Thursday, 24 September 2009

Lawyers help bring home sweet home to 37 disabled people as innovative flats take first residents

Photo caption: L to R: Jennifer Deakin and Kate Gay of DLA Piper, with Vicky Chapman, Project Officer for Leeds City Council, helping new resident, Tony Dowsett, to move into his new home in Wetherby

Thirty-seven people with learning disabilities in Leeds will move into innovative supported living flats and bungalows in Wetherby and Seacroft this week. They are being helped in their move by volunteers from an international legal practice.

As part of Leeds City Council’s city-wide Independent Living Project, 11 people currently living at Templars Croft at Wetherby will move into new flats at Ceres Road and Audby Lane, Wetherby.

Twenty-six people currently living at Bailey's House at Seacroft will move into flats and bungalows at Seacroft Crescent, Bailey's Lane West, and South Parkway, Seacroft.

The remaining residents of Templars Croft, Wetherby, will move into Baileys House, Seacroft, shortly, on a temporary basis. Templars Croft will then be demolished and three bungalows will be built on site ready for them to move back to Wetherby next summer.

The people are being helped to move into their new homes by volunteers from DLA Piper (the legal practice used by Leeds City Council for the Independent Living Project) and the council's Public Private Partnership Unit, alongside adult social care staff.

Steve Johns from DLA Piper commented:
“We have worked with Leeds City Council on a number of projects over recent years, from new schools and street lighting to these wonderful housing facilities.

“Usually our involvement ends when the contracts are signed, so it is great to have the opportunity to come down here, see the end product and meet the people who are going to benefit from these new homes. The fact that we can lend a hand at the same time makes it all the better.”

The specially designed properties will provide supported living for people with learning disablities. For many of them, this is the first time that they have had a home all of their own.

Originally more than 340 people with learning disability or mental health needs lived in 13 hostels throughout the city. Through the Independent Living Project, they are moving to 73 new purpose-built properties on 39 sites around Leeds.

Already 90 people have moved into their new homes. This is the fourth of twelve phases of new accommodation which will be built by June 2011.

Councillor Peter Harrand, Executive Board member for adult health and social care, explained:
“We really appreciate the help of these volunteers, assisting our staff to support 37 people to move into their new accommodation.

“This will be the first time many of them will ever have had their own home.”

The Independent Living Project has been made possible through a 25 year housing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) between Leeds City Council and the Leeds Independent Living Accommodation Company (LiLAC) Consortium.

Notes to editors:
DLA Piper is an international legal practice with over 3,700 lawyers across 67 offices and 29 countries. From its offices across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, legal and business advisers provide a range of services to local, regional and international businesses. For further information about the organisation and services, please visit the website:

For media enquiries please contact:
John Donegan, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 247 4450

Interesting history behind Leeds family

Lotherton Hall continues its 40th year celebrations and opens its doors to the public for a range of exhibitions and tours about the previous owners of Lotherton Hall the Gascoigne family.

Thanks to a £15,000 Heritage Lottery Grant towards community work and events, talking tours and events at the house will continue for the rest of 2009 allowing the public a greater insight into life at Lotherton Hall.

In the 1880’s the Gascoigne family of Lotherton owned over 11,000 acres in West Yorkshire, including the better part of five villages. For the rest of 2009 the public can explore their fine country home and dedicated exhibitions and walk around the extensive grounds to learn about the exciting lives of the Gascoigne family. The public will also be able to explore their own family history with family history expert Jackie Depelle. The family donated Lotherton Hall and estate to the community 40 years ago and 2009 has seen celebrations throughout the year to mark this occasion.

Talking tours about the Gascoignes abroad and stories of their other house, Parlington Hall, will be told on 14th October and 31st October, with a tour about their sports and pastimes taking place on 11th November. The final tour on 9th December will look at the entertaining that happened in Lotherton in the days of Yore. Along with the talking tours there will be chance to research you own family history with Jackie Depelle, on 4th September and 6th November.

The family’s estates included limeworks, all the coal mines at Garforth and a private railway which carried coal, and later passengers to their other house, Parlington Hall.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“Lotherton Hall is a wonderful place steeped in history. The community of Leeds is lucky to have received such a generous gift from the Gascoigne family. The Heritage Lottery fund has really allowed the house to come to life through these events and it allows the public a great insight into a family very much involved in Leeds life.”

Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Yorkshire and the Humber said:

“Lotherton Hall is a fantastic building that deserves to be enjoyed by everyone. HLF is dedicated to supporting projects that open up our heritage for locals and visitors to learn about and enjoy, and telling the stories of the Gascoigne family will provide a new insight into this local treasure.”

For further information about the upcoming workshops and exhibitions visit:

Notes to Editors:

The talking tour about the Gascogine family and their travels will be lead by Antonia Lovelace, with Brian Hull telling the story of Parlington Hall on 31st October. Curator Adam White will lead the Sport and pastimes tour as well as the entertaining in the days of yore tour.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 28,800 projects, allocating over £4.3 billion across the UK. Website:


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