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John Healey marks Planning Aid milestone

16 July 2009

Free and independent planning advice service Planning Aid has recruited its 1,000th volunteer.

The service offers professional planning advice to individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay professional fees.

It now has more than 1,000 volunteers on its books, with many Chartered Members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), allowing Planning Aid to help 31,264 people and 1,087 organisations Aid across England last year.

Newly appointed Housing and Planning Minister John Healey recently presented Planning Aid Volunteer and Skills Manager Shereen Shafi with a commemorative scroll acknowledging the milestone.

Shafi said: \"Getting this level of recognition is great but it is about more than just numbers.

\"It is acknowledgment that volunteering for Planning Aid holds great appeal to planners who want to give something back to society and boost their skills.

\"Our volunteers are busy people who choose to give their free time to support Planning Aid. For that we are extremely grateful.\"

Volunteers provide help and advice to groups and individuals on a wide range of specific planning problems and opportunities. They also give training, support and information to help local community groups play an active part in planning their own areas.

RTPI member Mark Tombs is Planning Aid's 1,000th volunteer. He works in the Bristol area and has offered his skills to Planning Aid's South West office.

Tombs said: \"I want to give something back to planning and society, particularly those people who struggle to understand the system.

\"Volunteering offers a different mix to my day-to-day work which will ultimately improve my professional planning skills.\"

Planning Aid received £3.2 million from the Department of Communities and Local Government in 2008/09 to help deliver its programme of work.

To find out more about volunteering for Planning Aid please click here.