Thursday, 23 September 2010

Party without pollution winners ride off with their prizes (picture)


Picture caption:(back row l-r) Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Jim McKenna, Lady Mayoress Cllr Andrea McKenna, Cllr Richard Lewis executive member responsible for transport policy with scooter winners (front l-r) Daniel Harvisty (10), Louis Detchon (5) and Oliver Perrin (8).

Children and young people who went to this year’s Breeze on Tour not only had great fun trying out the new inflatables, they also demonstrated their green credentials by taking part in two eco-competitions.

The children who took on the green challenges were rewarded for their efforts at a special prize-giving ceremony yesterday.

Attendees at the ‘Party without Pollution’ were invited to take part in two competitions to encourage them to think more about eco-friendly modes of transport and the impact transport has on the environment.

The winners of the ‘CO2 hunt’ received their prizes at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday (22 September). The three winners will each receive a scooter. Entrants went on a transport treasure hunt around the Breeze events, to identify the amount of CO2 emissions for each mode of transport.

The winners were:
Louis Detchon, 5, Manston St James Primary School;
Daniel Harvisty, 10, Victoria Primary School and;
Oliver Perrin, 8, Westgate Primary School

Over a thousand children also designed bright and interesting bikes with lights, flowers reflectors etc. in the ‘bling a bike’ competition. Reminding them that the bike is a fun and eco-friendly way to get to out and about around the city as well as to school. Each winning child got a £10 High Street gift voucher.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member responsible for development, including transport policy, said:
“Children are becoming much more aware of the impact our daily lives have on the environment. These competitions are a great way to show children that reducing the amount of CO2 being released can be easy and fun, just by changing they mode of transport they use.”

As well as taking part the competitions revellers at the ‘party without pollution’ found out just how much energy is needed to power the essential ingredients for any party - sound system, games console, TV and lights, by hooking them up to three bike generators. The party-goers had to keep pedaling to provide a constant supply of energy.

Councillor Judith Blake executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Breeze on tour this year really had something for everyone. These competitions and the ‘party without pollution’ were fun to take part in but also helped the children think more about what they can do to be more eco-friendly.”

Leeds City Council’s travelwise team also attended the Breeze on Tour events to give advice on cycle and walking routes, and car sharing across the city.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Young offenders make amends with park work


Picture caption: "Young offenders, Leeds youth offending staff and park rangers work together to spruce up Middleton Park."

A group of young offenders, involved with the Leeds youth offending service, have been making amends for their crimes, by sprucing up a local park.

The 20 young people, aged between 12 and 17, spent two days a week throughout the summer holidays tidying up Middleton Park alongside the park rangers, youth offending service staff and volunteers from the Friends of Middleton Park.

The youths helped rebuild steps, clear out historical bell pits and remove litter, in a scheme which not only improved the appearance of the park, but also helped the young offenders publicly make amends for their crimes.

Steve Clavering, senior park ranger, who worked with the young people said:
“The young people worked really hard and were a massive help in making some big improvements in the park. Without their help, this work would have taken us many weeks to complete. Although many come from disadvantaged and difficult backgrounds they really proved they wanted to make a difference in their lives.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services, including youth offending, said:
“These youngsters are often under a lot of pressure from their friends to return to criminal behaviour so this type of reparation work provides a positive distraction whilst doing something meaningful and developing useful skills.”

A centuries-old method of coal mining has left hundreds of bell pits across the park, which are now overgrown. The work done by the young offenders now means visitors to Middleton Park can get a greater understanding of the historical significance of mining in the park and how the pits were used.

As well as clearing out the bell pits, the youngsters also took on the back-breaking task of rebuilding over 30 steps. This activity enabled the young people to gain experience of using a number of different tools and how to apply maths to the task, whilst making the steps safe and attractive for the public.

Local wildlife will also benefit from the work done by the young offenders who carried out a large-scale litter pick across the park.

The young people, who had been involved in offences including burglary and criminal damage, get involved in reparation projects like this, to try and make amends for their offending behaviour and give something back to the community.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Blue badges abusers beware – fines and court action beckons

Leeds City Council is to crack down on abuse of the ‘blue badge’ disabled parking scheme – which costs the city’s taxpayers half a million pounds a year – and offenders are being warned they face fines and court.

Extensive research has shown a significant problem in Leeds with people using blue badges to which they are not entitled to park in spaces reserved for disabled people or to avoid parking charges. This has been estimated to cost the city £500,000 a year in lost revenue and reduces the parking available for people with disabilities.

However, the council is now mounting a crackdown on improper use of blue badges – and is warning offenders that they face fines and prosecution if they are caught. Consultations with badge holders found massive support for more checking and firm action against offenders.

Blue Badges are only for the use of the registered holder and illegal users of badges face fines and prosecution if they are caught.

Badges must not be loaned to family or friends or they can be withdrawn. They should be returned to the council if they are badly faded or damaged, expired, no longer being used by the badge holder, if the holder has died or if the holder’s condition changes and they are no longer eligible.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, which includes parking, said:
“We support people who are genuinely disabled and are legitimate badge holders, but misuse of these badges is clearly a problem.
“People who are abusing the system, whether deliberately or through lack of understanding, should consider this fair warning – the council will take action. You face fines and now court action if you are caught misusing a blue badge.
“This is an important scheme that allows disabled people to live independent lives, abuse of the system undermines it and costs the city’s taxpayers a lot of money.”

If someone knows of fraudulent use of a Blue Badge, they should call 0113 2474645 or email concerns@leeds.gov.uk

they should provide as many details as possible – such as the badge's serial number, the vehicle colour, make, model and registration number, where vehicle displaying the badge usually parks, the name and address of the badge holder, the name and address of the person misusing the badge.

For more information, go to www.dft.gov.uk/transportforyou/access/bluebadge

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

Residents asked to voice their views on crime and grime

Leeds City Council are asking local people on the Hawksworth estate to come and talk to them about crime and grime issues in the area.

The event will take place on Tuesday 28 September between 3pm and 6pm at St Mary’s Church Hall on Hawkswood Avenue.

Residents can come and speak to officers in confidence about noisy neighbours, nuisance bikes, littering, fly tipping, community safety issues or any other problems you believe affect the estate.

The issues raised will help identify some of the priorities for the area over the next few months. Partner agencies attending the event will work together over the coming months to tackle the crime and any issues raised by residents and commit to providing feedback on the progress.

A number of council services and partner agencies will be present at the event, including West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire Service, West North West Homes, NHS Leeds as well as children’s services, ASB Unit, Safer Leeds and area management, who have worked with local councillors to organise the event.

Councillor Ben Chastney, chair of the inner north west area committee said:

“This event will provide a great opportunity for residents of the Hawksworth estate to have their say on issues that affect the estate, and be able to speak to the people who can help them make a difference.”

“I encourage all residents to come and attend the event and have their say on how to improve the area.”

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For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Volunteering opportunities needed


Volunteer Centre Leeds is putting out a call to all organisations in the city to come forward with their volunteering opportunities.

The centre is doing an excellent job of matching willing people to volunteering opportunities, but now needs more organisations to come forward with requests for help to keep the ever growing army of volunteers in Leeds occupied. To cope with demand the centre is now open five days a week, Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm.

As well as being the first port of call for new volunteers to find opportunities, Volunteer Centre Leeds is an accredited centre which offers advice, support and training to organisations using volunteers, or who are considering setting up a volunteering programme in the future. The free services they offer are:

• Advertising your volunteering opportunities and putting these onto the national Do It database www.do-it.org
• Advice and support on anything to do with volunteering, including setting up an employee programme or expanding an existing one.
• A volunteer manager's network, where anyone who manages volunteers can meet up every two months to discuss relevant issues, network and offer support to each other.
• Training on volunteer management.

It is important to recognise the worth of volunteer co-ordinators – the people who look after volunteers in the working environment, and the Volunteer Centre offers training courses especially for this group.

Natasha Mort, manager of Volunteer Centre Leeds said:
“We know that there are lots of organisations out there who need more unpaid help, and I would urge them to get in touch with us so that we can offer them support in setting this up.

“We are getting more and more people through our doors and need to keep increasing the numbers of opportunities we have for would-be volunteers. We can offer advice, support and training for organisations who are interested in starting to use volunteers, and help them find the right people for the roles they have.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering has been really successful in generating interest in volunteering and getting more people to come forward and get involved.

“Now we want to highlight how we can help organisations to fill their volunteering positions, or advise them on how to introduce a volunteer programme.

“Volunteer Centre Leeds is a resource for the city and can offer free help and ongoing support to any organisation needing a helping hand, so please get in touch.”

For more information about how Volunteer Centre Leeds can help, please contact Natasha Mort on 0113 3950405, email Natasha.mort@val.org.uk or visit http://www.val.org.uk/page/i-need-volunteers

2010 is the Leeds Year of Volunteering, an initiative led by the council and Voluntary Action Leeds. Its aim is to engage every citizen in a volunteering activity during the year.

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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 Friday 10am to 3pm. Alternatively visit our website www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk

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: http://www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk and completing an online form. Alternatively, forms are available from Volunteer Centre Leeds.

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
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Focus on parents with learning disabilities

A conference to be held in Leeds this week will look at the problems encountered by parents who have a learning disability, and the support that is available to them.

The conference, ‘Working together for a better future for parents with learning disabilities’, has been planned with health and social care professionals in mind. Organised by Leeds City Council’s learning disability development team, delegates will include representatives of adults’ and children’s services. There will be presentations on ante-natal care and maternity services for mothers with learning disabilities, and on how to provide a safe and supportive environment for families where one or both parents have a learning disability.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“Research has shown that families where one or both parents have a learning disability have a raw deal. Up to 50% of children with learning disabled parents do not grow up in the family home. Often, they are brought up by relatives or are even taken into care.

“This conference is aimed at ensuring that agencies working with expectant parents and parents with a learning disability have a consistent approach to the needs of these very special families.

“It will highlight the need for good communication with families so that they do not become confused or feel threatened, leading them to avoid contact with the very people who can help them.”

A large proportion of learning disabled people live in poverty and the conference will draw on Department of Health guidance for improving services for learning disabled parents and identifying where support is available to help develop parenting skills.

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Notes for editors

The conference takes place on Thursday, 23 September at the St Chad’s Parish Centre, Headingley.

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