Yesterday we supported a conference for the Third Sector in Leeds. We’ve been working with partners on this for months and were very happy that it went well. The title was “Getting Involved” and indeed that was all it was about.
If you follow us on twitter, you will have seen the live-tweeting (hashtag: #LISConf). If not, here’s a short breakdown of what happened during the event.
Delegates started arriving from 8.30am, while we were still setting up tables and stalls. There was coffee and biscuits and people started networking straight away. It was great to see ou colleague Antonia Mochan again. She is the Head of Communication, Partnerships and Networks at European Commission Representation in the UK.
An hour later the conference was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr. Revd. Alan Taylor. The current Chair of Third Sector Leeds, Revd Canon Kathryn Fitzsimons, acted as compère throughout the day, introducing speakers and making sure everyone was alright.
Alan Taylor thanked Europe Direct Leeds for their support, and praised volunteers in Leeds in Leeds. The Lord Mayor’s Charity of choice this year is Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL).
The next speaker on stage was Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council. Here the main points of his speech:
- how volunteers help democracy
- how important volunteers are for welfare, health and life of the city
- that elected councillors and volunteers need to work together
- praised the “Dunkirk sprit” of Leeds and how Leeds is very much a “self-starter”
- case study involving Little London Primary School, saying Leeds is a city where we care about young people
- volunteers needed in communities
The next speaker was Jason Slack from the Hunslet Club, one o the biggest youth clubs in the UK. He explained what his organisation does and how it’s achieved (and carries on) the good work it does.
Simon Burrall from Involve:
- involvement high on political agenda in UK and elsewhere
- outlined background to involvement strategy
- Involvement is personal. Main points to get an individual involved: motivation, trigger, (individual’s) resources, opportunity
- people need to feel a sense of autonomy when getting involved
- vision for involvement and volunteering will change with government priorities, but people in community can have long-term strategic vision
- bureaucracy can be a barrier to involvement
- Pathways research document
The next speaker was Antonia Mochan, adding the European perspective:
- quick recap of last year’s conference about European Year of Volunteering
- first ever EU policy document about volunteering came out in 2011
- admired the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunterring efforts, thanked Steve Crocker and Leeds City Council
- impact on people more important than paperintruduced case studies from European Year of Volunteering 2011
- shared own experiences of getting involved in volunteering
- European Voluntary Service
- thanked all volunteers in Leeds and EU
Another Leeds Involvement Strategy case study (Volunteering) was shared by Mags Shevlin: LATCH
Richard Jackson from VAL launched of Leeds Involvement Strategy:
- to bring development of skills, collaboration etc. together in one document
- major point: action planning
- share responsibility
- moving forward: city-wide actions needed, what can we do as individuals and organisations
- volunteering doesn’t just happen – it needs organisations to host, support and develop
Short speech on Involvement in Sports: the Leeds Sports Strategy
Roundtable session on how people think their organisations can implement Leeds Involvement Strategy. These ideas were shared on postcards and pinned on a notice board at the back of the room.
Afterwards Cllr. Lucinda Yeadon shared her experiences during the European Year of Volunteering:
- voluntary sector very important in Leeds, and especially during difficult (financial) times
- volunteering is not free -> think about training, for example
- “we can’t run a society on nothing”
- Leeds Year of Volunteering 2010 very successful and EU carried it on in 2011, thanks to all involved
- new volunteer centre is one of five busiest centres in country
- shared examples of volunteering and own experiences
- help volunteers to get into work if they wish to work
- would like to look further into economic value of volunteering.Volunteers cant replace paid workers.Value volunteers!
- thanked various people and organisations, especially Steve Crocker (Leeds City Council) who “is a dream to work with”
Merger between Leeds Voluntary Action and Leeds Voice announced: see new-look website at http://www.val.org.uk/
After lunch break there were four workshops:
- Active Ageing
- Health and Wellbeing
- Young Lives
Please share any notes on these workshops with us.
Closing remarks were made by Kathryn Fitzsimons.
We think the event was a great success, we met some very inspiring people and have made new contacts. Thanks, everyone!