Thursday, 27 August 2009

Don’t let it slip – swap those sloppy slippers!

People from Burley have traded in their old slippers for newly fitted, ultra safe-grip indoor shoes in a Sloppy Slipper exchange at West North West Homes Leeds’ Queenswood Court.

Hundreds of older people in Leeds are injured each year due to falls. One major cause of falls in the home has been identified as poorly-fitting slippers. The initiative Sloppy Slippers and toolkit for community events was developed by the Leeds Podiatry Service, to raise awareness of simple fall prevention methods.

The Sloppy Slippers toolkit helps service providers set up a slipper exchange event, to which older people in the community are invited. At the event, they are presented with a pair of new, properly fitting slippers in exchange for their old pair. This helps ensure that old, worn-out slippers are no longer being used, therefore reducing the risk of falling from wearing “sloppy slippers”.

Sloppy Slippers events get people talking about well-fitting footwear, falling and mobility in general. The event at Queenswood Court also gave staff the opportunity to assess customers risk of falling, and help guide them to services, advice and information around falls prevention and safety in the home. Conversations can also determine whether someone might benefit from referral to other services, e.g. home safety checks, Telecare, mobility equipment or adaptations.

Cathy Clelland, chair of the West North West Homes Leeds board, said:
“It’s a simple thing, but replacing people’s old, worn slippers can make a big difference to their safety.
“These events also help us assess what else we can help with – ensuring older people can stay happy and mobile in their homes.”

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

GCSE students celebrate as city on course for best ever results

Young people across Leeds are celebrating their GCSE results with initial figures suggesting 2009 could be the city’s most successful year to date.

Over 8,000 pupils in the city will receive their results today (Thursday) and - although the full extent of the results won’t be known until later in the year - more young people look to have achieved at least five A* - C grades than ever before.

In 2008, a total of 62.4 per cent of GCSE students achieved five or more A*-C, with 46.4 per cent including English and maths.

Early signs suggest this year’s 5 A*-C figure could rise by at least four per cent while the 5 A*-C including English and maths figure is expected to be on a par with 2008.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning, said:
“These early signs suggest this year’s GCSE results could be the best the city has seen. They reflect the hard work and commitment of our young people which has provided them with a solid foundation to build upon. I would like to congratulate everyone and wish them every success in the future.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Although we won’t know the full extent of the results until later this year, the early signs suggest the hard work of the city’s young people who have sat their GCSEs has really paid off.

“There have been improvements from schools which annually set the standard locally and nationally to those which have worked hard to build on and improve last year’s results.

“Our young people deserve congratulations for their achievements. Exams are a difficult and stressful time but with the help and support of their families and our brilliant schools, they have done themselves and the city proud.”

John Smeaton Community College saw 74 per cent of its pupils achieve 5 A*-Cs - up from 70 per cent last year - while pupils achieving 5 A*-Cs including English and Maths rose from 34 to 45 per cent. This year’s figures mean there has been an increase of 59 per cent and 38 per cent in the school’s results since 2004.

Parklands Girls' High School saw 43 per cent of its pupils achieve 5 A*-C and 33 per cent achieve 5 A*-C including English and maths - up 16 per cent and 14 per cent compared to 2008.

Pupils at Allerton Grange, which will move into a brand new state-of-the-art building in September as part of the city’s multi-million pound BSF programme, achieved 56.6 per cent 5 A*-C and 43.8 per cent 5 A*-C including English and maths - an increase of 1.6 and 6.8 per cent compared to 2008.

Intake High School, which will become the Leeds West Academy at the beginning of the next school term, saw 52 per cent of its pupils achieve 5A* - C and 30 per cent achieve 5A*-C including English and maths - meaning it has already reached the government’s national challenge target of 30 per cent for pupils achieving 5A*-C including English and maths before it becomes an academy.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

National recognition for Leeds City Museum

The phenomenal success of the new Leeds City Museum continues as it has been awarded further national recognition in its first year of opening.

The museum which celebrates its first birthday in September, has seen well over 200,000 visitors through its doors since opening and is growing from strength to strength after being awarded national accreditation from the Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) for its high standards of service.

As the two newest sites in the Leeds Museums and Galleries portfolio, Leeds City Museum and Leeds Museum Discovery Centre now rank highly with the other sites across the portfolio which gained Accreditation in 2005.

This recognition comes on top of the already received Reader’s Award for Best Museum of the Year at this year’s National Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence.

