Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Leeds celebrates host city status as part of England’s World Cup bid

Leeds has been announced as a host city at the 2018 FIFA World Cup should England be named as the host country.

The Football Association made the announcement this afternoon (Wednesday) that Leeds will join 11 other cities across the country to stage matches in 2018.

The news was met with cheers and celebrations by Leeds City Council, Marketing Leeds and Leeds United which have worked together to prepare and submit the bid on behalf of the Leeds City Region*.

Leeds will now work with the Football Association and the 11 other successful cities to help ensure England’s bid to FIFA is as strong as possible.

Reacting to the news, Councillor Andrew Carter, the leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“This is fantastic news. Leeds would make an ideal World Cup host city and we are now a step closer to making it a reality.
“A very strong bid was submitted to the FA, outlining why Leeds and the Leeds City Region should be part of the World Cup if England is named as the host country. Our proud football heritage, passion for sport and vision to leave a lasting legacy after the tournament makes us a perfect venue to be a host city for the world’s biggest sporting event.
“Hosting matches would put Leeds firmly on the world map and give a multi-million pound boost to the local economy. I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in preparing and submitting the bid and everyone who has voted and given their support. We will now work closely with the FA to ensure England’s bid to be the 2018 World Cup host is as good as it can possibly be.”

Footballing legends - including Norman Hunter and Peter Lorimer - have supported the bid alongside local school children, poets, touring Thai ladyboys, local knitters and international Olympic delegations to raise awareness of the bid and encourage people to vote for Leeds to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world.

The bid, which was submitted to the FA at Wembley Stadium in November, received support from around the world from former and future World Cup host cities – Dortmund in Germany and Durban in South Africa - as well as Lille in France and Brasov in Romania after both countries’ national teams played group matches in Leeds during Euro 96.

A delegation, led by Councillor Andrew Carter, travelled to London earlier this week for a final one hour presentation to the Football Association on why Leeds’ bid should be successful. The presentation focused on Elland Road, the quality of the city region’s training, hotel and entertainment facilities, the Leeds football pedigree and major events experience.

The host country for 2018 will be announced by FIFA in December 2010.

Notes to editors:
*The Leeds City Region Partnership brings together the eleven local authorities of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council.

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

Council watchdog condemns health bosses over plans to axe dialysis unit

A council watchdog has condemned plans by health managers to scrap plans for a long-awaited renal dialysis services unit at the Leeds General Infirmary.

Following an inquiry, Leeds City Council’s scrutiny board for health says it can find no evidence or justification for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) not to go ahead with the unit and has called on the trust to reinstate the plans immediately.

It had been hoped that St James’ Hospital would become the main centre for renal services with an expanded satellite service delivered from Seacroft Hospital, and a new 10-station unit at the LGI. However in July 2008 the trust announced proposals to axe the LGI unit.

The board has now asked the Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham, to intervene and ensure that the trust honours its previous commitment to provide dialysis facilities at the LGI.

The scrutiny board report outlines a series of failings by the trust over its rationale to revisit its original decision about renal provision at LGI and its initial consultation over the plans. The board was also critical about the quality of evidence provided by the trust and other NHS organisations about renal services in Leeds.

The inquiry report found that plans to re-provide dialysis facilities at LGI go as far back as February 2006. These plans were restated in March 2006 and put forward in a consultation document in May 2006. LTHT raised the proposals once again in December 2006, agreed a business plan to re-provide dialysis facilities at LGI in November 2007 and reiterated its support for the scheme on a number of occasions. Confirmation of the proposals were formally reported to the council’s scrutiny board in March and September 2008. Suggestions of a deviation from the agreed plan were first highlighted in June 2009.

Councillor Mark Dobson, chair of the Leeds City Council scrutiny board for health said:

“We believe that kidney patients have waited long enough for the promised re-provision of dialysis facilities at Leeds General Infirmary and that Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust should cease its prevarication and deliver what has been agreed and promised.

“We are also seeking support from the Secretary of State for Health and asking him to intervene to ensure these facilities are re-provided.”

The inquiry report concludes that there was a ‘serious breakdown in communication’ between the trust, patients and service users and that proper consultation – particularly with the scrutiny board itself – didn’t take place.

It states that the proposals were not driven by ‘changing clinical needs’ as the trust claimed, because service commissioners were not aware of the trust’s proposals until June 2009, well after the development of proposals to axe the planned unit at the LGI.

It says that the trust ‘knowingly presented the scrutiny board with ‘conflicting information about the significance of the replacement of a water treatment plant at St James’ and the impact this had on the proposed LGI unit’ . The trust initially claimed that the replacement of the water treatment plant at St James’ was a higher priority than the 10-station unit at LGI, which saw a substitution of one scheme for the other in the trust’s capital programme. But in November 2009, the trust seemingly back-tracked from this position, stating ‘the two schemes were not linked’.

The scrutiny inquiry also found that there should have been much earlier dialogue between the specialised commissioning group for Yorkshire and Humber and overview and scrutiny committees across the region, and raised concerns that the trust’s proposal was not informed by a wider regional strategy, as had been claimed.

The board report also says that it has been provided with ‘conflicting and misleading information’ on future demand for renal services in Leeds and says that further work is needed to establish the level of demand more accurately.

Concerns are raised about an earlier patient survey, which was found to be severely flawed as it was intended for a different group of dialysis patients and sent to Seacroft patients in error. The results from this survey were then used to support the proposal not to proceed with the planned unit at LGI.

Finally, the report highlights the plight of many patients who have to endure tortuous journey times to access the thrice-weekly life-saving treatment needed, which could be eased by the re-provision of dialysis facilities at the LGI. Information on journey times submitted to the board was described as ‘wholly inaccurate and inappropriate’.

Cllr Dobson added:

“We believe this is further evidence that the quality of information provided to us has been extremely poor and totally unacceptable.

“Local NHS organisations need to recognise that we are not going to just take the information they present to us at face value.

“We are going to challenge and question details presented to us and, if we believe that proposals are not based on robust evidence, we will say so. The people of Leeds deserve high quality health care services and our role is to ensure that any plans presented to us are justified and are in the best interest of the city.”

Based on its findings, the scrutiny board has also called for an independent review of recent events that will focus on the lessons learned and areas for improvement.

Ends

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

Leeds residents told: make it a green, not a white Christmas this year

Spending time with friends and family, eating food, opening presents and Santa.

They are all associated with Christmas, but as the final touches are being put to their festive plans, the residents of Leeds are also being asked to ‘think green’.

Over Christmas and the New Year its thought that across the UK we generate around three million tonnes of waste. This includes Christmas cards, wrapping paper and real Christmas trees – all of which can be recycled in the city.

Leeds City Council has a garden waste collection service for almost 20,000 households in the city, so real Christmas trees can be chopped up (into small pieces) and placed in the brown garden waste bins where available. Alternatively trees can be taken to any of the city’s 11 household waste sort sites which will be open between 9am and 4pm except on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Cardboard, papers, magazines, metal cans and plastic can all be recycled in your green bin. These items together with glass, textiles, wood, garden waste, oil, batteries, old mobile phones and other electrical goods can also be recycled at the household waste sort sites.

Residents can also use recycle banks, often known as bottle or paper banks, which are usually found in the car parks of supermarkets, shops and public houses. A variety of materials can be recycled including glass, paper (newspapers, magazines and books), textiles, cans and plastic bottles. There are over 350 bring sites located in Leeds. Visit www.recyclenow.com and put your postcode in the search box.

Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member with responsibility for environmental services, said:

“When you are unpacking plastic shopping bags, unwrapping presents or taking down cards and the Christmas tree it’s important to make the effort to recycle or re-use as much as you can, rather than throwing it all in the black bin.

“This way, we will see the long-term benefits on the environment and protect it for future generations.”

“We want the amount of household waste recycled in Leeds to be a minimum of 50% by 2020.

“If residents make full use of all the council facilities available for them over the festive season, and throughout the year, this will go a long way to helping the city reach this target.”


Ends

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

Notes to Editors


Bin collection days have been revised to take account of the various public holidays over the next fortnight. Details are below:

Normal collection day and (revised Christmas collection day)

Monday 21 December (Sunday 20 December)
Tuesday 22 December (Monday 21 December)
Wednesday 23 December (Tuesday 22 December)
Thursday 24 December (Wednesday 23 December)
Friday 25 December (Thursday 24 December)
Saturday 26 December (Sunday 27th December)
Monday 28 December - as usual
Tuesday 29 December - as usual
Wednesday 30 December - as usual
Thursday 31st December - as usual
Friday 1 January (Sunday 3 January)
Saturday 2 January - as usual
Monday 4 January - as usual

MediaFish-ing for young talent

Young film enthusiasts get ready for lights cameras and action as MediaFish are on the look out for new budding film enthusiasts for their team.

Winner of the Yorkshire and Humber Award for Making a Difference through Culture, MediaFish is a cooperative of young people that is facilitated by Leeds Young Film to run their own film screening and filmmaking organisation.

In the New Year (w/c Monday11th January) they are looking to recruit new members, aged 15-19 to join the core group, replacing members who have left to go to college and university. Successful applicants will get to work with the organisers of Leeds Young People’s Film Festival to the plan next year’s festival and help to run the MediaFish film club throughout the next year and get involved in other exciting events.

As a new member of MediaFish the successful candidates will be part of the festival Young Jury and help select the winning films, including hosting regular screenings for other young people and organising creative sessions, including international Film Festival visits, workshops and masterclasses.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“Young people involved in the MediaFish scheme are given a brilliant opportunity to gain life skills in an organisation focused around providing entertainment and information to their peers across the city.

“The scheme is an excellent idea and really allows young cinema lovers to enjoy films and workshops for free across Leeds.”

MediaFish member James Pike aged 17, said:
“Before joining MediaFish I didn’t know what I wanted to do and would never have thought of becoming a filmmaker. Now I’m studying Media and have interviewed The Pigeon Detectives, been to CineKid Film Festival in Amsterdam and am making my own short film.”

MediaFish is also supported by Leeds City Council’s Leeds Young People’s Film Festival which takes place again during the Easter holidays, from March 29 – April 9 2010. The 11th edition of the event will offer young people from all over Leeds the chance to see an amazing array of new and unseen films from around the world and get involved in a range of free filmmaking workshops.

Anyone interested in joining or finding out more information should contact Rose McGilp on 0113 2478389 or rose.mcgilp@leeds.gov.uk.

Notes to editors:

Meetings will begin w/c 11th Jan 2010 and will take place at the Leeds Film Academy in the Town Hall

The aim of the MediaFish programme is to create a self-sustaining, young people 'owned' community organisation which can meet the needs of young people across the city by providing a safe place to go and offering stimulating, empowering activities and skills training.

Ends

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