A new volunteering scheme officially kicks off in Plymouth today (Tuesday 21 October 2014) with the launch of a website.
Plymouth City Council’s cabinet has approved ‘Our Plymouth’ – the name of the new initiative which aims to work with local residents to help them make improvements to the local community through volunteering, through the Cities of Service fund. Plymouth was one of only seven cities in the UK to be awarded the status after Plymouth City Council successfully bid for funding.
From today interested local volunteers and organisations will be able to go onto the Our Plymouth website, find out more, register their interest or contact Our Plymouth to discuss potential opportunities. The Cities of Service programme is being developed as part of the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund, and is co-funded by Cabinet Office and Nesta with support from the Cities of Service coalition in the US
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cities of Service Ambassador for Plymouth City Council said: “We are very excited to be able to launch Our Plymouth, following our successful application for Cities of Service status. The website will be a central point where people can find out information about volunteering opportunities and where they can offer their skills.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Plymouth has been awarded Cities of Service Status and look forward to delivering this exciting project with the help of local volunteers.
“As a cooperative council, we believe Cities of Service is a great vehicle to help us achieve our aim to create a fairer city where everyone does their bit, in this case through volunteering.”
Darin Halifax, Chief Cities of Service Officer for Plymouth said: “We would love to hear from anyone in Plymouth, whether you are an individual or representing an organisation, who wants to get involved in Cities of Service. Just go to www.ourplymouth.co.uk or search ‘Our Plymouth’ on google to find out more.”
A range of training and volunteering opportunities will be available under two discrete projects – Grow, Share, Cook and Energy Champions. Plymouth is focusing on ‘heating and eating’ as these were priorities highlighted by the Fairness Commission Report.
Grow, Share, Cook will see the mobilisation of volunteers to grow more fresh fruit and vegetables, the development of community gardens and the distribution of the food to those in need, while the Energy Champions project will promote energy efficiency across the city.
Partners who have already signed up to support Cities of Service include Tamar Grow Local, Food Is Fun, Plymouth Energy Community, Plymouth University and Plymouth Community Homes.
Tami Skelton of Food is Fun said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to encourage healthy eating and improve people’s cooking skills in Plymouth. We are really excited to be working with Plymouth City Council and it’s partners to encourage and train local volunteers to make healthy meals more accessible.”
Alistair Macpherson, CEO of Plymouth Energy Community says: ‘We are very excited about being part of Cities of Service, it helps us continue to build a community of people who want change the way we buy, use and generate energy. Be warmer, spend less – look out for our teams of volunteers coming to a household near you!’
Simon Platten from Tamar Grow Local said: “This is a great initiative and will help further promote the benefits of people growing their own and using local produce where possible.”
Helen Ryan from Plymouth Community Homes said: “It’s great to be involved in a project like this from the start – creating places people want to live is important to us. By having a way to offer time and skills, everyone has the chance to contribute to their community.”
To find out more about Cities of Service in Plymouth contact Darin Halifax on 01752 305446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Our Plymouth website can be accessed at www.ourplymouth.co.uk
You can also follow Our Plymouth on twitter at @ourplymouth