Monday, 19 April 2010

Flower power boost for Chelsea garden contender

Caption: Patrick Hennigan from garden sponsors HESCO Bastion Ltd (left) and Leeds City Council acting head of Parks and Countryside Sean Flesher (right) pictured at the flowerbeds with Millennium Square and Leeds Town Hall behind

Visitors to Civic Hall in Leeds are currently being met by an eye-catching blaze of colour around the building as part of the promotion of the city’s Chelsea Flower Show garden.

The flowerbeds around the landmark building in the city centre have been filled with striking Polyanthus Crescendo flowers and signs to help promote ‘The HESCO Garden 2010’ – Leeds City Council’s show garden entry at this year’s prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.

This year’s garden entry created by the council’s Parks and Countryside Service with engineering support and sponsorship from Leeds-based company HESCO Bastion Limited is the council’s largest and most ambitious Chelsea challenger yet.

The theme of The HESCO Garden 2010 is celebrating the green linkages which connect the city centre to the countryside in and around Leeds, as well as the importance of protecting the local environment and raising awareness of the proven health benefits green spaces provide.

To demonstrate this the team have chosen a stunning snapshot of the iconic Leeds-Liverpool Canal as the basis for the design, with the centrepiece being a pair of 12-feet high lock gates. The gates and canal element are then flanked by three distinct sections – woodland, wetland and a floral meadow – which can all be found in green spaces in Leeds.

The public will be able to see more of the garden design at Civic Hall on Wednesday 21st April as a model of it and supporting information will be on display in the ante-chamber ahead of the full council meeting which is being held that day. A member of the garden design team will also be on hand to discuss any elements of the project with interested members of the public.

Leeds City Council’s acting head of parks and countryside Sean Flesher, who is managing The HESCO Garden 2010 project, said:

“Even though the finished garden will not be seen for the first time until the show itself in London, it is important that the people of Leeds can feel part of this project and get behind it, so that is why we are keen to do strong visual things like the flowerbeds and the Civic Hall display which everyone will be able to see.

“We are very proud to be representing our city at Chelsea and hope as many people as possible can enjoy seeing the fantastic flowers and tell their friends and family about them and this year’s garden project.”

The HESCO Garden 2010 will be on show at Chelsea from May 25-29 in the elite show garden category alongside gardens designed by some of the biggest names in the horticulture industry.

The event, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in London, attracts over 150,000 visitors from all over the globe as well as receiving extensive coverage from the world’s media.

Leeds City Council and HESCO Bastion teamed up for the first time on last year’s garden, which was hugely popular with visitors and earned an impressive Silver Gilt Flora award.

Sponsors HESCO Bastion Ltd, who are world-leading manufacturers of products used in civil engineering, said:

"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 provide not only the financial support but the engineering support at Chelsea, with our products forming the framework for this year’s HESCO Garden.

“HESCO are extremely proud to sponsor a project which focuses on the engineering developments of the past and the present, all of which contribute to the vibrancy of Leeds.”

Leeds City Council has enjoyed great success at Chelsea in recent years, with all seven previous gardens dating back to the first in 1997 earning bronze or silver category awards. Four of these gardens can now be visited by the public at sites around the city.

For full details and the latest news about The HESCO Garden 2010 visit the official website at and follow the garden’s development on Twitter at


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

Leading the way in delivering dignity in care

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has flagged the council’s Dignity in Care campaign as an example of good practice, and highlighted it on their website to be shared across the country.

Key to the campaign’s success is how Leeds has recruited and trained a group of older people to go into residential homes in the city, to talk to the residents and find out how they feel about the care they receive and the way they are treated.

The specially trained dignity team visit homes to carry out dignity audits with elderly residents. The information they get is then used to improve standards of dignity and respect within the home being audited, and improve quality of care across the whole service.

The aim of the Dignity in Care campaign is to raise standards of dignity and respect within residential and nursing homes in Leeds. The council, in partnership with the NHS, won a national award for its work in this area in 2008, and has been working hard ever since to make sure that respect and dignity continue to be embedded in every element of its work.

Sandie Keene, director of adult social services said:
“We are committed to giving older people more say in how their care is delivered, in how their dignity and privacy are respected and to making sure that we help them have a voice if they are not happy with the service they receive, and we hope that other authorities will recognise the potential of this way of working,

“I’m delighted that Leeds’ pioneering work has been acknowledged in this way, and that it is bringing about major improvements to the lives of older people in our city.”

Case study
Mrs Angela Lawson is a dignity champion and received training in order to carry out the audit in care homes. This included learning about the role of care homes and why dignity is so important, as well as getting training on such things as talking to people with dementia and speech difficulties. She is now part of a team that visits care homes to observe personalised care, talk with residents, staff and managers and note how services are being delivered showing dignity and respect for older people.

Angela said:
"I think that the visits are beneficial to everyone involved and are a very fulfilling and enjoyable experience. The reports that we produce will benefit the development of the care homes and therefore the wellbeing of the residents.

"The overall experience has been very good for me. I am able to use my skills as a retired nurse to do something positive to improve the lives of other older people.

"Often older people's views can be seen as lip service. The good thing about this work is that it is being done to make a difference. All the staff we work with are very committed to improving standards of care and they are genuinely interested to hear what the residents have to say.

"I personally am finding my involvement in this campaign really enjoyable, and am looking forward to carrying out more audits and seeing the results as homes improve."

Mrs Eileen Appleyard, one of the other dignity champions added:“It’s been good to see change. During the audits we mentioned about the dim lighting in residents rooms. Improvements have already been made and we never ever believed that things would happen as quickly as they have. We are really looking forward to carrying out more audits so we can help to bring about more changes for the better”.

Additional info

The Dignity in Care campaign, spearheaded by Leeds City Council, Leeds health services, private sector care home owners, the voluntary sector and older people themselves, came out of talks with the Leeds Older People’s Forum who identified ‘being treated with respect and dignity’ as top of the list of improvements they wanted to see in health and social care services in the city.

SCIE aims to improve the experience of people who use social care by developing and promoting knowledge about good practice. Using knowledge gathered from diverse sources and a broad range of people and organisations, they develop resources that are shared freely, supporting those working in social care and empowering service users.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578