagues, at elderly people’s homes.
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