Friday, 27 March 2009

Boost for family services in Wetherby

Senior councillors are to meet next week to agree the location of a new children’s centre for Wetherby.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board, members are expected to agree that a new children’s centre be built within the grounds of Wetherby High School.

The children’s centre is part of a £3.6 million plan to provide a further ten children’s centres across the city by 2010.

The locations of the other nine centres were all agreed by the executive board in January 2009, however the consultation process for Wetherby had not concluded at that time. Next week the board members will consider the results of this consultation and decide whether the preferred option at Wetherby High School be given the go ahead.

The councillors will also be advised that the specific site of the Boston Spa Children’s Centre planned for Deepdale Community centre may be revised following further consultation (although it would still be located within the grounds community centre).

The centres will be serving parents and carers who have children between 0 and five years old and will provide a universal range of services including outreach services, information and advice, support to childminders, links with Job Centre Plus, access to community health services and activities for children and their parents or carers such as parent / carer and toddler groups.

Neither the Boston Spa or Wetherby children’s centres will be providing additional childcare as there is already sufficient childcare available in the area. Existing childcare providers in the areas will be unaffected.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive member responsible for early years said:
“It is great to see our plan to have a children’s centre in every area of the city so close to fruition. The centres which are already open are proving to be pivotal resources in their neighbourhoods.”

49 Children’s centres have already opened as part of the first two phases of the programme and the final ten centres will all be open by March 2010.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

No excuses to forget to belt up

Caption: The shocking image being used in a poster campaign aimed at young women, encouraging them to use seatbelts.

A shocking number of adults and children are still putting their lives at risk by not wearing seatbelts when they get into vehicles.

Research shows that despite it being a legal requirement since 1981, there are still an alarming number of vehicle occupants who choose not to wear a seatbelt, with the biggest excuse being ‘I forgot’.

Despite having the lowest number of road casualties ever recorded in Leeds in 2008, the figure for people killed and seriously injured is not decreasing at the same rate.

The ‘Seatbelt on’ campaign aims to reduce this level of needless death and injury by encouraging people to take two seconds to ‘belt up’ whenever they get in the car - no matter how short the journey and however well they think they know the roads.

From 31 March 2009, new ‘Seatbelt on’ signage will be prominently displayed on major routes into Leeds and on slip roads from shopping malls and petrol stations. These regular reminders will ensure that car occupants can never forget to belt up. This campaign, together with a greater enforcement profile by the Police, aims to bring about a change in attitudes within the Leeds area. Vehicles will be stopped, drivers advised, and increasingly, their occupants fined for failing to belt up.

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Date and time:
Tuesday, 31 March, 2.30pm
Venue: Leeds Fire Station, Kirkstall Road
Event: The official launch of the ‘Seatbelt on’ campaign.

A mock crash will be set up to illustrate the consequences of a crash where the occupants were unrestrained. David Glanville, who survived a horrific car crash because he was wearing his seatbelt, will be available to comment on his amazing good fortune. Dave, one of four young men in the car, will tell of how the speeding vehicle performed two somersaults and ended up striking a lamppost. It was the worse crash the police had ever seen where a passenger was not killed.
Interested press can see the post crash photographs which Dave keeps as a reminder.
New publicity materials including ‘bus back’ adverts and examples of signs will also be on display. Officials available for comment are Graham Johnson, consultant in emergency medicine, St James’ Hospital, Leeds, Councillor Stuart Andrew, Leeds City Council, Scott Bissett, chief inspector, Horsforth Police, and Tim Draper, road casualty reduction manager, Leeds City Council
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There will also be a poster campaign aimed at young women, who are particularly vulnerable to injury as car passengers.

Councillor Stuart Andrew, deputy executive board member for transport and travel said:
“Failure to belt up can have serious consequences in a crash, and the nightmarish results can remain with the victim for years after. It takes no time at all to put on a seat belt and to make sure that you and all your passengers are travelling safely. We know most people do, but statistics still show that a horrific number of people end their journeys in the casualty department, which could be avoided by simply belting up.”

Tim Draper, the council’s road casualty reduction manager said:
“The ‘Seatbelt on’ campaign is aimed at both drivers and passengers, and clearly emphasises the importance of always using a seatbelt, whatever the journey. Many serious injuries and fatalities could be avoided if people would just take an extra couple of seconds to make sure that everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt before setting off.

Notes for editors

139 car occupants were killed or seriously injured on the roads of Leeds in 2008.

The aim of ‘Seatbelt on’ is to provide car occupants with some straightforward advice of which they should already be aware - that they should belt up for their own safety and for that of their fellow passengers. As the campaign progresses the Police will be more active in enforcing the rules for those people who still choose to put their own lives and the lives of others in danger by not wearing their seatbelts.

In December 2008 and Feb 2009 the Leeds City Council road safety promotion team conducted several seatbelt surveys in various areas of Leeds. 2475 vehicles were observed. Overall 25% (601) of the drivers were found not to be wearing safety belts. Of 1163 child passengers observed, 406 (35%) were unsecured in the back of the car.

However, some areas of Leeds were significantly worse that this. In some surveys 40% of adults and 60% of children were observed travelling unrestrained, and at one survey site 89% of adults and all children were travelling unrestrained.

A survey by insurers Liverpool Victoria found that 2.3m drivers do not always wear seatbelts, and government figures suggest only seven in 10 adults wear rear seatbelts(1). By making such a choice they run a significantly increased risk of severe injury during a road crash. In 2007, of the 1,432 car occupants killed, research indicates that some 34 per cent were not wearing a seat belt(2).
(1) Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety
(2) Think! website

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Avoid your hedge becoming a hazard

Spring has officially sprung and with nature bursting into life, residents are being asked to ensure their vegetation doesn’t become an irritation!

Overgrown hedges next to footpaths and roads pose a real hazard by causing an obstruction. Passers-by can be forced out onto a busy road to pass and road junctions or bends obscured by bushes or trees interfering with visibility.

All foliage should be kept trimmed so as not to interfere with the illumination of footpaths and roads from street lamps or obscuring road signs.

Residents are being reminded that the need to cut back their hedges to within the boundary of their property so they do not become an obstruction

And when people do tackle the garden, they should remember that garden waste can be recycled by putting hedge cuttings into a brown garden waste bin if one is available. Or alternatively they can be composted at any of the council's household waste sorting sites or by booking a bulky collection on 0113 2224406. Those who employ someone to carry out any such work should check that the trimmings are being disposed of responsibly by checking that the contractor has a waste carriers licence.

And don’t forget that it’s also the time of year that birds are nesting – so check before you cut and if you find any nesting birds, postpone the cut for another time.

Householders have a legal duty to stop their bushes growing over the highway or pavement in this manner under Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980. Failure to comply with the law can ultimately result in Leeds City Council doing the work and recovering the expenses, though the council would give notice prior to taking legal action.

Councillor Steve Smith, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“Hopefully people will be out enjoying their gardens now that the weather is starting to improve, but they should make sure that the plants and trees on their land are not creating a hazard on the roads.
“It’s up to them to make sure they keep trees and bushes under control, and we are urging all householders, not just green-fingered gardeners, to keep an eye on their vegetation to stop it becoming an irritation or just plain hazardous.”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Leeds youths ‘Speak to the Streets’

Young people from across Leeds and beyond will be joining together this weekend to ‘spit their bars’ at a street poetry event - a tribute to Pat Regan, the ceaseless campaigner for Mothers Against Violence, who died tragically in a knife attack last year.

For Speak to the Streets 2, the Pat Regan Trust has united for a second time with Clubfreshjive and Leeds City Council’s youth services to create a high profile street poetry / rapping event at the West Indian Centre, Chapeltown.

Speak to the streets - 2
Sunday 29th March at the West Indian Centre, Chapeltown between 1pm and 6pm FREE TO BREEZECARD HOLDERS, or £2 on door.

The first Speak to the Streets event - last November at Leeds University - was an exciting afternoon of Break dance battles that brought together young people from all backgrounds from right across the UK in a spirit of positive competition and respect. It also marked the launch of the Pat Regan Trust – dedicated to continuing Pat’s passionate and valuable work in the community - tackling gang culture, street violence and knife crime.

Hosted by Daddy 10 Tonn with special guests including Asha Don – Leeds’ finest MC, Speak to the Streets 2 celebrates street poetry and rap as tools for positivity and change in the community. Alongside the special guests, young people will be invited to ‘spit their bars’ in a ‘mean but clean’ competition for some big prizes.

A very special feature of the afternoon will be the unveiling of a memorial plaque outside the Mandela Centre, Chapeltown, dedicated to the memory and continuing legacy of Pat Regan by her son Shane Fenton.

Says Shane:
“This is for all the youth that we are trying to help, by giving them some direction and a stage to get recognized - for the skill that they have and how useful it is as a tool. Just like the break dancers, they have a role to help keep the streets safe and creative”.

The event is supported by partners including Breeze and the government’s Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) fund, which aims to provide positive, diversionary activities for young people. Leeds City Council is receiving £4.3million of PAYP funding until 2011.

For more information or for tickets email: or

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

‘Your community – your priorities’ – event in Headingley

Residents in Headingley are being given the chance to meet the people that provide services in their area.

The ‘Your Community – Your Priorities’ event, organised by the West North West Area Committee, will give residents the opportunity to have their say on how local services are being delivered. This is a real opportunity to influence local decision making in their area.

People can attend the session on Monday 6 April, at any time between 3.30pm and 6.30pm at Headingley Community Centre, North Lane, and can stay for as long, or little, as they wish.

Headingley residents will get the chance to discuss their area’s priorities with local ward councillors, Leeds City Council staff and staff from other local organisations, such as the neighbourhood policing team and also the council’s environmental action team, who will be on hand to listen to and take action on their suggestions.

Councillor James Monaghan, chair of the inner north west area committee, said:
“Events like this are an important way for us to meet with local people and discover what they think of the services the council provides and what their priorities are for the future.”

Councillor Les Carter, executive member with responsibility for neighbourhoods said:
“These sessions are a great opportunity for local people to influence the decisions being made about the future of their areas so I hope that residents will take the chance to voice their concerns and priorities for their town."

This is one of 12 events taking place across the west and north west of Leeds over the next two months.

For further information about the sessions please contact the West North West Leeds Area Management team on 0113 3950978 or via email at

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713