Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Urgent call for vote counters in Leeds

As the local and general elections loom closer and preparations for May 6 continue Leeds City Council is appealing for more people to take part in the counts.

Over 350 people have applied and registered to be counters but the council still needs an additional 150 people. There are also vacancies for count supervisors, polling station inspectors, postal vote collectors and postal vote opening clerks.

Leeds City Council’s elections manager Alex Meek said:

“Many council staff will be helping out at the elections but members of the public are vital to the overall effort. We’re pleased with the response we’ve had so far, but we still have extra posts to fill so if anyone does wish to apply, please don’t delay, call our elections team for more information on 395 2858 or visit our website on www.leeds.gov.uk.”

The statement of persons nominated was published on the 20 April for the parliamentary elections and the 12 April for the local government elections. Both of these can be found on the Leeds City Council website www.leeds.gov.uk/elections.

Polling day for both elections is the 6 May and the polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. Counters are needed for the evening of May 6 when polling stations close and for Friday May 7 when the count for the local election gets underway at 10am.

To accommodate the scale of the double poll, both the local and general election counts this year will for the first time take place at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Middleton.

To find out more about applying, call 0113- 395 2858 email electors@leeds.gov.uk or visit the Leeds elections employment section on the council’s website, where you can also download an application form.

The deadline for applications for proxy voting is 5pm on Tuesday April 27 while emergency proxy votes which are available only in cases of unforeseen physical incapacity, can be applied for up to 5pm on Thursday May 6.

Applications for proxy voting should be delivered to: Electoral Services, Level 2, Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AD. For information or advice on elections registration contact 0113 222 4411 or visit the elections pages on our website at www.leeds.gov.uk or clicking on this direct link: Voting and elections.

Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tells: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Full council backs appointment of new chief executive

Councillors in Leeds have given their backing to the appointment of Tom Riordan as the new chief executive of the city council.

A meeting of the full council this afternoon (Wednesday April 21) voted to formally approve his appointment.

Last week, a committee of senior councillors – representing the five political groups across Leeds – unanimously agreed to recommend Mr Riordan for the job.

He will join the authority – England’s second biggest metropolitan council – later this year and will take over from Paul Rogerson who is retiring in the autumn.

Tom is currently the chief executive of the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward where he has been for over a decade.

While there, and in 2008, he was asked by the Chancellor to lead a team of experts to co-ordinate how the region should respond to potential job losses in the financial services sector and work out a way of securing the future of highly skilled employment in the industry.

Mr Riordan was born in Northallerton and was educated at the town’s college. He graduated with a modern history honours degree from Trinity College Oxford in 1989 and immediately joined the civil service's ‘fast stream management scheme’ with the Department of the Environment in London. From there, he progressed quickly through a variety of jobs, specialising in environmental policy and representing the UK in international negotiations on climate change and endangered species.

Tom is married to Louise and with his two children they live in North Yorkshire. He lists his passions as ‘amateur football’ and ‘being a Middlesbrough supporter’.

Of his formal appointment as chief executive, Mr Riordan said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity, I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to coming to Leeds to build on the good work of Paul Rogerson.

“I already know that Leeds is a brilliant place and that the council and its partners have many ambitions for the city and its people.

“Clearly, there are some significant issues being faced by local councils and the public sector in general, but I relish the challenges ahead.”

Leeds City Council’s current chief executive, Paul Rogerson, will retire later this year when Mr Riordan takes up his post.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council on 07891 276792
e-mail: andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk

Notes to Editors


Mr Riordan does not wish to do any media interviews until he has officially taken up his post as chief executive, which is expected to be in August.

Education Leeds to speak at Stephen Lawrence memorial service

The director for equality at Education Leeds is to speak at a memorial service in honour of Stephen Lawrence.

Rehana Minhas - who has led on the development of the city’s Stephen Lawrence Education Standard, created to embrace racial equality and diversity in the school curriculum - will speak at the service at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in London on Thursday (22 April).

The standard was established 10 years ago in Leeds and received national recognition earlier this year when it was launched by the government as an initiative available to schools across the country to help promote equality amongst pupils.

Doreen Lawrence OBE, who was a special guest at the launch and gave a speech to those who attended, invited Education Leeds to speak at the event to promote the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard in London.

Rehana Minhas, director of equality and entitlement at Education Leeds, said:
“It’s a privilege to be invited to speak at the memorial service for Stephen Lawrence. Out of the tragedy and sadness that surrounded his death, there has been a lot of excellent work to promote equality and to show that racism – or any form of discrimination – is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

“The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard is promoting these messages in schools across Leeds and now, thanks to the government’s national recognition, children and young people across the country are also benefiting.

“Doreen Lawrence has asked that the standard is launched for schools in south London at the memorial service. This is a great tribute to the impact of the standard to promote equality and community cohesion.”

The remembrance event was organised by the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and will be attended by schools from across London as well as voluntary organisations and other education experts.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Roy’s record speaks for itself as tenant award glory beckons


A council tenant who has devoted his own time to helping make his area a better place to live has been shortlisted for a national accolade.

Roy Birch, a Tenant Member of the board of Aire Valley Homes, has been shortlisted for the ‘Board Member of the Year’ by the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA).

A founding member of Hunslet Tenants and Residents group, the 84-year-old was shortlisted because his energy and enthusiasm to put tenants interests first means he plays an active role not just at board level, but on repairs focus groups, the repairs and grounds maintenance procurement projects, estate walkabouts, his residents groups meetings and numerous other activities.

This summer saw Roy, who is from Hunslet, and fellow Area Panel colleagues set up stalls at galas and fetes, trumpeting the work of his Area Panel and letting people know it was there for them and that they could help fund local projects.

Community safety and addressing anti-social behaviour are his passions, Striving for social harmony in an area with significant social problems. He is firm but fair, preferring a considered and progressive approach.

Sadly, this year will be Roy’s last as one of the founding members of his local Tenants and Residents group – not so he can put his feet up, but so he can concentrate on the Board and his Area Panel work.

Aire Valley Homes (AVH) is one of three Arms-Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) which manage and maintain the city’s council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. The NFA’s 69 member organisations oversee more than one million council-owned properties across England.

The NFA Awards are now in their fourth successful year and were designed to recognise and celebrate the hard work and achievements of ALMO tenants and resident groups. The awards honour and credit the individuals and groups who do so much at ground level and beyond to make a real difference to communities across the country.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony held at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on 15 July as part of the NFA’s annual two-day conference attended by prominent individuals from the housing sector including MPs and ministers.

Tina Fielden, vice-chair of the Aire Valley Homes board, said:
“Roy shows an amazing level of commitment, he has never wavered in his hard work and does much to inform non-resident Board Members about the issues facing tenants and how these can be addressed.
“He has supported colleagues through some difficult times and never let’s us forget what we are here for.
“He is a role model for active citizenship and much appreciated within his community.”

Karen Fletcher, Customer Involvement Officer at Aire Valley Homes, said:
“He is the most loyal and committed individual I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
“He’s kind, thoughtful and devotes all of his time to helping to bring improvements to his local community – a real one-off.”

Alison Inman, chair of the NFA and judge of the awards, said:
“These awards recognise individuals, groups and projects which go above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference in their communities.
“Year-on-year, the quality of award entries has been so high, and this year was no exception.
“The creativity, pro-activity and innovation shown by these individuals and teams, and above all, their steadfast commitment to housing and local communities, should act as a benchmark for the entire ALMO movement.”

Notes to Editor:
Aire Valley 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.
Aire Valley Homes Leeds covers the areas of Barwick-in-Elmet, Swarcliffe, Garforth, Micklefield, Kippax, Swillington, Allerton Bywater, Methley, Rothwell, Middleton, Morley, Drighlington, Cottingley, Beeston, and Holbeck.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

“Keep it clean!” urge Cross Gates Junior Wardens

Community-minded youngsters are joining the country’s biggest ever litter pick in a bid to rid a Leeds estate and school of rubbish.

Tired of the tide of litter that is bringing down the area’s reputation, Cross Gates Junior Wardens have joined the Big Tidy Up campaign, run by Keep Britain Tidy, in an effort to rid the Poole Estate of litter for good.

To prove how much they loathe litter, the Junior Wardens and pupils of Cross Gates Primary School are going out onto the streets on Friday 23 April to clear their school and local estate of rubbish.

Like everywhere else in the UK, Cross Gates has its fair share of litter problems but by taking part in the Big Tidy Up and helping to improve the area is a great opportunity for the wardens to get out into the community and show others that they care about the area.

The Junior Wardens will begin to tackle rubbish at Cross Gates Primary School on Friday 23 April at 12.45 pm. They are hoping that the rest of the community gets the message that dropping litter is 'simply not on'.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
“The Cross Gates Junior Wardens take great pride in their local community but they’re fed up with the amount of litter on the streets.
“This clean up will show others that they care about the future of their local environment and that they are not prepared to live and play in an area that is blighted by rubbish.

Notes for editors:
East North East 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.

East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

About Junior Wardens
The junior wardens have three basic rules:
1. Junior Wardens will have respect for themselves and will show this through their behaviour
2. Junior Wardens will have respect for others
3. Junior Wardens will have respect for their environment.

Working with ENEHL, the new recruits will get involved in practical projects such as litter picks, as well as having the chance to meet other members of their communities to better understand and appreciate how people get along. They will also be able to act as extra eyes and ears for the community by spotting where graffiti or fly-tipping has appeared, reporting broken streetlamps and spreading safety messages among their peers.

All the Junior Wardens are Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, 9 – 11 year olds, at Cross Gates Primary School on Poole Crescent. They will all remain Junior Wardens for one year. Each group is helped by ENEHL’s Community Involvement team.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds General Election candidates announced

Nominations have closed for people intending to stand for Parliament in Leeds contituencies in the General Election on May 6.

Click here to got to the elections pages on the Leeds City Council website to see the full list of candidates: Leeds elections 2010

The list can be viewed by going to the menu on the right to download the pdf document Parliamentary Election- 6th May 2010- Statement of Persons Nominated.