Friday, 16 October 2009

Halton Moor youngsters create garden fit for a queen bee


Halton Moor youngsters creating a 'bee friendly' garden

Traditionally young people may turn to youth workers to learn the facts about the birds and the bees, but this summer young people in Halton Moor have just been focusing their attention on the bees…

Over the summer holidays, staff from Leeds City Council’s youth service provided the young people of Halton Moor with a wide range of activities and challenges to keep them busy.

One such project involved a number of youth groups joining forces to learn about the dangers of an ever-decreasing bee population and taking up the challenge of to get their hands dirty to do something about it.

Several youth groups including; The 11 plus project, Duke of Edinburgh, Community Payback and senior youth groups have fought their way through nettles, cleared 12 bags of rubbish, dug out brambles, undertaken research and hunted out the right plants to help create the best environment for bees to thrive. Now they are ready to turn a waste land in to a garden fit for the finest queen bee.

Youth worker Beverly Degnan, said:
“It has been a great way for young people to see that by making only a small positive contribution in their local community, the effects can be massive.”

Councillor Alan Lamb, deputy executive member responsible for youth services said:
“This is a great example of the diverse activities provided by the youth service across the city. These young people have not only undertaken useful research into this issue they’ve also worked together to do something practical about it.”

During their research the groups found that the diversity of bees and of the flowers they pollinate, has declined significantly in Britain over the last 25 years. They discovered, from research led by the University of Leeds, that many bee species are declining or have become extinct in the UK and there is a significant economic value to pollination – about £20 - £50 billion each year worldwide.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Six more play sites to get revamp

The six remaining sites to be revamped to create innovative children’s play areas were announced by Leeds City Council this week.

Executive board members agreed the final six locations to benefit from the £1.1 million ‘Playbuilder’ scheme, at their meeting earlier this week (Wednesday 14 October).

A total of 22 play areas will be created or renovated as part of the scheme, which will focus on providing safe and exciting play spaces for children between eight and 13. The first 16 sites were agreed at the executive board meeting in June.

The project has been funded by the Department for Children, School and Families’ ‘Playbuilder’ programme which was announced last December. Some of the money will be used to create new facilities and some to revamp existing locations.

The ‘Playbuilder’ programme provides the council with an opportunity to provide children with unique and exciting play areas that encourage both imagination and skill. The play areas will also provide spaces for outdoor activity and recreation addressing wider initiatives for regeneration, wellbeing and health.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive member responsible for children’s services, said:
“Outdoor play is such an important part of a child’s life and has a great impact on their future development, so it is vital that we are able to provide good quality, accessible and exciting play areas.”

Councillor John Procter, executive member responsible for leisure services said:
“The Playbuilder project will mean we will soon start to see huge improvements at playgrounds right across the city. Our aim is not to simply build more traditional fixed play equipment; but provide children and young people with innovative, modern facilities.”

The new play areas will provide children with stimulating equipment and landscaping and will be accessible to children with disabilities. All 22 sites will be ready for March 31 2011.

The proposed locations for the new play areas are all within wards which currently do not have good access to play spaces for children, they are:

Cross Flatts Park, Beeston
Seacroft Gardens
Horsforth Hall Park
Naburn Close Park, Whinmoor
Tinshill Garth
Butcher Hill Area, Kirkstall


These projects will only go ahead subject to community support and consultation as well as the adoption of long term maintenance and health and safety requirements. Residents’ views and input from children and young people will help form the design of all the proposed sites, if there is community support.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Consultation on Parklands, Primrose and City of Leeds approved

One of the biggest schools consultations the city has ever seen will be held to discuss the future of three Leeds secondary schools.

Leeds City Council’s executive board gave the go-ahead for the consultation on Wednesday which will allow Education Leeds to publicly discuss the closure of City of Leeds, Primrose High School and Parklands Girls’ High School in order to establish an academy on the Parklands site, a 14-19 hub on the City of Leeds site and an academy on the Primrose site by 2011.

All three schools are included in the government’s National Challenge programme and either require changes to ensure the 30 per cent GCSE target for 2011 is reached or maintained.

Parklands Girls’ High School’s GCSE results exceeded the national target this year but due to a declining roll and difficult financial situation present a challenge for sustaining progress beyond 2011.

City of Leeds and Primrose High School both face major challenges to improve teaching, attendance and behaviour standards and require urgent major changes to meet the target.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“Public opinion is an integral part of the decision making process and no decision will be taken before a full consultation has taken place. We recognise that major changes for the three schools have been proposed and all views will be taken into consideration by the executive board before a decision is made.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“The proposals have been made as we feel they will result in a better education and achievements for young people.

“The consultation will be full, formal and thorough and will provide an opportunity for people to make their feelings known. It is vital that all interested parties take part so that a complete picture is presented to the executive board to consider.”

Details of the consultation are due to go before the council’s executive board in December with a full public consultation taking place in early 2010.

ENDS

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

Statement regarding Thorp Arch deal

Councillor Andrew Carter said:
“We note with some regret that Leeds United felt unable to exercise its option to acquire Thorp Arch before the deadline of 11.59pm yesterday.
“Both parties have worked hard to remove the uncertainties surrounding the deal and only a small number remained outstanding yesterday.
“We concur with the club that given more time these uncertainties could have been removed. Unfortunately, the two parties didn't have that time.
“The negotiations have been conducted professionally, and in a good spirit, and the council, like the club, wishes to thank all of those involved."