Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Go-ahead given for new state-of-the-art school in Richmond Hill

Children and young people in the Richmond Hill area of Leeds will soon be learning in a purpose built, state-of-the-art school.

Leeds City Council’s executive board today (Wednesday) agreed to rebuild Richmond Hill Primary School as part of a change to school provision in the area which will also see Mount St Mary’s Catholic Primary School close in August 2010.

The new school, which will be built as part of the city’s Primary Capital Programme which will see £100m invested in primary schools over the next 14 years, will include community specialist provision for up to 16 children with special educational needs and will open in 2012.

Mount St Mary’s primary school is currently housed in unsuitable temporary accommodation and the Catholic Diocese has indicated it will not fund improvements to the site because of a lack of long-term need for Catholic places in the area.

Education Leeds and the council first proposed to make the changes in 2008 and a consultation took place earlier this year to gather opinions on the plans from parents, staff, governors and agencies working in the area.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“We are confident these changes in Richmond Hill will result in every child in the area benefiting from modern, world-class facilities – and the results of the consultation showed the majority of people agree.

“We can now look forward to creating a fantastic new school which will add to the impressive facilities we are investing in across Leeds.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Closing Mount St Mary’s primary and developing Richmond Hill primary is an opportunity for us to deliver a modern, brilliant learning environment for local children and young people.

“With a lack of demand for Catholic school places it was not financially viable to maintain Mount St Mary’s primary so it was a natural conclusion to combine it with Richmond Hill primary.

“The outcome will be a purpose built building with state-of-the-art facilities which the local community can be proud of.”

The decision will mean young people from Mount St Mary’s will be offered a place at Richmond Hill Primary School from September 2010. Any wishing to transfer to an alternative school will be able to apply for a place at an alternative Catholic or other school of their choice.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

£11m investment in schools to boost education facilities in Leeds

Leeds City Council and Education Leeds have agreed to invest over £11m in new school buildings - including a complete rebuild of Bankside Primary School in Harehills.

The money was signed off today (Wednesday) by the council’s executive board and will be spent on a new £1.6m science block at Bruntcliffe High School and a new £1m music block at Morley High School.

Over £9m will be spent on rebuilding Bankside Primary School which will better meet the needs of children and young people and the wider Harehills community.

The need for a new school is the result of a steady increase in the demand for places which has required an additional eight temporary classrooms to be used. It will be housed in a landmark, purpose-built building which will include state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching spaces, break-out areas and enhanced ICT provision.

The new school building will also incorporate the Early Years Choto Moni unit which is currently housed on site and a foundation unit linking a 52 place nursery with reception classrooms.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“We are committed to constantly improving the standards of education and facilities in our schools. Learning and working in new, purpose-built classrooms will help our children and young people get the most out of their time at school.

“These are exciting times for education in Leeds and these are the latest examples of the improvements which are being made across the city.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“As schools develop and the demand for places increases, it is vital we adapt so our children and young people have access to the best education possible.

“This new school building at Bankside Primary School and the improvements at Morley and Bruntcliffe High Schools will add to the impressive school buildings across the city. There will be some temporary reallocation but the result will be brilliant facilities for even more of our children and young people to study in.”

The new music block at Morley High School will include two music rooms, six practice rooms and a recital and recording room and is due to open in January 2010.

Bruntcliffe High School’s new science block will include seven classrooms, a workroom and preparation room and is also due to open in January 2010.

While the new Bankside school is built, some pupils will be temporarily rehoused in the nearby former Fir Tree Primary School while the work is carried out.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Council backs city’s strategy for action against climate change

A wide-reaching climate change strategy for Leeds setting out action the city must take to reduce its carbon footprint and improve resilience has got the backing of senior councillors.

The blueprint ‘The Leeds Climate Change Strategy: Vision for Action’ aims to fulfil the council’s commitment in Nottingham Declaration, which it signed in June 2006, requiring it to develop plans with partners and communities across the city to address the causes and the impacts of climate change.

In 2006, Leeds produced almost 6.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, a harmful ‘greenhouse gas’ that contributes to climate change. The strategy lists priorities for action to be taken over next two years to reduce the council’s carbon footprint and the steps necessary to cut the city’s emissions by 80% between now and 2050.

This will be achieved in a range of ways, including greater support of home energy efficiency; developing a more sustainable transport infrastructure; public and private sector partners pledging to reduce emissions; better waste efficiency; development of renewable energy and community heating plans; and planning policies to support low carbon development.

Cllr Steve Smith, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Environmental Services and chair of the Climate Change Partnership said:
“This is one of the most important documents that the city has produced, and it will influence all of our policies, actions and initiatives for years to come.

