Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Welcome to What’s On in Leeds

A brand new guide featuring activities and events for older people is now available in Leeds.

The free guide has been put together by Leeds Older Peoples Forum, supported by Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds, and aims to raise awareness of all the good things that are going on around the city that could be of interest to older people, their communities, friends and families.

The guide can be picked up from local libraries, health centres, museums and community centres and is packed full of topical stories and details of events. Contributions are welcome from the public for future editions, which are expected to be quarterly.

Councillor Peter Harrand, executive board member with responsibility for adult social services said:
"A full and active lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent illness and improve mental health as people get older. This new guide is a great way of letting people know about all of the activities and events taking place across the city that can help them do just that.

“Many older people are very independent and need little or no support in getting out and about, but for those that do this guide will show them all the different things that they can get involved in within their local communities."

ENDS
Additional info

The What’s On Guide will be also be available online at www.opforum.org.uk and www.olderpeopleleeds.info

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

Great progress for Leeds primary schools

Pupils at primary schools in Leeds are making great academic progress according to new figures.

Government figures, called ‘National Indicator’ 93 and 94, show that the percentage of pupils making two levels of progress in English and maths, between the ages of seven and 11 (Key Stage 1 and 2), has increased and is higher than the national average.

Leeds has achieved a six percentage point increase in pupils making two levels of progress in maths. The Leeds figure of 83 per cent is higher than the national average (81 per cent) and that seen in statistical neighbour authorities (81 per cent) - both of which saw an increase of three percentage points from 2008, half the rate of the Leeds increase.

To further boost the results, work to improve the quality of mathematics teaching and subject knowledge is ongoing, the Every Child Counts programme will also be expanded this year, which helps improve maths skills for pupils in Year 2, and will provide the basis for the lowest-attaining pupils to make greater progress beyond Key Stage 1.

In English the result in Leeds of 85 per cent is higher than the national result (82 per cent) and that seen in statistical neighbour authorities (82 per cent). Leeds schools have increased by one percentage point on 2008, whereas the national result has remained static at 82 per cent for 2008 and 2009.

The schools which require most intensive support will continue to receive this, as part of the Improving Schools Programme, through support from a literacy consultant. An additional programme for young children experiencing difficulties with reading is a programme called Every Child a Reader.

Chris Edwards, chief executive at Education Leeds, said:
“These results show once again that our brilliant, inclusive primary schools are giving our children an excellent start in life.”

“Leeds primary schools are performing well and the progress pupils are making between key stage 1 and 2 is very encouraging. However we are not complacent and continually strive for even better results in the future.

“It is great to see that our schools have maintained their strong performance in English and mathematics, and are performing very well compared to other authorities around the country.”

Councillor Richard Harker, executive member for learning, said:
“I’d like to congratulate all the children, their families and school staff for their hard work in achieving a good, solid performance. It’s a real team effort from everyone involved, which they should be pleased with.”

Notes:
• Leeds’ statistical neighbour authorities are: Bolton, Calderdale, Darlington, Derby, Kirklees, North Tyneside, Sheffield, St Helens, Stockton-on-Tees, and Milton Keynes. Statistical neighbours are the model that the DCSF and Ofsted use for comparative purposes at local authority level.
• Key Stage 1 is the stage of the National Curriculum between ages 5 and 7 years. This indicator relates to tests taken by 7 year olds at the end of KS1.
• KS2 is the stage of the National Curriculum between ages 8 and 11 years. This indicator relates to tests taken by and teacher assessments of pupils at the end of KS2.

ENDS

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

New council and university communications partnership

Leeds City Council and Leeds Metropolitan University have teamed up to help public relations students get on the job training, assist with their studies and boost their employment chances once they’ve graduated.

A partnership between the two organisations has been developing for several years which gives students the opportunity to do real work for a real organisation.

It not only benefits the council, it contributes to the student’s learning and can often make a difference to their final grade.

This year, a number of under graduates from Leeds Met’s public relations school have been carrying out various projects to audit different council activities, for instance, investigating issues such as culture and internal communications.

Andy Carter, head of communications said:

“There’s no point in getting students in on work experience only for them to sit there watching what the council’s communications team does.

“Instead, they need to be involved and getting their hands dirty.

“That’s why our work with Leeds Met is so valuable – the council gets something out of it and the students benefit too.”

