Tuesday, 8 September 2009

£33,000 grant will mean safer eating in Leeds

Food businesses in Leeds are to get a couple of tasty offers you wouldn’t find on any menu after Leeds City Council secured a £33,000 grant to help them.

The council has successfully applied for the grant from the government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) to help food businesses in the city boost their hygiene standards.

Around 300 of the lowest rated premises in the city – most of which scored none or just one star in the council’s Scores on the Doors Scheme – will be offered help with completing their Food Safety Management Plan, which identifies all the hazards which could contaminate the food a business sells, and helps them put in measures to stop contamination happening. The plan is checked when the business is inspected by Environmental Health staff to make sure the systems are sound and food is safe to eat.

However, the plan can be difficult or complex for some businesses to fill in, so the council will use its grant money to help provide assistance and boost food hygiene in the city.

The worst 150 premises in terms of food hygiene in Leeds will be offered of a free three-hour coaching session on-site to help them complete the plan. A further 150 will be offered the council-subsidised places on a classroom-based course to help them complete the plan, a scheme delivered through a partnership with Leeds City College on the Thomas Danby Campus.

Leeds City Council’s Scores on the Doors website aims to provide diners with up-to-date information about the hygiene standards in the city’s food businesses – everything from restaurants, takeaways and cafeterias. Businesses are rated between zero and five stars, five being those with the best hygiene practices. The website can be accessed at http://www.scoresonthedoors.org.uk

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“We know that during an economic downturn standards can slip, so successfully getting this grant means we can help businesses to comply with the law and protect their customers.
“Producing a Food Safety Management Plan can be complex, so this kind of help means it’s not something businesses put on the backburner.
“This, along with our Scores on the Doors scheme, shows that we are committed to helping both food premises and their customers, ensuring that Leeds’ reputation as a great place to eat out is maintained.”

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

Council's concern over union use of dirty tactics to win strike support

At least one of the unions involved in industrial action against Leeds City Council is resorting to dirty tactics in order to try and win support for the case for a strike.

After just one day of action, the council is concerned that evidence is emerging of deliberate intimidation, lies and misinformation.

Residents have reported being obstructed from accessing one of the household waste sort sites as pickets blocked the entrance as they dropped off their recycling.

Yesterday (7 September), as many as 20 people arriving for work at Knowsthorpe Lane depot had their cars surrounded by striking colleagues.

Many reported that they felt intimidated enough not to cross the picket line.

This is in direct contravention to picketing rules which say there should be a maximum of six people in attendance.

Refuse vehicles leaving the depot were also surrounded when the entrance road was blocked for a time and staff inside verbally abused.

Today the opening of the Stanley Road house waste sort site was disrupted due to vandalism as the site locks had been superglued.

Overnight there has also been an attack on a car belonging to a member of staff who works for the street scene team. The vehicle – which was parked outside the worker’s home – had all four tyres slashed. The incident has been reported to the police for investigation.

Union lies are also circulating about a ‘pay rise’ of more than six per cent that city councillors supposedly ‘awarded themselves’.

There is no truth in this claim.  Councillors do not get paid – they are given an allowance for the work they do.  This rose by just point-three of one per cent in March this year in line with a national pay offer for council staff.

It also appears union members are being misinformed about the offer that the council has made which would potentially resolve this pay dispute. However the unions chose to walk away from the table and disregarded this potential resolution.

Councillor Richard Brett, Leeds City Council leader, said:

“The behaviour of the unions is totally unacceptable.

“At the very least they owe their members a duty of care and a full explanation of the facts – especially around the substantial offer that the council has made.

“We already know that the unions have failed to get enough support for all out strike action, so it is perhaps no surprise they have resorted to dirty tactics.

“Spreading lies will do their cause nothing but harm.

“The council want to keep talking about solving this dispute but the unions seem to be making mischief and ignoring possibilities of discussing a potential solution.”



Posted via web from Leeds City Council

Leeds gets ready for fantastic Fantasia

Caption: Kirkstall Abbey provides the perfect backdrop for Fantasia

The grounds of historic Kirkstall Abbey will be echoing to the sounds of classical music and fireworks this weekend as Classical Fantasia takes place.

The free open-air concert which is one of the most popular events of the year due to its fantasy-inspired music, stunning fireworks and breathtaking setting takes place from 8pm on Saturday 12th September.

All 9,000 tickets have again been snapped up for the event, which is organised by Leeds City Council and is now in its 14th year. The music will be provided by the Northern Ballet Theatre orchestra, with the specially-lit ruins of the 12th century Kirkstall Abbey providing the perfect backdrop to the performance.

Classical Fantasia has also become famous for its spectacular fireworks, which signal both the end of the first half and then the main display which accompanies the electrifying finale of the evening.

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

”Classical Fantasia is a very special free event and is hugely popular every year. The setting is wonderful, the music is fantastic and the fireworks are spectacular so it all adds up to a great evening’s entertainment and a really unique and magical atmosphere.”

For further information visit www.leeds.gov.uk or call Leeds City Council’s Events Team on 0113 395 0891.

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

Residents to keep on walking thanks to committee’s footpath grant

Residents’ woes over a broken footpath have been smoothed over thanks to a £3,000 repair grant.

The footpath between Wide Lane and Magpie Lane in Morley was identified through consultation with local ward councillors about environmental problem ‘hotspots’ in the area.

It was known to being in an extremely poor condition, regularly overgrown and muddy.

The council’s Public Rights of Way officers proposed that the path should be resurfaced and back in March, Leeds City Council’s Outer South Area Committee approved £3,162 of capital funding to the footpath.

The work saw the current path scraped and replaced with limestone flags.

Councillor Terry Grayshon, chairman of the Outer South Area Committee, said:
“"I am pleased that the Area Committee has been able to fund the required work, the footpath is well used by the local community and a number of residents have requested that work be carried out to make the footpath more user friendly.
“Once again the Area Committee has listened to the local residents has delivered another community led project.”

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

Education Leeds begins links with Swedish schools

Leeds schools are to join forces with their Swedish counterparts as part of a unique learning partnership established by Education Leeds.

The project will create links with a range of partners in both regions and includes four Leeds schools - John Smeaton Community College, Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, Temple Moor High School Science College and East SILC John Jamieson - which will be partnered with five schools in Stockholm.

The partnership will use the latest ICT to give pupils a real time experience of lessons and life in their partner schools - without having to leave their classroom.

The project has received €45,000 of funding from the European Union’s 'Comenius Regio' strand of the ‘Lifelong Learning’ programme which supports cooperation and exchange of good practice between education authorities, schools and other local partners in different European countries.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member responsible for learning, said:
“It’s important that children and young people have an international dimension to their education. The partnership will help schools in both cities learn about life in a different country and allow Leeds to showcase the fantastic work which is taking place here.

“Leeds and Stockholm are in regular contact and the partnership is another example of the city’s international exchange of information to ensure that we are benefiting from the best ways of working from around the world.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“This is a brilliant opportunity for schools in Leeds to develop international links with schools in Sweden. The state-of-the-art ICT will link the schools and allow the young people to learn together and experience new ways of teaching while expanding their knowledge of life in a different country.

“It is an exciting project which will bring huge benefits to the schools involved and will add to the increasing international dimension to the curriculum that schools in Leeds have.”

Kristina Björkegren Linder, education specialist at the Stockholm Education Administration, said:
"The participating Stockholm schools are really excited about being part of this project. It gives our teachers a great opportunity to share best practice and our pupils an insight into different ways of learning.

“The aims and objectives of this joint international project also syncs brilliantly with Stockholm’s prioritised areas of international relations, entrepreneurial learning and the use of ICT."

The partnership has been established to provide lifelong learning opportunities for the schools involved with a focus on sustainability, culture and personalised learning.

The full list of partners includes: Education Leeds, John Smeaton Community College, Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, Temple Moor High School Science College, East SILC – John Jamieson; Cape UK; The Stockholm Education Administration; Hässelbygårdsskolan (school), Bagarmossen/Brotorp (school), Rödabergsskolan (school), Tullgårdsskolan (school), Lillholm Ekholmskollan (school), Stockholm School of the Arts (partner).

The partnership with schools in Stockholm is one of three projects which have been funded by European Union grants successfully applied for by Education Leeds with the help of Leeds City Council's international relations office. The combined value of the funding totals €134,500 over two years.


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