A GRANDMOTHER-of-two has joined a campaign to inspire more people to volunteer in their community.

National Lottery-funded charity Leigh Neighbours has called on Carol Bate to head up its appeal in the hope of encouraging like-minded people to take the plunge and get involved.

Carol, 72, is a champion for volunteers because of her own positive experience after she benefitted from the help of others.

In early 2018, Carol, her husband Arthur, and her neighbour Jean Rigby, were at their wit’s end. The back alley behind their home on Selwyn Street had been subjected to environmental anti-social behaviour for years including litter, dog fouling and fly-tipping.

She asked Leigh Neighbours to help tackle the issue, and they in turn invited their partners at The Prince’s Trust to get involved.

Leigh Neighbours invested in a skip and other materials, while students from The Prince’s Trust Team Programme carried out a deep clean of the alley.

They transformed it into a landscaped area that Carol and her neighbours could be proud of.

Carol said: “The result was astonishing.

"The young people created a wonderful haven for the neighbours and even the bin men have commented saying it’s the best back alley in the whole of Leigh!

"We’re so grateful to the young students from The Prince’s Trust for their help, and to Leigh Neighbours for their support, too.

"The difference they’ve made is immeasurable.

"It’s not only improved the area, it’s improved the quality of life for local residents as well.

“It’s also one of the reasons why I like to get involved in Leigh Neighbours events, because it’s important – especially having had the benefit of it yourself - to invest time, make an effort and give something back.”

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Susan Gredecki, chair of Leigh Neighbours said: “I understand that volunteering isn’t necessarily everybody’s cup of tea, and there are many reasons why people might think twice before putting their hands up to get involved.

“For some, it might be a lack of confidence, and feeling daunted at making that initial approach. For others, it’s the mistaken belief they think that they have nothing to offer. But nothing could be further from the truth.

“We’ve all got something to give, whether that’s volunteering with an organised group, or simply doing something on your own.

"Hosting community events or fundraisers is one way of going about it.

But there’s many ways we can contribute to the community, from checking in on an elderly neighbour to picking up litter in your street. It’s all about making a difference – and every little effort adds up.”

In a bid to support local volunteers, Leigh Neighbours has made a pot of cash available to fund grass-roots initiatives.

Since it was launched five years ago, the charity has channelled thousands of pounds into the local economy and delivered hundreds of free activities and events for the community.

For information about how to get involved with Leigh Neighbours visit www.lnpb.org.uk.