Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Schools have faith in the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard

Faith schools from across Leeds have joined forces to help achieve the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard.

Pupils, teachers, headteachers, parents, governors, priests and staff from 18 Leeds church schools gathered with staff from Education Leeds at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School last Thursday (17 June) to launch the joint bid for the award.

The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard, developed in Leeds but rolled out nationally by the government, recognises schools which promote race equality and community cohesion.

Father Stephen Webb, the diocesan youth chaplain, and Rehana Minhas, the director of equality and entitlement for Education Leeds, addressed the schools regarding the importance of this work especially in faith communities.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning, said:
“The national recognition the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard has received shows the high regard it’s held in. It promotes equality and community cohesion and urges children and young people to treat everyone with respect and tolerance. It’s great to see these 18 schools working together and I’m sure it won’t be long before we are celebrating their achievements.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard enriches the curriculum, broadens horizons and embeds a culture of equality in our schools. It helps to ensure our children and young people treat each other with respect and it’s fantastic to see more and more schools in Leeds working to achieve it.”

Cathy Brown, assistant headteacher at Cardinal Heenan, who co-ordinated the event at the school, said:
”The Stephen Lawrence Education Standard enables schools to work together for a better future. It’s important that each individual, no matter what background they are from, feels valued and has a sense of belonging in the place they live in.”

Doreen Lawrence, Stephen’s mother had sent a message of support and solidarity for the launch event which was read out at the start of the programme.

Headteachers from each of the 18 schools signed a statement of intent and two children and young people from each school expressed their commitment and understanding of race equality and community cohesion.

Each school received a specially designed candle with Stephen Lawrence’s image to mark the launch event and young people from Cardinal Heenan staged a musical performance and made a presentation of their journey to engage with the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard.

The 18 schools taking part are: Allerton C of E Primary School, Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School, St Phillip’s Catholic Primary School, St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Immaculate Heart Catholic Primary School, Holy Rosary and St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, St Nicholas’ Catholic Primary School, Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Primary School, St Urban’s Catholic Primary School, Meanwood C of E Primary School.


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

16,000 Leeds pupils to take part in city-wide green day

Over 16,000 Leeds pupils are to learn about ways to help save the environment when they take part in this year’s Leeds Schools Green Day.

Green day, which takes place on Friday 25 June, is designed to raise young people’s awareness of the impact that the built environment has on climate change while supporting efforts to make Leeds schools more sustainable.

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Leeds Schools Green Day 2010 will be officially launched at Whitecote Primary School, Bramley, on Thursday 24 June at 11.15am. Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services, and Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds will all be attending. Please call 0113 3951577 or email for more information.
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A total of 43 schools in the city will be taking part in the day which has been organised by Education Leeds in partnership with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). It’s the third consecutive year that green day has taken place and this year Leeds schools will team up with schools from Bradford, Wakefield, Kirklees and Calderdale meaning over 72,000 pupils will be taking part.

Leeds Schools Green Day 2010 will be officially launched at Whitecote Primary School, Bramley, on Thursday 24 June* at 11.15am. Children at the school will be joined for the launch by Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services, and Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds.

Activities planned for its 400 pupils include recycled art activities with support from a scrap arts group, a visit to a local organic farm to study vegetable growing and carry out a taste test and the launch of school ‘eco-monitors’ who will ensure lights and taps are turned off in school. There will also be a trial of the Leeds specific board game ‘What’s Rubbish?’ - a fun recycling game for primary children aged between five and 10 years old, as well as an appearance by npower’s seven foot polar bear mascot, k’eyush.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The importance of being green and learning how to have a positive influence on the world around us is increasingly important. The Leeds Schools Green Day is a fantastic way of educating children and young people about the environment and how to be eco-conscious.

“We are committed to increasing the sustainability of schools in Leeds to ensure the impact we have as a city on the environment is as low as possible. Teaching our children and young people about how they can help is a great way of spreading this important message into other aspects of their lives.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“It’s fantastic that so many schools are taking part in this year’s green day. There are some brilliant activities going on in schools and over 16,000 pupils in Leeds will learn about the environment and discover how they can help their schools and homes be as eco-friendly as possible.”

