Staff Festival 2024 | Vote for your favourite charity

Voting has opened to select this year’s official Staff Festival charity.

Staff Festival 2024 | Vote for your favourite charity. January 2024

Plans are already beginning to take shape for this summer’s exciting instalment of the hugely popular entertainment extravaganza, with a packed programme of events in the pipeline. All colleagues, family and friends are invited to join us on campus on 28 June for an enjoyable afternoon of activities, full details of which will be announced nearer the time. 

As part of the festivities, we invited colleagues to nominate their favourite charity to benefit from the event proceeds. A record number of you kindly took the time to do this, with a wide range of good causes championed. Of these, the 10 with the most compelling reasons for being nominated and with recognised local impact have been shortlisted. Now it’s your chance to vote for the winner.

Staff Festival Project Manager, Jo Westerman, said: “We were overwhelmed with the amazing response this year. Thank you to everyone who took the time to register their choice.

“It wasn’t an easy task, but we’ve managed to whittle down the nominations to a top 10. Now it’s over to you again to select your favourite. Please take a few seconds to vote – it means so much to the charities involved.”

Good causes

Two good causes were selected last year after the 2020 Staff Festival was cancelled due to COVID. Homeless Street Angels, which provides hot meals, clothing and other essentials for people living rough in the city, and Zarach, which delivers beds and basics to children in poverty, received £1,200 each to support their amazing work.

The charity receiving the most votes from the following shortlist will receive the proceeds from this year’s event:

  • Battle Scars
  • Candlelighters
  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  • Hope Pastures
  • Leeds Baby Bank
  • Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund/Rose’s Library
  • Leeds Women’s Aid
  • Maggie’s Yorkshire
  • MNDA/Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease
  • Rainbow Junktion

A brief description of each of the nominated charities is featured below. 

Every colleague at Leeds has one vote, which must be registered by the deadline of 5pm on Friday 9 February. Provision will be made at a local level for those colleagues without computer access to be able to vote. Relevant line managers/supervisors will receive further information or email the Staff Festival team at for details.

Charity shortlist

Battle Scars

Battle Scars is a 100% survivor-led and run charity offering support around self-harm. The Leeds-based charity’s aim is to break down the stigma associated with self-harm, raise awareness, dispel the myths and support those affected, irrelevant of gender, age, background and location.


Candlelighters supports families facing children’s cancer in Yorkshire. The charity gets involved in all sorts of different projects to help ordinary families who are facing extraordinary circumstances.

Cystic Fibrosis Trust

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is the only UK-wide charity uniting people to stop this progressive, genetic disease. It funds vital research, improves care, speaks out and helps push towards developing effective treatments for all, so that everyone with Cystic Fibrosis can live without limits.

Hope Pastures

Hope Pastures is an equine welfare charity based in north Leeds, whose aim is to rescue, rehabilitate, rehome or offer residency to horses, ponies and donkeys who may otherwise end up neglected, or are already suffering from neglect.

Leeds Baby Bank

Leeds Baby Bank is a small, but rapidly growing charity working to make sure no child goes without simply because they’re born into a family experiencing poverty. It gives families new and pre-loved buggies, cots, toys and children’s clothes, and distributes essentials like nappies and formula milk in some of the most deprived areas of Leeds.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund/Rose’s Library

This is a combined nomination, as both charities work to make a difference to the lives of children born with heart disease and their families. 

The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund supports the work of the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit based at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) by providing funding for life-saving medical equipment, parent accommodation for families and vital ward resources. It also funds staff training, scientific research and new clinical roles.

Rose’s Library was set up by Sue O’Leary-Hall, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health, following the death of her four-year-old daughter, Rose, last September after her third open heart surgery. Sue and her partner, Katie, are keen to create an electronic library at LGI in Rose’s honour for parents and children to enjoy stories together during what is an extremely worrying time for them.

Leeds Women’s Aid

Leeds Women’s Aid (LWA) is an independent charity providing a range of services for vulnerable women and families who are victims and survivors of domestic, sexual and honour-based violence and abuse, forced marriage, trafficking, stalking and harassment.

Maggie’s Yorkshire

Maggie’s offers the best possible support free to anyone with cancer and their families who walk through their doors. You can find its centres alongside NHS hospitals, and the charity also supports people online. One of its centres is based at St James’s Hospital in Leeds. It helps people take back control when cancer turns their life upside down, with professional support for anything from treatment side effects to money worries. 

Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA)/ Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease

Another joint nomination, the MND Association focuses on improving access to care, research and campaigning for those people living with, or affected by, motor neurone disease. MND affects the nerves known as motor neurones. These nerves are found in the brain and spinal cord and help tell your muscles what to do. 

The Leeds Hospitals Charity is aiming to raise £5 million to build a state-of-the-art MND Care Centre, to give people living with the disease and their families the best possible care and support. The centre will be named after former Leeds Rhinos player, Rob Burrow, who’s being treated for MND. He and former teammate, Kevin Sinfield, have been campaigning to raise funding and awareness of the disease.

Rainbow Junktion

Rainbow Junktion intercepts food that would otherwise be thrown away from supermarkets, restaurants and a number of other sources in Leeds, and turns it into healthy, nutritious meals for anyone and everyone on a pay-as-you-feel/can donation basis. Based at All Hallows Church in Regent Terrace, it also runs a foodshare along similar lines.

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