Thursday, 17 December 2009

Jobs scheme for young people creates first 63 vacancies

Caring for a wardrobe of historical clothes, a photographer's assistant, teaching football to kids and helping market music – just some of the jobs created in and around Leeds thanks to a national multi-million pound scheme to help long-term unemployed young people.

A Leeds City Council-led successful bid to the government’s Future Jobs Fund means that over the next 18 months there will be hundreds of new jobs for long-term unemployed youngsters, many living in some of Leeds’ job ‘black spots’. The scheme has already created 63 vacancies – all to be filled over the next two months.

The Royal Armouries museum, environmental charity Groundwork and educational charity Learning Partnerships, along with the council, are just some of the organisations that have advertised vacancies through Jobcentre Plus thanks to the scheme, which means a ‘guaranteed offer’ of a job to young people aged between 18 and 24 who have been unemployed for almost a year.

It is designed to create real and sustainable jobs – focusing on ‘green’ jobs and those that help the community. The council put in a bid to the government for a £4.7m grant to create 734 new jobs over the next 18 months – under the scheme jobs must be new, must last a minimum of six months and must be of direct benefit to local communities.

It is recognised that jobs are scarce in the current market. It is therefore important that people get transferable skills that will give them a wide range of potential careers. There will be a full package of in-work support including mentoring schemes, training to develop basic and more specialist skills, plus help with CV writing and job search.

Support will be tailored to individual needs to improve people’s chances of staying in employment. Practical assistance will be given in the form of travel passes and funding for clothing and equipment.

The programme will also involve pre-apprenticeship placements with the possibility of entry onto Work4Leeds Apprenticeships and other council vacancies. These and jobs offered through the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust will provide opportunities for young people who might otherwise have difficulty accessing employment within the public sector, particularly in the current climate.

The scheme will be delivered by the council in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, other public sector organisations and community and voluntary organisations in the city.

Where jobs are not sustainable, help to access jobs elsewhere or to consider self-employment will be given. People leaving the programme after six months will gain useful work experience and transferable skills, with some picking up accredited qualifications to significantly improve their employment prospects.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for jobs and skills, said:
“This scheme is already yielding real benefits – and real jobs – for the young people of this city.
“We want to provide real help to people who are worst affected by the recession, but also ensure that those jobs are sustainable and they don’t just go back on benefits when the scheme ends.
“This is very much a step in the right direction and fits into our plans to make sure Leeds is in the ideal position when the economy recovers.
“I hope young people will seize this opportunity to gain a job in these difficult times.”

Gill Farnsworth, Jobcentre Regional Plus Director, said:
”The government is working with partners such as Leeds City Council, as part of the Backing Young Britain campaign, to create thousands of job opportunities for young people.
“It is vital young people get a foot on the career ladder and no one is written off. Nationally so far the number of jobs created is 98,000, and Jobcentre Plus in West Yorkshire, and indeed all over the country, has been working hard to ensure the recruitment process for the Future Jobs Fund vacancies is as smooth as possible.”

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 229 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Weather to drive or not

The onset of winter can bring treacherous road conditions with it, so the council’s road safety team have come up with some tips to help drivers stay safe.

If weather conditions are severe or predicted to be severe, the advice is to only make journeys if they are absolutely essential. Discuss opportunities for working at home with your employer and consider cancelling any meetings or using video conferencing.

If you do need to travel, then allow extra time for your journey and consider taking a shovel, blanket, some food and a flask of hot tea with you.

Ensure all your windows and mirrors are thoroughly demisted and free of ice / snow before you set off.

Ensure your lights, indicators and number plate are clearly visible.

In wet or icy conditions drive as smoothly and gently as possible and allow extra distance between you and the car in front. Ice can increase required braking distances by up to ten times.

For further advice refer to the Highway Code section on driving in adverse conditions.

Councillor Stuart Andrew, lead member for road safety said:
“With snow being forecast and winter well on the way, it’s important that all road users are prepared for adverse conditions.

“Winter weather can be harsh and driving conditions can change quickly with poor visibility, snow and ice being a particular concern.

“We want to remind people of the importance of being prepared when driving this winter and encourage them to take extra care when planning their journeys.”

ENDS
Additional info

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/index.htm?cids=Google_PPC&cre=Highway_Code (link to the online version of the Highway code)
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/ChristmasHolidays/DG_173375 (government advice on winter driving)

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

Better homelessness help means massive drop in people losing their homes

Leeds has seen a massive drop in the number of people being made homeless or having to live in temporary accommodation – despite the recession meaning more people are asking for help.

