Tuesday, 16 June 2009

City showcases schools’ enterprise and Fairtrade initiatives

Social enterprises and Fairtrade initiatives which have been developed in schools across the city are to be highlighted and celebrated at a special showcase event.

Organised by Education Leeds and Leeds City Council, with funding from Leeds’ Local Enterprise Growth Initiative’s (LEGI) Sharing the Success programme, the event will celebrate children and young people’s successes from schools across Leeds.

Prizes will be awarded to schools which have the most successful social enterprises and one young person will be named ‘social entrepreneur of the year’.

The event will also include speeches from Mike Southon, entrepreneur and co-author of The Beer Mat Entrepreneur; young entrepreneur Sabirul Islam; and headteacher Nick Bowen from St Benet Biscop school in Northumberland who has set up Benet Enterprises to help its students develop their ideas into commercially viable ventures.

Social enterprises trade with a social purpose such as re-investing profits into the business, the local community or both. Many primary and secondary schools in Leeds are involved in the social enterprise programme and have addressed the needs of their school and their local community with innovative new business ideas.

A total of 23 stands will be on display from primary and secondary schools across highlighting projects such as allotments, events management, card making, smoothies and story books with audio tapes.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“Leeds is a dynamic city with a large business and manufacturing sector so it is great that our children and young people are already developing their entrepreneurial and business skills.

“With an emphasis on their school, local community and Fairtrade the city’s social enterprises are benefiting everyone involved and helping to develop the James Caans and Peter Joneses of tomorrow.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Schools which take part in social enterprise see a positive impact on behaviour, attendance, engagement and achievement.

“It is a great way of developing children and young people’s entrepreneurial skills while having a positive impact on their school and the local community.

“This celebration event will highlight the brilliant work being carried out in Leeds as well as learning and benefiting from experts and successes in other parts of the country.”

The event will take place at the Holiday Inn, Garforth, on Wednesday 17 June between 10am and 2.30pm.


Notes to editors:
Leeds was awarded £15.6m over three years in Round 2 of the government funded Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) in 2006. This was extended by £5m in December 2007. ‘Sharing the Success’ is the brand name for this programme in Leeds. The free phone contact number for Sharing the Success is 0800 048 0054, www.sharingthesuccess.co.uk

‘Sharing the Success’ is based on three themes: engaging people, business and investors. It focuses on opening up opportunities for employment, self-employment and investment in the city’s most deprived areas, allowing everyone to share in the economic success of Leeds and play an active part in its growth.

The ‘Sharing the Success’ programme reports to a board which includes individuals from the public, private and voluntary sectors. The board is chaired by Tom Morton, Deputy Chairman of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and partner at Leeds accountancy firm PKF.

LEGI aims to promote enterprise within disadvantaged communities, support the growth of locally owned businesses and attract investment into deprived areas. Worth over £300m over three years, LEGI is a joint programme between the Department for Communities and Local Government, HM Treasury, and the former Department of Trade and Industry. Local authorities designated as Neighbourhood Renewal Fund areas are able to bid for LEGI funding.

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

Fairtrade Schools Conference comes to Leeds

Staff and pupils from schools across the north of England will visit Leeds for the Fairtrade Schools Conference next week.

Leeds was chosen by the Fairtrade Foundation as the city to host the Northern Fairtrade Schools Conference, which takes place on Monday, 22 June at the Business School, University of Leeds. The event will be opened by the new Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott.

The conference is for schools interested in putting Fairtrade into their school ethos, and is open to both primary and secondary schools. It caters for those who already have the Fairtrade Schools Award as well as those who are completely new to Fairtrade. The workshops on offer will provide support on how to get started, and how to build on the Fairtrade Schools Award. There is also a chance to meet a producer.

Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliot said:
“It is an honour that the Fairtrade Foundation have chosen to host this year’s northern Fairtrade Schools Conference in Leeds. The people of Leeds have shown a longstanding commitment to fair trade. Leeds was the largest city to be awarded with Fairtrade City status by the Fairtrade Foundation in 2004, and the Fairtrade Schools Awards scheme is flourishing in our city.

‘’Children and young people have a big part to play in promoting Fairtrade, and events like this are a great opportunity to show them how they can get involved.’’

Additional info

Leeds has been a Fairtrade City since 2004. Both universities are Fairtrade and 44 Leeds’ schools have also registered for the Fairtrade Schools scheme.

Since 2007 the Fairtrade Foundation has been running the Fairtrade Schools Award. In order to achieve the award schools must work towards five goals which are:
1. Our school has set up a Fairtrade School Steering Group (or committee). At least half of us are pupils or students and we meet together at least once a term.
2. Our school has written and adopted a whole-school Fairtrade Policy. We have the support of the board of governors and our policy is signed by the headteacher.
3. Our school is committed to selling, promoting and using Fairtrade products as much as possible. If we have problems, we can at least show that we have tried and will continue trying.
4. Our whole school learns about Fairtrade in at least three subjects in each of two year groups.
5. Our school promotes and takes action for Fairtrade at least once a term in the school and once a year in the wider community. This way it becomes a regular part of what we do, and allows everyone to take part in helping to bring about a fairer world.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

British Surrealism in Context: The Collector’s Eye

Date: 10th June 2009

British Surrealism in Context: The Collector’s Eye
Leeds Art Gallery

10th July – 1st November 2009
Sponsored by Leeds Metropolitan University and Sotheby’s, London
Unique collection of British Surrealist works brought together by a Leeds collector

A collection of British Surrealism brought together by prominent Leeds collector Dr. Jeffery Sherwin, will be on display at Leeds Art Gallery from 10th July. The exhibition will contain outstanding pieces including work by Eileen Agar, Roland Penrose, Henry Moore, Emmy Bridgewater and Conroy Maddox. Dr. Sherwin started collecting in 1986 after seeing the exhibition ‘British Surrealism in the 30s’ at Leeds Art Gallery.
The retired medical doctor is the owner of the largest privately held collection of British Surrealism in existence.

Leeds City Council Executive Member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We are delighted to welcome this exceptional collection of British Surrealism to Leeds Art Gallery. Dr Sherwin has built an exceptional collection of British Surrealism art works and related items and we are delighted to house this exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery, where Dr. Sherwin first saw surrealist art.”

The exhibition will take place at Leeds Art Gallery starting 10th July and ending 1st November. The exhibition will offer over 220 exhibits, including photographs, posters, rare Surrealist volumes and curiosities. These will demonstrate the social context behind the exhibition and will link to a broader collection of modern art from Gaudier-Brzeska to Damien Hirst.

There will be a 200 page Catalogue with essays by Michel Remy of Nice and Jon Wood of the Henry Moore Institute, Silvano Levy, the Art Historian and Jeffrey Sherwin, the Collector.

This unique exhibition will be opened by the BBC’s presenter and critic Mark Lawson

For all media enquires please contact Mary Webb, Marketing & Communications on 0113 3951262 or email mary.webb@leeds.gov.uk
Images available
Notes to editors:
Leeds Art Gallery houses the best collection of 20th century British Art outside of London, and was designated by the Government as being of national importance in 1997. Alongside the extensive 20th century British painting and sculpture collection, the Gallery presents a dynamic temporary exhibition programme, as well as continuing to acquire artworks for the permanent collection.

About the exhibition:
Jeffrey Sherwin is acknowledged as having the largest private collection of British Surrealism in the country. Taken from over 220 works the exhibition will contain many important pieces including the Eileen Agar plaster head ‘Angel of Mercy’ accompanied by new research showing that it was originally titled ‘The Politician’ and collaged in fur; a haunting and disturbed head by Leonora Carrington after Max Ernst had left her for the USA and produced when she was in a mental home in Santander Spain suffering from severe depression. This work, displayed alongside a grainy photograph of Carrington sitting with her psychiatrist Luis Morales in 1941. A group of 30’s photo collages by Humphrey Jennings contrasted with his post world war II paintings. Conroy Maddox box Denouement enclosing objects including a photo of Maddox making a sadomasochistic attack on a nun who is wearing silk stockings and clearly enjoying the experience. A Julian Trevelyan work on a roof tile and his painting, ‘Hypnosis’ from the days of taking mesalin, the hallucinatory drug. The painting includes an image of a Calder mobile’. Trevelyan bought the first Calder mobile which is now in the Tate.

All the British women surrealists are represented in the exhibition including Grace Pailthorpe who along with her younger partner by 23 years Reuben Mednikoff produced Freudian dream paintings , mainly of a sexual nature.

The close connection between the British Surrealist and the Republican movement in Spain at the time of the Civil War is well represented in Dr Sherwin’s collection. An extraordinary pen and ink drawing ‘Mass in Pamplona’ by Andre Masson depicts the Bishop of Pamplona as a Donkey handing out a holy communion wafer emblazed with a Swastika surrounded by acolytes and a Goyaesque execution squad etc .

The Leeds College of Art surrealist connection of the 60-70’s is represented by Patrick Hughes and Anthony Earnshaw and their pupils Paul Hammond and Glen Baxter. Jeffrey Sherwin commissioned the anarchist and surrealist box maker Anthony Earnshaw to make two boxes after his heart attack and by-pass. The two works ‘The Glamorous Heart Attack; and ‘Make Mine a Quadruple’ made with bits from his surgery are part of the show.

Leeds Art Gallery
The Headrow
Tel: 0113 2478256

Make the energy switch to save money and combat fuel poverty

Caption: East North East Homes Leeds tenant Julie Johnson saving money on ENEHL Energy Switch

East North East Homes Leeds has launched a new web-based service to help people get smarter when it comes to saving money on gas and electric bills.

The recession has hit some households harder then others, especially if they’re living on a low income. As part of its commitment to financial inclusion, East North East Homes Leeds’ (ENEHL) is helping people make informed decisions on how they use money and avoid fuel poverty with a new energy comparison service – ENEHL Energy Switch.

ENEHL Energy Switch can be accessed from the front page of www.enehl.org.uk and provides free and impartial advice on home energy bills that has been approved by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

Anyone can use it whether you’re an ENEHL tenant, leaseholder or home owner. It works by comparing every single tariff available to your post code address and lists the lowest priced suppliers for you.

New tenants are using ENEHL Energy Switch to make informed decisions on who to use for cheap energy rates when they sign up for an ENEHL home.

Julie Johnson, a tenant living in Thorner, used Energy Switch to save over £200 on her gas and electric bills. She said:
“The site is wonderful, everyone should give it a go; you don’t know what you might save until you try it. It’s very simple to use and the money saved can go towards my summer holiday!”

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds Board:
“Helping people make better use of their money and avoid falling into fuel poverty is a priority for us. We’re always looking for ways to help people avoid debt and providing opportunities to help people make most of their money. ENEHL Energy Switch is one way to help make finances easier to manage for tenants, leaseholders and home owners.”

Notes for editors:
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.

ENEHL Energy Switch can be found at www.enehl.org.uk

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

Council’s one stop centres celebrate 10 years of serving Leeds

Leeds City Council’s one stop centres, which have been the first port of call for thousands upon thousands of residents needing help on everything from housing to free school meals, have celebrated their 10th anniversary.

Leeds City Council’s one stop centres, which deal with approximately 430,000 customer enquiries a year, turned 10 on June 14th.

There are 15 centres located right across the city, allowing customers to access a variety of council services through a single point of face-to-face contact. The flagship centre is in the city centre at 2 Great George Street, and there are centres across the Leeds area, including at Otley, Wetherby, Morley, Rothwell, Pudsey, Seacroft and Garforth.

Since 1999, Customer Service officers at the one stop centres have been trained to deal with a wide range of enquiries, advising customers on 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 one stop centres are also a valued resource for the community, offering meeting rooms, notice boards, surgeries for ‘positive’ action, and opportunities for engagement in terms of volunteering, community groups, links to colleges etc. The one stop centres can also be used to report race and homophobic hate incidents through the centres’ partnership work with West Yorkshire Police and the Leeds Racial Harassment Project.

Leeds City Council’s one stop centres are accredited with Charter Mark, which is a national standard for excellent customer service.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council and lead member with responsibility for Customer Services, said:
“It is a pleasure to mark the 10th anniversary of the local one stop centres in Leeds.
“One stop centres have been a great success for the council and for the city, connecting with communities and becoming a real first port of call for residents when they need help.
“The fact that we deal with 430,000 enquiries a year in our 15 centres proves how vital they have become.”

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

Final push to secure Leeds council worker a top national award

Colleagues of, and people who a Leeds council worker cares for, have started a final push to secure him a prestigious national honour.

Stuart Simmons, manager of the Osmondthorpe resource centre, is on the final shortlist for the 'caring' category in the National Council Worker of the Year awards.

The competition is organised by the Local Government TV channel.

Stuart – who has dedicated 30 years of his life to caring - was nominated in recognition of the work he does which more often than not goes over and above the call of duty.

Osmondthorpe resource centre supports disabled people, mainly those recovering from serious head injuries, and over the last 15 years Stuart has helped over 400 people overcome the trauma they've suffered, return to life in the community and find new employment.

Many of the people who Stuart has supported – and their carers - describe his work as 'life transforming' while his colleagues credit him with regularly 'going the extra mile' saying he is 'passionate, dedicated and determined' to inspire people to realise their potential. Stuart is well known for promoting and developing the
centre, its staff and the people who use it.

Stuart's colleagues began a 'campaign' last month to get him enough votes to secure the top award which will be presented at a glitzy ceremony in July in Harrogate.

Those 'campaigners' have been drumming up support across the whole of the city. Posters and leaflets have been printed and people who use the Osmondthorpe centre have given up many hours of their time to promote the competition to shoppers at the Arndale Centre in Cross Gates.

They've collected over 3000 paper votes but many more have been cast electronically via SMS text message and the Local Government Channel TV website.

With just three days to go before polls close (on June 18th), there's a final rallying call to 'Vote Stuart!'.

Ian Wallace – who works at Osmondthorpe resource centre and who is Stuart's unofficial 'campaign director' – said:

“This is a man who always goes over and above the call of duty and I don't think there's anyone who deserves more recognition for the work they do.

“I'm really pleased with the support we've had so far – but there's still time to cast an electronic vote.

"My appeal to everyone across Leeds is please vote for Stuart and let's bring this fantastic award home to our city.”

Votes can be cast two ways:

By visiting http://www.thelocalgovernmentchannel.com/awards and then clicking on the 'caring' category and then Stuart's name

By sending the text message 'LGATV 5 StuartS' to 80039

Stuart Simmons is no stranger to caring for others – in the past he volunteered for the YMCA and worked on a community project in Ghana. He moved to Leeds in 1976 working for free in a children's home before joining Leeds City Council where he went on to specialise in learning disabilities.

Last year he was honoured with the city council's social care worker of the year award after securing more than 165 nominations from colleagues and centre users.

This latest nomination – for Council Worker of the Year – means Stuart is up against competition from across the country. It is a national accolade, open to council staff everywhere.

Councillor Peter Harrand, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:

“The council's vast army of social care staff who provide high quality services to the people of Leeds receive little public recognition – but this is a chance to change that.

“Stuart's Osmondthorpe centre is the jewel in the crown in Leeds.

“Frankly, I'm not surprised Stuart is in the running for what is possibly the most prestigious public sector award of its kind in the country – it is certainly well deserved.

I just hope we can muster enough votes to bring the accolade home to our city.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 395 0393