Monday, 15 March 2010

Energy superhero helps cut community’s fuel bills

Leeds’ very own energy superhero, Thermo, visited Burley residents after helping the community cut their fuel bills.

West North West Homes Leeds, one of the three Arms Length Management Organisation that manages and maintains council homes on behalf of Leeds City Council, has fitted thermal insulation, double glazing and state-of-the-art Rockwool cladding to 70 homes in the Burley area of Leeds

The work has been carried out in partnership with contractors Frank Haslam Milan as part of the government’s Decent Homes regeneration programme.

Frank Haslam Milan and WNWHL invited Burley residents to Queens Wood Social Club to find out exactly how much money they have saved on their fuel bills as a result of the project.

Tenants also received energy saving tips and advice from Thermo, who is part of the council’s Fuelsavers Team, to help them save money during the recession. Residents have since reported a huge improvement in the energy efficiency of their homes.

More work is still to be carried out in Burley with a further 40 properties on the Woodbridge estate in line to receive insulation works.

Cathy Clelland, chair of the West North West Homes Leeds board, said:
“The improvements have not only reduced tenants’ fuel bills at a time when everyone needs to cut back on spending, but have also improved home life for our residents, who have been warm and cosy during one of the coldest winters in decades.”

Notes to editors:
West North West 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.
West North West Homes Leeds covers the areas of Otley, Pool, Bramhope, Guiseley, Yeadon, Cookridge, Rawdon, Holt Park. Tinshill, Horsforth, Kirkstall, Burley, Armley, Bramley, Pudsey, Woodhouse, Wortley, Farnley, and New Farnley.

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937

Leeds on course for 1,750 new affordable homes

For audio of the above interview, please click here.

Leeds is set to outstrip its targets on building affordable homes despite the effects of the recession, new figures shows.

Over the past year, 410 new affordable homes have been provided by Leeds City Council – far above the 300 planned. A further 907 are due to be delivered over the next year.

This means the target of 1,750 new homes by April 2011 is in sight, providing a wide variety of housing for people – from council houses to shared ownership, from affordable homes to buy to housing for older people.

The city’s Strategic Affordable Housing partnership, headed by Leeds City Council, is already bearing fruit. Using 86 acres of council-owned land, the partnership has attracted £25 million in grant funding to provide affordable homes.

The schemes already completed or underway include: 16 flats and homes at Chaucer Gardens in Pudsey, 14 homes at Farrow Road in Armley, 41 properties at Highfield Gardens in Wortley, 132 at Fairfields in Bramley, 43 at Glen Road and Corporation Street in Morley, 20 at Holmsley House in Woodlesford, and 22 flats at Eastliegh Drive in Tingley.

The schemes are also boosting jobs, with a requirement that a minimum of two local residents have to be trainees or apprentices. The contractor than has to make sure that the trainees undertake a programme of training leading to a recognised qualification.

So far 7 people have been successful in applying for either bricklaying or joinery apprenticeships. In addition, a management trainee and a trainee site engineer have been appointed.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member for affordable housing, said:
“While some developers have postponed or cancelled new developments, the need for new affordable homes in Leeds is too great for us to claim poverty and give up.
“We have kept going when other local authorities have failed and are on course to deliver 1,750 new homes by April next year.
“This is a phenomenal achievement in the face of difficult conditions because of recession, but we are providing much-needed homes for the people of Leeds.
“Just as importantly, we are delivering them on brownfield land, proving that we do not need to eat into our countryside to provide the homes people need.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937

Help for families and carers of drug and alcohol users

People whose lives are affected by the drug and alcohol misuse of a relative, partner or friend are being invited to come together at an event in Leeds entitled 'Time For You'.

The event, being held in private rooms at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Saturday March 20th from 12noon until 3pm, is designed to encourage family members and carers to take time out and look after themselves.

There will be a chance to hear from and talk to other family members and carers, as well as information about support available and plans for future services. People can also try out alternative therapies to combat stress and anxiety.

It is estimated that over 30,000 adults in Leeds are seriously affected by a loved one's drug or alcohol misuse.

A woman who has been affected by the drug and alcohol addiction of someone close to her is willing to speak to the media, though on condition of anonymity. Please contact Leeds City Council's press officer on 0113 224 3937 to arrange an interview.

In recent research by Safer Leeds, family members spoke of the 'catastrophic' effect of drug and alcohol misuse on their families and lives, as well as the power of support from others who have been there themselves.

One person described their own experience of living with someone with an alcohol problem:
"I lived in fear and panic. I'd wake up every morning and feel sick. I had to force myself to carry on – I wanted to die….But I have gradually leant to detach from it and from Al Anon I have gained the strength and confidence to support hi, but accept that his drinking is his choice – I can do nothing to change it."

Vicky Clarke, Commissioning and Development Manager for Safer Leeds said:
"People living with someone else's addiction often feel very alone. This day is about letting them know they are not alone and there is support available. We also want to know from them what help they would like to see in the future."

Val Hewison, Deputy Manager for Carers Leeds said:
“We know that for everyone who has a drug and alcohol problem it’s highly likely that there is someone in the background who is caring for them and doing their best to cope. They are not in the limelight but they have a huge amount of stress.
“That’s why we are here and why we would like them to come along on Saturday to meet other people in similar situations and find out what support there is available.”

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds, said:
"It's important that we remember drugs and alcohol have far reaching effects beyond the actual users themselves.
“People living with someone else's addiction need support too, and this event will provide them with useful information and advice."

There is no need to book for the event, but anyone wanting more information or support and encouragement to take the difficult first step and come along, should call Angie at Carers Leeds on 0113 246 8338

Notes to editors:
Safer Leeds is the city's crime reduction partnership with Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police working together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937