Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Urgent action to protect industrial heritage

Leeds City Council took swift action last week to protect an important part of the city's industrial heritage by making a conservation area in Buslingthorpe.

The council used special powers to designate the conservation area without first going out to public consultation in order to prevent any premature loss of buildings from redevelopment. Work on the preparation of a conservation area management plan will begin soon, which will be subject to public consultation.

The protection covers a group of buildings, which were a key part of the area's past tanning and leatherwork industry, which was once Leeds' second largest industry. In the nineteenth century only London's output was greater.

English Heritage has given its full support to the new conservation area which it says covers an area of arguably national as well as local interest.

The council will now work with the owners of the buildings to secure a prosperous future for this important part of the city.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of the council and executive board member responsible for development said:
“We are fortunate to retain a number of historic industrial buildings in Leeds. The importance of some of these has only been recognised very recently, with Buslingthorpe being the most important one not already covered by a conservation area.

“Following the demolition of two tanneries in recent years, it was clear to us that the unique character of the area could be lost unless urgent action was taken to protect the remaining buildings.

“We now have the opportunity to celebrate Buslingthorpe’s industrial heritage and promote the future evolution of the area.”

Additional info

Buslingthorpe developed as an industrial area between the late 18th and early 20th century. The Meanwood Beck was critical to its development, as is clear from the heavy concentration of industrial buildings which survive along its course. Water was diverted upstream to run along a leat on the north side of the Meanwood valley, creating sufficient energy to run mill machinery.
Three tanneries on adjacent sites, Sheepscar Tannery, Buslingthorpe Tannery and Hill Top Works, are an extremely important group of historic buildings. Together they form an important record of the development of the tanning industry through the 19th century. They are the best surviving group of tannery buildings in Leeds and possibly the whole of England. The survival of fragile and easily-lost architectural features such as louvred ventilation openings are of particular note.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Let’s talk about sex

Picture caption: A new advertising campaign to encourage parents to talk about sex and relationships with their children has been launched this week.

A new campaign is encouraging parents to talk about sex and relationships with their children at a time when teen pregnancies and cases of sexually transmitted infections tend to rise.

The new Talk to Your Teens campaign, organised by the Leeds Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Partnership, will launch on 7 December and run for four weeks. Adverts on buses around the city and on Radio Aire will encourage parents to talk to their teens. For those parents who aren’t sure what to say, or how to start the conversations, there's also a new website they can visit - www.talktoyourteens.com - to get top tips.

Research has shown that the number of teenage pregnancies and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) amongst young people peaks at Christmas. A lot of young people take part in sexual activity, sometimes for the first time, and having a drink or two to celebrate can lead to risky behaviour, such as having unprotected sex, because alcohol lowers inhibitions. This can leave young people with more than just a hangover and regrets the next day – they could be pregnant, or have an STI.

The good news is that there are things parents and carers can do to help their teenagers avoid these situations, and make good decisions for themselves.

Studies have shown that, on average, young people whose parents and carers do talk to them about sex and relationships not only wait longer before having sex than their peers whose parents don’t talk to them, but they also have safer sex when they do start.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive board member responsible for Children’s Services said:
“Many parents find such conversations awkward or embarrassing, but by being open about sex and relationships when children start to become curious about relationships, really help teenagers avoid difficult situations and help them make good decisions for themselves.

“This campaign should remind parents that they can have a massive influence on their children, and that frank conversations about sex and relationships shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable and awkward.”

To help parents and carers talk with their children, here are 12 top tips for approaching conversations:
1. Have everyday conversations, everyday. Talk when you’re doing everyday things, like the washing-up or watching TV, so it’s part of normal life. It’s a much more relaxed, informal approach than sitting your children down for ‘a talk’.
2. Don’t be afraid to laugh. Enjoy it. Laugh with each other – not at each other – if something is funny. It can reduce embarrassment and stress.
3. Use examples. From newspapers to soaps, TV shows to magazines, it is often useful to use everyday media to start conversations with children. Talking about other people or characters often makes the conversation a lot easier and removes embarrassment or tension. This can also help you communicate your own values, as well as helping your children to think through and challenge their own existing beliefs.
4. Find out what they already know. Find out what education your children are getting in school about sex and relationships. They may know more than you think, and the conversations will flow more easily.
5. Ask them what they think. This is a great way of finding out what they already know and what attitudes they’re shaping on the subject. It is important to treat their thoughts and opinions with respect, as it will encourage them to speak with you more openly. Your children may have different values than you when it comes to sex; don’t worry, such differences are part of them growing up. This does not mean that they are at risk or won’t appreciate talking to you.
6. Make sure you know what you’re talking about. Get up to date with your information and terminology before you start talking – it will give you credibility. Try the links at the bottom of this page for more information.

7. Treat your children equally. If you have a son and daughter, try to be consistent in what you tell them. It’s understandable for parents to be protective, but it is important to treat boys and girls equally when approaching the issues. Research shows that only 11% of boys receive information from their parents, and just 6% receive advice from their fathers. Its important for everyone to be involved in the conversations.
8. Start the conversations as early as possible. Don’t think they’re too young to know. One of the many reasons why Holland and Scandinavia have been so successful in having the lowest levels of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the world is because parents in these countries talk more openly to their children about sex and relationships from a young age. For example, with younger children ‘where did you get me’? can be answered by saying ‘you grew in a special place in mummy’s tummy’.
9. Use questions. Ask them questions, and let them ask you too. Answer their questions and don’t be afraid to say: ‘I really don’t know – let’s work it out or look it up together’.
10. Always respond. Make sure you always go back and talk to them if they ask you something, even if you can’t answer straight away. Have a phrase for awkward moments, such as: ‘That’s a good question, but let’s talk about it once we get home’ (then make sure you do!). If you don’t, they may think it’s wrong to talk to you about sex and relationships.
11. Have good conversations. Choose a place where they will feel comfortable and relaxed. Keep what they say confidential, as communication will break down if their trust is broken. And if they say something you find shocking, stay calm and question them further to find out how much they actually know.
12. Tell them where to go to find out more. Direct your children to reliable and alternative sources of information and help, such as www.leedssexualthhealth.com or www.ruthinking.co.uk

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

Helping beggars with change you can believe in

Everyone knows that Christmas is a time for charitable giving, but giving money to a beggar can mean you’re actually helping keep them on the streets.

So there is to be a festive boost for a scheme that deters aggressive begging while also providing people with an easy way to help those who find themselves on the streets.

As the Christmas shopping period gets into full swing, an event will be held at Dortmund Square in Leeds city centre on Thursday 10 December from 5pm to 8pm to raise awareness of Change for the Better.

Change for the Better gives people an alternative way to donate money by instead putting it in collection boxes located throughout Leeds city centre.

In most cases, money given to street beggars goes straight into funding drug or alcohol habits – but by putting that money in Change for the Better collection boxes, people can donate directly to programmes aimed at helping them get off the streets.

At the event on Thursday evening, the public will be able to find out where the boxes are located and also donate to the cause.

The 33 collection boxes installed around the city centre are regularly emptied by Leeds City Council’s City Centre Liaison Officers and the money distributed to homeless charities in Leeds by a voluntary organisation called Leeds Voice. To date more than £6,000 has been raised from the boxes.

Councillor Les Carter, chair of Safer Leeds and Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety, said:
"I understand, especially at Christmas, the desire to give money directly to people who are begging on the street. However people should be aware that much of this money is then used to buy drugs or alcohol.
“I think it's vital that people use the Change for the Better collection boxes, where they can be certain that the money goes to helping homeless charities in Leeds.
"Some begging can only be described as aggressive, making people feel uncomfortable and adding to the fear of crime.
“If people are confronted in this way they should inform the police. In the past we have issued a small number of ASBOs to stop this behaviour."

