Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Work starts on £5 million youth hub for south Leeds

Building work has begun on the multi-million pound next-generation youth centre for south Leeds.

The South Leeds Youth Hub, which is being built on the site of the old Merlyn Rees High School in Belle Isle, will provide a range of exciting activities and helpful services like motorbike and go-kart workshops; a hair and beauty zone; job and careers advice; a music and media studio; health clinics and an allotment garden.

Media Opportunity:
When: Friday 30 October at 1.30pm
Where: The South Leeds Youth Hub, Middleton Road, Belle Isle, Leeds LS10 3JA
Opportunity: Young people, councillors and representatives from contractors Wates Construction will be available for photographs at the site of the new youth hub, which has been cleared ready for construction to start. They will be kitted out with hard hats, high-visibility vests and spades/ other equipment for photography.

Construction firm Wates moved onto site this month to begin the transformation. The project involves some refurbishment of the existing building and construction of an additional two-storey building to create a state of the art youth facility built around a central communal area. This will comprise 11 key zones including creative areas, a café, chill-out area and specialist work zones.

A group of young people from south Leeds will tour the site with Wates on Friday (30 October) to look at the building plans and learn more about the construction schedule for the new hub as work commences.

The centre will look to open 10am – 10pm 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and an around 100 to 150 young people are expected to attend on any day from across the south Leeds area. The centre will be up and running by November 2010 and is being funded by ‘myplace’ - a government scheme run by the Big Lottery Fund.

The 11 zones which make up the South Leeds Youth Hub are:
Music and media (recording, performing, animation, film-making etc)
Performance and dance (big screen cinema, theatre etc)
Chill out and kitchen
Hair and beauty
Outdoor (allotment garden/plaza)
Sport (multi-use games area)
Workshop (pushbike/motorbike/go-kart mechanics and maintenance)
IT and teaching
Talk (counselling, advice, job shops, health clinics etc)
Adult area/ office space

Young people from south Leeds, members of the Leeds Youth Council and Reach Out And Reconnect (ROAR) were involved in the planning and design of the new centre right from the very beginning and were instrumental in putting together the bid to the Big Lottery Fund.

Leeds City Council and Wates will continue working with young people in the local community throughout the development of the hub, working towards a fully-fledged young people’s management group for the centre that will make decisions on everything from the name and logo to the carpets, colour and the actual activities that take place.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive member responsible for youth services said:
“It is great to see work starting on site for what we hope to be the first of many ‘next-generation’ youth centres for Leeds.

“The ongoing input from young people is vital to the success of this project so we really want to encourage young people to let us have their ideas about what they feel will help make the centre great.”

Construction Manager for Wates, Mark Wainhouse said:
“It is always rewarding to be involved in a project that will improve the lives of young people and this new youth hub for south Leeds will do exactly that. We’ve got a brilliant team in place who are eager to get cracking; not only building new facilities, but building solid relationships with the local community to further extend and enhance the positive opportunities we can offer them throughout the course of construction.”

As well as being a great place for young people to take part in activities and meet their friends it will also be a base for supporting vulnerable young people facing challenging relationships, emotions, schoolwork, health issues, drug abuse, career decisions etc. Advice, counselling and guidance in these areas will be a key part of the hub’s services.

The hub is being developed together with a large number of partners from all sectors and areas including education, youth offending and anti-social behaviour, health, youth work, extended services, housing and regeneration, sport, employment and training, volunteering, local business, art and enterprise. Interest and support from any organisation is welcomed.

Notes to editors:
Wates is one of the UK’s largest family-owned construction services and development companies. Established in 1897, it remains privately owned by the Wates Family. Wates employs more than 2,200 people and had a turnover of £1,009 million in 2008.

The company works across a range of sectors, including education, prisons, affordable housing, retail fit out and refurbishment, office interiors, land development and commercial buildings.
For media enquiries regarding Wates, please contact Lisa Margis, Impact Media PR on 0161 236 0008 or email:

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

Leeds in Bloom Design and Grow Challenge for Young People

Caption: Horforth Sunday School Sparklers

Winners in the Tallest sunflower competition received their awards, painting kits and certificates, from the Lord Mayor Councillor Judith Eillott and Chair of Leeds Floral Initiative Councillor Frank Robinson at an award ceremony on Tuesday 27th October at Leeds Civic Hall.

Chair of the Leeds Floral Initiative, Councillor Frank Robinson said:
“Well done everyone raising such fantastic sunflowers despite a difficult summer. ”

The winners are :
Winner Katie Peckham, age 5, LS8, sunflower height 2.79m
Runner-Up Joe Kusinski, age 6,Wetherby, sunflower height 2.62m

9-14 year group
Winner Emily Metcalf-Corrison, age 13, Guiseley, LS20, sunflower height 3.20m
Runner-Up Adam Ashworth, age 11, Garforth, sunflower height 2.77m

Schools and Clubs Group, Sunday School Sparklers,
Horsforth Central Methodist Church, Sunday School, sunflower height 3.26m

For information about getting involved with Leeds in Bloom contact or 0113 2375301.

For media enquiries please contact
Debra Kerr
Learning and Leisure Senior Marketing Officer
Tel: 0113 247 8409
Mobile: 07767 05580