“There’s already some great work underway in the city and the feedback we’ve had from partners is very encouraging. It has given us the platform to start tackling a much bigger environmental agenda and, most importantly, address the crucial issue of climate change.

“The strategy sets out and prioritises practical action that everyone in Leeds can take. This plan is the beginning of a long-term process but, with the support of residents and organisations across Leeds, we believe we can create a better environment for future generations.”

Leeds has been working on climate change for several years, both within the council and as part of a city-wide climate change strategy group. The strategy has been written with the help of 100 organisations and will be published in May this year. The climate change strategy group, lead by the Leeds Initiative, the city’s local strategic partnership, will take responsibility for keeping the delivery of the strategy on track. Other partners in the city, including the universities, health service and the private sector will be taking action alongside the council to reduce their impact on the environment.

The strategy was given the green-light at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s Executive Board on 1 April following approval by the Leeds Initiative Executive on the 25th March. Now the strategy will go to a meeting of the Full Council for formal approval on 23 April. Copies of the report and strategy are available from the press office or www.leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk

Young People’s Film Festival ready to party


Caption: Monsters vs Aliens is the gala screening on opening night

Date: 1st April 2009

The Leeds Young People’s Film Festival begins this week with a special double celebration as it marks its 10th anniversary and also a move to a new home.

Presented by the award-winning group of young film fans MediaFish and Leeds City Council, the festival which runs from April 2-10 this year reaches a landmark birthday by moving to the city’s premiere art-house cinema – the Hyde Park Picture House.

The festivities begin on Thursday 2nd April with a preview gala screening of the fantastic new blockbuster Monsters vs Aliens from Dreamworks, the creators of Kung Fu Panda and Shrek.

Over the following eight days there will be over 40 films from more than 20 countries including America, Japan, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Latvia and Iran screened alongside some of the finest homegrown work from the UK.

This year there will be a host of special guests attending the festival including author/screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce who will be giving a free masterclass about writing for film and getting stories from the page to the screen. Dr Mel Gibson, senior lecturer at the University of Northumbria, will be exploring the history and themes in comic books from all over the world. In addition, Dr. Who author Mark Morris will be presenting his new Hellboy novel The All Seeing Eye and Sheffield’s Red Star Studios will be demonstrating the latest developments in 3D cinema.

Leeds Young Film is the industry partner for the Leeds pilot of a new national diploma for 14-19-year-olds. On Friday 3rd April there will be a special premiere of the films made by the Level 3 Creative and Media Diploma students which will be hosted by Simon Logan (96.3 Radio Aire Breakfast Show presenter) and Dominic Brunt (Paddy Kirk from Emmerdale).

Saturday 4th April sees the sixth edition of the National Young Filmmakers’ Award, which showcases young filmmaking talent in the UK and presents the best new short films from the movie geniuses of the future. Split into two age categories (under-14s and 15-19) the shortlisted films will be screened in front of an industry jury who will select the best films in each age group to receive a £250 cash prize towards their next project.

Monday 6th April is the ‘babes-in-arms’ screening where mums and carers can bring their little ones to see the 80s classic film Pretty In Pink in an embarrassment-free environment where babies and toddlers are free to be themselves.

Young people can get more involved by coming along to the various masterclasses and workshops, where they can make their own short animated films, learn about film classifications or get involved in the exciting Dreams 2012 project run by Leeds Bridge.

The 10th Leeds Young People’s Film Festival is organised by Leeds City Council and supported by Screen Yorkshire and the Youth Opportunities Fund.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“This year’s Leeds Young People’s Film Festival is a major celebration as it reaches its 10th birthday and a move to a fantastic new venue in the Hyde Park Picture House.

“We hope everyone enjoys this year’s wonderful line-up of screenings and exciting events and has a great time.”

To celebrate 10 years we are rolling our prices back to their 2000 level so tickets start at just £2 per film and special Golden Tickets, which allow you to see ALL the films in the programme start at just £10 (or £25 for a family of four)!

Full programme details are available at www.leedsyoungfilm.com. For a free copy of the official brochure please email rose.mcgilp@leeds.gov.uk with your name and address, stating Programme Guide in the subject box, alternatively call 0113 247 8398.

Notes to editors:

Photo opportunities will be available on opening night (Thu 2 April) with participants and guests, the Creative & Media Diploma premiere screening (Fri 3 April 7pm) with Simon Logan and Dominic Brunt and National Young Filmmakers’ Award (Sat 4 April 6.30pm) with young filmmakers attending from all over the country. All photo ops at the Hyde Park Picture House.

MediaFish is a group of over 200 young people who meet regularly in Leeds to watch free film screenings and work together to organise filmmaking events. In 2008 it was named joint-winner of the Cultural Places award at the Local Government Yorkshire and Humber annual prizegiving. Based in Leeds Town Hall, MediaFish is managed by Leeds City Council with funding from the Youth Opportunities Fund, and was first set up in October 2007.

