Friday, 21 November 2014

Top work by Leeds health team recognised by national award

Leeds health staff are celebrating after winning a Heart UK award for their NHS Health Check work and being among the top teams in the country.

The NHS Health Check awards showcased the achievements, excellence and best practice from those involved in the life-saving scheme.

The Leeds team topped the 'Best Impact for Patient Experience' category and were runners up in the best team category. The awards were open to individuals, teams and organisations involved in commissioning and delivering NHS Health Checks.

NHS Health Checks are aimed at adults in England aged 40 to 74, to assess risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes some of the most disabling – but preventable – illnesses.

Lucy Jackson, Consultant in Public Health with Leeds City Council, said:

“It was a great honour to receive this award on behalf of all colleagues making NHS Health Checks a success in the city. We’ve done a lot to be proud of, but we know there’s still plenty more to do and I really want people to make having a check priority as it can be a real life saver.

“For instance, our evidence shows NHS Health Checks have helped us make over 6,000 new diagnoses of cardiovascular disease being identified and we’re able to help make sure appropriate help is put in place for those people.

“You can think of your NHS Health Check as being a free ‘midlife MOT’, which checks that some of your body's most important systems are all running smoothly. Crucially, your NHS Health Check can detect potential problems before they do real damage. The good news is that these conditions can often be prevented, so it really is something to put at the top of your ‘to do’ list.”

Among other things, blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI will all be checked at an NHS Health Check. The individual assessment of risks of developing health problems means you can get personalised advice on how to reduce it.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board for Leeds, said:

“Our record in Leeds is significantly above the national average, and so I’m delighted to see that the team’s hard work and commitment has been recognised. We know these checks can save lives and improve the quality of lives too, through early diagnosis and care so they’re a crucial part of improving the health and wellbeing of people in the city.”

“We’ve also been finding out from local people that they want more flexible and accessible appointments so, from 1st October, we’ve been doing a six month pilot where NHS Health Checks are offered in four of the ASDA pharmacies across the city.”

NHS Health Checks, which were introduced in 2009, are a health prevention programme aimed at people between the ages of 40-74 not otherwise being treated for a long term condition. In the last year, the programme has prevented 1,600 heart attacks and strokes and 650 deaths.

Jules Payne, Chief Executive of HEART UK, said:

“We are delighted to have staged the NHS Health Check Awards and to be able to reward the tireless work undertaken by Lucy Jackson and her colleagues, as well as other local authorities across the England. We hear of so much great work being done and it's really exciting to recognise this.”


Notes for editors

In Leeds there are 202,743 people eligible for a NHS Health Check with an expectation that each year 20% of the eligible population will be invited. To date there have been 126,364 NHS Health Checks completed with over 27,000 of these been carried out on the most deprived populations in Leeds.

For 2013/14 there were 38,964 eligible people invited in Leeds and 23,243 people attended for an NHS Health Check; this was a 59.6% uptake (compared to average uptake for England of 44%).

Recent outcome data for quarter 2 2014 has highlighted an uptake rate of 66% in Leeds which demonstrates that a large proportion of residents invited are taking up the offer of an NHS Health Check.

For more information on NHS Health Checks go to:

The four ASDA pharmacies trialling NHS Health Checks are at: Adel, Killingbeck, Morley and Pudsey.

Health Checks team members: Jamie Waterall, Steve Ohlsen, Hanna Kirby, Lucy Jackson, Diane Burke, Jules Payne.

For further information contact:

Phil Morcom

Communications team
Leeds City Council
4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR
Mobile: 07891 276270
Tel: 0113 224 3602

Everyone has an HIV status, do you know yours?

In the run up to World AIDS Day on 1st December, the third national HIV testing week runs from 22nd – 30th November, with fast, free, confidential testing sessions taking place across the city in wide range of places, using finger prick testing which gives results while you wait.

A host of additional community based clinics will be running during the week aimed at target communities making it easier than ever to take a HIV test.

Local community based agencies Yorkshire MESMAC and BHA Leeds Skyline will be working with The Leeds Centre for Sexual Health, The Contraception & Sexual Health Service and Leeds City Council’s Office of the Director of Public Health to run fast, free, confidential rapid HIV testing drop-in sessions across Leeds which will include testing sessions in Leeds Kirkgate Market, (outside the Ministry of Food Stall), pubs, clubs and venues within the Leeds Gay Village, as well as testing within local pharmacies.

Tom Doyle, Chief Executive of Yorkshire MESMAC Group of Services, said:

“It’s never been easier or quicker to take a HIV test and treatments have never been better. We are asking every gay and bisexual man who may have put themselves at risk to take a simple HIV test - it’s the best way to protect your health, your partner’s health and to improve the sexual health of our community.”

Abigail Smith Service Development & Delivery Manager at BHA Leeds Skyline, said:

“HIV is often passed on by people who don't know they have the virus. As a test is the only way to find out, we are pleased to be able to offer extra opportunities for people in Leeds to test so that anyone who might be unaware they have HIV can be diagnosed and supported to access treatment to keep them in good health as soon as they need.”

Dr Sarah Schoeman, Co-Lead Clinician at Leeds Centre for Sexual Health, said:

“The sooner you know your HIV status the better it is for your health. If you don’t have HIV, you can stop worrying and we can help you develop strategies for the future to help you manage your risks. If you have HIV, treatment has never been so effective and the sooner you know, the more choices you have.”

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“The Health and Wellbeing Board welcomes and fully supports the excellent partnership work that is being done across the city for National HIV Testing Week. The Health and Wellbeing Board wants to see a healthier city, and ensuring that people have quick and easy access to HIV testing and support plays an important role in this important agenda.”

Hannah Sowerbutts, Health Improvement Specialist from the Leeds City Council Public Health Directorate, said:

"1 in 500 people in Leeds have HIV, 25% of them are unaware that they have the infection, we as a city are determined to reduce this figure."

For more information about where to test during National HIV Testing week go to the clinic finder on


Notes to Editor.

1. For more information relating to HIV and Gay & Bisexual Men please contact Tom Doyle, Chief Executive of Yorkshire MESMAC and HIV Prevention England Co-ordinator for North and Central England on 0113 244 4209 / 07771 931 421 or

2. For more information relating to HIV and Black African Communities please contact Jeni Hirst Director of BHA Leeds Skyline on 0113 2449767 or

3. For more information relating to Leeds City Council, Public Health Directorate, please contact Phil Morcom, Marketing and Communication Team on 07891 276270

4. For more information relating to the Leeds Centre for Sexual Health please contact Andrew Bannister, Head of Media Relations, on 0113 2066244 or email

What We Do in the Shadows wins the Leeds 2014 Audience Award

Picture caption: What We Do in the Shadows topped the poll of the Leeds 2014 Audience Award.

Sent on behalf of the Leeds International Film Festival:

The 28th Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF28) ended yesterday after 16 days packed with 277 screenings across 15 venues, and an audience of 40,000. What We Do in the Shadows was voted by Leeds 2014 audiences as overall favourite in a year in which Leeds International Film Festival’s programme has received its highest ever overall rating from audiences. X+Y, starring Asa Butterfield and Sally Hawkins, came second and lead the festival’s largest ever programme of films produced in Yorkshire. The vote was incredibly close for the top five films, and the top 20 winners in the LIFF28 Audience Award for Best Film are: 1) What We Do in the Shadows 2) X+Y 3) Song of the Sea 4) The Possibilities are Endless 5) The Imitation Game 6) Heaven Adores You 7) Giovanni's Island 8) Seventh Heaven 9) Housebound 10) Birdman 11) Poverty Inc 12) Brasil Bam Bam Bam 13) Testament of Youth 14) Everybody Street 15) Kingdom of Dreams and Madness 16) Vessel 17) No One's Child 18) Rurouni Kenshin 2 19) The House at the End of Time 20) #chicagoGirl - The Social Network.

What We Do in the Shadows is distributed by Metrodome Group, and will now receive a full release at Everyman Cinemas following its popularity at LIFF28. Viago, Deacon, Vladislav and Peter are four vampires sharing a house in Wellington, trying to balance being undead with everyday problems like whose turn it is to wash up, where to find the best blood and how to dress for a night out when you don’t have a reflection. As a documentary film crew follows them round we learn about each of their histories and what it means to be hundreds of years old in the 21st century. Co-written and starring Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows balances comedy, horror and social commentary perfectly in this hilarious film.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"The Leeds International Film Festival continues to be a significant event in the city’s calendar. Having an Oscar-qualifying festival in the city is something we should be hugely proud of, and this year’s event, which attracted a record audience of 40,000 people, was one of the biggest and best yet."

28th Leeds International Film Festival announces its winning short films:

The International Short Film Jury, judging the Louis le Prince International Short Film Competition and World Animation Award consisted of Tony Donoghue (UK), Mat Kirkby (UK), Francis Lee (UK), Kate Sullivan (UK) and Anna Kustikova (Latvia).

Louis le Prince International Short Film Competition 2014

Winner: Art (Arta) (Dir. Adrian Sitaru, Romania)
Special Mentions: Chorus (Dir. Tiago Guedes, Portugal) + Greenland (Dir. Oren Garner, Israel)

Jury statement on Art:
‘An engaging, accomplished and technically superb film about manipulation.’

World Animation Award 2014

Winner: Walk the Dog (Dir. Sonja Rohleder, Germany)
Special Mentions: Zepo (Dir. César Díaz Meléndez, Spain) + Baths (Lanzi) (Dir. Tomek Ducki, Poland + UK)

Jury statement on Walk the Dog:
‘Immersive, cinematic and a graphic joy.’

British Short Film Competition 2014

Winner: Exchange and Mart (Dir. Cara Connolly, Martin Clark, UK)
Special Mentions: Goes to the actor Oliver Woolford for A Generation of Vipers + Alice (Thomas McNaught, UK)

Jury statement on Exchange and Mart:
‘A beautifully executed coming of age film.’

Yorkshire Short Film Competition

Jury: Michael Clayton (UK), Abbe Robinson (UK), Michael Wood (UK)

Winner: Cushy (Dir. Fliss Buckles, Cat Jones, UK)
Special Mention: Rare (Dir. Jim Morgan, UK)

Jury Statement on Cushy:
‘Cushy featured a demanding lead performance that was excellently portrayed by James Cooney. Superb writing of spoken word by Cat Jones and slick camera direction by Fliss Buckles provided the audience with a unique insight into the world of modern day imprisonment.’

Leeds International Screendance Competition

Jury: Claudia Kappenberg (UK), Silvina Szperling (Argentina), Marisa Hayes (France)

Winning Film: Amauros (Dir. Nicole Seiler, Switzerland)
Special Mentions: Black Tape (Michelle and Uri Kranot, Denmark, 2014) + Memorias (Ponciano Almeida & Bertie, Brazil+ UK, 2014)

Jury Statement on Amouros:
‘The film creates the visualization of a dance in detail without ever featuring a moving body on screen. The medium of film provides the perfect vehicle to create new dialogues about memory and perception which are present in the original stage piece, Pina Bausch’s Cafe Müller. A work which mines the potentials and conventions of screendance making.’

Short Film Audience Award

For films under ten minutes in length, voted for by the audience.

Winner: Carpark (Dir: Anthony Blades, UK)
Special Mentions: Voluntario (Javier Marco, Spain) + Manny Gets Censored (Graeme Robertson, Australia)

The Silver Méliès Short Film Competition 2014

The European Fantastic Film Festivals’ Federation exists to raise the profile of European fantastic films through its Méliès competition, which is hosted by numerous film festivals across Europe. Leeds International Film Festival has been a member since 2005 and this year has allowed the audience to pick which film should win the Leeds Méliès d’Argent and go forward to compete for the coveted Méliès d’Or at Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival next year.

