The three year project, worth £75,000 a year, is being funded by Blackpool Better Start and was awarded to The Volunteer Centre which is based on West Park Drive, following a competitive tender. Among its aims is to support parent groups, develop the use of parent forums and offer more opportunities for volunteers within the town’s children’s centres. Merle Davies, Director of the Centre for Early Child Development, said: “One of our initial aims in our bid for Blackpool Better Start was to raise the standard of volunteering across early year resources such as children’s centres. “The Volunteer Centre holds a kitemark called ‘Investing in Volunteer Standard’ and this stringent process will help elevate the benchmark for Blackpool volunteers.

“Beyond raising standards, the volunteer academy will also strive to create community champions of our local volunteers and tap into existing skills to maximise opportunities. “We will offer training and the chance to get involved in a number of community projects including baby rover, parks and open spaces and outdoor activity programmes.

“The benefits from the project will also extend our capacity to meet aims and goals that will benefit the community as a whole.”