Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Leeds City Museum ready to go green

The award-winning Leeds City Museum officially goes ‘green’ this week with the launch of a new exhibition looking at environmental issues in the city.

Running from Saturday 16th January through to the end of the year, the free exhibition entitled “A Greener City” will see a collection of short films which celebrate green spaces and environmental initiatives in Leeds being shown on the big screens in the museum’s central Leeds Arena.

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Media are invited to Leeds City Museum at 6pm on Friday 15th January to see the launch of 'A Greener City' and speak to the team who carried out the project.

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Created by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Yorkshire Film Archive, the films on show range from an interfaith group tidying and planting flowers in Charlie Cake Park in Armley, and allotment holders working on their plots at Clarkes Field in Beeston to healthy living in a hostel for homeless men in the city centre and a day at Skelton Grange Environment Centre in Stourton.

In addition to the films, there will also be on display memorabilia from the biggest annual event of the year in Leeds, the Leeds Festival held at Bramham Park in Wetherby each year, as well as entries from the schools competition ‘Your Climate Your Call’ run in Leeds which looked at the issue of climate change.

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

“With the extreme weather we have just experienced the issue of the environment and climate change is once again at the forefront so this is the perfect time to launch this new exhibition in our museum.

“Hopefully visitors to the museum will stop and watch the films and look at the exhibition and think about what they can do to be a bit more environmentally-friendly.”

Entry to Leeds City Museum is free and ‘A Greener City’ will run until December 2010. The exhibition has been organised by Leeds City Council and Yorkshire Film Archive with support from Renaissance Yorkshire.

For further information contact Community History Curator Gabrielle Hamilton on 0113 214 1559 or email Gabrielle.hamilton@leeds.gov.uk. For further information on Leeds City Museum, visit the website at www.leeds.gov.uk/cityMuseum.

Notes to editors:

Since opening in September 2008, Leeds City Museum off Millennium Square has attracted over 325,000 visitors and won four major awards including the highly-coveted Reader’s Award for Best Museum of the Year at the National Museums and Heritage Awards for Excellence in 2009.

ENDS

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

Fairtrade grants scheme

Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual nationwide initiative to raise awareness of fair trade, will take place between 22 February and 7 March 2010.

A wide range of events and activities take place throughout the UK in schools, community centres, churches, markets, supermarkets, café’s and restaurants. Leeds achieved Fairtrade City status in March 2004 and actively promotes Fairtrade by encouraging activities throughout the year.

Leeds City Council is keen to encourage organisations to run events and activities to promote fair trade during the fortnight and are launching a small grants scheme of up to £250 per group. Priority will be given to projects that introduce people to Fairtrade for the first time or that involve people from communities/groups that are less engaged in Fairtrade.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for international relations said:
“Residents in Leeds are already very supportive of Fairtrade, and the events that will take place during this fortnight will help spread the word to even more people and show how easy it is to make a difference in the world today.”

All sorts of different kinds of activities can be funded. Groups can get ideas by looking at www.fairtrade.org.uk/thebigswap/the_big_swap_needs_you.aspx. Suggestions include:
• Unusual events that will attract plenty of attention
• Events that highlight trade justice issues
• Activities and events that promote Fairtrade products (tea, coffee, sugar) as well as newer items such as clothing, flowers, honey or sweets etc

The Fairtrade grants scheme is a council initiative and, with 2010 being the Leeds Year of Volunteering, groups that use volunteers to promote Fairtrade, or that use the fortnight to recruit more volunteers, are particularly welcome.

The grants programme is being managed by the Leeds Community Foundation and the deadline for the receipt of applications is 5pm on Friday 15 January. For details of how to apply please go to: www.leedscommunityfoundation.org.uk and go to the grant-making page.

ENDS
For further information please contact
Leeds Community Foundation, 51a St Paul’s Street, Leeds LS1 2TE
Tel: (0113) 242 2426 email: carlos@leedscommunityfoundation.org.uk

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

Have your say on Victoria Park West SILC classroom relocation

Education Leeds is gathering public opinion on proposals to move classes at a community special school from west to south Leeds.

Education Leeds has proposed to move the West SILC (Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre) Victoria Park centre’s modular classrooms from Farnley Park Maths and Computing College to Bruntcliffe School in Morley.

The Farnley Park base has always been a temporary arrangement and the units now have to move in summer 2010 when work begins on a major refurbishment of the school through the city’s award-winning Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

The BSF programme will deliver first-class provision for children and young people with special educational needs in west Leeds. Farnley Park will include a state-of-the-art high care partnership base for up to 30 young people to go with similar facilities being developed at Priesthorpe Specialist Sports College.

Not all facilities at Priesthorpe will be available when building work starts at Farnley Park, so Education Leeds and the West SILC have worked together on the proposal to keep the Victoria Park community together. This would offer young people the opportunity to stay with their classmates, with familiar staff in their existing buildings.

Bruntcliffe is just 2.6 miles away from Farnley Park, the closest nearby secondary school which can accommodate the buildings.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“Bruntcliffe School has an excellent inclusive and supportive way of working with young people. I would encourage all parents and carers to respond to this consultation to ensure they make their views known.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Our specialist provision for children with special educational needs in Leeds is highly regarded locally, regionally and nationally and it’s vital that the outstanding work we are doing with these very special children and young people continues.

“Informal discussions have taken place between the West SILC and Education Leeds and the needs of the young people assessed. The relocation will ensure the brilliant staff at the SILC – which helped it achieve good Ofsted reports in 2006 and 2009 – stays together and everyone will be able to look forward to fantastic facilities when the new buildings are complete.”

If given the go-ahead, the move will take place over the summer holidays to minimise disruption and the children and young people will start the new term at the new site from September 2010.

The consultation began this month and the results will go to Leeds City Council’s executive board in March 2010. Education Leeds is also holding pubic meetings where people can find out more and ask questions about the proposals, the details of which are: Tuesday 19 January; West SILC Milestone site, 4 Town Street, Stanningley, 6.30pm; Tuesday 26 January; Bruntcliffe High School, Bruntcliffe Lane, Morley, 6.30pm.

A booklet with details of the proposal and how to comment has been distributed in local libraries, relevant schools, ward members and other interested parties.

Copies are also available on the Education Leeds website at www.educationleeds.co.uk/schoolorganisation.

ENDS

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

Empty house becomes blank canvas for youngsters

An empty house in an inner city neighbourhood, transformed into a blank canvas for budding Damien Hirsts and Picassos of the future, has been nominated for an award.

The work by young people from a Leeds inner-city neighbourhood is now brightening up bin yards in Richmond Hill's streets of back-to-backs – and the scheme has been short-listed for a northern regional accolade.

Richmond Hill has been subject to a police youth dispersal order to combat antisocial activities. But East North East Homes Leeds’ (ENEHL), working in partnership with Space2, Leeds City Council’s Youth Services and The Salvation Army, saw an opportunity to set up a creative distraction to turn bored youths into budding Michelangelos.

The promising artists were provided with a property by ENEHL which, with the help of a professional artist, Kevin Hickson, was transformed into an artist’s den.

Young people were literally given a blank canvas to design and paint themes which best reflected the environment and issues of the area and had a professional artist on hand to provide support and direction in addition to a youth services worker providing advice about education and work opportunities.

Now the scheme has been short-listed for the Northern Region Award by the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS). The Urban Art project has been recognised as the Best Practice in Youth Involvement category. If successful, then ENEHL will go through to the national TPAS awards.

The project caught the imagination of Leeds Rhinos who paid a visit with some players who grew up on the streets of Richmond Hill to help generate support and engage with the young people.

The ‘Urban Art’ work has been displayed on the empty walls in the bin yards between the back-to-back properties to make the place move from eyesore to eye-catching. The bin yards now double up as unique temporary exhibit space with plans to rotate the designs to keep the area fresh and vibrant.

The Awards ceremony will take place in Manchester on February 3.

Angelina Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
"To be short listed for this national award is a fantastic achievement in itself and a tribute to the brilliant work being carried out with young people to channel their creativity into really making a positive mark on their communities.”

Michelle Reid, Chief Executive of TPAS said:
“The impact that the economic downturn has had on the housing market has in turn left its impression on the social economy, construction industry and supply chain as a whole.
“Despite this people from across the social and affordable housing sector have come together and worked harder than ever to deliver some fantastic results. The entry from East North East Homes Leeds is a high quality example of this and exceeded all the criteria we were looking for.”

