Thursday, 25 February 2010

Small grants for Fairtrade

Leeds City Council are once again running their small grants scheme to raise awareness of Fairtrade and international development issues during Fairtrade Fortnight which takes place between 22 February – 7 March.

This year ten groups have been successful in securing a grant, each organising a variety of events across Leeds to raise awareness of Fairtrade in different ways.

Leeds City Council is keen to encourage organisations to run events and activities to promote fair trade during the fortnight. They launched the small grants scheme three years ago that allows financial support of up to £250 per group. Priority was 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 and traditionally considered harder to reach.

Starting on Saturday 27 February Elmet Trefoil Guild will hold a Winter & Fairtrade Celebration Meal for their elderly clients,

The Leeds Oxfam group are also holding taster sessions at the Fairtrade CafĂ© in Bramley on Saturday 27 February with Re’new holding a Fairtrade Frenzy 2nd March for young people. The events will include circuit training, cookery with fair-trade products and food tasting.

Fare’s Fair are holding The Beehive Fairtrade Fair on Saturday 27 February, with stalls selling goods, crafts, jewellery and chocolate and on the same day Richmond Elderley Aid are holding a two course Fairtrade and locally sourced hot lunch to raise money and awareness of Fairtrade.
The Hamara Healthy Living Centre will also be holding a series of promotions, cookery demonstrations and tastings throughout the fortnight.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for international relations said:“Events across the Fairtrade fortnight really highlight how people can make a difference in the world. People across Leeds are always very supportive of Fairtrade and I hope this year we will reach an even wider audience with these events to raise awareness of such a good cause.”

The Fairtrade grants scheme is an initiative of the International Relations department of Leeds City Council. It is also linked to a newly launched initiative which has designated 2010 as being the Year of Volunteering in Leeds. It is hoped that these events will also make the most of the many willing volunteers in the city who believe in and support this cause.

To keep up to date with events and news from across the fortnight visit the dedicated website; or email;

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Leeds pupils’ videos to boost free school meals across the country

Budding film makers from Leeds have produced five short videos which will be shown across the country to promote free school meals.

Pupils from Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School joined forces with Education Leeds to make the five one-minute long videos produced to encourage more eligible children and young people to benefit from free school meals.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to the launch of the free school meal videos at Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, Ellerby Road, LS9 8LA, on Tuesday 2 March 2010 between 2.30pm and 3.15pm. Copies of the films will be available and young people involved in the films will be available for interview. To confirm attendance, please call 0113 3951577 or email
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

Young people from lower income families are often entitled to a free, healthy school meal every day. In Leeds, around 17,500 children and young people are entitled to benefit from a free, healthy hot meal every day but it’s estimated around 8,000 fail to take up the offer.

Recent research, commissioned by Education Leeds, into why many families did not take up their entitlement revealed 17 per cent of pupils felt uncomfortable about free school meals, and 21 per cent of parents did not feel comfortable about claiming free school meals – often based on their own experience at school.

In response, Education Leeds worked with Mount St Mary’s and community television network, The Life Channel, to create the films to promote free school meals and increase the uptake.

The brief was ‘to make taking free school meals normal, and promote the benefits of a healthy school meal’ and the films were written and created by Year 10 Mount St Mary’s pupils who are studying BTEC media studies.

The five films are:
Lonely Weary Guys: Students demonstrate how eating a healthy school meal can improve energy.
Split Screen: Students demonstrate how eating healthy meals can improve concentration.
Funky Fruits: Animated fruit and vegetables talk about why some children and young people ‘feel weird’ about taking free school meals.
Identical People: Animated voice over illustrates how everyone is the same and its ok to be different.
Fly on the Wall: Captures the making of the film, and explains the background to research and shows how the pupils developed and voted each storyboards.

All films are supported by lesson plans for schools which explore pupils’ feelings, relationships, making healthy choices and living in a diverse world.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“Providing free, healthy and nutritious school meals is one of the best investments we can make as it delivers benefit directly to children and young people from lower income families.

“It’s important that those who are eligible for free school meals are taking up the offer. These films are a great way of promoting their importance to pupils and families and I hope it boosts the uptake across the city.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“A healthy, balanced diet is vital and we want every child and young person who is eligible for a free school meal to take it. These brilliant films are just one of the many actions we have taken to raise people’s awareness of free school meals.

“The result will be even more disadvantaged children eating a nutritious and tasty meal every day which will help with their learning, concentration levels and overall emotional health and well being.”

Bernadette King, headteacher at Mount St Mary's, said:
“This was a unique and exciting opportunity for our pupils to lead on an important message that will help children, young people and families across Leeds and the country.

“I’m delighted that Mount St Mary's was asked to take part in this important project and am proud of how our students used their talent and skills to communicate these vital messages so effectively.”

Ben Booth, a Year 10 media student who helped make the films, said:
“This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was tiring but exciting and has given me an insight into what working in the media is like.”

Simon Chappell, senior producer at The Life Channel, said:
“Working with these young people to create the films was a great experience. They approached the task in a direct and fresh way and the workshops helped them develop a range of different media skills. Most importantly, it gave them an opportunity to think through a real and important message which will help to influence the health and wellbeing of thousands of children.”

The Leeds School Meals Strategy – developed by Education Leeds – promotes the benefits of healthy eating in schools and aims to ensure every young person has access to healthy and tasty food in a happy and safe environment. These films are the latest initiative to engage with schools and young people about eating and healthy lifestyles.

At the launch will be the Year 10 pupils, their families, Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, and Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds.

The collaboration with The Life Channel means the films will directly reach children and young people in more than 1,500 schools, colleges and universities across the country – including 40 in Leeds - while raising awareness of the issues with parents and carers in more than 2,300 UK surgeries.

For more information on free school meals, and the Leeds School Meals Strategy, visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577