Leeds City Council’s Leeds Housing Options Service offers advice to people who are homeless, threatened with homelessness or are in housing need.

In September 2008, there was a peak of 412 ‘households’ – including 291 families – being housed in private sector temporary accommodation every night. This has now dropped by 91 per cent to just 35 households – saving the council around £3.1million over the year.

If you wish to speak to any of three case studies enclosed below, please contact Michael Molcher in the Leeds City Council press office on 0113 229 3937 or michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

By focusing on preventing homelessness in the first place, the council has driven down the number of people who have to be housed in private sector temporary accommodation. This is despite a 20 per cent increase in people asking to Leeds Housing Options Service for help – which officials believe may be linked to the ongoing recession.

The key has been staff at the council’s Housing Options Service becoming better at preventing homelessness and also moving people on from temporary accommodation quickly. People are either helped to stay in their home, supported towards alternative private rented housing or referred to other organisations that work to prevent homelessness. This also reduces the pressure on council housing.

The council has long standing services in places such as the Sanctuary scheme, that helps people who have experienced domestic violence or hate crime to stay safely in their homes, and a youth mediation service that helps young people reconcile differences with their parents.

The council also has a private sector lettings scheme to help people access longer term accommodation through the private rented sector. This is of a high standard and often readily available, meaning that people can swiftly resolve their housing difficulties.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“The recession is hitting people hard and we’re seeing a large rise in the numbers asking us for help because they’re either homeless or fear they may soon lose their home.
“As far as we’re concerned it is far more effective, and much better value for money, to try and prevent people becoming homeless rather than waiting until they are.
“This is a huge drop in the number of people who have to be housed in expensive temporary accommodation means that not only are we dealing with homelessness more effectively, but we’re saving money too.”

Case Studies:

Daniel
approached the Leeds Housing Options Service earlier this month after having a relationship breakdown with his partner. He has a history of mental ill health and gambling addiction. Daniel told the staff at the Leeds Housing Options Service that a period of homelessness would exacerbate his mental health and restart his gambling issues. Daniel had also started a new job in December and having no home would have made it difficult to maintain his employment. Council staff were able to help Daniel find a private rented tenancy in Headingley which he moved into on 11 December.

Kim is a single mother-of-one. She had been temporarily taking care of her mother, who was due to move to a smaller home. Kim was assisted by staff at the Leeds Housing Options Service to secure a two-bed private rented property in the Middleton area. Kim is really happy with the quality of the property, especially as it has a large garden for her daughter to play in.

Andre approached the Leeds Housing Options Service in September after losing his job and the accommodation that came with it. He was using the overnight centre at St. George’s Crypt. The Leeds Housing Options Service helped him find a studio flat in a converted 14-bed house in Headingley. The accommodation is of a high standard and is set in an acre of land. Andre is now working as a volunteer at St. George’s Crypt.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 229 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Thousands of Leeds residents recycle to raise cash for Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Over £136,000 has been raised for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance by Leeds residents donating clothes and shoes at recycling sites across Leeds.

The kind donations have also helped Leeds City Council receive a prestigious ‘outstanding partnership’ award for its support of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance – and helped divert around 10,000 tonnes of textiles from ending up in a landfill site.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for recycling said:
“I would like to personally thank all Leeds residents for taking the time to donate these items, their efforts have helped raise an enormous amount of money for an important cause and will help make a real difference to people’s lives.
”If people are using more glass and bottles and jars over Christmas, our message is that they please consider taking it with them to their nearest bottle bank to recycle. And if someone has bought you some new clothes for Christmas then why not recycle your old clothes and take them to one of the yellow Yorkshire Air Ambulance textile banks?”

There are over 50 yellow Yorkshire Air Ambulance clothes recycling banks at household waste sorting sites and other sites across Leeds which help raise money for Oxfam and the Salvation Army.

It is estimated that more than 1 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away every year, with most of this coming from household sources. Textiles make up about 3% by weight of a household bin, yet most textiles made from both natural and man-made fibres can in fact be recycled.
Good quality items can be sold in charity shops and anything left over is sorted and shredded. The reclaimed fibres can be used to make new garments or stuffing for furniture.
Recycling banks for glass, paper, cardboard, cans and textiles can be found at 440 recycling bring sites across Leeds. These include bottle, paper and textile banks and they can be found in places like including supermarkets and pub car parks.

A wider range of materials, including textiles, waste electrical and electronic equipment, can be recycled at 11 household waste sites in Leeds.