Shirley Beresford from Leeds Met University said:

“We have had a strong relationship with Leeds City Council for many years with a number of our students being offered the valuable opportunity to do some ‘real’ work.

“We’ve carried out a range of projects – such as communication audits – in a number of council departments.

“Feedback from the work is excellent and I'm delighted that we continue to develop new opportunities for students and Leeds City Council in the future.”

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for communications said:

“These students are potential council communicators of the future and I’m delighted that we’re able to offer them the opportunity to work closely with us.

“Proper ‘on the job’ training is by far the best way of gaining new skills.

“The fact their work has the potential to help us improve our services is a definite bonus.”

One of the latest council and Leeds Met projects is being managed by students Mary O’Shea and Jenny Singh.

They are investigating whether the use of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are effective as communications channels for the council’s libraries service.

The results will be shared with the authority and used to improve the service.

Social networking sites are becoming increasingly popular and are being used by many organisations to support their PR and marketing activities.

Mary and Jenny are keen to collect a range of views and have set up a short online questionnaire which they would be grateful if people would complete.

It can be found by following this link:

http://FreeOnlineSurveys.com/rendersurvey.asp?sid=uwc72o0avc6tkrj707631

ENDS

For more information on the Leeds City Council and Leeds Met University partnership, please contact:

Andy Carter
andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk
0113 395 0393

For more information about the survey and libraries social media audit, please contact Mary O’Shea or Jenny Singh:

k.oshea9322@student.leedsmet.ac.uk
j.singh4292@student.leedsmet.ac.uk

Congestion-busting bus scheme gets go ahead

A major scheme to improve bus journeys along one of the busiest commuter routes in Leeds has been given the go ahead.

The council has been awarded grant funding of almost £20m by the Department of Transport to construct the A65 Quality Bus Corridor. This will deliver big improvements to bus travel along Kirkstall Road, which is used by around 7,500 passengers a day. Preliminary works will start this month with major construction work starting in April. It is expected to take two years to complete.

The scheme will deliver 4km of new bus lanes to both sides of the road, plus cycle lanes and seven new or improved pedestrian crossings together with new bus shelters and real time passenger information displays.

Six bus routes use the corridor serving destinations like the airport, Guiseley, Otley, Bradford and Keighley with up to 28 buses each hour during the day. The improvements should save passengers seven minutes on their journeys to and from the city centre during the morning and evening rush hours.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of the council and executive board member with responsibility for transport said:
“We welcome this funding from the Department of Transport, which will allow us to move forward and build this key scheme after many years of planning.

“Once completed, the bus corridor will reduce congestion and deliver significant improvements to bus travel for the people of north west Leeds.

“Reducing congestion and making public transport a more attractive alternative to using cars will also help us in our bid to lower the city’s CO2 emissions, which is an important part of the council’s commitment to addressing its impact on climate change.”

The council’s delivery partners for the scheme are Metro and the bus operators First West Yorkshire and Transdev who run services on the corridor.

ENDS

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

Local volunteer fair

Local residents and groups will be able to showcase their work and find out more about volunteering at a fair in Tingley later this month.

The fair will include free beauty treatments from Beauty by Julie, and free food and refreshments by the Mother’s Pride Teatime club, along with a guest appearance by Ronnie the Rhino and entertainment by Tingley Brass Band.

Held on Saturday 20 March 10am -2pm at the Tingley Youth and Community Centre on Smithy Lane, the fair will host stalls from the many varied voluntary organisations working in the area. These will include stalls from groups in Ardsley and Robin Hood, Morley and Rothwell areas.

The fair will offer a chance for groups and individuals to obtain information on funding sources available and how to complete an application form to obtain funding from various sources.

Councillor Terry Grayshon, chair of the Leeds City Council outer south Leeds area committee said:
“This is a great opportunity for local residents to come and see the work of local volunteer groups and the excellent work they are involved with. There will be a wide variety of stalls and lots of information about how to get involved with opportunities in their local area..”

All community group stallholders on the day will be entered into a prize draw to win £200 to support their groups activities.

Any community group in the local area who would like to have a free stall to showcase the work of their organisation, should contact Sarah Henderson from Leeds City Council on 0113 2243040 or email sarah.henderson@leeds.gov.uk.


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For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk