A Year of Volunteering will be launched by Councillor Jackie Morris when she is sworn in as Lord Mayor at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 4 July.

During her year in office, the Lord Mayor will promote volunteering and charitable giving under the banner of Looking After Each Other – a City-wide campaign to increase volunteering in Nottingham.

For many, volunteering involves regularly giving a significant amount of time for a cause, group or charity but now the message is changing; as part of the Looking After Each Other campaign the Lord Mayor will promote a ‘Year of Volunteering’ offering a choice of opportunities designed to fit in with people’s busy lifestyles. All of the opportunities are targeted towards supporting the most vulnerable children and adults in Nottingham.

Low time-commitment opportunities include simple acts such as gifting second hand equipment or toys to families in crisis or sharing your practical or parenting skills with families that might be struggling. Schemes like Rally Round also enable people to sign up to give small amounts of their time to look after a neighbour by looking in on them, doing their shopping or giving them an occasional lift to a medical appointment or social activity.

For those who do have more time to give, volunteering opportunities include becoming a school Governor, giving space in your home to become a ‘Host Family’ for the children of families in crisis, becoming a ‘befriender’ to a vulnerable adult or even taking on the responsibility of becoming a respite foster carer.

As well as championing a ‘Year of Volunteering’ during her term of office, the Lord Mayor will be promoting a scheme that provides books to Nottingham children under five years old.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting scheme that was launched in America by the singer and which is supported in Nottingham by partners including Nottingham City Council, the Rotary Club of Nottingham, Castle Cavendish Ltd and Small Steps Big Changes – a £45m programme of activities and initiatives to give Nottingham’s 0-3 year olds a better start in life.

People in Nottingham can go on line www.dollybooksnottingham.org to give to the Imagination Library. A one off donation of £25 will pay for one child to have books delivered to their home each month for an entire year. The charity helps parents and children to enjoy exploring books together – looking at the pictures, talking about the stories and just having fun. The Imagination Library is proven to help children improve their reading and writing skills, giving them the best start in life and preparing them for their school days.

Councillor Jackie Morris, Lord Mayor of Nottingham, said: “As the new Lord Mayor for Nottingham, I’m looking forward to being a champion for volunteering and charitable giving in the City. However large or small, we can all do our bit to look after each other and I’m proud to be able to support the most vulnerable people in our great City.”

Members of the public wishing to celebrate the day with the Lord Mayor are encouraged to gather in the Old Market Square at 11am to watch the ceremony, and see the horse and carriage parade led by the ceremonial mace bearer.

The event will begin when Nottingham’s town crier makes a proclamation from the steps of the Council House and will include a parade starting in the Old Market Square at 11am, carrying the incoming and outgoing Lord Mayor’s, plus the new Sheriff of Nottingham Councillor Mohammed Saghir in a horse and carriage procession to the gates of Nottingham Castle.

On arrival at the Castle, The Town Crier will read an announcement on behalf of the Lord Mayor, who will knock on the Castle gates to demand entry. Then, the public will be invited to the Bandstand to watch a ceremony (at approximately 11:45am) known as ‘Mayor Making’, which will include a short service and blessing for the city of Nottingham.

Entrance to Nottingham Castle is FREE (on Saturday 4 July only) and there will also be a host of other activities for visitors and families to enjoy, including:

• Have a go at archery (£1 per three arrows)
• The chance to meet Nottingham’s Robin Hood, Tim Pollard, and see him narrate a play on the history of Nottingham
• Castle Cave Tours (£5 per person)
• Saxon and Norman Living History camp featuring two groups, The Household and HistoriaNormannis
• Fancy dress competition – with prizes for the best medieval themed fancy dress (judging to take place at the Bandstand at 3pm)
• Stalls from local groups including the Notts Wildlife Trust
• Stalls from community groups including Stonebridge City Farm, Open House & Age UK
• The chance to meet Nottingham Castle’s Robin Hood mascot

Free entrance to the Castle Museum and Art Gallery, including the opportunity to see the latest exhibition One Day, Something Happens which explores portraiture throughout the 20th and 21st Century. The exhibition includes work by artists Walter Sickert, Lucian Freud, Richard Hamilton, David Hockneyand Nottingham artist Bob Robinson.