Short listed Entries:

Best Practice In Community Award

1. re:newparr Residents Partnership - Helena Partnerships
2. North Liverpool Intensive Community Payback Team - Liverpool Mutual Homes
3. Wythenshawe’s Got Talent Competition - Parkway Green Housing Trust
4. Know Your Numbers project - Leigh Garbutt, Inspace Partnerships
5. Tenant Advantage Scheme - Barbara White, Knowsley Housing Trust
6. Respect Our Community Awards - First Choice Homes Oldham

Best Practice in Supporting People Award
1. Independent Living Charter and Peer Assessor Programme - Manchester Supporting People
2. The Parkway Green Adult Work Placement Programme - Parkway Green Housing Trust and Connaught
3. Winter Warmth Campaign - Plus Dane Group
4. Docherty House Art Strategy - Great Places Housing Group
5. WISH Multimedia - Tameside MBC Supporting People
6. Horizons Group - Carr Gomm

Best Practice in Youth Involvement Award
1. Peer Motivator Project - Nashayman
2. Chirton Lodge Intergenerational Partnership - Anchor Trust
3. Urban Art House - East North East Homes Leeds
4. Respect Project - Eastlands Homes
5. Cheetham Junior Green Team - Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust, Northwards Housing,
Arawak Walton and Tung Sing Housing
6. Cheetham In Bloom Film Project - Northwards Housing

Tenant/resident Involvement Offi cer of the Year – Landlord
1. David Pye - Liverpool Mutual Homes
2. Sandy Grundy - Blackpool Coastal Housing
3. Julie Langton - Knowsley Housing Trust
4. Sue Kennaugh - Chester & District Housing Trust
5. Jane Hawthorne - Manchester and District Housing Association
6. Emma Grimes - Coast & Country Housing

Tenant/resident Involvement Officer of the Year – Contractor
1. Brian Gates - Morrison Facilities Services
2. Gill Sweeney - Frank Haslam Milan North East
3. Sarah Harwood - Casey Group
4. Maggie Heap - G & J Seddon
5. Alex Davies - Wates Living Space
6. Lynn Thomas - Rothwell Plumbing Services

Tenant of the Year
1. Sheila Davison - Endeavour Housing Association
2. Sean Garlick - Irwell Valley HA
3. Margaret Guppy - Liverpool Housing Trust
4. Bob Marais- Arena Homes
5. Betty Travis - Helena Partnerships
6. Angela Lindsay - Great Places Housing Group
7. Alycia Billingham, Pat Leigh and Beryl Daykin
-Berneslai Homes Union Street Tenants and Residents Association
8. Chrissie Ince- Stockport Homes
9. Eunice Rowley- Bolton at Home
10. Marjorie Marsden - Wigan & Leigh Housing
11. Terry Mullen - One Vision Housing
12. Linda Ashton - Halton Housing Trust

East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Richmond Hill, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

Space2 is an organisation that works predominantly with young people in the East and North East areas of Leeds using creativity and the arts as a catalyst for positive change. Space2’s remit is to create a focus for arts activities across the community, encourage community involvement and promote opportunities to develop creativity. The arts activities that Space2 organises help to improve self-esteem, raise aspirations and develop new skills. It also offers training opportunities and support to develop local artists and grass roots sports and arts organisations. For further information contact Emma Tregidden or Emma Hopkinson on 0113 200 7077 or visit www.space2.org.uk

The TPAS 2010 Awards ‘Best Practice in Youth Involvement’ category recognises effective projects engaging the young tenants of today and the future tenants of tomorrow, seeking to reward those projects/initiatives that have truly involved young people to make a difference in communities.

The awards were judged by: Jon Warnock, TPAS Head of Consultancy; Debbie Lucas, TPAS Head of Training; Nigel Long, TPAS Head of Policy; Clare Davies, TPAS Support Manager.

Designed to honour and credit the individuals and teams who do so much at ground level and beyond, the awards have been developed to recognise and celebrate the hard work and achievements of social housing providers.

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

Rainbow house paints a bright future for disabled Leeds children

Parents of disabled children were very impressed with a new state-of-the-art children’s unit when the doors to Rainbow House, were opened to families for the very first time.

Leeds City Council and the Leeds Independent Living Accommodation Company (LiLAC) held an open day for parents of disabled children to see how work is progressing on the new short break unit in Armley.

As facilities were revealed for the very first time, parents were given the chance to review the high specification accommodation, which includes 12 individual bedrooms, each with en-suite facilities. The unit has been designed with flexibility in mind and is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Rainbow House will enable children and young adults to gain confidence with short breaks away from their parents, with the aim of preparing them for greater independence in adult life.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive member responsible for Children’s Services said:
“This open day provided parents with a great opportunity to discover what state-of-the-art facilities their children will soon be enjoying at Rainbow House.

“The short breaks service is already well used, providing families with respite from their caring duties, at the same time as giving disabled young people opportunities to take on new experiences and meet new friends. The improved facilities and surroundings offered at Rainbow House will help us expand and help even more children benefit from this important service.”

