Staff Festival 2020: vote for your favourite charity

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

Special Needs and Parent Support (SNAPS) was the beneficiary of last year's Staff Festival proceeds

SNAPS Community Fundraising Manager, Jenny Sellers, manning the charity's Staff Festival stall. July 2019

Please note: This year's Staff Festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus situation. Read the latest update and information about the chosen charity.

More than 30 nominations were received for the official beneficiary of the event, with colleagues now asked to select their favourite good cause from the shortlist below:

More detailed information about the nominated charities, from the people who nominated them, is featured below.

Only one vote per member of staff will be accepted via email with voting closing at 5pm on Thursday 26 March 2020. 

Last year’s festival raised £2,422.28, which was donated to Special Needs and Parent Support (SNAPS).

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 26 June for an enjoyable afternoon of activities, full details of which will be announced nearer the date.

SNAPS Community Fundraising Manager, Jenny Sellers (centre), receives the cheque from Staff Festival committee member, Matthew Masters, and Staff Festival Manager, Jo Westerman. July 2019SNAPS received more than £2,000 following last year’s festival

Charity Nominations

Rebecca Bennett – Alzheimer’s Society

Our University has always been at the forefront of dementia research. The University is a member of Alzheimer Research UK’s Yorkshire Network Centre, a professional network designed to support dementia research through the funding of collaborative science and networking to share findings and resources, and two separate teams of University scientists contributed to major breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research in 2011 alone.

On a personal note, The Alzheimer’s Society is incredibly close to my heart. My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003 and passed away in 2017. It was during the last few years of his life when I took on the role of one of his primary carers that I learned of all the amazing work the Alzheimer’s Society does, including supporting research, offering guidance and support to carers, and support for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Its website is full of invaluable information for carers and was a lifeline for me, and the support groups offered by the charity in my local area gave my grandparents a support network of professionals and peers during the most difficult time of their lives.

Louise Barker – Motor Neurone Disease Association

My grandpa died of this hideous disease in 1980 when it was still relatively unknown – or it took a locum to provide the diagnosis because he had completed his thesis on the disease. Since then, a lot of progress in research has been made, with much greater understanding of the disease but not yet for finding a cure.   

Former Leeds Rhino rugby league star, Rob Burrow, has just been diagnosed with the disease at the age of 37, and together with former rugby union international, Doddie Weir, and former professional footballer, Stephen Darby, have joined forces to talk about the disease, stating: “It’s like a game in a way. We’re here to try and beat MND. Let’s work together and fund. The bigger the team, the better the result.” 

Ailish Bumpus – Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT)

With the rising pollution in Leeds and a global climate change crisis, the work that YWT does is more important than ever. Not only does it help protect and conserve Yorkshire’s wildlife and wild spaces, it campaigns for changes in law and wider issues, like anti-fracking. Its campaigning has raised a lot of money and awareness for projects like Save Askham Bog and Give Peat a Chance.

It works closely with schools and communities to bring people closer to nature, teaching the younger generations about how important our natural environments are and how to look after them. Because of this, I believe it would be enthusiastic with engaging with the University. It would pair very well with the strides the University has taken recently with environmental issues.

Lesley Jowsey – West Riding Kidney Patients Association (KPA)

Members work tirelessly to raise funds for the relief of sickness and distress for kidney patients, especially those receiving/having received treatment for kidney disease at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. This includes support provision, advice and information to families/carers of such patients and educating the public concerning kidney diseases and their treatments, particularly promoting donation of organs for transplantation and promoting research.

They produce a newsletter three times a year, and organise outings twice a year for kidney patients and their carers, as well as a trip to the pantomime at Christmas. They offer a grant of £200 for up to 10 patients per year to allow them quality time away from home, to see or be with family. 

Membership of the West Riding KPA is free to all those who have, or are being treated, at the renal department at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and associated satellite units, their family members and KPA supporters (including staff). I myself have been a member of West Riding KPA for almost 30 years and have benefited over the years from its hard work raising funds to help improve the lives of patients with kidney disease; it has always been most grateful for any donations or help it has received.

Lina Brand Correa – Crohn’s and Colitis UK

My partner has been going through a diagnostic process that might lead to Crohn’s disease (but not sure yet). This process led us to find out a lot about the disease but also about the charity. We have been very pleasantly surprised about the amount of good work they do in supporting people with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, as well as their friends and families. These are both considered ‘hidden’ disabilities, and I’m sure (statistically speaking, it’s almost certain) many of our colleagues or a friend/family have this disease and we have no idea about it. 

Crohn’s and Colitis UK provides invaluable fundraising for specific procedures and dedicated specialist nurses, as well as advice, support and information for conditions that are very difficult to talk about (not many people are comfortable talking about bowel problems). In summary, I am nominating this charity because I think it does amazing work, but also because I think it would be close to quite a few colleagues’ hearts.

Hermione Moore – Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY)

This charity is very close to both my own and many other people’s hearts. Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) works to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, and by supporting affected families, such as my own.

Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. Since its formation in 1995, CRY has been working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by YSCD. CRY promotes and develops heart screening programmes and funds medical research. CRY publishes and distributes medical information written by leading cardiologists for the general public. CRY funds specialist referral, screening and cardiac pathology services at leading UK hospitals.

Jenni Whitfield – Homeless Street Angels

Homeless Street Angels has been running for more than three years and has recently become a registered charity. They work tirelessly to feed and clothe the homeless in Leeds. 

Every Thursday, a group of volunteers goes around the city centre and ensures every person in need feels some warmth and love. All donations go towards items that are needed to help the homeless and they have a bigger mission to open a resource centre to support people on the streets in various ways, with the aim to get as many housed as possible. 

As well as the weekly outreach, they also support people in various ways, including visiting Housing Options with people they have met on a Thursday. During the past couple of years, they have successfully housed more than 20 people. Once they find somewhere for people to live, they do not stop there. They help furnish, clothe and feed people until they can fully support themselves. I have attended the outreach on a Thursday a couple of times and have been blown away by their kindness, determination and dedication. You can really see the difference they are already making in people’s lives. Imagine what they could do with more funding!

Claire Macina – Carers’ Resource

Carers’ Resource exists to support unpaid carers. It provides information, advice and support to carers, to the people it cares for and to professionals who work with the charity.  A carer is anyone who looks after – unpaid – a family member, friend or neighbour who, due to disability, physical or mental health condition, illness, frailty, or addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Carers’ Resource offers a range of services across all its localities. It provides individually tailored information to carers, professionals and vulnerable adults – for example:

  • available support – whether financial, practical or emotional – and how to access it
  • hospital admission and discharge processes
  • advice on benefits entitlement (where it is able to do so)
  • how to plan for the future, using its experience
  • how to develop new hobbies and interests
  • how to find leisure, learning and employment opportunities; and 
  • where you can go to form links with other carers through groups and activities.

Carers’ Resource provides support for carers, no matter what their age, race, religion or needs. It delivers services in Bradford, Craven, Harrogate and Selby districts.

Jessica Poole – Getaway Girls

It’s a local charity that can really make a deep and transformative impact on the lives of vulnerable young girls and women from the Leeds area.

Getaway Girls empowers young women to build confidence and resilience, develop new skills and take positive risks in an environment that offers co-operation and support. It achieves this through individual support, group work, outreach, residential opportunities, creative arts, sports development, adventure education, training, peer support and opportunities for voice and influence.

It supports very diverse groups of young women in terms of cultural backgrounds and needs, especially those who experience barriers or discrimination.

Recent examples of work during the past five years include development of Safe Space/Safer Spaces, support work with young Roma women and hardship crisis support. 

Laura Wilkinson Hewitt, Kate Swan and Susan Preston – Andy’s Man Club

A summary of the nominations includes:

Andy’s Man Club is a volunteer-run charity that organises groups every Monday, with one at most two hours away from everywhere in the country. The groups let men know that it’s okay to talk, raising awareness, breaking down walls and removing the stigma associated with men’s mental health.

Support groups meet weekly and provide a safe, non-judgemental space for men to talk and receive guidance and peer support. Group sessions are changing the lives of hundreds who have hit rock bottom, and are continuing to grow in number at a remarkable rate. There is a group in Leeds, which is thriving.

I personally know someone who attended AMC – the impact it has had on them has been massive. They have now developed a friendship group which meets regularly. They have been involved in acting to help their mental health condition improve. The impact on their family has been massive, too. This gives the family much-needed space once in a while.

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