Monday, 27 September 2010

Statements on Jimi Heselden OBE

Chief executive of Leeds City Council Tom Riordan said:

“We are all devastated and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Jimi Heselden OBE. Jimi was an amazing man who apart from being a wonderful success story for Leeds due to his business acumen was also remarkably selfless and generous giving millions to local charities to help people in his home city.

“As a council we enjoyed great success with Jimi and HESCO Bastion working together with them to achieve a historic gold medal for the city at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and everyone who knew him will remember his quiet manner, good nature, and tremendous pride in being from Leeds. He will be hugely missed and at this awful time our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Statement from HESCO Bastion Ltd:

"It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that Jimi Heselden OBE, has died in a tragic accident near his home in West Yorkshire.

"Jimi Heselden, 62, was Chairman of Hesco Bastion Ltd, the world-leading manufacturer of protective barriers used to protect British and coalition troops around the world.

"Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation. A £10m gift to the Foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m.

"Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends, who have asked for privacy at this time."


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

Yorkshire to lead major European project on Roma

A partnership of Yorkshire councils has won £1million EU funding to lead a Europe-wide project to improve both the lives of Roma people and the local communities they live alongside.

The project, which will be known as Roma SOURCE, is being led by the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Migration Partnership. It brings together eight organisations from six countries across Europe (UK, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria and Spain).

The partners in the project include regions of Europe which are traditionally home to Roma communities as well as those which have more recently become a destination.

One of the project’s key aims is to make sure that local communities in Yorkshire, which have only recently seen significant migration by European Roma, learn from the experiences of other European countries where Roma have traditionally lived. This will benefit not only Roma themselves, but also lessen the impact on existing communities in places where Roma have settled.

The project, which will run for two years, will be looking at issues such as children, employment, health and integration.

Councillor Olivia Rowley, a Wakefield councillor and the chair of the partnership said:
“All local authorities where Roma have settled know that there can be real challenges in working with Roma people.
“This project will provide a great opportunity to make sure we are developing the skills and knowledge we need to provide services to this extremely vulnerable group. Doing this will benefit both Roma people and the communities that they live alongside.”

Rob Warm, from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Migration Partnership says:
“The inclusion of Roma people is one of the top issues on the agenda in Europe today, and the recent removal of many Roma from France has brought home to many of us the unique situation faced by Europe’s largest ethnic minority.
“We’re delighted to be able to put Yorkshire’s expertise in positively dealing with new migrant groups to good use on this exciting cross-national project.
“There is clearly work to be done to improve relations between Roma and non-Roma people, and this funding gives us an excellent opportunity to do that.”

Background information on Europe’s Roma
Who are the Roma?
The term Roma refers to various groups of people who describe themselves as Roma, Manouches, Ashkali, Sinti, and other titles. They originated in the Indian subcontinent, migrating towards Europe over 1,000 years ago and now form the biggest ethnic minority in the European Union.

There is no precise data on the total population of Roma because of incomplete data on ethnicity in some countries, Roma people's mobility and their relucance to register for fear of being stigmatised. However, it is estimated that there are about 10 - 12 million Roma across Europe.

Most modern-day Roma migrants are from central and eastern Europe, particularly Romania, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic, where the EU says they still face ethnic prejudice.

What is their legal status in Europe?
Legal status differs across Europe and from one Roma group to another, depending on their period of migration and recognition in each country as an ethnic or national minority.

What challenges do they face?
Across Europe, the Roma face significant levels of social exclusion in employment, access to education, health care and other public services.

Many Roma face discrimination in many parts of Europe and this discrimination against the Roma has a long history. During World War Two, the Roma were victims of persecution by Nazi authorities on ethnic grounds. It is not known how many Roma were killed but historians say it may have been as many as a quarter of the population.

For media enquiries, please contact:
John Donegan
Yorkshire & Humber Regional Migration Partnership
0113 395 2448 | 07891 272854

Notes to editors:
1. Yorkshire and Humber Regional Migration Partnership is a council-led partnership working with national government, local government, and others to ensure that Yorkshire and Humber can deal with, and benefit from, migration. We work with agencies across the statutory, voluntary, community and private sectors to help support the delivery of high quality services to migrants in a way that benefits everyone living in local communities.
2. Project partners include: Yorkshire and Humber Regional Migration Partnership, Regional Administration of Varna (Bulgaria), University of Salford (UK), Former State Fostered Children's Association (Hungary), Action Synergy (Greece), Valencian Vice-ministry for Solidarity and Citizenship (Spain), Marantha Federation of Gipsy Associations (Spain), Municipality of Pescara (Italy)
3. The project is funded by the European Commission as part of the 'Fundamental Rights and Citizenship' Programme.