Matt Bell, CABE’s director of education and external affairs, said:
“You can always guarantee that schools in Leeds will take on the green day challenge with real enthusiasm, helping pupils understand the links between the built environment and climate change and see the critical role they have to play changing their school, their home and their community. All the schools do this with creativity and flair, in a way that encapsulates the spirit of green day”.

Other activities taking place in schools in the city include walking buses, pupils wearing green outfits for the day, environmentally-themed assemblies, energy saving workshops and ‘no power hour/days’.

Each of the 43 participating schools have received a CABE green day activity kit with ideas and suggestions for the day and have received support and information from a range of Leeds based environmental agencies and Leeds City Council.

Green day traditionally takes place on World Environment Day on 5 June but this year will happen on Friday 25 June to coincide with National Recycle week which takes place between 21 and 27 June.


Notes to editors:

*The city-wide green day is on Friday 25 June. The official launch is taking place on Thursday as Whitecote Primary School in Bramley, which was chosen to launch the event, is closed on Friday for teacher training. Schools which are unable to take part in activities on Friday 25 June have a month to stage events of their own.

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

New housing facility opens in Leeds

A brand new facility for people with mental health needs will be officially opened in Leeds this week.

The Spen Lane properties will provide short term intensive support to people with mental health needs on discharge from hospital, or for people living in the community who need additional support before moving into their own home.

The new housing is part of the Independent Living Project (ILP), which will modernise the four existing mental health hostels managed by the council. Its aim is to provide greater opportunities for people with mental health needs to live independently, with greater choice and control over their lives.

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Media are invited to the official opening at 144 Spen Lane at 10.30am on Thursday, 24 June. Councillor Yeadon and Sandie Keene, director of adult social services will be on hand to talk to journalists about the new facility and there will be an opportunity to have a short tour of the premises and meet some residents.
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One of the tenants of Spen Lane said:
"This service is a great chance to move forward with moving into your own place. You have the chance to develop skills that you will need to succeed on your own, and there are people to help you and the other service users are great`.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“I am delighted to be opening this brand new purpose-built building, which will provide fantastic facilities for our service users and enable them to live in their own homes and be a part of their local community.

“In the past, people with learning disabilities or mental health needs had to live in large-scale traditional hostels, or in residential units. This excellent facility will allow us to provide specialist services in a brand new, modern setting in a way we haven't been able to do before. I am confident that it will provide greater opportunities for the people that use it and give them increased control over their lives.”

The Spen Lane flats will be staffed 24/7 and will provide eight self-contained flats, two short-term respite flats and a crisis flat, which will act as an alternative to hospital admission in appropriate cases. The crisis flat is managed jointly with Leeds Partnerships Foundation Trust Crisis Resolution Team.

Also on site will be four flats which will be tenant’s long term homes. This accommodation will be supported by a new mental health sustainment team.

Tenants will stay for a maximum of eight months and staff will support them in developing independent living skills as well as helping them to finder appropriate longer term housing.


Additional info

In total the ILP will provide 15 new purpose-built properties on nine sites across the city for people with mental health needs, providing a total of 93 bed spaces. The new homes are being built between March 2009 and June 2011

The new accommodation is part of a £60 million PFI project for people with mental health needs and learning disabilities.

The new accommodation is being delivered by the LiLAC consortium in partnership with Leeds City Council Adult Social Care.

The LiLAC consortium consists of:
• Progress Care Housing Association -Registered Social Landlord
• Gleesons Powerminster- Facilities Management
• Jack Lunn Construction –Builder
• Nord LB –Funder

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

The budget – council leader pledges to protect services for the vulnerable

A pledge to protect front-line services for low-income and working families, and vulnerable people in Leeds – that’s the goal of the leader of Leeds City Council following the Chancellor's budget announcement.

But the leader, Councillor Keith Wakefield, also expresses concern at the scale of the 25% reductions in public sector spending and the potential impact on council services and jobs in Leeds.

The council awaits further information on what the reductions mean for local authorities before any spending decisions are made locally. These details will be outlined in the Government’s spending review in October 2010. Whilst spending on health and international aid is known to be ring fenced, other vital services may not have the same protection, leading to difficult decisions locally about where cuts should fall.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“It is very early days and we are still assessing the potential impact of this budget.

“Our priority is to protect front-line services for the poor, the young, the elderly and vulnerable people in our city, in particular our services for children and older people, who are at risk of suffering disproportionately from these measures.

“However, we do know that sadly we will have to make some very tough spending decisions over the next few years and that this will inevitably lead to job losses, although we will do everything we can to manage these losses through the council’s natural turnover of staff.

“Whilst I welcome the increase in pay for our lowest paid employees, it is clear that these spending cuts will have implications for our hardworking council staff in Leeds and other public sector workers - their pay, their jobs and their pensions.

The Government has also committed to an upgrade of the Tyne and Wear Metro, extension of the Manchester Metrolink, redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station, and improvements to the rail lines to Sheffield and between Liverpool and Leeds.

Councillor Wakefield added:

“We are encouraged by the Chancellor’s commitment to improve rail transport across the North and specifically between Liverpool and Leeds as this will play an important part in helping to improve the region’s transport links.

“However more needs to be done and we will continue to lobby the Government on the importance of the new generation transport scheme which is key to the Leeds city region’s economy.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602

Library fine amnesty for all Leeds kids

Picture caption: "Kids from Little London Primary School celebrate their new Breezecards. (Front row l-r) Jade Patterson, Lennon Limpitlaw, Hanan Torfi, Wing Yan Lau, Momena Khatun, Rebecca Su, Hedison Tavares, Kayarn Parchment. (Back l-r) Nasimul Haque, Joseph Iseghohimen, Salman Abdi, Chardonnay Buchanan."

There’s a double bonanza for Leeds school children this month as not only are they getting a new Breezecard, they will also have any existing library fines wiped off.

To encourage children and young people to start using Leeds’ libraries more the new Breezecards will also act as their library card, and any existing members of libraries will have any fines on their account wiped (only children not adults).

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, executive member responsible for leisure, including libraries said:
“A Breezecard is a young person’s passport to fun, learning and discounts across the city, so it’s great that every young person will have their own card to not only access Breeze events and free swimming sessions but also use as their library card.

“I’m sure the library fine amnesty will be a great incentive to encourage lots of Leeds children to rediscover what’s on offer in our libraries.”

To celebrate ten years of Breeze, Leeds City Council has created an exclusive celebratory Breezecard and is sending all Leeds school pupils a new card which has added discounts and offers for young people to access.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Breeze is now in its tenth year, and what better way to celebrate than by giving all Leeds school children a new Breezecard. It will open up a world of opportunities for them as well as giving young people access to more information on what is available to them through Breeze magazines and website.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:“This is a great initiative. It is brilliant news that all young people in Leeds will be getting a new Breezecard. The benefit of the Breezecard is that it includes discounts at a range of events and activities as well as access to free swimming sessions.

“The card will also help us monitor the activities young people are taking part in outside of the school day and mean that we can build a picture of the types and locations of activities and events young people are getting involved in which will help us to plan and target future provision where it is needed.”

June also marks the start of a summer of exciting Breeze events with the 14th annual Breeze International Youth Festival kicking off on Thursday 24 June until Sunday 27 June. Offering an exciting programme of music and arts performances, including information on how young people can get involved in creative projects all year round.

The final day of the festival closes with the first stage of ‘Breeze has Talent’ auditions, the start of the successful competition for young people to showcase their talent. Registration for Breeze has Talent is now open at

Breeze on Tour marks the start of the summer holidays and from 17 July a series of Breeze and mini-Breeze events will be touring the city. Breeze on Tour has something for everyone, including giant inflatables, music, movie making and much more. All Breeze events are free but young people wishing to attend must remember to bring along their Breezecard.

For more information on all these Breeze events, to sign up for Breezecard, register for Breeze has Talent or find out about general events and activities for young people in Leeds this summer go to

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Morley Leisure Centre opens to public

Photo caption: (left to right) Centre Manager Sharon Gard , first customer Jordan Buchan and Executive member for Leisure, Councillor Adam Ogilvie cutting the ribbon to officially open the centre

Leeds City Council’s executive member for Leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie cut a ribbon to signify the doors opening at the state-of-the-art new Morley Leisure Centre for the first time yesterday.

First through the doors at 6.30am was 17-year-old Jordan Buchan, who had been waiting overnight to be the first person to use the new pool. Having been a user of the old pool he made a bet with family and friends that he would be the first person to use the new one.

The first early-birds received a special commemorative gift as well as being the first to sample a fantastic range of facilities inside including a beautiful main 25-metre swimming pool, 10-metre learner pool, massive 150-station Bodyline gym – the biggest council-managed gym in the city, a six-court sports hall, four-court sports hall and dance studio.

Jordan and the other early-morning fitness enthusiast were the first to check out the centre’s varied activity programme that features 5-a-side football, badminton, gymnastics and a wide range of fitness activites that include circuits, Pilates and boxercise.

Leeds City Council’s Executive member for Leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“It is a pleasure to finally open this outstanding leisure centre to the public. I am sure Morley will benefit greatly from what is more than just an excellent place to get fit, but a place to meet people and make friends right in the heart of the community.

“There is something for everyone at the new centre and I encourage people to come along, have a look around and take part in one of the many activities on offer.”

A special community open day will take place on Saturday July 3rd from 10am – 2pm which will offer a range of taster sessions, for children and adults, including badminton, dance mats, football training, Tri-golf and short tennis.

There will also be free health checks available for adults, a chance to win a 12-month Bodyline premier fitness membership and a penalty shoot out with 96.3 Radio Aire DJ Rich Williams.

For further information on the new Morley Leisure Centre or to download the swimming and fitness programmes go to The new centre can also be contacted by calling 0113 3367890.


For media enquiries please contact:
Daniel Johnson,
Leisure Communications Officer
Tel: 0113 247 8285

Review aims to boost recycling at household waste sites

A review of the household waste sites across Leeds aimed at maximising recycling and improving efficiency has been approved by councillors.

Leeds City Council has been looking at ways to get the most out of its network of Household Waste Sort Sites (HWSS) to help increase already-high recycling rates and divert more waste away from costly landfill.

The East Leeds HWSS is scheduled to be the eighth of these sites to be redeveloped, with plans currently in place for the improved site to open by August 2011. Councillors approved the wide-ranging review of sites across the city at yesterday’s (June 22) meeting of the executive board.

The plans include closing the small Calverley Bridge HWSS and upgrading the facilities at Kirkstall Road. A range of options are also being examined to replace the Gamblethorpe site that is set to close once the redeveloped East Leeds HWSS opens.

Over the past year Leeds residents recycled 30.4% of all their rubbish, with more than a third of this recycling being collected at household waste sites. It is intended that the review would help increase these already high recycling rates.

Cllr Tom Murray, executive member for environmental services, said:

“This review is aimed at increasing further the city’s consistently high performance in recycling and diversion of waste from landfill. We are committed to working towards recycling and composting over half the household waste in Leeds by 2020.

“The sites provide an excellent infrastructure for making it easy and convenient for residents to recycle a wide range of their household waste.”

Many sites have already been redeveloped but the review looks at how their performance can be improved further by pinpointing those either not working efficiently or that may benefit from investment.

For instance, the Calverley Bridge site, which is by far the smallest in the city and does not have the full range of services offered at other sites, is expensive to operate. When it closes its users can instead go to its already-redeveloped sister sites around 15 minutes’ drive away at Pudsey and at Milner’s Road, Yeadon.

The review outlines the importance of maintaining the HWSS at the Kirkstall Road location and says that this should be developed to be of a similar size and design to the new HWSS at East Leeds. Residents will be consulted on the plans for Kirkstall, which recommend that the existing fire damaged structures be removed to allow the rest of the site to house a modern transfer facility to better manage materials currently dealt with there.

Gamblethorpe, which will be the last undeveloped site, is due to close later this year when East Leeds re-opens after redevelopment. It cannot remain in its current greenbelt location as planning regulations require that the land be restored to its former agricultural use.

Future options to be considered include a renewed search for a replacement sites in Leeds and progressing discussions with neighbouring authorities to provide flexibility for residents to use current and potential new sites situated close to the border with Leeds.

This approach will mean that residents of Leeds will have access to a household waste site within the nationally-recommended maximum 20 minute drive of their home and that for the vast majority of Leeds this will be 15 minutes.

Recycling in Leeds is supported by regular kerbside green bin collections, Household Waste Sort Sites and Bring Sites at places like supermarkets. For full details on what to recycle and where you can do it, visit the recycling pages on the council’s website at

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335