Friday, 2 October 2009

Building brighter futures for children in Leeds

Picture Caption: Young people celebrate the lauch of the Leeds Children and Young People's Plan with Rosemary Archer

Over a hundred people who work with children and young people across Leeds got together this week to celebrate the launch of a new plan which maps out the future of children’s services for the next five years.

The new Leeds Children and Young People’s Plan, sets out how the council’s Children’s Services department and its partners will work together to build brighter futures for every child and young person in Leeds.

At the heart of the plan is keeping children and young people happy, healthy, safe, successful and free from the effects of poverty. Immediate priorities include improving outcomes for looked after children, reducing absence in schools, and raising the proportion of young people in work or education.

The Children Leeds partnership will continue to shape services to make sure all agencies work together to make a bigger difference.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive board member responsible for Children’s Services said:
“This plan sets out how, over the next five years, we will work together to improve the lives of children and young people across the city.

“We have learnt from our first children and young people’s plan and talked to children, parents, partners and practitioners to help us develop this new blueprint.

“Together we will build a brighter future for every child and young person in Leeds.”

Young people said having places to go and things to do was their number one priority. Over the next five years, Leeds will see an increase in the number of Breeze events and cultural activities, more projects in communities, and more sports-based accredited learning to achieve this goal.

Other longer term ambitions include making sure children and young people are making the right choices, and are kept safe and supported by strong families and communities.

The launch event, held at Leeds Civic Hall, saw children and young people lead guests with a number of games and group tasks including a vigorous exercise workout called ‘wake up, shake up’. A number of young people also spoke about their roles as ambassadors for young people through youth participation groups like the Leeds Youth Council, ROAR (reach out and reconnect) and anti-bullying groups.

Cllr Golton added:
“The launch was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the people who make such a difference to the lives of children and young people in our city and to secure their commitment to continue this dedication into the future.”

This plan brings together and is linked to other important strategies and plans for Leeds, such as the Local Safeguarding Children Board plan, the 14 to 19 plan, the NHS Leeds Strategy, the Education Leeds Strategy, service plans for major providers, local cluster plans for schools and children’s centres, and plans for many voluntary, community and faith sector organisations.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

Leeds City Council and Leeds United edge closer to Thorp Arch deal

Terms have been agreed between Leeds City Council and Leeds United Football Club regarding the future of the club’s Thorp Arch training ground.

Leeds City Council yesterday (Thursday) approved terms which would see the council acquire Thorp Arch from the Manchester-based company Barnaway Ltd and lease the facility back to Leeds United.

Councillor Richard Brett, who chaired the subgroup of councillors which made the decision, said:
“We have settled the main terms of any agreement with Leeds United and look forward to completing our due diligence work so that matters can be concluded as soon as possible.

“This will be a good deal for both council taxpayers and the club. The city will secure ownership of the facility to ensure its availability for training during the Olympics 2012, the two Rugby World Cups in 2013 and 2015, and for the Football World Cup should it come to England in 2018.

“The council has also negotiated an increase in community outreach work with Leeds United. This will all be achieved at no cost to the taxpayer as the annual rent paid by the club will cover the annual cost of the council's borrowings to buy the facility.”

Leeds United will have the option to acquire the freehold of the facility after 14 years when all council debt has been repaid or earlier by negotiation.


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

Have your say in north east Leeds

Three community events in north east Leeds in October will give locals the chance to shape the future of their neighbourhoods.

Organised by the Inner North East Area Committee, the events will be attended by local ward councillors, staff from the council, NHS Leeds, the Police and local Children's Services, together with local community groups. The aims are to find out what local issues are most important to residents, give them a greater voice and make sure that their priorities feature in the actions that are planned for their area.

The ‘Have your say’ events are an opportunity for residents to speak directly to council representatives and local councillors about what their priorities for action are. These could be more activities for young people, community clean-ups, additional local crime reduction work or more support for local community groups. The events will be fun and interactive, with residents using keypads to select their priorities for action in a simple exercise.

The Inner North East Area Committee is made up of ward councillors from the area to represent the views of local residents. The committee agrees an annual area delivery plan, which sets out local actions that will be carried out to make inner north east Leeds a better place to live in. Feedback from the events will directly influence the area delivery plan for next year, so residents who attend will have a huge role in shaping the future of their neighbourhoods and how local budgets will be spent to help do this. The events coincide with the publication of the first ever Community Charter for Inner North East Leeds, which sets out this year's actions as a result of the 'Have your say' events in 2008.

Councillor Matthew Lobley, chair of the Inner North East Area Committee said:
“This is an ideal opportunity for people in the wards of Moortown, Chapel Allerton and Roundhay to help decide which issues they want the council and its partners to focus on in their area. The area committee has an annual budget and the feedback that residents give at these events will help us make the right choices when paying for extra services. The events are also an opportunity to find out more about local services, meet staff and councillors and put forward views about local matters.”

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for neighbourhoods, said:
“The area committees across the city are there to represent the views and opinions of the communities they serve, so it is essential that residents are given the chance to contribute to plans for the coming year.

“These three events will help them do just that, and I hope that local people will take this opportunity to come along and have their say.”

The Chapel Allerton ward event will take place on Monday 5 October at Space@Hillcrest, Cowper Street, Leeds 7 from 4 – 7pm.

The Moortown and Roundhay ward events will both take place on Thursday 22 October at Allerton Grange School (Lidgett Lane entrance). There will be a separate event for each ward as follows:
Moortown event, 4 - 6pm
Roundhay event, 6 - 8pm


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