Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Council pledges long-term support to city’s neighbourhood networks

Council chiefs have agreed to pledge £1.7million per year to the city’s neighbourhood networks. With further funding from NHS Leeds, this will amount to nearly £2 million to be shared each year between the voluntary organisations set up across Leeds to help older people live independently at home.

A report to the council’s executive board today explained that the funding will be awarded for the first time in the form of five-year contracts, a move away from an annual grant-bidding process, which attracted controversy earlier in the year.

This means that 27 neighbourhood network schemes will receive a new, five-year contract, starting on 1 October this year. Five organisations will get one-year contracts and the council will work closely with them to help them improve to a standard so that they too can be moved to five-year contracts as soon as possible.

A further seven neighbourhood networks were not successful in being recommended to receive contracts. The council will now open talks with five of these in east Leeds, to see if a partnership arrangement can be set up with Irish Health and Homes.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for adult social care said:
“Neighbourhood networks do a tremendous job and their volunteers currently support around 25,000 older people in the city.

“The council want to support the organisations that provide these services by formalising our arrangements with them and awarding them with long-term contracts, which is why we invited all existing neighbourhood network schemes, as well as new ones, to bid for five-year contracts.

“It is regrettable that this process didn’t run as smoothly as we hoped; we accept that mistakes were made and are sorry. We will learn from these and work hard to rebuild our relationships with the organisations affected.

“I am confident that, following the independent review, we are in a strong position to move forward and award the contracts, which will enable our neighbourhood networks to achieve new levels of excellence for the benefit of older people in the city.”


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

Secondary school to remain on City of Leeds site

Secondary school education will remain in Hyde Park after Leeds City Council agreed to retain a school on the site of City of Leeds.

The council’s executive board followed recommendations by Education Leeds to maintain an 11-16 school at City of Leeds and establish new governance arrangements by September 2011.

In April, Education Leeds was asked to work with the school and organisations connected to it to develop alternative proposals to closure. A range of options were considered - including alternatives which had been put forward by the school’s governors and Leeds Metropolitan University.

A project team - consisting of the City of Leeds’ governing body and headteacher, representatives from a local high school and primary school, Leeds City College, Leeds College of Building, Education Leeds and Leeds City Council’s children’s services department - agreed any school on the site would need to see fast improvements made and would need to secure a broader confidence in the future stability, quality and effectiveness of the school.

It also agreed that retaining a school on the site which had new governance arrangements would improve outcomes for young people, improve community cohesion, build on the strengths of current provision, be attractive to young people and their parents and be supported by key partners.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children's services, said:
"The support from parents, governors, staff and pupils surrounding this school was not something that could be ignored. It has shown just how important a school is to a community and we can now look forward to building on the successes at City of Leeds for the benefit of local young people."

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“I’m pleased that the recommendations put forward by Education Leeds have been agreed. City of Leeds has demonstrated great potential and I have been impressed by the levels of passion and commitment shown by staff, governors, pupils and the local community. This decision signals the beginning of a process that will ensure a first class education is available to young people in the Hyde Park area.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We want every young person – regardless of where they live or which school they go to – to be able to learn in the best possible school and have the opportunities to help them achieve all they can.

“The recommendations we put forward represented the best of the many suggestions that we considered regarding the school’s future. The decision to maintain a secondary school on the City of Leeds site provides a real opportunity to build on the passion and commitment that has been demonstrated by the school, governing body, its partners and the wider community.”


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

Parklands Girls’ High School and Primrose High School to become academies

Parklands Girls’ High School and Primrose High School are to close and reopen as academies in September 2011.

Leeds City Council’s executive board made the decision today (Wednesday) following months of consultation and deliberation over both schools’ futures.

A mixed academy will be established on the Parklands site, sponsored by Edutrust Academies Charitable Trust (EACT), which also sponsors the Leeds West Academy, and a mixed academy will also be opened on the Primrose site, sponsored by the Co-operative Group.

Both schools are included in the National Challenge programme, announced in 2008, and required changes to be made to ensure the 30 per cent GCSE target for 2011 is reached or maintained.

Parklands Girls’ High School’s GCSE results exceed the national target but due to a declining roll and difficult financial situation presented a challenge for sustaining progress beyond 2011.

Primrose High School faces major challenges to improve teaching, attendance and behaviour standards and require urgent changes to meet the target.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“This was not an easy decision to make but is one we think will have a positive impact on the education and achievements of young people at Parklands and Primrose schools.

“Changes were needed at both schools and we will work closely with both sponsors to ensure that standards improve quickly in the short term and are sustained in the long term.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“This decision will ensure the long term viability and future of both Parklands and Primrose. Both schools have many positive aspects but changes needed to be made to ensure both become popular, viable and increasingly successful.

“By becoming academies we hope to see rapid and sustained improvements so that the young people will reap the benefits of a better education, achieve better outcomes and reach their full potential.”


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

Plans could see 20,000 ‘green’ homes for Leeds

20,000 ‘green’ homes could be created – along with thousands of new jobs – by a massive regeneration project in the south of Leeds.

Plans are being submitted to Leeds City Council’s executive board today (Wednesday 21st July) for a new ‘urban eco settlement’ in the Aire Valley Leeds area, which would see 12,000 new homes and 8,000 retrofitted with low carbon and fuel poverty measures.

The proposals form part of a report into the future for the regeneration scheme, which includes plans to develop ‘stepping stones’ linking the city centre to the Aire Valley Leeds area and boosting development along the East Leeds Link Road.

Low carbon homes are already being developed in the area, with 600 properties on the Yarm Street and Saxton Gardens sites – provided by Miller Homes and Urban Splash respectively – which have already attracted £23million of support through the Kickstart and Low Carbon Infrastructure funds. This money will help provide a locally-generated combined heat and power system for Yarm Street.

And in May this year, the executive board approved a group repair scheme for the Cross Green area, which could now include fitting solar panels and air source heating to homes.

Aire Valley Leeds is projected to create up to 40,000 jobs, around 400 hectares of development land, and a million square metres of new employment floorspace – all connected to the road network by the new £32million East Leeds Link Road.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for development, said:
"Aire Valley Leeds promises to lead the city's economic development over the next ten years with a million square metres of employment space creating up to 27,000 jobs.
“But it’s not just about business – the plans for an ‘eco settlement’ of up to 20,000 new and refurbished homes are a major step towards providing much-needed affordable homes for the city and cutting our carbon emissions too.
"Despite the current economic difficulties, Leeds is looking to the future and Aire Valley Leeds will have a major role to play in generating growth and prosperity for the city and the wider region."

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

Training in Leeds is ‘among the best in the country’

Training for councillors in Leeds has been judged as one of the best examples in the country.

After a recent assessment, the council has be told it will be presented with a member development charter plus award for the way that councillors are trained, developed and supported in Leeds.

Leeds is the first council in the Yorkshire and Humber region to reach the highest grade. The award builds on the basic level charter award that Leeds City Council secured in 2007.

The awards are backed by Local Government Yorkshire and Humber (LGYH) and the Improvement and Development Agency (IDEA). They are designed to promote best practice in how councillors are helped to do their job better.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said;
“This is a fantastic achievement for us. We have proved that we have taken on the additional challenge of further improving the member development and support arrangements here at the council and this has lead to us being presented with this top accolade.”

Notes to editors:
Charter Plus was rolled out during 2009 as an optional, further level that builds on the main charter requirements. It is intended for councils that have already been awarded the charter and want an additional challenge to further improve their member development and support arrangements.

It reflects the growing interest in the wider member development debate. It challenges councils to make further achievements in terms of councillor support, promoting local democracy as well as in their approach to member training.


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

Sports Volunteer Fair in city centre

People with an interest in sport and leisure are invited to come along to the Sport Volunteer Fair on Briggate in Leeds city centre this Saturday.

There are lots of fun activities for people of all ages to have a go at including testing out your football skills with the Oxfam Keepy Uppy Challenge, testing your stamina by taking part in a rowing machine challenge plus a free raffle with great prizes. There will also be stalls from V Involved, Education Leeds and sports development all giving information about the volunteering opportunities that there are in sport in the city.

The value of volunteering in Leeds is estimated to be approximately £39.5 million a year. Sport and recreation volunteering accounts for 26% of all volunteering, so the value that volunteers make to sport in the city is about £10m each year. The total benefit of what they do goes much further than this though, providing young people with some fantastic opportunities that they otherwise might not get to be involved in sport and keep fit and healthy.

The event coincides with Olympic Open Weekend, and is a great opportunity to see the variety of sport available in Leeds and find out how you can get involved in volunteering within sport in the city. Contact Julie Lewis on 0113 395 0614 or by email to for more information.

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Media are invited to the events space on Briggate, Leeds at 12 noon on Saturday, 24 July to take photographs of as many people as possible taking part in the Keepy Uppy Challenge, as part of the Sport Volunteer Fair. Councillor Lucinda Yeadon will be available to talk to reporters about the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering.

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Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“In Leeds we are lucky to have an army of enthusiastic people who give up their free time to support and promote sporting activities. Without them a lot of our sports clubs and organisations would simply not exist, and children and young people in particular would miss out.

“Many of these volunteers don’t even see themselves as that; they just turn up in all weathers, at the weekends and in the evenings through their love of sport and their desire to give something back to the community. They do a fantastic job and deserve our heartfelt thanks.”

Julie Lewis, volunteer sports development officer for the council said:
“We already have hundreds of people volunteering in sport, but there are still lots more opportunities out there. It’s a really exciting time with the Olympic Games in London just two years away, and these will bring lots of games-related volunteering activities to Leeds.

“Volunteering in sport is also a great way to keep fit and healthy, meet new people and gain new skills. Small clubs and organisations need all the support they can get to stay afloat and continue to nurture new talent in the city.”


Additional info

For more information about volunteering opportunities visit Volunteer Centre Leeds, 12b St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2LE, telephone 0113 395 0405 – open Mondays to Thursdays 10am to 3pm. Alternatively visit our website

If you are or know of a volunteer or group of volunteers who have made a difference in your local community or organisation, why not nominate them for a volunteer award? Anyone can make a nomination by visiting the year of volunteering website: and completing an online form. Alternatively, forms are available from Volunteer Centre Leeds, Enterprise House, 12 St Paul’s Street, LS1 2LE.

The closing date for nominations is 30 September 2010. Everyone who is nominated for an award will be sent a certificate of congratulations. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to the awards evening on 1 December at Leeds Civic Hall.

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

Hollywood glamour comes to Leeds

Caption: These outfits worn by Cate Blanchett (top) in Elizabeth and Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice (above) will be on show in the exhibition

The glamour of the silver screen comes to Leeds this week as some of the most memorable film and television costumes go on display at a new exhibition at Leeds City Museum.

Entitled ‘Heroes and Heroines’, the new special exhibition will show off a range of famous costumes including Orlando Bloom’s outfit from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, Madonna’s silk evening gown from ‘Evita’, Keira Knightley’s stunning period costume from ‘The Duchess’ and the shirt made famous by Colin Firth following his lake dip in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY********************************
Media are invited to the launch of 'Heroes and Heroines' at Leeds City Museum of Millennium Square at 3pm on Thursday 22nd July. The launch will feature a fashion show and full tour of the new exhibition.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY***********************************

Other famous items on display include current 007 Daniel Craig’s clothing from ‘Defiance’, Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet’s outfits from ‘Finding Neverland’ as well as those worn by Sean Connery in ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, Rene Zellweger in ‘Miss Potter’, Cate Blanchett in ‘Elizabeth’ and Emma Thompson in ‘Sense and Sensibility’.

All of the costumes will be on show at a special launch event to be held at Leeds City Museum at 3pm on Thursday 22nd July before the exhibition opens to the public the following day. The launch event will feature a fashion show being staged by students from the University of Huddersfield.

Leeds City Museum curator of exhibitions Helen Langford said:

“Anyone interested in film or fashion is going to love Heroes and Heroines. Some of the dresses and outfits on display look absolutely amazing, and of course having clothes worn by some of the most famous film stars in the world is a fantastic coup for Leeds City Museum.

“Whether it’s seeing beautiful period costumes, stunning evening gowns, Orlando Bloom’s pirate outfit or simply the sight of Mr Darcy’s shirt, this is a great exhibition which we think will appeal to everyone.”

Alongside the famous items on show will be real historical originals including some from the Leeds museums’ collection so visitors can see for themselves how accurate the big-screen versions look.

‘Heroes and Heroines’ is the latest special exhibition to come to Leeds City Museum and will be located on the third floor of the museum off Millennium Square for six months until January 9th 2011. The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of talks, lectures and events which will appeal to everyone with a passion for fashion, film, costume and making clothes.

For more information visit

‘Heroes and Heroines’ will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays 10am – 5pm, Thursday 10am-7pm and Saturdays and Sundays 11am – 5pm.

Tickets will be priced adult £2.50, Under-16, NUS, OAP £1.50, Under 5s – free, 20% off for LEEDSCard and Breezecard holders.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Council Leader welcomes summer start for Trinity Leeds development

Embargoed till 7.30am July 21 2010
Leeds City Council's Leader, Cllr Keith Wakefield, today welcomed the news of a summer start for work on the Trinity Leeds city centre shopping and leisure development.

He said:
“This is excellent news for Leeds, both in terms of the jobs being created and the major enhancement that the scheme will bring to the city centre and its shopping and leisure offer.”

He added: “With continuing economic uncertainty affecting regional centres across the country, resumption of work on the Trinity Leeds development comes as a timely vote of confidence in our city.

“The scheme will bring welcome opportunities for business and for local people to gain skills and employment."

For the full Land Securities press release about the Trinity Leeds announcement contact:

Tim Flanagan
Polo PR Partnership Ltd
Mobile 07775 901 996
Tel: 01423 870134