People can find their nearest recycling site by visiting www.leeds.gov.uk/recycle or calling the environmental call centre on 0113 222 4406.

Ends
For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Here come the Land Girls




Caption: Lord Mayor of Leeds with former Land Girls


More than 120 former Land Girls were re-united at a civic reception at Leeds Civic Hall last week.

Hosted by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Judith Elliott, in the presence of the Lord-Lieutenant Dr Ingrid Roscoe, the event was an acknowledgement of the huge contribution that local women made during the Second World War. Land Girls were recently formally recognised for their efforts by the department for environment food and rural affairs (DEFRA).

The ladies were treated to a drinks reception and afternoon tea on Thursday, 10 December, and all received a certificate from the Lord Mayor. They were entertained by local choir Mixed Voices, who sang popular wartime songs. Although the ladies were mainly from Leeds, they had worked on the war effort in all parts of the country, so this was a brilliant opportunity for them to meet old friends, make new ones, and exchange stories.

Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott said:
“The Woman’s Land Army was hugely important to Leeds and the whole country during the Second World War.

“The women did a fantastic job and this reception was an opportunity to celebrate their courage and determination.

“It was a real pleasure to extend a civic welcome to local Land Girls, who worked across the length and breadth of the country during the war, and thank them on behalf of the city.”

ENDS

Additional info

A specially designed commemorative badge of honour was awarded to over 30,000 former Land Girls by DEFRA in July 2008.

The Women's Land Army (WLA) was a British civilian organization created during the First and Second World Wars to work in agriculture replacing men called up to the military. Women who worked for the WLA were commonly known as Land Girls.

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

New Garforth Library gearing up for ‘green’ light



Captions: Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Andrew Carter (left), executive member for Leisure Cllr John Procter (centre) and Leeds Libraries Service Delivery Manager Bev Rice (right) at the new-look Garforth Library and One Stop Centre

The finishing touches are almost ready to be applied to the new-look Garforth Library and One Stop Centre ahead of its grand opening in the New Year.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Andrew Carter and executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter paid a visit to the site on Lidgett Lane this week to see how the £1.4m extension and refurbishment project is taking shape.

The new centre will be one of the first of its kind in Leeds when it opens in February, as it is based on a ‘green’ design which features the use of recycled materials and a variety of green technologies such as solar panels for heating water and a ‘living’ sedum roof which will be energy efficient and encourage wildlife.

Work began on the project in January 2009 after the Big Lottery Fund awarded over £1m of funding to extend and refurbish Garforth Library, which first opened in 1968. The redesigned building which will combine the latest library services with those of the nearby ‘one stop centre’ all under the same roof.

The project is being overseen by Leeds City Council’s Library and Information Service and has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Leeds City Council and energy-efficiency organisation Salix.

The new-look building will feature greatly improved accessibility and library services, with a new IT learning suite and meeting room along with a café and dedicated area where customers will be able to meet up and relax in comfort.
There will also be a variety of other council services on offer, enabling customers to find out information about a range of attractions and events as well being able to discuss housing, council tax, social care, environmental services and community safety. In addition, the centre will also contain a registrars office and services for young people.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Andrew Carter said:

“We are all really excited by this project and cannot wait for the new-look library and one stop centre to open early next year. People are sure to be intrigued by the ‘green’ elements, and having seen how it is coming along I am confident everyone who visits is sure to be impressed.”

The building has been redesigned for all members of the community to use, with a steering group made of local people of all ages being involved throughout the project advising on what facilities they would like to see. Focus groups have also been carried out with a variety of local community groups across all age ranges and backgrounds to discover what types of events and activities they would like to see being held in the centre.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“This building has been redesigned with local people heavily involved every step of the way and we are confident that when it opens in February the new library and one stop centre will quickly establish itself at the heart of the community and will be well used by people of all ages.

”The building looks great and is developing well with lots of interesting and exciting features so we look forward to it being open for the people of Garforth to see and make use of.”

Big Lottery Fund Head of Region for the North West Helen Bullough said:

“Libraries sit at the heart of our communities so are ideally placed to host a range of important local services. Garforth Library and One Stop Centre is one of 58 across England that BIG has funded to offer a range of services beyond their traditional role, including employment and financial advice, education and training, all vital to local communities particularly during this period of economic downturn.”

For further information on the new Garforth Library and One Stop Centre go to www.newgarforthlibrary.blogspot.com

For further information on the Big Lottery Fund, visit the website at http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk