The York Cares Big Community Challenge is back and ready for 2018 with possibly its biggest project yet as employee-volunteers from business across York assemble to transform not just one but four local sites.
With a theme of promoting health and wellbeing in different outdoor and indoor spaces, Monday 11 June will see the Big Community Challenge kick off at Gale Farm Court Independent Living Community, which accommodates older people and adults with learning difficulties.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, teams are creating a beach themed garden at Mill Lodge NHS Community Unit, where support is provided for young people experiencing acute mental health issues, while on Thursday it will be York Hospital in Clarence Gardens’ turn to benefit from the York Cares touch. The Glen respite centre is the fourth location where volunteers from Portakabin will be focusing on renovation and redecorating tasks throughout the week.
Volunteers from local businesses have signed up as teams of up to 10 to complete a variety of tasks from building raised beds for growing fruit and vegetables to creating an accessible, outdoor seating area for residents and visitors.
Caroline Wilcock, volunteering project officer for York Cares, said: “Studies have shown that spending time in green, outdoor space has countless health and wellbeing benefits for individuals, including a reduction in depression, anxiety and stress related symptoms and an improvement in dementia-related symptoms.
“This will be the eleventh annual Big Community Challenge and we are so pleased to see that employee volunteering is still going strong in York. From two companies taking part in 2008, this year we have teams from 14 companies taking time to give something back to the city.”
This year’s volunteers are from organisations including Aviva, Benenden Health, City of York Council, John Lewis, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, JWP Creers, Northern Rail, The Partners Group, Portakabin Ltd, TSP Projects, Vanguarde, and Yorkshire Bank. Evora Construction and Johnsons of Whixley have not only donated construction materials and plants but are also sending volunteers to support through the week.