MediaFish is free to join and new members are always welcome. For further details and for information on films and screening details visit the website at www.mediafish.org or contact Adam Graham on 0113 247 8398

Screen Yorkshire's mission is to inspire, promote and support the development of a successful long-term film, broadcast, games and interactive media sector to grow the economic, social and cultural wealth of the region. For more information call 0113 294 4410 or visit www.screenyorkshire.co.uk

Leeds Young Film is part of Leeds City Council's Leeds Film section which also presents Leeds International Film Festival, Fanomenon, Short Film City and Thought Bubble.

Youth Opportunities Fund is run by Leeds City Council through The Project, West Yorkshire Youth Association and provides funding for activities and trips for young people from 13 – 19.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 8907 Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Working together to tackle anti-social behaviour

The key to tackling the scourge of anti-social behaviour is working together – that’s the message behind the latest Leeds City Council policy to tackle the problem.

The council has published a revised statement of its policy on dealing with anti-social behaviour, explaining how council tenants, or those affected by the behaviour of council tenants, can make a complaint of anti-social behaviour. It also explains how the council, as landlord, will tackle these complaints.

The statement says the council is committed to working with partner agencies, as well as the local community, to take a stand against anti-social behaviour. It aims to move away from a situation where people tolerate problems to one where everyone works together to tackle them, and improve their quality of life.

The statement includes a commitment to using the full range of enforcement, preventative and resettlement measures available to tackle anti-social behaviour. A number of practical measures can be used to provide support, from referrals to victim support through to additional physical support measures such as enhanced security, CCTV and panic alarms.

The revised policy and procedure document provides a substantial framework for everyone all to work together for a safer district. The document will be reviewed in 2011 to make sure that it is still relevant and up to date.

The statement, and a summary of its main points, is on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk and also on the Safer Leeds http://www.leedsinitiative.org/safer/

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety, said:
“Tackling anti-social behaviour cannot be the responsibility of one group or agency alone.
“This statement reaffirms our commitment to tackle anti-social behaviour, but we need people to work with us – no-one should assume that nothing can be done about those who disturb, threaten or upset people in Leeds.”

Notes to editors
In the event of a complaint of anti-social behaviour, the council has set out the steps it will take:
• Ensure that all reports of anti social behaviour are treated confidentially, responded to promptly, and resolved at the earliest opportunity, and appropriate action is taken against perpetrators.
• Tackle anti social behaviour through effective co-ordination of service actions on prevention, diversion and enforcement.
• Support victims and witnesses in their homes where possible.
• Encourage victims / witnesses to report incidents and to work in collaboration with the Council and other agencies.

There are many ways to report anti-social behaviour, including:
• Face to face at council offices such as housing offices
• By telephone to the ASBU on 0113 222 4402
• By e-mail: asbu@leeds.gov.uk
• Through third parties such as the police
• Through Hate Crime Reporting Centres
• At hostels and other temporary accommodation
• At the Homelessness Advice and Prevention centre
• To Police Community Support Officers

If the complaint is about noise nuisance, contact should be made with the council’s Environmental Action Teams on 0113 222 4406 or out of hours on 0113 242 5841.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds opens debate with schools on addressing extremism

Leeds will begin discussion with schools, further and higher education providers on its strategy for addressing extremism this week in an event at Leeds Town Hall.

The event, on 31 March, will be attended by representatives from Leeds’s education sector, Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police.

The event will raise awareness of the Prevent agenda, showcase a number of educational packages for addressing extremism available to schools and colleges, and begin discussion about the challenges of delivering this sensitive area of policy within a learning environment.

Members of the council’s executive board will receive an update on work in the city to address extremism at their 1 April meeting.

Councillor Andrew Carter, Leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Young people can be particularly vulnerable to the extremists’ messages. Schools have a vital role to play in supporting parents and providing young people with the knowledge and confidence to recognise and avoid extremism.

“In future months, further stages of our strategy will be introduced. We will be working closely with people from all of the city’s communities to ensure it is effective.”

Chief Supt Mark Milsom, Divisional Commander for City and Holbeck, said:
“Working closely now with local young people, schools and colleges is key to the future cohesion between all communities in our city.

“School and college years offer the best opportunity to discuss sensitive issues with our young people, making use of the additional help schools, parents and other agencies can offer through partnership.”

Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and other partners will be working together to develop the city’s approach to addressing extremism, in line with government guidance. The intention is to provide a framework to help local areas develop activities and solutions which aim to stop people becoming or supporting terrorist and violent extremists.

The aim of this first event is to provide people in Leeds’s education sector with an overview of what the agenda to address extremism aims to achieve and some of the packages available to support its delivery.