To receive Accreditation a Museum must meet the nationally agreed standards for all aspects of a museum, from how they are governed to how they care for collections. The Museum and Discovery Centre demonstrated that they have clearly defined standards relating to governance and management, services for users, visitor facilities and collections management.

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

"These sites are a fantastic resource for the people of Leeds. They have been extremely popular and successful with visitors since they opened and this award highlights nationally the success and high standards they can achieve in such a short space of time."

Chair of the MLA Andrew Motion said:

"Being awarded Accreditation is an impressive achievement. It recognises the high standard and service that Leeds Museums and Galleries provides at the City Museum and Discovery Centre and acknowledges the hard work of the staff."

For further information about the Leeds City Museum visit and for information on the Leeds Museum Discovery Centre visit

Up until September 11th 2009, there is a chance for the British Public to vote for their most family-friendly museum, as part of the Guardian Award. This is Britain’s biggest museum award. To register your vote for Leeds City Museum and give it the chance of another award email: For further information about the award visit:

Notes to Editors:

Leeds Museums and Galleries comprises: Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds City Museum, Abbey House Museum, Leeds Industrial Museum, Thwaite Mills Museum, Lotherton Hall, Temple Newsam House and Leeds Museum Discovery Centre. Visit

The MLA is the government's agency for museums, libraries and archives. Leading strategically, they promote best practice to inspire, innovative, integrated and sustainable services for all. Visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn,
Leeds City Council press office, on 0113 247 8285

Health and wellbeing in later life - sharing knowledge with Japan

A delegation from Leeds has flown to Japan to share the city’s good practice in promoting health and wellbeing for older people.

Representatives from Leeds City Council’s adult social care service, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences and Armley Helping Hands are all-expenses-paid guests of the Japanese government and Professor Toshiaki Kido, of Nihon Fukushi University, Japan.

They will be speaking at three separate conferences organised by the university on aspects of older people’s services. The invitation came as a result of the number of well-advanced projects in Leeds that support older people’s wellbeing in later life.

These include:
• The nationally renowned neighbourhood network schemes, which are voluntary organisations part-funded by Leeds City Council and NHS, providing support to help older people keep their independence. They provide services including luncheon clubs, help with shopping, gardening and DIY, exercise clubs, help with finance and benefits, as well as companionship and mutual support.

• Keeping House, a social enterprise company set up with council support that provides home care services for people who are not eligible for this kind of support from the council.

• Neighbourhoods for All Ages, work to combat social isolation in older age through peer support groups and befriending projects.

• Building Bridges, award-winning work to bring the city’s younger and older generations together to share ideas, talk about issues and share experiences.

• Leeds Link Age Plus, an information store being developed with voluntary sector organisations to help them increase their capacity to provide older people’s services.

• Infostore, a new website designed specifically for older people, giving them access to information on health and social care, leisure opportunities, fitness, finances and transport, amongst many other things.

Councillor Peter Harrand, executive board member for adult health and social care said:
“The quality of our work to support well-being in later life is well-known nationally. We have won several national awards and are often contacted by other cities who want to learn from our experiences.

“I’m pleased that our reputation is now spreading beyond our shores and the Leeds team is able to share its work with leading academics in Japan.

“Professor Kido has visited Leeds many times and now wants us to present our work in person at his university.”

Japan faces similar demographic issues to those likely to be faced in the UK, with rapidly growing numbers of older people. The Leeds team will also be able to bring back examples of Japanese good practice and will share their findings at seminars to be held in Leeds during September.

Notes for editors

Members of the Leeds delegation are:
• Joy Marshall, adult social care service, Leeds City Council
• Caroline Starkey, adult social care service, Leeds City Council
• Jean Townsend, Institute for Health Sciences, University of Leeds
• Dawn Newsome, Armley helping Hands (Neighbourhood Network

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

Council statement regarding latest talks with trade unions over refuse collection services.

Cllr Richard Brett, Leader of Leeds City Council said:
"This reaction from the unions is extremely disappointing and to say the talks have broken down is not the case.

"We were encouraged by the continuation of talks held today, and are committed to resolving this dispute with further discussions. Today we outlined some proposals which we felt had a legitimate basis for addressing the pay gap but we must work within the job evaluation process, set out in the pay and grading review. We agreed to meet again next week to work up more details and to give the unions the chance to discuss the proposals with their members.

“Sadly, they seem to be determined to attempt to cause chaos and disruption to the people of Leeds by continuing to threaten strike action. We firmly believe industrial action will not resolve the pay issue, it will also inconvenience the public and lead to loss of pay to those involved."


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