Friday, 17 September 2010

New supported housing scheme opens in Leeds



An innovative new housing scheme for people with learning disabilities in Leeds had its official opening last week.

Former occupants of outdated council hostel, Windlesford Green in Rothwell, have moved into brand new apartments at Holmsley Green and are now enjoying much greater choice about how they live their lives, with more supported independence and as much privacy - or companionship - as they want.

Staff at Windlesford Green worked hard to provide a good service in an inflexible building, which was no longer fit for purpose. The new facility makes it much easier for them to provide an improved, more modern service and transform the lives of the people they help.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“Holmsley Green is a fantastic new facility and a completely new way of meeting the needs of some of the city’s most severely disabled people.

“People can now get up and go to bed when they want, and choose exactly what they want to eat, and when they eat it. They are in charge of their own daily arrangements instead of having to fit into institutional timetables and rotas, and have as much or as little support as they wish.

“The residents are thrilled with their new-found freedoms, which most other people take completely for granted, but were simply not possible in the old-style hostel. I hope that they continue to enjoy living in their new homes for many years to come.”

The 23 people previously living at Windlesford Green played an important part in designing their new homes and choosing colour schemes and furniture. There are ten two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment, each designed to a high specification that meet the needs of learning disabled people as well as supporting all the usual requirements of everyday life.

The apartments have low-level kitchen work surfaces for people who use wheelchairs, and all have en-suite bathrooms. The building has level access throughout and lifts to all floors, with a ground-floor communal lounge opening onto gardens and a patio.

The properties can be adapted to meet people’s changing needs as they grow older, or if their disabilities increase, rather than them having to move elsewhere.

This new type of supported living for people with learning disabilities also changes the way that staff approach their work. They have received extra training to help them to provide more high-level home care-style support so that they can help to maximise people’s independence and dignity.

Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Lennox Lewis boxing academy launches

Leeds community project Positive Futures delivers its knockout blow next Friday when a boxing academy opens fronted by legendry former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis.

Lewis – who won gold in the super heavyweight division for Canada at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and the Olympics Games in Seoul in 1988 – was invited to become the figurehead of the scheme at a ceremony in Leeds last October.

It will help young people aged 12 to 16-years-old who are not in education, employment or training and have an interest in boxing get off the ropes by providing them with education, training and a qualification.

The 12-week programme will introduce young people to boxing techniques, coaching methods, physical fitness and nutrition leading to a professional qualification that means they can coach future courses.

Professional boxer Patrick Maxwell will be working as part of the academy team where those completing the course will receive a None Contact Preliminary Award ASDAN Sports and Fitness Award.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services Judith Blake said:

“Leeds Positive Futures Lennox Lewis Boxing Academy gives young people from deprived areas of the city the opportunity to succeed by introducing them to a range of new activities which broadens their horizons and prevents them from becoming excluded from their communities.”

Sessions are free and start on Friday 24 September running every Friday for 12 weeks until 10th December from 9.30am to 11am and will take place at Leeds Martial Arts Centre, 2 Grant Avenue, Leeds.

Former world heavyweight champion and figurehead of the boxing academy Lennox Lewis said:

“I am proud to give my name to the Lennox Lewis Positive Futures Leeds project. It’s a fantastic to be associated with the scheme as I believe sport has a huge role to play in developing young people socially.”

There will be an interview process with prospective students to estimate their interest and commitment to the course. Anyone with questions can contact Dan Busfield on 0113 2143478.

Notes to Editor:

• Positive Futures is a national sports and activities-based social inclusion programme for young people aged between 9 and 19.
• The Positive Futures Programme started in 2000 and was officially launched in 2001. There are 118 Positive Futures projects in total across England and Wales.

-ENDS-

For media enquiries please contact: Daniel Johnson, leisure communications officer, tel: 0113 247 8285, email: daniel.johnson1@leeds.gov.uk

Tenants in south Leeds – help play a role in local council housing

An appeal has gone out to people from south Leeds to help shape the way housing is run in their part of the city.

Aire Valley Homes Leeds (AVHL) is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council.

Its board is made up of 12 members, four of which are tenants. Each year, a small number of members stand down to give others the opportunity to take part and to make sure the board has the right mix of skills and experience.

At its Annual General Meeting in November, AVHL is seeking to appoint two new tenant board members. One vacancy is for a tenant or leaseholder living anywhere in the Aire Valley Homes Leeds area, the other needs to be a tenant in Garforth, Kippax, Swarcliffe, Whinmoor or the surrounding villages.

Above all, tenant board members should be passionate about housing and how they and AVHL can work together to offer the best service we can.

Board members meet about once a month to discuss the major decisions AVHL needs to make, and acting together, give the checks and balances needed to ensure AVHL gives the best service possible. This is a voluntary position, but full training will be given and all reasonable expenses are paid.

If you would like an informal chat about the role or to request an application form call 0113 2141942 or e-mail avhleeds.enquiries@avhleeds.org.uk. Interested tenants can also apply online at www.avhleeds.org.uk Closing date for all applications is Friday 8th October.

Andrew Feldhaus, chair of the Aire Valley Homes Leeds board, said:
“That we have tenants contributing to our decision making at the highest level is tremendously important.
“Being a board member is a challenging role, but any tenant who is successful, will get a great deal of satisfaction from giving a tenant’s perspective on how services are experienced and how the organisation can make a positive difference in all it does.
“This is a great opportunity to be involved at the heart of the Aire Valley Homes Leeds.”

Notes to editors:
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