IN one of his last public roles at the Mayor of Ilkley, Steve Butler, joined Mary Hamilton and David Shepherdson at Community Action Ilkley to launch a new project to improve volunteering in Ilkley.

A new webiste - - has now gone live and provides a central point for all volunteering opportunities.

The initiative follows extensive consultations on how to make it easier for groups to recruit volunteers and for potential volunteers to find jobs which need doing.

Community Action Ilkley came up with the solution of a new website and was supported by Ilkley Town Council.

Now all the voluntary groups in Ilkley, and the whole LS29 area, are being encouraged to register on the website. This is an easy, free process and is being monitored by Community Action Bradford and District (CABAD) to make sure it is done right. Over 20 groups have already joined. Once there, groups can promote their vacancies, fund raising, meetings or events. It is then possible for new volunteers to find something interesting to do. If your group wants volunteers, register on the site now:

Mary Hamilton, the manager of Community Action Ilkley, praised the new site, saying: "It is very practical and easy to use. Our longtime volunteer David Shepherdson has done all the work on this and we are very grateful to him."

This 'matching' facility is new to the area and should prove to be a very useful tool. Pearl Jolly wanted to do some voluntary work. Community Action Ilkley advertised a vacancy for an office administrator on the new site and Pearl is already there in the Ilkley office, 'giving something back', 'helping others', 'being part of the community', 'meeting new friends' and 'having fun'.

Pearl said: "Following early retirement and finding some spare time available, plus a desire to find an active voluntary role, I was delighted to find the new website which enabled me to peruse the volunteer opportunities in my area. The short descriptions attached were useful, as I could match my skills appropriately. It was very easy to e-mail, and within a few days, I found myself assisting the Community Action Ilkley office. Good and patient support has been available to help me learn the role."

This is one of the initiatives being developed to improve the volunteering arrangements in Ilkley. On June 5 the Ilkley & District Community Showcase is at the Kings Hall where around 50 different voluntary groups will be on display from 1pm to 6.30pm. This is aimed at ensuring that anyone, employee, student, pupil, teacher, employer, young parents, anyone, will have the opportunity to attend. It is hoped especially that employers will allow their staff to take a short time out of their working day to visit the show. Also, if funds can be found, it is hoped to employ a part-time volunteer co-ordinator in the Ilkley office but this is still in the planning stages.

All the work is being supported by Ilkley Town Council, Round Table, Rotary and Community Action Ilkley.