Friday, 19 February 2010

Rainbow House is a ray of sunshine for disabled youngsters

Picture caption "The new Rainbow House short break unit"

Picture caption "Coucillor Stewart Golton executive member for children's services discovers the sensory room at Rainbow House"

Picture caption: "A Rainbow House guest and his sister enjoy the new playground"

Young disabled people and their families enjoyed discovering the fantastic facilities at a new state-of-the-art short breaks unit which opened last week.

As well as a number of families, over 100 invited guests, including senior Leeds city councillors and officers, discovered the welcoming and accessible Rainbow House in Bramley.

The new short breaks facility, which includes 12 individual bedrooms, each with en-suite facilities, was built by the Leeds Independent Living Accommodation Company consortium (LiLAC).

Rainbow House has been designed with flexibility in mind and is fully accessible for wheelchair users. The unit 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.

Billy and Sarah Gillfillan whose daughter Jessica had helped in the consultations about Rainbow House, but sadly died before it opened, were invited to cut the ribbon to officially open the unit.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Everyone who attended this open day was really impressed with how welcoming and accessible the new centre is. The children and families loved the new building, and parents were really impressed with how easily their children adapted to the new environment.

“This is a great example of the type of short breaks facility which will contribute to the Aiming High for disabled children scheme across the city.”

Disabled young people have already begun taking short breaks at the unit and are benefiting from the specially tailored accommodation. The sensory room and ball pool are already proving to be a favourite amongst the guests. Young people are also enjoying the bright and lively playground which has a range of equipment which is fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Already young people who would not have been able to use the old accommodation because of the stairs have been able to benefit from Rainbow house.

Throughout the whole project, the consortium has worked closely with parents, children and care experts to deliver accommodation tailored to the specialised needs of its residents.. Involvement from future residents even included the children selecting furnishings and decoration and helping to choose equipment for the play area. Even the name ‘Rainbow House’ was chosen by one of the children

Stephen Bradbury, Managing Director of Jack Lunn Construction, who designed and built Rainbow House commented:
“We are immensely proud to be involved in the creation of fantastic schemes like Rainbow House, which really help to enhance the lives of disabled residents and their families. The project has been a prime example of collaborative working between all stakeholders involved in the scheme and the opening event is a real cause for celebration within the local community.”

Rainbow House is a unique development in a £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.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

Talk about sex or live with the consequences

A new ad campaign to cut teenage pregnancies and encourage safer sexual health will be seen on buses around Leeds over the next few weeks.

The new ads show young people having everyday conversations about sex and sexual health, and include the messages ‘Sex - it’s worth talking about’ and ‘It’s better to have an embarrassing talk than an embarrassing time’.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage young people to talk more about sex and relationships with their parents as well as their peers.

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

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive board member responsible for Children’s Services said:
“Many young people find talking to their parents about sex and relationships awkward or embarrassing. This campaign should remind them that being open and honest about their thoughts and feelings could help them avoid the life-changing consequences to having unprotected sex

“It should also serve to remind parents that they can have a massive influence on their children, and that frank conversations about sex and relationships can help them avoid difficult situations, and help them make good decisions for themselves.”

The campaign is being funded by the Leeds Teenage Pregnancy Partnership, and can be seen on buses across the city. The campaign will run over the fortnight around Valentine’s Day, which is a time when there is usually a large increase in both teenage pregnancies and STIs.

Young people who want advice on sexual health, pregnancy and contraception can visit the Leeds Sexual Health website at, or contact ‘Citywise’ which is Leeds’ contraceptive and sexual health advice centre on 0113 295 4820.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

Local election results – Hyde Park and Woodhouse by-election

Results have been confirmed in the local elections for Leeds City Council – Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward.

Gerry Harper is Leeds City Council’s newest councillor following his win in the Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward by-election yesterday (Thursday 18 February).

The results were as follows:

Voter turnout was approximately 15%

Taking into account the council’s total 99 seats, the political composition of Leeds City Council is now as follows: Labour 44, Liberal Democrat 23, Conservative 23, Morley Borough Independent 5, Green Party 3, BNP 1.

The by-election was held in Hyde Park and Woodhouse ward following the death of Liberal Democrat councillor Kabeer Hussain in December 2009.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713