It will also provide a setting for participants to begin discussions about the challenges faced in delivering activities and identify ways in which they can work together. There will also be an opportunity for some more informal discussions over lunch at the end of the event.

Notes:
• Safer Leeds is the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tacking drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership organisation between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.
• The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) has provided a national framework for schools to address extremism, which is available from the DCSF website at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/violentextremism/toolkitforschools/index.shtml. This will be adapted for use in Leeds.

ENDS

For further information contact:
John Donegan
(0113) 247 4450 (mon-wed am) (0113) 395 1510 (wed pm-fri)
john.donegan@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds construction training puts down foundations for recovery


Caption: Stephen Pinney, 17, of Chapel Allerton who is on the construction course at Leeds College of Building

The partnership between Leeds City Council and Leeds College of Building is already laying the foundations for recovery within the construction industry in Leeds.

Unemployed people and school leavers in Leeds are being encouraged to sign up to a free course designed to train them for work in the construction industry ready for when the economy improves.

The ASET course in Plastering, Brickwork or Carpentry and Joinery is being delivered at the college’s Construction Skills Learning Centre, near the Royal Armouries in Leeds, and at the RISE Centre in Seacroft. Applicants can apply directly to the Construction Skills Learning Centre.

With many of employers now hiring more apprentices to help them through the global downturn, the council is acting on its promise to tackle unemployment by offering people the chance to train and improve their job prospects.

There are no formal entry requirements for the two week ASET course. It can lead to a Level 1 Diploma, which is a recognised entry-level qualification and a pathway to further education or an apprenticeship in construction.

Information sessions will be held each month to enrol people onto the programme, for details call Leeds College of Building on 0113 2226041.

The course, which can be both full and part-time, is open to anyone from the age of 16 who is not in full-time education or training or employment. It is also not gender or age-specific – the only criteria is that applicants have a Leeds-based postal home address.

Councillor Les Carter, Executive Board member for jobs and skills, said:
“While others may use the economic downturn as an excuse to cut back on training, the council recognises that Leeds must be well placed to take advantage of when the situation improves.
“We hope to encourage companies to take on previously unemployed people at the different stages of their career development.”
“It is exactly courses like this that we commissioned the Leeds College of Building to deliver – practical help that will mean people are able to improve their chances of getting a job in difficult times and position themselves for the future.”

Notes to editors:
Leeds College of Building is the UK’s only specialist further education construction college, with more than 7,000 part and full-time male and female students studying for qualifications ranging from NVQs and BTECs to degrees.

The college provides a wide range of courses including plumbing, heating and ventilation, brickwork, carpentry and joinery, roofing, signmaking, electrical installation, painting and decorating and plastering, as well as a wide range of management courses, including engineering and surveying.

The college was the first training provider in Yorkshire and Humber to achieve the full Training Quality Standard in both Construction and Building Services Engineering, recognising the college’s excellence in responding to employers’ training needs.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Moor, Moor, Moor as library re-opens

Moor Allerton Library officially re-opens this week after undergoing a major £170,000 refurbishment.

The library based in the Moor Allerton Centre on King Lane has been closed since December to allow the improvements to be been carried out, and the new-look library will be opened to the public for the first time from 10am on Thursday 2nd April.

The work carried out has seen the creation of a new children’s area, a young people’s area, places to study and a comfortable seating area allowing customers to browse and relax in style. Other changes have seen a new customer-friendly counter put in place, customer toilets with disabled facilities installed and the IT area remodelled.

Self-service machines have also been added, along with new lighting and heating systems. Customers will also find a greatly improved range of book stock to use and borrow, as over 10,000 new books have been bought.

Behind Leeds Central Library, Moor Allerton LIbrary was the second busiest library in the city before the improvements were carried out, with over 300,000 visits over 12 months from 2007-08 and over 400,000 items borrowed in that period.

The library boasts a wide range of titles for adults and children to enjoy, as well as CDs and DVDs which are available for hire and talking books. It also has free internet access and free basic computer courses, along with a community meeting room, adult readers groups and regular events and activities.
A programme of activities is to be held throughout April and May to mark the re-opening, including family history workshops, author visits and the launch of a new family club.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We are delighted to be re-opening Moor Allerton Library after this major refurbishment. The library is one of the busiest in the city and therefore plays a key role at the heart of the local community, so we hope people come along and see what the new-look library has to offer and make use of all its fantastic new facilities.

Moor Allerton Library will be open from 9:30am-7:30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10am-7:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays, 9:30am-4:30pm on Saturdays and 11am-3pm on Sundays.

For further information on Moor Allerton Library, visit the website at moorallertonlibrary@leedslearning.net or call 0113 214 5624.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472 Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk