Staff Festival 2019: vote for your favourite charity

Voting for this year's official Staff Festival charity is now open.

Pets As Therapy was the beneficiary of last year's Staff Festival

Staff Festival 2019 charity nominations open. February 2019

Nominations have been received for the official beneficiary of the event, with colleagues now asked to select their favourite good cause from the list below: 

Only one vote per member of staff will be accepted via email with voting closing at 5pm on Wednesday 27 March.  

The winning charity will be announced on at the Staff Benefits Fair on Tuesday 2 April. 

Last year’s festival raised a record figure of £2,888.26, which was donated to Pets As Therapy.

Plans are in full swing for this year’s exciting instalment of the hugely popular Staff Festival. 

All colleagues, family and friends are invited to join us on campus on Friday 28 June for an enjoyable afternoon of activities, full details of which will be announced nearer the date.

Charity nominations

Lucie Middlemiss – SNAPS (Special Needs and Parent Support)

SNAPS or Special Needs and Parent Support is a local charity for children with special needs and their parents. My son has a disability and we have used its services, so it would be lovely if I could be involved in giving something back. SNAPS operates from two locations in Leeds, and offers a drop-in playgroup for children and their carers on Saturdays in term time. SNAPS also offers physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and rebound therapy at a very subsidised rate for children who need a bit of extra help. SNAPS organises activities for children and their families in the long summer holiday, to ease the challenges of parenting children who require more time, patience and energy. It is a lovely local charity with all the money used to excellent effect, and the forum it provides – for children to meet other kids who face disability challenges and for parents to meet other parents that understand the challenges – is both rare and essential. Most importantly, SNAPS offers a high level of acceptance. There is no judgement of children or parents, with a super friendly and accepting atmosphere at all events, and a community of children with disabilities and their parents where people can care and look out for each other.

Emma Chippendale – Crohn’s and Colitis UK 

My father has suffered from Crohn’s disease since a young age and I have witnessed how this has significantly affected his life and work. He takes medication, has undergone surgery on many occasions, retired early from work on medical grounds and has spent many periods of time in hospital. This is a charity that is not as well-known as others but deals with conditions that affect many people, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease. I am surprised how many people are affected by these conditions, which are largely hidden but cause stigma, fear and isolation. From talking to friends at the University, people have told me they suffer from one of these conditions – e.g. IBS – or know somebody who does. Also, one in four people who are diagnosed are under 16. The charity provides support as well as undertaking vital research. It has a local Leeds branch, which could be supported specifically or the national society if this charity were to be chosen.

Kelly Brook – Pipsqueak’s

I would like to nominate Pipsqueak’s, the newly-formed, local Leeds charity, which is supporting neonatal units in the region. I have followed, as I am sure many others have, the heart-wrenching story of the ‘Twinchetts’ during the past couple of years, which saw the tragic loss of one of their twins. The family has raised some incredible funds to date to support other families in the region needing access to facilities in neonatal care, whilst they care for seriously ill babies. The facilities provided on the neonatal units are incredibly limited, therefore being able to raise some funds to support the families going through extremely tough days, weeks and often months would be a great support to this charity. The early days for these babies are often touch and go, and being able to make the surroundings more accommodating for their families will at least make them more comfortable. The funds provided by the NHS for facilities for families is pretty much non-existent, therefore this charity needs all the support it can receive.

Kimberley Darwood – Greenleaf Animal Rescue

Greenleaf Animal Rescue is an established animal welfare charity in the UK, which specialises in the rescue and rehoming of unwanted or abandoned animals, providing sanctuary for animals with long-term medical or behavioural problems. Its current campaign focuses its resources on the urgent plight facing dogs that have been lost or abandoned in Leeds. Council pounds are legally entitled to destroy lost or abandoned dogs after a seven-day holding period. The charity works with local authorities to prevent this from happening. Animals arriving at the charity are fully assessed and veterinary checked prior to going into foster homes or emergency boarding. Once in foster care, the animal's temperament and health are further assessed. The charity then begins accepting applications to adopt, via its website, ensuring all animals are neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped, where possible. Home checks are carried out prior to adoption and veterinary references are sought to ensure animals are going into suitable homes. With the help of the UK public, the charity is building a future where no animal will be needlessly put to sleep.

Kathryn Waldegrave – Phoenix Health and Wellbeing

Phoenix is a small charity based in Leeds. It is a social enterprise, which provides privately-funded therapy treatments to individuals, with the proceeds of the treatments being directed towards the charity fund to support approximately 350 individuals a year with chronic health conditions and low incomes, referred by medical and healthcare professionals. Health issues requiring referral include conditions ranging from depression and anxiety to more physical conditions, such as chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease or forms of cancer. Many of the people referred to Phoenix have a range of complex needs and many experience low self-esteem, anxiety and social isolation. Alternative therapies, such as counselling, acupuncture and massage, play a huge part in the physical and psychological care given to the people who attend, and have been found to be hugely beneficial in their treatments and recovery. The proceeds from the Staff Festival would enable it to continue to provide this much-needed service to people who would benefit greatly from the care they would receive.


TransLeeds does a variety of excellent work, from grassroots organising to ongoing recurrent support and campaigning. We’ve engaged with it several times, and have found several of its organisers to be remarkably inspiring and strong-minded individuals. We’ve seen an increase of visibility of trans people, and many discussions in the media surrounding gender identity as of late, but this often happened without prioritising the voices of actual trans people. TransLeeds does incredible work for people of all ages and backgrounds in the trans community, responding to multiple and important needs. It has facilitated workshops on how to be respectful and mindful of people with different gender identities throughout all sectors – a massive undertaking that tackles lack of knowledge and internalised prejudices.

Jason Crowley – Sick Children’s Trust 

I would like to nominate the Sick Children's Trust, a charity that believes no child should be separated from loved ones whilst in hospital. It provides free home-from-home accommodation, where families can stay just moments away from a seriously ill child’s bedside. This makes a real difference to families at a very stressful time in their lives. Here in Leeds, the Sick Children's Trust Eckersley House is located next to the Children's Hospital and was originally opened at St James’s Hospital before moving with children’s services to Leeds General Infirmary in 2010. It costs £30 to keep a family together for one night and Eckersley House accommodates 23 families every night. It helps more than 500 families every year and is open 365 days, with none of the families having to pay. As a charity, the Sick Children's Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations to support its work and being nominated as the Staff Festival Charity will make a huge difference. 

Andrew Pimm – OWLS 

OWLS (Older Wiser Local Seniors) supports older people (aged 60+) living in Burley, Hyde Park, Little Woodhouse, Headingley and parts of Kirkstall to stay healthy and independent. OWLS is one of 35 Neighbourhood Network Schemes supporting older people across the city. They are managed by Bramley Elderly Action (registered charity number: 1043975) and supported by Leeds City Council. OWLS run and supports a range of activities for its members, including several lunch clubs (such as a Caribbean Lunch Club and Lads’ Lunch), cafés, exercise classes and Bollywood movies at Hyde Park Picture House. It runs full-day trips to locations around the country, including extra care trips, with recent ones taking members to Masham and Blackpool. It provides vital support to its members, including shopping services, befriending and signposting to other organisations. It has stands at various events in the local area, including Kirkstall Festival and Unity Day, and takes part in an older people’s tea party run every year by the University’s School of Music. I am nominating OWLS because it does excellent and highly-valued work with older people living in areas inhabited by many of the University’s students, and it would be great to raise awareness of OWLS and older people in the local area. Hopefully, as part of the University’s Staff Festival 2019, we can help OWLS to continue its good work and improve the connections between the University and the local community.

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