Monday, 5 October 2009

Combating isolation in older age in Leeds

A new and updated version of an information pack to help services tackling the isolation felt by some older people is being published in Leeds this week.

‘Older people and social isolation: a resource pack (3rd ed)’ is aimed at all professionals working with older people in Leeds, including social workers, GPs, nurses, organisers of luncheon clubs, leisure activities and social events for older people.

The pack provides simple, practical advice and training on how the thousands of older Leeds people who live daily with loneliness, depression and loss of purpose can be helped back into mainstream society. It has been produced by Leeds Older People’s Forum, together with Leeds City Council, Older Better and NHS Leeds.

Despite huge efforts made by social care services in Leeds, there are still some older people who have little human contact in their daily lives and this pack is intended to help professionals reach out to them.

Councillor Peter Harrand, Leeds City Council’s Executive Board member for Adult Social Care and Older People’s Champion, said:
“We do not accept that increasing loneliness must be a natural part of the ageing process, as families grow up and move away and friends become fewer and fewer. However, for too many older people this is the reality of their lives.

“Here in Leeds, we are fortunate in having a huge range of organisations and services that help older people, but we are committed to do even more to reach out to those who have become isolated from their family, friends and communities.”

The resource pack shows organisations how to identify behaviour that displays isolation or loneliness and examines in detail issues of depression and mental ill-health in older people. It goes on to explain how people can be helped to maintain a healthy and active life and gain access to the wealth of services available in Leeds, including befriending projects, bereavement counselling, benefits, financial management and high-tech equipment that can make life easier for people in their own homes.

There are sections that deal with specific groups of older people such as those from minority communities, people with sensory impairment and people who are living in care homes.

A further section deals with the isolation that can be brought about by being a carer – and many older people are themselves carers of other older people or adult children who may be disabled. Lastly, there is sound advice for people who work with disadvantaged or lonely people, who can themselves become distressed when attempts to help isolated people prove difficult.

Councillor Harrand continued:
“This resource pack is a goldmine of practical, down-to-earth information on how to tackle a problem that is widespread, but largely unseen.

“We all deserve to have a life worth living and I believe the advice available here will help support groups all over Leeds reach out to older people whose lives have lost their purpose – and help them back to fulfilment, companionship and confidence.”

Notes for editors:
• Leeds has a total population of 750,000. Of these, nearly 143,000 (20%) are aged 60 or over.
• Most older people in Leeds live with at least one other person, but this changes as people age. 59% of women in West Yorkshire in their eighties live alone.
• 4139 older people in Leeds (about 3% of the total) live in residential or nursing homes.
• The resource pack is only available to professionals and further information can be obtained from Leeds Older People’s Forum. All the information in the pack can be found on the website:


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

Award for dementia worker who went the extra mile

CAPTION: Precious memories. Clifford Rowlands (left) and Stephen Parker (right) look at photographs from the wedding of Clifford's daughter, which he was helped to attend by Stephen.

A council worker who made it possible for a father with dementia to attend his daughter’s wedding and give her away has been recognised for his dedication and compassion.

Stephen Parker, who works at The Green dementia resource and day centre in Seacroft has received an excellence award from Leeds City Council.

Earlier this year, Stephen spent his day off with Clifford Rowlands, 69, one of the centre users. Clifford was concerned that his dementia might make him unable to attend his daughter’s wedding and give her away.

He arrived at the man’s house early and took charge of getting him ready while mother and bride prepared for the ceremony.

Stephen then travelled with the bride and her father in the car and helped by prompting him with his lines throughout the wedding - and thus the proud father was able to give his daughter away as he wished.

Steve stayed with Clifford throughout the reception and later stayed with him at home until the family returned later that night.

Councillor Peter Harrand, executive board member for adult health and social care said:
“Inspiring stories like Stephen’s sum up the personal and professional dedication to service users shown by our social care staff at all levels. He thoroughly deserves this award.”

Stephen Parker said:
“I have cared for Clifford for several years, and felt privileged to help him on this special occasion. To see him give his daughter away was an emotional experience for me.”

Clifford Rowlands said:
“I really wanted to be able to give my daughter away, but was worried I might not be able to because of my condition. Stephen’s help made that all possible.”


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

Further talks agreed by unions and Leeds City Council

This statement is being jointly issued by Unison, the GMB and Leeds City Council.

Two trades unions and Leeds City Council have agreed to meet again for further talks to try and resolve industrial action, which is currently affecting refuse collection and street cleaning services across Leeds.

This morning’s discussions lasted over four hours.

All three sides have agreed to continue their negotiations tomorrow.

Notes to Editors

Neither Leeds City Council, the GMB or Unison will putting anyone up for interview at this stage

Posted via web from Leeds City Council

Lord Mayor launches Christmas appeal for troops in Afghanistan

The Lord Mayor of Leeds will launch an appeal this week to encourage people to donate items to make up care parcels for members of the Yorkshire Regiment serving in Afghanistan.

Members of the regiment are currently deployed in Afghanistan and will remain there over the Christmas period. A parcel containing edible treats and toiletries can make a real difference to a soldier serving his country thousands of miles away from home, especially at this time of year.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Media are invited to the launch of the Christmas Appeal for the Yorkshire Regiment at the White Rose Shopping Centre on Tuesday, 6 October at 11am. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, and Major Simon Routh of the Yorkshire Regiment will launch the appeal and be available for photographs and comments.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott said:
“This appeal is a great opportunity for people to show their support for the soldiers of the Yorkshire Regiment, who will be on duty in Afghanistan over the Christmas period.

“Care parcels provide a little bit of home comfort for the soldiers, who put their lives on the line on a daily basis in very difficult circumstances, and can be a real boost to morale. I hope lots of people will recognise this need and donate goods so that we can spread a bit of Christmas cheer, and remind our soldiers of the support they have back home.”

Additional info
Donations should be of non-perishable food items (excluding chocolate), toiletries, books, puzzles, underwear and messages of support. They can be dropped off at any of the council’s one stop centres. Volunteers will pack the items up for collection by the Yorkshire Regiment.

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

Switching off the engine can help you breath easy

Bus and taxi drivers are being enlisted in the fight for cleaner air by being asked to switch their engines off when they’re stationary.

As part of Leeds City Council’s efforts to improve air quality throughout the city, bus, taxi and fleet drivers are being asked to switch off their vehicles’ engines when parked – especially when waiting or loading.

Switching off idling engines helps to reduce air pollution but also saves businesses money in these economically turbulent times by making dramatic improvements to fuel consumption. The council is doing its bit by encouraging its own fleet drivers to do the same.

Air pollution can seriously affect the health of many people – particularly those with breathing difficulties. Switching off an engine can prevent high levels of pollutants where vehicles are parked and reduce background levels that exist across the city when pollution from many different sources are mixed together. And less fuel use reduces a vehicle’s ‘carbon footprint’ and in a very small way can help to tackle climate change.

While vehicles make much less noise than they used to, they are even quieter with the engine switched off – another benefit to the environment.

But the biggest difference they may notice is the saving on fuel costs, which at the moment can help businesses fighting to reduce costs during the recession.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“Poor air quality affects us all, but there are simple things people can do to help – turning off idling engines is just one of them.
“Because of the nature of their work, taxi and bus drivers can end up waiting with their vehicles running and we’re asking them to get into the habit of turning their engines off – saving them money, improving air quality and helping to protect the environment.”

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

‘eBay in reverse’ saves thousands for council housing organisation

An innovative new online approach to securing contracts has saved thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

East North East Homes Leeds has made savings of well over £60,000 by using eAuctions – which are essentially electronic auctions in reverse.

ENEHL – one of the three organisations that manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council – has made savings of between 13% and 20% by using the system.

Developed with electronic procurement company Ariba, the system works like online auction site eBay – but in reverse. Companies submit bids for business and try to achieve the most competitive price to win the contract.

eAuctions have the added value of being simple to use, reducing the paper trail and driving the principle of value for money across the organisation.

This new way of working opens the door for ENEHL to undertake pre-approved contractor procurement events that will give ‘real time’ feedback to suppliers on their bids and allows for quick decisions to be made.

Steve Hunt, chief executive of East North East Homes Leeds, said:
"Ensuring we get value for money from public funds is at the heart of all of our procurement activities.
“eAuctions help us deliver significant savings that can then be put to work in delivering services for residents and the community.
“As a public sector body, ENEHL constantly tries to find better and cheaper ways to work – something that has become especially relevant in the current recession.”

Notes to Editors
About eAuctions:

• An eAuction is effectively an electronic auction in reverse. Suppliers take part and compete against each other to place increasingly lower bids representing the amount they would be prepared to accept in payment for the contract. This is how ‘reverse' auctions differ from traditional auctions in which buyers compete with one another on how much they are prepared to pay.
• The suppliers taking part are able to see the value of the latest bids as they appear onscreen, but do not know how many other companies they are competing against or their identities.
• The bidding starts as soon as the eAuction is declared open, and after the allotted time, the deadline can be extended as the participants continue to big against each other. The eAuction concludes when the lowest price has been achieved and the winning supplier is identified.

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