Winner: Wind (Dir. Robert Löbel, Germany)
Special Mentions: Ghost Train (Dir. Lee Cronin, Finland + Ireland)

Dead Short Competition 2014

Winner: Cannibals and Carpet Fitters (James Bushe, UK)
Special Mentions: Safari Heat (Antti Lassko, Simo Ruotsalainen, Finland) + Liquid (Kaichi Sato, Japan)

Sci-Fi Shorts

Winner: The Nostalgist (Giacomo Cimini, UK)
Special Mentions: Metamorphosis (Rob Nevitt, UK) + Enfilade (David Coyle, Australia)

For enquiries regarding the Leeds International Film Festival please contact:
Nick Jones, Communications Manager, Leeds International Film Festival / 0113 247 8398 / /

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Leeds city centre BID ballot given green light

Businesses in Leeds city centre are to be balloted in the new year over plans to create a new body to help improve and promote the area.

A meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board has backed the latest proposals to create a Business Improvement District (BID) in the city centre. The new body named BID4Leeds would be a private sector-led partnership of city centre businesses and landowners through Leeds Chamber of Commerce, supported by public sector organisations including Leeds City Council.

Its aims would be to improve and promote the city centre as a successful business location, a source of job creation, a place to study and as a leading retail, leisure, cultural and visitor destination.

The new body would be funded from a levy paid by all businesses and land occupiers in the identified district, raising up to £2million annually for an initial five-year period. The levy would be set at 1.25 per cent of rateable value, with an exemption for premises with a rateable value of below £60,000.

The council’s executive board endorsed the BID’s business plan and also approved an agreement on services in the city centre it would continue to provide if the BID is successful at ballot.

The next stage of the BID process is to carry out a ballot of all businesses and landowners in the city centre on the proposals, which is planned to take place in February.

If a majority of the potential levy payers support the proposals (both by rateable value and by number of those who voted) the BID could start in April 2015.

Aims of the proposed BID business plan include:

- Improving the welcome and brand of Leeds city centre to attract more visitors
- Enhancing the experience of people visiting and working in the city centre
- Making the city centre street environment more attractive
- Supporting a high-quality events programme in the city centre
- Strengthening Leeds as a business location through improved business intelligence, volunteering and skills projects

All potential levy payers have been contacted about what they would want from a BID during the feasibility and consultation stages of the BID development process. This has been via numerous channels including meetings, presentations, workshops and online. This feedback has been collated into an overall summary issued to businesses over the summer inviting further comment or ideas and has formed the backbone of the 2015-2020 BID4Leeds business plan.

Leeds City Council executive member for transport and the economy, Councillor Richard Lewis, said:

“The feedback we have received so far from all stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive. By combining resources, knowledge and skills, private and public sectors can come together to make Leeds city centre stronger, be more attractive and welcoming and offer benefits across a range of industries.

“Business Improvements Districts have proven very successful elsewhere and I’m sure Leeds would be the same so we look forward to now seeing the result of the ballot in the new year.”

John Bywater, Chairman of BID4Leeds, said:
‘I see the BID as an important step for Leeds city centre to create coordinated leadership and to secure investment. It is an exciting time for Leeds and it is fantastic to have support from Leeds City Council for our proposed business plan, which will be issued to potential BID businesses in the near future. This business plan, if voted for in February, will help create even greater collaboration between the public and private sector in Leeds and a stronger future for our City.”

Notes to editors:
Earlier this year the executive board agreed that the council set aside up to £150,000, repayable within the first year, to help support the Chamber of Commerce in working up to the next phase in the event of a yes vote.
For more information on the BID proposals visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,

For more information about Business Improvement Districts please contact:
Julie Grail,