Throughout the whole project, from the initial planning stages through to the design, layout and choice of facilities the project consortium has worked closely with parents, children and care experts to deliver accommodation tailored to the specialised needs of its residents. The name ‘Rainbow House’ was chosen by one of the children. The level of involvement and input from future residents has even extended to the children selecting furnishings and decoration within the new building and they have also been consulted on which play equipment they would like to see in the garden area.

Rainbow House is a unique development in the high profile £80 million PFI Independent Living Project, as it represents the only facility designed specifically to provide short break care for children and young people. The Independent Living Project sees the council working in partnership with Progress Care Housing Association, Jack Lunn (Properties) Ltd and MJ Gleeson Plc to deliver 75 purpose-built, modern homes across 41 sites in Leeds for individuals with learning difficulties and mental health needs.

Jack Lunn (Construction) Ltd is the design and build contractor responsible for the construction of the properties, including the children’s unit. Powerminster Gleeson Services, part of the M J Gleeson Group plc, will provide the repairs and maintenance service over the 25 year contract period and are also working with the construction partner installing the new electrical installation work. Progress Care Housing Association act as housing management providers for the adult centres within the LiLAC scheme.

The project consortium has already scooped a top national honour for Best Community/User Involvement in the recent Public Private Finance Awards, and it is this ethos of collaboration and engagement that has driven the successful Rainbow House development.

Colin Rossiter, director of LiLAC, added:
“Rainbow House is a very special part of Independent Living Project as it really captures how all stakeholders have worked together in a true spirit of partnership to create a facility that will truly benefit young disabled people allowing them to develop and achieve their full potential”

Stephen Bradbury, managing director for Pudsey-based Jack Lunn (Construction) Ltd who designed and built Rainbow House, added:
“There is a palpable feeling of excitement as we unveil the new building to the parents, whose children will benefit so greatly from the superb range of facilities available at Rainbow House. It’s an extremely special moment to be able to see the realisation of the hard work and contributions made by so many people to the success of this important regional project.”


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

GCSE results get better and better… but there’s still room to improve

Young people across Leeds achieved the most GCSEs the city has ever seen in 2009 while fewer young people left school without any qualifications than ever before.

A total of 67.4 per cent of students achieved five or more A*-C GCSEs – up by five per cent from 2008 – while just 1.9 per cent of pupils left school with no GCSEs, a 0.5 per cent improvement on the previous year.

There was a slight decrease in the number of young people achieving five or more GCSEs including English and maths - 45.9 per cent in 2009 compared to 46.4 per cent in 2008.

Leeds has also seen improvements in the progress pupils have made since leaving primary school. Several schools showed outstanding results in 2009 with Cockburn College of Arts, John Smeaton Community College, Garforth Community College, Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School and the BESD SILC all in the top 25 per cent of schools in England.

Overall, the results highlight the improvements in the city and demonstrate Leeds City Council’s and Education Leeds’ commitment to narrowing the gap between students in the city and the city’s achievements nationally.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning, said:
“Once again, these excellent results highlight the city’s improving standards in education. They demonstrate that young people, no matter which part of Leeds they live in, have the ability and provision to help them go on to achieve great things.

“However, there is still work to do to continue to raise standards and help more young people achieve their full potential. But these latest results are a solid foundation to build on to ensure that education in Leeds continues to go from strength to strength.”

Professor Stephen Parkinson, chair of the Education Leeds board, said:
“Our schools are providing the best education the city has ever seen and our young people are leaving school better equipped than ever before. Education Leeds is working closely with schools which have room to improve and this will ensure that future results are even better. I would like to congratulate everyone who has worked to make these latest achievements possible.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“2009 was a successful year for education in Leeds. More young people than ever before achieved five or more qualifications and less than ever left school with none at all. These are fantastic achievements.

“There is, however, still room to improve and we’ve already taken steps to make this happen. We’ve agreed with the DCSF how we propose to meet the government’s National Challenge to ensure at least 30 per cent of pupils achieve five or more GCSEs in every school in the city. Schools which have not matched previous years’ successes are also being targeted to ensure there are improvements in the future.

“Leeds continues to be one of the most improving cities in the country and we are committed to ensuring this continues. We want the best possible teaching and support available in our schools so all our children are happy, healthy, safe and successful.”

There were a number of outstanding individual school performances across the city. Parklands Girls’ High School saw a 14 per cent increase in the number of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs compared to 2008, while John Smeaton Community College saw an 11 per cent rise and Crawshaw School a 10 per cent improvement.

ENDS

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