Wednesday, 9 June 2010

New facility to offer tailored support to children and young people

Vulnerable children and young people in east Leeds are to benefit from a range of new services and facilities to be officially opened this week.

The new facility, called ‘The Retreat’, will provide a number of additional services including education and health to help meet the emotional and behavioural needs of local pupils and their families.

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Media are invited to the official opening of ‘The Retreat’ at the Oakwood Pupil Support Centre, Oakwood Lane, LS8 3LF, by the deputy chief executive of Education Leeds, Dirk Gilleard, on 10 June at 2pm. Please call 0113 3951577 or email to confirm attendance.
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The new facility will be attached to and part of the Oakwood Pupil Support Centre and will be officially opened by the deputy chief executive of Education Leeds, Dirk Gilleard on Thursday (10 June).

It will provide families with a range of support services including child and adolescent mental health, a play therapist, an art therapist and a ‘Watch it’ team from the NHS which will work to tackle childhood obesity.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:“The city’s pupil support centres provide invaluable education and advice to children and young people as well as their families and carers.

“This new facility at the Oakwood centre will add to this and ensure that the vulnerable young people who attend will always have access to the best education, help and support that’s available.”

Dirk Gilleard, deputy chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“These new facilities will provide a real boost to the range of education and health services available to children, young people and families in this part of Leeds and is a great example of the benefits that partnership working can bring.

“The children and young people who attend our pupil support centres often have complex and varying needs. By making different services available under one roof, we are helping to provide the best possible support to all pupils and their families.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Half of all disabled parking badges “abused or misused”

More than half of the special parking badges issued to disabled drivers in Leeds are being abused or misused, a council investigation has revealed.

Blue badges allow disabled drivers to park in ‘disabled only’ parking bays, but a pilot enforcement scheme by Leeds City Council found that 61% of badges were either being misused or openly abused.

As part of a drive to ensure the badges are being used properly, council officers noted the details of badges in cars parked in the city , and checked to see if the badge was being used by someone else at the time.

A total of 68 badges were checked and 61% of holders contacted confirmed that their badge was being wrongfully used. Four badges were being misused on two separate occasions during the pilot scheme, and the registered holders of two badges were deceased.

The scheme is continuing and feedback has been extremely positive from blue badge holders, pleased to hear that action is being taken against abuse of the system.

The blue badge scheme was Introduced in the early 1970s to help improve access to services for disabled people. They allow disabled people to park in marked bays without having to pay parking charges. It is a criminal offence for the badge to be used by anyone other than the registered holder and abusers face a fine of up to £1,000. Allowing wrongful use of a blue badge is also a serious offence and badges can be withdrawn if illegally used by other people.

Over recent years, abuse and misuse of the system has become apparent and the council is developing new strategies and initiatives to address the issue. It has become clear that many offences are related to lack of understanding of the rights and responsibilities of using a badge.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for parking services, said:
“Parking spaces for disabled drivers are all over the city and, in my observation, are largely respected.
“However, the message from this scheme is clear – blue badges are meant to help disabled people and are not ‘free parking’ passes for able-bodied drivers.
“Abuse of this system is unforgivable and, while there are clearly cases where people have mistakenly used them incorrectly, where we find persistent or fraudulent use of a blue badge we will take it away and may even be forced to prosecute.
“We are committed to helping improve services for disabled people and our work to tackle abuse of the blue badge system will make it fairer for all.”

If you know of a Blue Badge being wrongfully used – including expired or stolen badges, or continued use of a badge issued to a person who is now deceased, the council would like to know. Please note the make, model and vehicle registration number of offenders and if possible, the serial number of the badge. Contact Parking Services on 0113 395 0050.

For more information about the blue badge scheme, please go to

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

Superstars have talent in south Leeds

The semi finals of South Leeds Superstar 2010 have begun, proving that Leeds really does have talent.

Acts including singers and dancers and many others have made their way through to the semi finals to battle it out to win a coveted place in the finals on 10 July.

The first of three semi finals of the inner south area committee funded event takes place on Saturday 12 June at Beeston Festival. The next heat is at the Belle Isle Gala on 19 June with the final heat at Hunslet Festival on 26 June.

All semi final winners will go through to the South Leeds Superstar grand finale taking place at Holbeck Gala on Saturday 10th July.

The young people taking part in school and community auditions have had the chance to perform for the public and a panel of judges, just like in the recent Britain’s Got Talent show.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing said:
“This is a great opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate the talent within their local areas.”

Councillor Angela Gabriel, chair of the inner south area committee said:
“These events give the communities in south Leeds a real chance to interact with each other and show of the talent that is within each of the local areas.

“There have been some brilliant acts performing over the last two weeks, and I wish all the acts the best of luck in the next stage.”

The competition has been open to anyone aged 8-16 who lives in Beeston, Holbeck, Cottingley, Hunslet, Belle Isle or Middleton.

As well as South Leeds Superstar, there will plenty of other fun activities for all the family to enjoy and get involved with at the community festivals.

For further information on any of the events contact south east area management on 0113 224 3040 or visit the website:

Notes to editors:

Community heats will be taking place at the following community festivals:

Beeston Festival 12/06/2010 - show from 12.45 - 2.45pm with the presentation at 3.30pm

Belle Isle Gala 19/06/2010 - show from 12 noon - 2.00pm with the presentation at 3.00pm

Hunslet Festival 26/06/2010 - show from 11.30am - 1.00pm with the presentation at 3.30pm

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