Monday, 16 November 2009

And the winner is …

Caption: Mayor for a Day 2009 winner, Charlotte Annakin aged 16 from Brigshaw High School and Language College

Caption: The Lord Mayor of Leeds with six Mayor for a Day competition finalists

Young finalists from six Leeds secondary schools met the Lord Mayor of Leeds last week to present their manifestos and hear the result of this year’s Mayor for a Day competition.

The young people were invited to Leeds Civic Hall to meet the other finalists, take a tour of the Lord Mayor’s rooms and the council chamber, and have tea with the Lord Mayor.

Over the past few weeks, students at secondary schools in Leeds have been voting for their favourite of the shortlisted manifestos, which this year was on the theme of equality.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, listened to each student’s manifesto and was given the honour of announcing the winner. The winning manifesto, which got the most votes from students across Leeds, was from Charlotte Annakin, age 16, of Brigshaw High School and Language College.

As part of her prize Charlotte accompanied the Lord Mayor to the switching on of the Leeds Christmas Lights. She will also get to present her manifesto at the full council meeting in January 2010.

Charlotte said:
“I’m thrilled to have won the Mayor for a Day competition and am really looking forward to taking my manifesto to a meeting of full council. I’m planning to study government and politics next year so the experience will be really useful. The thought of speaking in front of 99 councillors is pretty nerve-wracking but exciting as well! I feel strongly about the access issues faced by wheelchair users day in and day out, and hope that some of the ideas in my manifesto will be taken on board.

“It was great fun wearing the mayoral robes and attending the switching on of the Christmas lights - and meeting Pixie Lott and Lorraine Kelly was pretty good too!”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, said:
“I really enjoyed listening to the ideas put forward by these young people in their manifestos. They were all really well thought out and delivered with confidence.

“I was delighted to announce the winner, and it was lovely to have Charlotte accompany me to the event on Thursday. I look forward to welcoming her to the council meeting in January, where I’m sure her ideas will be of interest to many of our members.”

Additional info

The winning manifesto’s slogan is ‘You don’t have to spend a fortune to make a difference’.

Campaign summary
1. Give a voice to people with disabilities and empower them to make changes by listening and acting.
2. Create a wheelchair experience on Briggate so that everyone can understand the problems faced by wheelchair users.
3. Improve access to shops and public buildings with ramps, extra spaces around fixed seating and remote controlled access to parking spaces.

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

Festivities light up Leeds

The Christmas holiday is officially coming to towns around Leeds as they are lit up with Christmas magic as part of the official community switch-ons.

Presented by Leeds City Council with media partners 96.3 Radio Aire, the community light switch-ons will take place across Leeds from 6pm on various dates throughout November and early December and will include a host of local celebrities, entertainment and fireworks, along with 96.3 Radio Aire presenters JK & Joel and Griffo and magic 828’s Glen Pinder appearing at various shows.

The Christmas festivities kick off on Friday 20th November outside Pudsey Leisure Centre with Emmerdale star Chris Chittell (who plays Eric Pollard) making a special appearance along with 96.3 Radio Aire presenter Griffo and Ronnie the Rhino, all helping to turn on the lights.

Wednesday 25th November will see the streets of Yeadon lit up as Coronation Street lass Poppy Jhakra (who plays Mini) turns on the lights at the Town Hall with help from 96.3 Radio Aire presenter Griffo from 6pm.

The spirit of Christmas moves on to Morley on Thursday 26th November with the switch-on taking place outside the Town Hall on Queen Street from 6:00pm. Hollyoaks star Helen Pearson (who plays Frankie Dean) will be joined centre stage by Ronnie the Rhino and Glen Pinder from magic 828.

The next day (Friday 27th November) the festivities move onto Rothwell and Garforth. Commercial Street in Rothwell will be lit up by Helen Pearson with magic 828 presenter Glen Pinder.

The light switch-on in Farsley takes place on Wednesday 2nd December at Andrew Square with special Emmerdale guest Andy Devine (who plays Shadrack Dingle) leading the switch-on, and joined on stage by Ronnie the Rhino and 96.3 Radio Aire presenters JK & Joel.

The final event in Kippax will see the lights turned on by Chris Chittell on Thursday 3rd December outside the co-op, with guests presenters JK & Joel from 96.3 Radio Aire and Ronnie the Rhino helping to bring the final town lights to life.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“The community light switch-ons are a great way for families to celebrate the beginning of the lead up to Christmas. If the success of the main city light switch-on is anything to go by, then all the local towns are in for a real treat.”

A spokesperson for 96.3 Radio Aire said:
“We’re really excited to be part of this event and we’re looking forward to flicking that switch and bringing in Christmas.”

Notes to editors:

Please note that the dates have changed slightly from last year.

All the community light switch-ons start at 6pm.


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn,
Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285

Leeds hosts international Gypsy Roma Traveller History awards

Caption: Pictured is the 'O Baro Dive' poster, a montage of Gypsy Roma and Traveller images, representing the culture, music and some of the important events in the community’s year.

Leeds is to host the international Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month awards ceremony.

The awards ceremony, which was held last year in the House of Lords, will be attended by over 200 guests from across the country and celebrate the achievement of the winners in the national storytelling competition and the international 'O Baro Dive' competition.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to Leeds Civic Hall on Tuesday 17 November 2009 between 12noon and 3pm where the national winners of the Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month storytelling and 'O Baro Dive' competitions will receive their certificates and prizes. Please contact or call 0113 3951577 to arrange attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

The national Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month in June this year saw hundreds of events across Britain celebrating the history of Britain’s most misunderstood and marginalised communities.

As part of the celebrations, children and young people were invited to create a story inspired by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, which could be written, recorded and drawn, but last no longer than five minutes.

A separate international competition entitled ‘O Baro Dive’, meaning ‘the big day’ or ‘celebration’ in Romani, invited children from around the world to describe in no more than 100 words a poster montage of Gypsy Roma and Traveller images, representing the culture, music and some of the important events in the community’s year. Entries were received from across Britain and Europe.

The events were organised by the Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month committee, Education Leeds, the National Association of Teachers of Travellers and other professionals and community members from around the country.

Over a thousand young people entered the competitions and the winners will gather at Leeds Civic Hall between 12 noon and 3pm on Tuesday (17 November), to receive prizes and certificates presented by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Andrew Barker, Taffy Thomas, storyteller laureate, and judges.

There will also be presentations, readings and an opportunity to meet artists, storytellers and musicians from the Gypsy Roma Traveller communities, who will be in Leeds to celebrate the children and young people’s achievements.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:“It’s a privilege for Leeds to host these national and international Gypsy Roma Traveller awards.

“The Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service has been recognised by Ofsted for improving learning and cultural understanding of these communities for more than 25 years.

“These young people, some of who are from the Leeds area, have created some excellent pieces of work and should be proud of their achievements.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We must continue to encourage our children and young people to learn more about Gypsy Roma Traveller cultures while at the same challenging negative stereotypes.

“The work submitted for both competitions are impressive and show the imaginations and attention to detail that young people have.

“It is great that these awards are taking place in Leeds and everyone who has taken part should be proud of their achievements.”

Jess Smith, Scottish Traveller, author and storyteller, who was one of the judges from the communities, said:“Gypsy Traveller Roma people are dedicated to a strong sense of family values and the continuing importance of community spirit. All entrants portrayed this along with varying colourful descriptions of horses, wagons (vardos) singing, music, storytelling and the sense of belonging to a world wide family of lovely people.”

Jake Bowers, English Romani journalist and broadcaster, will be master of ceremonies and the first storyteller laureate, Taffy Thomas, will promote the art of storytelling and the richness of the cultural heritage to which the Gypsy Roma Traveller communities have contributed.


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

Have your say on Gildersome and Richmond Hill school expansion

Residents in Gildersome and Richmond Hill are being asked for their views on the proposed expansion of two local primary schools.

Education Leeds has proposed to expand Gildersome and Richmond Hill primary schools to meet the increased demand for places caused by a rising birth rate and an increase in the number of families moving into both areas.

Plans are in place to extensively refurbish Gildersome primary and any extension to the school will take place at the same time. Richmond Hill primary is to be rebuilt as part of changes to education in the area following the decision earlier this year to close Mount St Mary's Catholic Primary School in July 2010 due to a lack of demand for Catholic places.

Public meetings will take place in both parts of Leeds later this month and local people are being urged to meet with Education Leeds and discover more about the proposals.

The proposals include expanding Gildersome Primary School from one class of children per year to two from September 2011. This means 60 pupils would be admitted into two classes in reception in 2011 and pupil numbers would increase from 210 to 420 children over seven years as the larger year groups move through the school. The expansion has been proposed to accommodate the additional pupils.

The consultation to discuss the proposals runs until Friday 18 December and the public meeting will take place at the school on Monday 23 November at 7pm.

Proposals have been made to expand Richmond Hill Primary School from two classes of children per year to three from September 2012. This means 90 children will join the school in three reception classes in 2012 and the school would reach its capacity over seven years as the larger year groups move through the school. The new school building will be designed to accommodate 630 pupils instead of the planned 420.

The consultation to discuss the proposals runs until Friday 11 December and the public meeting will take place at the school on Thursday 19 November at 6pm.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
"Our commitment to providing an education to every child means, in certain parts of Leeds, we have to expand schools to meet demand.

“The consultation is a way of gathering opinion to ensure the council’s executive board has a complete picture to consider before making a decision.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“With an increased demand for places as a result of high birth rates and families moving to the city, we are planning to reconsider the size of certain schools to ensure every child who might need a primary school place has one close to where they live.

“These additional places, which will be provided in purpose built, permanent classrooms and buildings, will ensure the brilliant education already available at these schools is there for every child who needs it.

"The consultation is an import part of the process and is a chance for parents and carers to discuss our proposals in detail.”

If the proposals proceed, further consultation will take place on the changes to the total number of children the school plans to allow into each year group (the admissions limit) through the normal admissions consultation for 2012.

Comments on the proposals for Gildersome and Richmond Hill primary schools can be submitted in writing to: School Organisation Team, 9th Floor West, Merrion House, Merrion Way, LS2 8DT or by emailing Forms are also available in libraries or at

All views on proposals at both schools will be summarised and presented to Leeds City Council’s executive board on 12 February 2010 which will decide whether to proceed with the proposals or make any changes to them.


Notes to editors:
A similar consultation on the expansion of 17 other primary schools, from September 2010, is currently underway. There is a need, again caused by families moving in to Leeds and a high birth rate in certain parts of the city, to expand these schools for the beginning of the next school year. The plans to expand Gildersome and Richmond Hill will come into effect in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

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

Two landlords hit by £7,000 bill for failing to licence properties

Two landlords have been fined £3,000 and £1,500 for failing to properly licence rented houses they owned.

Leeds Magistrates heard separate cases on Thursday against landlords Tariq Mahmood and Mark Radford, who were both accused of failing to obtain a proper licence to operate Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

Tariq Mahmood of 983 Scott Hall Road, Leeds, was found guilty in his absence and fined £3,000, with £939 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The previous licence holder for a house on Compton Road in Burmantofts notified the council in September last year that Mr Mahmood was now the landlord. Several letters were sent to Mr Mahmood asking him to submit a HMO licence application, but none was received. An application was eventually received on 8th June, but by then the house had been unlicensed for almost ten months.

Mark Radford of Lazencroft Farmhouse, Manston Lane, Cross Gates, pleaded guilty and was fined £1,500, with £1,034 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Radford, who represented himself in court, owned a HMO property on Manor Drive, Headingley, which was found to be unlicensed.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“We have these HMO licenses for a reason – to ensure that these large rented properties are fit for people to live in.
“It is the responsibility of the landlords to apply for these licenses and we will come down hard on anyone who thinks the rules do not apply to them.
“Otherwise it isn’t fair on the vast majority of landlords who do follow the rules and apply for a licence.”

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

Leeds’ BSF project commended at national awards ceremony

Leeds’ Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project has been commended at the annual ceremony celebrating the transformation of education in England.

At the Excellence in BSF National Awards held in London last night (Thursday) Leeds’ BSF project - which has seen £260m invested in education in the city - was highly commended in the Most Effective ICT Partnership award.

Leeds was also nominated in the Most Versatile Learning Environment (Pudsey Grangefield School) and Local Education Partnership of the Year (Leeds LEP).

The commendation follows last year’s success when Leeds picked up two awards at the ceremony claiming first prize in the Innovation in ICT and the Best Operational LEP categories.

The ICT partnership between Education Leeds and RM has seen state-of-the-art equipment included in BSF schools – such as including Sony PSPs and iPods – to engage children and young people in their studies. The partnership has also created innovative ways to improve student involvement, attendance, share good teaching methods and safeguarding as well as developing the ‘Evolve’ programme which provides schools with support to embed new technologies in teaching and learning.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“BSF has helped Leeds transform learning in many of our secondary schools with state-of-the-art buildings and 21st-century facilities. To be commended in the Most Effective ICT Partnership category is a great achievement and I’d like to congratulate an amazing team on their successes so far.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Leeds schools are at the cutting edge of innovation and the ICT partnership with RM has provided state-of-the-art equipment to make learning in our schools even better.

“To have been nominated for three awards this year following last year’s successes shows the high standards we have reached.

“The commendation for the Most Effective ICT Partnership is a brilliant achievement and further, national recognition of the fantastic work being carried out in Leeds.”


Notes to editors:
Leeds BSF schools are brilliant spaces designed for 21st century Learning and teaching, which provide:
 flexible and varied rooms and spaces, offering different environments for different styles of teaching and learning;
 purposefully designed for the curriculum of today and tomorrow;
 unprecedented levels of cutting-edge learning technology;
 bright, open and safe spaces designed with young people, to engage young people;
 fully inclusive facilities, giving every young person access to the learning, support and care they need;
 unique features reflecting the unique ethos of each school and the needs of the local young people, families and wider communities they serve;
 Exciting and innovative environments for highly effective leadership and teaching.

*Leeds BSF is delivered through the Leeds Local Education Partnership (LEP), which brings together Leeds City Council, Education Leeds, the government's Partnership for Schools (through Building Schools for the Future Investment), and the Interserve led consortium Environments 4 Learning (E4L).

Partnerships for Schools (PfS) is the government’s delivery agent for the full suite of capital investment programmes into schools, including Building Schools for the Future. PfS is a 170-strong organisation, with specialist expertise including educationalists, designers, ICT specialists, commercial managers and project management.

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

Green bin collections in Leeds resume after successful recruitment drive

A council recruitment drive has boosted refuse collection services in Leeds and led to recycling bins being emptied for the first time since the strike started.

From today (November 16th) a monthly collection of green bins will take place.

It is because the council now has enough temporary workers in place to send out a full complement of ten recycling crews across the city.

Over 450 people applied for just 50 initial vacancies when the council advertised the jobs at the beginning of the month.  Nearly 20 drivers were successful at interview and 40 bin men (loaders) have been hired. 

The extra workers are providing cover for vacant posts that have built up since the strike began in September and for staff who are off sick from within the council’s refuse collection teams.

The recruitment event was so successful, a list of additional people who want work has been created and nearly 100 names have been added to it so far.

Now that green bin collections have begun again, the council has issued fresh advice to residents.  A letter will be sent to households in the next few days.

It will say:

•    Put your black and/or green bin out on its normal day of collection.

•    If either bin has not been emptied by 8pm on its normal day of collection, leave it out for a further 24 hours.

•    If either bin has still not been emptied after this time, take it back into your garden or yard and put it out on the next scheduled collection day.

•    If either of the bins are full, extra rubbish should be put into bags and put out next to the bin on the next scheduled collection day.

Residents who are unsure about when their next recycling collection day is can use the council’s website to check.  Go to, enter the phrase ‘bin days’ into the search box (top right hand corner) and click the double arrow icon.

In addition to the green bins, a one-off collection of the contents of the city’s brown bins (garden waste) will take place as soon as possible.

Private contractors will continue to collect black bins, working across the city to maintain a regular collection at least once every two weeks.

Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member with responsibility for refuse collection said:

“We’re keen to help people recycle despite the ongoing disruption caused by those on strike.

“The overwhelming response we’ve had to our advert for temporary workers means we’ve been able to start up collections of recycling from homes across Leeds once again.

“We know lots of people have been recycling through our household waste sort sites and now we’re very pleased to be able to improve the service by collecting green bins as well.

“From the collections we made last week, it clear to see people have been carefully storing their recycling materials and contamination is not likely to be a big problem.”


For media enquiries please contact:

Andy Carter, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 395 0393

Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 224 3335

Notes to Editors

The temporary bin loaders are being paid £14,446, which is the new annual salary for workers under the council’s revised pay and grading structure.

Several green bin collections started on Friday 6th November to assess contamination levels across the city.
The council is aiming to provide at least a fortnightly black bin service and a regular green bin service (at least once a month).

Posted via web from Leeds City Council