Friday, 3 April 2009

A picture of success as Michelangelo’s Mates scoop award

Caption: Michelangelo's Mates apprentices (from left) Henryk Rusowicz, Robert Blackshaw and Keith Boyer with the certificate and award.

A scheme that trains people with learning disabilities so they can then provide painting and decorating services for elderly or disabled residents has won national recognition.

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) and charity Avalon have won the Most Effective Partnership category at National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) annual awards for Michelangelo’s Mates, a social enterprise painting and decorating scheme.

The small team of people in Michelangelo’s Mates train as apprentices in painting and decorating, and then work as sub-contractors to ENEHL providing a quality painting and decorating service on behalf of tenants who are unable to do so through illness or disability, or on empty properties in preparation for new tenants.

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) – one of the three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) which manage and maintain council housing for Leeds City Council.

Avalon is a Harrogate-based charity providing supported housing for vulnerable and disabled adults throughout the north of England.

The 69 member organisations of the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) oversee more than one million council owned properties across England. The winners of the 2009 NFA Awards were announced at a ceremony this week at the Royal York Hotel, York.

Representatives from the 21 short-listed ALMOs (Arms Length Management Organisations) across the country all gathered for the award ceremony, part of the NFA’s annual two day conference and AGM, which was hosted by Wayne Hemingway, MBE, of HemingwayDesign. The audience of 350 were treated to films of all the finalist projects as well as a public address from Peter Marsh, Head of the Tenant Services Authority, who praised the work of the ALMO movement saying that it was an essential part of future housing provision and community development.

The awards were judged by an independent panel; Roy Irwin, the Chief Inspector of Housing at the Audit Commission Housing Inspectorate; Janet Dean of the Dean Knight Partnership, Adviser to the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) and the Homes and Communities Academy, Michael Gelling, Chairman of the Tenants and Residents Organisations of England (TAROE) and Jane Gething-Lewis, Editor of media partner 24housing.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
“To receive this award and gain national recognition is fantastic. It is a tribute to what can be achieved through successful partnership work in breaking down barriers for people. Michelangelo’s Mates is a wonderful example of what can be realised and this is just the beginning!”

Dennis Rees, chair of the National Federation of ALMOs, said:
“This year the quality of entry to the NFA awards was excellent. ENEHL has identified a demand from older residents who cannot maintain their own homes and then gone further to tackle both worklessness and disability discrimination. Michelangelo’s Mates is an asset to East North East Homes Leeds and has been recognised as best practice by other ALMOs.”

Designed to honour and credit the individuals and teams who do so much at ground level and beyond, the awards have been developed to recognise and celebrate the hard work and achievements of ALMOs – which manage more than one million council homes, over half of all social housing in England.

Notes to Editors:
• About the National Federation of ALMOs: The National Federation of ALMOs promotes the ALMO option in council house management which provides housing management and housing services to more than one million council properties across 69 ALMOs nationwide.
• ALMOs are the top performing social housing sector according to the Audit Commission judgements; 14 ALMOs have scored three star ratings, a haul well in excess of that achieved by either directly managed councils or housing associations.
• By the end of 2007/08 £3.7 billion had been allocated to ALMOs to invest in improving social housing for tenants.
• East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents. East North East Homes Leeds covers the areas of Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.


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

Seacroft gets its own ‘Saturday Superstore’

A unique one-stop centre in Seacroft is becoming a very special kind of ‘Saturday Superstore’ for local residents, by now opening on Saturday mornings.

North Seacroft Joint Service Centre, a unique partnership between Leeds City Council, East North East Homes Leeds and the Post Office, is open for face-to-face customer enquiries on Saturday mornings for the first time.

Located at Unit 8 in Seacroft Green Shopping Centre, the centre brings together various council services under one roof, making it easier to contact the council.

The experienced Customer Services team can deal with a wide range of enquiries including: council housing, housing benefits, council tax enquiries, free school meals and clothing vouchers, social services, applications for disabled badges and environmental and waste collection services.

The centre is one of fifteen Leeds City Council one stop centres located across the city, where residents can access a range of council services by speaking to an advisor face to face.

North Seacroft Joint Service Centre’s opening times are: Monday 9am to 5pm; Tuesday 9am to 5pm; Wednesday 9am to 3pm; Thursday 9am to 5pm; Friday 9am to 5pm; Saturday 9am to 12.30pm

For details of Leeds City Council’s other one stop centres, please visit the website

Councillor Clive Fox, Leeds City Council’s lead member for customer services, said:
“Extending services to ensure they meet the needs of residents is one of the best ways to ensure the council gives the local community the help it needs, when it needs it.
“By opening on a Saturday morning, this unique centre will be able to better serve the people of Seacroft.”

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

Temple Newsam ward - by-election result

Results have been confirmed in the local elections for Leeds City Council – Temple Newsam ward.

David Schofield is Leeds City Council’s newest councillor following his win in the Temple Newsam ward by-election yesterday (2 April 2009).

The results were as follows:

Danny Adilypour
Votes -1476

Ian Dowling
Votes - 1468

Christopher Foren
Votes - 137

Tom Redmond
Votes - 1502

David Schofield
Votes - 1785 (ELECTED)

Voter turnout was approximately 40%

Taking into account the council’s total 99 seats, the political composition of Leeds City Council is now as follows: Labour 42, Liberal Democrat 25, Conservative 23, Morley Borough Independent 5, Green Party 3, BNP 1.

The by-election was held in Temple Newsam ward following the resignation of Labour Party Councillor Jacqueline Langdale in February 2009.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335