A MORI public opinion poll conducted in Leeds in 2004 showed that 60% of people thought that begging was either a fairly big or very big problem in Leeds (this compares to a national average of 23%). 82% of people had witnessed people begging in the city centre and 26% said that that they came into the city centre less often because of begging and other types of anti social behaviour in the city centre.

Payment can also be made by cheque direct to Leeds Voice, Suite 56, Concourse House, Dewsbury Road, Leeds 11.

• The scheme is run by, Safer Leeds – the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tackling drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 224 3937
e-mail michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Youngsters’ ideas to be out in bloom

Leeds City Council are running a competition for local schools to design their own flowerbeds based on the city’s environment.

Young people at schools in Leeds have been invited to generate ideas for flowerbeds as part of a Leeds in Bloom competition to encourage awareness of their environment and the horticultural features within it. The winners will have their designs planted out in the city centre next year.
Using paper no larger than A3, entrants can create designs using just Red, Pink, Purple, Orange, Gold, Silver, Shades of Blue, White, Yellow, Salmon, Peach and Cream colours to generate a collage or pattern with thought given to the designs having to be translated into a planting scheme.

Chair of Leeds Floral Initiative Councillor Frank Robinson said:
“This is a fantastic competition for schools to get involved in as it gets young people thinking about their surroundings and putting together their creative ideas. Good luck to all the entrants and I look forward to seeing the winning designs.”

The Leeds in Bloom Design a Flowerbed competition is organised by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service in association with, Leeds Floral Initiative and Evans Property Group Leeds.

The closing date for the competition is Friday 12th February 2010

Notes to editors:

For more information on the competition contact richard.gill@leeds.gov.uk or 0113 2375301.
The three areas where winning designs will be planted are York Street Banking, Park Square Bed 1, Park Square Bed 2.

The competition has three categories of various age groups; 4 - 7 Years 8 - 10 Years 11 – 14 Years.

The Leeds in Bloom Design a Flowerbed competition winners along with having their designplanted out will receive individual prizes & Certificates, and the three winning schools will each receive Parks & Countryside Nursery Gift Vouchers to the value of £300 with all entrants receiving individual certificates.

Leeds entered Yorkshire in Bloom last year as a Large City and was awarded a Gold Medal. As a result Leeds was invited to represent Yorkshire in the National Britain in Bloom competition in 2010. As part of this several competitions with schools are being held such as the flowerbed competition.


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn,
Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285
Email: catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

CORRECTED: Council publishes details of strike costs

This release has been amended to correctly show a saving rather than a cost. Please accept our apologies for this unfortunate error.

An eleven-week long strike, which disrupted refuse collection and street cleaning services in Leeds, has saved tax payers £50,000 so far.

That’s according to figures being published by the authority today.

They reveal that costs had risen to £2.69 million by the end of the 11th week of the industrial action.

The money was spent on hiring private refuse contractors, sending letters to residents, extending the opening hours of the council’s household waste sort sites, bringing in extra security and a loss of expected income.

But the figures also show the council made substantial savings of £2.74m by the end of the walkout.

Striking workers weren’t paid – saving a total of £1.6 million.

Another £214,000 was clawed back by not having to pay overtime to cover for staff who were off sick.

Initially suspending garden waste collections saved £220,000 and postponing the launch of a segregated food waste project has saved a total of £118,000.

Delaying the recruitment of temporary workers until the latter part of the strike saved an additional £278,000 and not having to fuel or maintain the council’s fleet of refuse vehicles until temporary workers were in place spared £307,000.

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

“We’re publishing these figures today because I feel it’s important that we are open and honest about what we’ve had to spend so far.”

“Clearly, we had no choice but to make alternative arrangements – we have a statutory duty to empty the bins and that’s what we tried really hard to do.

“Our first priority had to be minimising health risks to residents.


For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council press office on 0113 395 0393
Email andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk