Thursday, 25 March 2010

Leeds pupils given Chelsea postcard challenge

Caption: Year Six pupils at St Oswald's Junior School in Guiseley helped launch the competition, pictured here with their teacher Matilda Brown (far right), Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Cllr John Procter (centre) and Patrick Hennigan of garden sponsors HESCO Bastion (third from right)

Young schoolchildren in Leeds have been given the chance of having their creative skills seen by people from all over the world following the launch of a special competition this week.

Key stage 2 pupils aged 7-11 in primary schools across the city are to take part in a special challenge to produce a postcard design which will be used to promote Leeds City Council’s show garden ‘The HESCO Garden 2010’ at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show in May.

As part of the competition, the school groups will take part in a learning project where they will find out about the key themes behind The HESCO Garden 2010 – the importance of green corridors linking city centres to the countryside and the native wildlife to be found in and around Leeds.

The HESCO Garden 2010 design itself is based on the iconic Leeds-Liverpool Canal, and is being produced by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service in partnership for a second year with sponsors HESCO Bastion Limited, the Leeds-based manufacturers of products used in civil engineering.

The winning postcard design will be chosen by a panel of judges and then made into a printed postcard, with 10,000 copies to be distributed around Leeds as well as at the show in London which attracts over 150,000 visitors annually from across the globe.

The pupil who designs the winning entry will be given free tickets and transport for themselves, a parent and their teacher to attend the show itself which runs from May 25th-29th.

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

“One of the key reasons why we enter a show garden at Chelsea is to raise awareness for people of all ages of the importance and value of their parks and green spaces and why they need to be protected and developed.

“Our schools competition is the perfect chance for us to help young people learn more about these things and also offer them an exciting way to get directly involved in one of the world’s great events so we look forward to seeing their designs.”

As well as the winning pupil being rewarded, every pupil in the class from which the winning design is produced will receive a special environment-themed goody bag. The winning school will also receive £200 of plants grown by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service and a day of curriculum-linked environmental activities led by the council’s Parks and Countryside Rangers.

Garden sponsors HESCO Bastion

"HESCO Bastion has an international reputation for engineering excellence and innovation, so we were pleased to be asked by Leeds City Council's Parks and Countryside Service to be the sponsor of this year’s garden which focuses on the engineering developments of the past, and the present, all of which contribute to the vibrancy of Leeds.

“With the launch of the postcard competition, the garden’s message of green spaces and engineering traditions to be found in and around Leeds is being communicated in an innovative and fun way to the schoolchildren of Leeds. HESCO are proud to be part of such a fantastic programme and wish all those taking part the best of luck and look forward to seeing some creative entries.”

For more information and details about the postcard competition, please email

For all the details and latest news on The HESCO Garden 2010, visit the official website at and follow the garden as it develops on Twitter at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Leeds raises the standard and goes from good to great

Caption: (From left)Andy Hodson, head of governance services, Mike Wilkinson Chair of the standards committee and Amy Kelly, senior corporate governance officer (all from Leeds City Council), and Armando Iannucci, host of the awards.

Leeds City Council has been singled out as one of the most ethical authorities in the country.

The council was shortlisted in this award catergory last year, but this year beat off competition from five other shortlisted councils from across the UK to win the award for its outstanding approach to standards and ethics at a prestigious ceremony last night.

The Local Government Chronicle Awards are recognised as a huge honour by all those who work within Local Government, and help to showcase the innovation present within the sector, and last night (Wednesday 24 March) Leeds City Council was amongst those celebrating.

The award, sponsored by Standards for England, was presented to the council for its work in raising awareness of ethical governance issues within the council, embedding the ethical framework, and raising public confidence in how the council operates; all part of its ‘From Good to Great’ campaign.

The council’s was commended for how the its leadership is making standards and ethics central to how services are delivered.

The other authorities shortlisted for the award were Waveney District Council, Kent County Council, the London Borough of Bromley, South Cambridgeshire District Council and West Somerset District Council.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader of Leeds City Council said:
“The LGC awards celebrate the very best in local government and it is a great achievement for us to be included on the winners list for standards and ethics.

“We are very pleased that the council have been singled out as one of the best in local government for this year, and we will continue to improve in this and all other areas of the council.”

Mike Wilkinson, independent chair of the standards committee said:
“I'm very pleased that Leeds has received this national accolade, it reflects a great deal of hard work by the Standards Committee and the leadership of the council over a number of years. The judges told us our entry was comprehensive and powerful....and I agree with them !”

Notes to editors

For more information on the LGC awards visit:

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

Council take action against charity fraudster

A woman from Doncaster has been fined £2115 after being caught promoting an unlicensed charity collection.

Janet Maurizi, 59, a promoter working with AMOR, a commercial company, was sentenced at Leeds Magistrates Court today (Thursday 25 March) after pleading guilty to not having the relevant documentation permitting her to collect money for a charitable purpose.

The promoter arranged for a collector to collect at various public houses in Beeston on the day of a Leeds United home fixture on Saturday 25 July. The collector had a letter headed ‘AMOR’ with a form of photographic identification purporting to be an authorised representative of AMOR and a small quantity of roses.

The letter claimed that they were raising funds for Breast Cancer Hope, and that they were not a charity, but 100% of all contributions made, along with 5% from the sale of each rose purchased would be donated to the chosen charity.

When interviewed by Leeds City Council licensing enforcement officers, Maurizi admitted to promoting the illegal collection.

Before the trial it was established that collectors working for AMOR had been travelling across the country (Yorkshire, the Midlands, north-east of England, Cumbria) from their Doncaster base and targeting town and city centre areas and pubs near football grounds on match days.

Breast Cancer Hope, the charity mentioned in the letter carried by the collector, did not have any knowledge of the collections taking place and co-operated fully with the Council’s investigation. They expressed their concern at the unauthorised collection as it would damage the name of the charity and could result in less funds for their cause.

Councillor Richard Brett, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for licensing, said:

“The court have sent a very strong message about the seriousness of posing as a charity collector without the correct documentation and identification.

“It is unfair on the charities reputations and the people donating, for people to collect without the proper documents and licences from the council and the charity they are working with.

“We would ask the public to be vigilant when donating to street collectors, and check their collectors badge before donating.”

Where licensees are approached by collectors claiming to be collecting for or on behalf of a charitable purpose they should request to see official valid documentation or original copies, as issued by either the council’s entertainment licensing section, the Home Office or West Yorkshire Police to permit a collection to take place in the locality. Where in any doubt, licensees are advised to refuse permission for collections to take place on their premises and to seek advice from the council’s entertainment licensing section.

Notes to editors:

Where a person promotes and/or conducts a collection for a purported charitable purpose then they must be authorised and must have either
i.)a licence issued by the local licensing department of the local authority, or
ii.)an exemption – there are two types:
a.) exemption granted by the Home Office (Home Office Exemption Orders (HOEO’s)) that is designed to reduce bureaucracy for registered charities which want to carry out collections over a wide area – allowing them to get permission from a single (central) organisation, and
b.) exemption granted by the local police for a local collection (the exemption certificate can be issued for anything from 1 day up to 1 month duration).

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

On your bike or walk it for charity

People can get in the saddle or put their walking boots on to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s charity appeal at Lotherton Hall this April.

On Sunday 11 April there will be the opportunity to take part in a 15km walk, 45km cycle ride or 5km family friendly walk.

Organised by the Lord Mayors charity committee for 2009/2010, the event will see the 15km walkers start at Lotherton Hall and make their way through the surrounding countryside taking in the church at lead and Hazelwood Castle before making their way back to Lotherton. The 5km family walk will be in the grounds of Lotherton and the surrounding woodland.

The cyclists will do a circular ride from Lotherton, using mainly country roads, with a section on the Lines Way off road cycle route. They will pass through the villages of Aberford, Barwick in Elmet and Fairburn, then on to Monk Fryston and back to Lotherton via Sherburn in Elmet.

As part of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering there have been many opportunities to get involved with various chances to raise money for charities, and this is no exception.

The Lord Mayor will be attending the event to fire the starting gun and set the walkers and cyclists on their way. Each competitor will be presented with a memento of the day.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott said:
“This is sure to be a wonderful event, set in the beautiful grounds of Lotherton Hall. It is a great opportunity for people of all ages to get involved with either the cycling or walking events and raise a large amount of money for some very worthwhile causes.”

This year the Lord Mayor’s chosen charities are, Middleton Riding for the Disabled, the Samaritans and Create, a charity which helps homeless and marginalised people get work through training opportunities and employment.

For more information or to request an entry form for the event, please email Glynis Holmes on or call 07989039972.

Notes to editors:
The long walk starts at 9.30am, with the cycle ride starting at 10am and short walk starting at 11am.

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

Green space to be spruced up in west Leeds

Caption: Councillor David Blackburn with children from the Bawn’s junior wardens scheme

A three day clear up operation is in full swing in west Leeds this week to breathe new life into the communities green spaces.

Leeds City Council and West North West Homes along with partner agencies and contractors have started work clearing a 220m area of green space where the fly-tipping took place.

The stretch of land between the Bawns estate and Stonebridge Lane, situated in Farnley, has been subject to a series of fly tipping which has ruined part of the green areas. The clear up of this space is running from Tuesday 23 – Thursday 25 March.

The green spaces around these local areas provide a range of habitats for both animals and plants alike and the fly-tipping has caused distress to local residents and lead to the organisation of a three day clear up.

Local children are helping to support the project through the Bawn’s Junior wardens scheme. Through the scheme children will gain a greater awareness of their surroundings and how peoples actions affect their community.

Cathy Clelland, chair of the West North West Homes Leeds board, said:
"The Bawn's Junior Warden scheme demonstrates the great community spirit and commitment to clean and healthy green spaces by the estate's youngsters. We are honoured to be part of this project and hope the young people involved pass on the pride they have shown in their green spaces to other residents. We hope this work continues to positively affect those involved as well as the local environment."

Councillor David Blackburn, chair of the west outer area committee said:
“The clear up is going very well, and it is great that local people are getting involved in returning this green space to its natural state.

“The clearance will pave the way for further improvements to the site to reduce the chances of fly tipping in the future, and ensuring that these green areas will be kept in good condition for the locals.”

Notes to editors:

West North West Homes is the Arm’s Length Management Organisation that manages Leeds City Council properties in the west of Leeds.

This project forms part of a wider strategy to make improvements to the green spaces in the Bawn’s estate that has been developed through the West North West Homes and Groundwork Leeds partnership.

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

Book reading made ease-E

Caption: Leeds Libraries IT Development Manager Sandra Sharp demonstrates the new e-books system to executive member for Leisure Cllr John Procter

The next generation of book lending comes to Leeds libraries this month as ‘E-books’ will be on offer for the first time.

Starting this week, library members in Leeds will be able to download a choice of 1200 electronic titles to their computers and compatible e-readers. The system managed by Leeds City Council’s Library and Information Service will provide free access to the titles, and operates in a similar way to the popular iTunes method of accessing music.

Under the new system, library members will be able to log-on to the ‘virtual bookshelf’ on their home computers using their existing membership details and then choose from a wide range of titles. Once a book is chosen it can then be easily downloaded to the computer and then transferred to a portable device in a similar way to an iPod. The user then has one week to read the book before the access to the text runs out.

The system will be able to be accessed 24 hours a day, allowing users the chance to select books at times to suit them. The system is to be in place for an initial two years, with continuous improvements in terms of the number and range of titles available being made.

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

“We are all really excited to be launching e-books for the first time in our libraries in Leeds. This really is the future in terms of the next generation of accessing books so we are all intrigued as to what people will think of it.

“We have designed the system to be as easy to use as possible, so we look forward to all our existing library members as well as potential new members giving it a try.”

Free library memberships are available at all Leeds City Council-managed libraries throughout the city, and for further information visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: