Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Top companies join Safer Leeds in fight against crime

Leeds City Council and the police are recruiting local businesses to help them in the fight against crime.

Safer Leeds, the city’s crime-fighting partnership, has enlisted the help of major companies to pass on crime reduction messages to their employees.

Employers at over 350 companies based in the city have agreed to distribute an anti-burglary poster to their workers via intranet or email.

Under the headline “Which House Would You Burgle?” the poster gives advice to householders on how to avoid burglary by locking doors and windows, improving external lighting, installing timers to turn lights on in the house and keeping valuables out of sight.

Artwork for the poster has been provided free of charge by Leeds graphic design company Totality.

The mail-out is part of an initiative to find new ways of communicating with the public about crime and public safety.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds, said:
“So many burglaries are opportunistic, so the more we can do to remove the incentive for criminals the better.
“Campaigns like this are therefore extremely important in educating people, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, to help them minimise the risk of becoming a victim of crime. The cooperation we have had so far has been fantastic.
“Burglary rates in Leeds have been reducing steadily over the past year and we hope that by reaching people with this information in different ways we can cut it even further.”
"We have asked for feedback from all the companies so that we know how they are distributing the information. Some people are choosing to print the poster out and put it up on the wall. Others are putting it up on the intranet. Others are putting it onto email. One company has even told us that they have sent it out to teams as far away as Sunderland and even Scotland.”

Nick Wade, Technical Director of Totality Graphic Design said:
“We’re delighted to offer our artwork free for such a worthy purpose.
“This an exciting new way of reaching the public and we really hope it helps to bring burglary down."

Notes to editors:
Safer Leeds is the crime-fighting partnership between Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and other agencies.

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

Active Life at Kirkstall Leisure Centre

A free event promoting sports to older people will kick off at Kirkstall Leisure Centre with help from special guests on Tuesday 5 October.

The Active Life campaign is an innovative project helping older people get fit and active and will provide free taster sessions in table tennis, badminton, racketball, and general aerobics.

Table tennis star Sandra Rider will be on hand to give tips. She is enjoying a remarkable year in the veteran's table tennis scene having recently returned from playing the 56th International Veteran Championships in Trier, Germany, where she won the over-50s singles event.

Badminton has been increasing in popularity within Active Life groups – held at other leisure centres – not only because it promotes physical benefits but also mental alertness.

And Brian Wallwork, current National, British, European and World Veterans Champion and Coach and Manager of the English National Junior Teams, will be at the event giving hints and tips on the game.

Members of the England Squash and Racketball Association will also be available to coach anyone interested in taking up racketball. While for those who are more interested in achieving personal goals there will be gentle exercise classes.

Leeds City Council’s older peoples’ sports development officer Allyson Bertram, said:

“We are targeting older people to help keep them fit and healthy as they age. Physical exercise slows the body’s deterioration helping to maintain muscular strength, flexibility and endurance as well as healthy bones, heart and lungs.”

Leeds City Council’s head of sport and active recreation Mark Allman said:

“We are committed to helping older people stay fit and active. Programmes at leisure centres around Leeds can offer a huge range of activities and will often cater for those with restricted mobility wanting to improve their fitness levels.”

Activities begin at 9.30am and run through to midday. Kirkstall Leisure Centre will then be hosting Active Life sessions every Tuesday and Thursday morning 9.30am to noon where people over 50 will be able to take part in a variety of activities.

Notes to editor:
• Physically active people reduce the risk of developing major chronic diseases by up to 50 per cent and the risk of premature death by between 20 and 30 per cent.
• Kirkstall Leisure Centre is on Kirkstall Lane, Leeds, LS5 3BE.
• 50 FREE places are available – please wear clothes and shoes suitable for exercise.
• To book and for further information contact Allyson Bertram Older Peoples’ Sport Development Officer Telephone: 01133950196 or email: allyson.bertram@leeds.gov.uk
• The day runs from 9.30am to 12.15pm. Activities will take place from 10am – noon when refreshments will be served.


For media enquiries please contact: Daniel Johnson,Leisure Communications Officer, Tel: 0113 247 8285, Email: Daniel.johnson1@leeds.gov.uk

Red carpet treatment for one of Leeds’ oldest residents on her 108th birthday

A special birthday celebration will be held at Harvey Nichols for Hannah Watling, who reaches the grand age of 108 this week.

The Espresso Bar at the city’s most exclusive store has invited Hannah and guests for afternoon tea, complete with a glass of celebratory champagne, to mark her special birthday.

Hannah, a resident of Burley Willows Home for Older People, will celebrate her 108th birthday in style thanks to the kind offer made by her care worker’s husband, who is the manager of the bar. She will be accompanied by her friend Olive, who is 101.

******************** Photo opportunity ********************
When: 11am, Thursday, 30 September

Where: The Espresso Bar, Harvey Nichols, Victoria Quarter, Leeds

What: Hannah Watling celebrates her 108th birthday at a special afternoon tea party
******************** Photo opportunity ********************

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social services said:
‘’I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Hannah a very happy birthday. It’s a fantastic achievement to reach the age of 108, and I know that she’ll have a wonderful time at the Espresso Bar. What a treat!”

Wayne Stead, manager of The Espresso Bar at Harvey Nichols said:
“I’ve heard a lot about Hannah, and thought that it would be a really special treat for one of the oldest members of our community to come down to one of the most famous landmarks in the city as part of her birthday celebrations.

“We want to make it a really special occasion so will greet Hannah with a glass of champagne before she enjoys one of our afternoon teas in a specially reserved area of the bar. It will be lovely to hear her memories of the Victoria Quarter, and how things have changed in her lifetime.”

Hannah was born in 1902, and has lived in Leeds all her life. The eldest of four children, she got married to Clarence when she was 26. The couple initially moved in with Clarence's parents at Cardigan Road, and Hannah worked in a mill for a number of years. They eventually got their own house in Burley and Clarence told Hannah to stop working. The couple were not lucky enough to have any children, but owned various businesses over the years including a coal delivery business, a partnership in a pub, and a greengrocers. Clarence sadly passed away after 20 years of marriage, and Hannah has been a widow for over 60 years.

Shortly after Clarence died, Hannah sold the grocery shop and moved to Headingley. She made good friends with a lady there and the two of them enjoyed going out dancing. Later she moved into a house in the Mayvilles off Cardigan Road, where she lived for 40 years until moving into Burley Willows in March 2009.

She's settled into the home really well. She continues to be good fun and likes to help other residents at mealtimes and makes sure that everyone gets back into their own chairs in the lounge afterwards. She has lots of visitors and keeps active

Hannah’s birthday celebrations will continue on Friday, the big day itself, with an open house at Burley Willows for her friends and relatives to call in to see her and share a piece of birthday cake.


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

International Roma artwork to be exhibited in Leeds

Artwork by a leading international Roma artist who has worked in many schools across the city is to be exhibited in Leeds for the first time.

Ferdinand Koci will be displaying numerous pieces of artwork, many from his private collection, at the West Park Centre from Wednesday 29 September until Tuesday 21 December. The official opening takes place at 12.30pm and will be attended by Ferdinand Koci.

Ferdinand has worked in many schools in Leeds, and across the country, to promote Roma culture and to teach children and young people about the different way of life through painting and artwork.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“It is great news for Leeds that this international artist will be displaying his work here. This is an excellent opportunity for schools and other interested groups and people to visit the exhibition, learn more about the Roma culture and meet Ferdinand, who has created some wonderful artwork about this unique way of life.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Education Leeds’ Gypsy Roma Traveller achievement service does a fantastic job in raising achievement within the Roma community and has worked with Ferdinand Koci on numerous occasions to challenge negative stereotypes and teach children and young people more about this fascinating culture.

“Schools have taken part in art classes and competitions and Ferdinand has visited many schools to talk about and demonstrate what he does. This exhibition is a great opportunity for schools and others to find out more.”

To coincide with the exhibition, every school in Leeds will be given an information and resource pack based on Ferdinand’s work which includes information on Gypsy Roma Traveller history, information about the enslavement of Gypsies in Europe for 350 years, the Holocaust and the celebration of life in music, art and literature.

To see videos of Ferdinand teaching children how to draw portraits, and for further details on Gypsy Roma and Travellers visit www.grtleeds.co.uk.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Children’s home charity gala is a great success

Picture caption: "Belly dancers entertain the crowds at the gala organised by staff and residents at Squirrel Way children's home."

Staff and residents at a children’s home in Moortown are celebrating a successful community gala last weekend.

With 27 stalls and side-shows - some of them being hand-built by the staff and children themselves – a variety of entertainers and an impressive barbeque, the Squirrel Way gala proved a fun day out for around 200 visitors.

The proceeds of £1,300 will be shared between Martin House Children’s Hospice and the children’s cancer ward at Leeds General Infirmary – the two charities chosen by staff and residents.

The young residents – aged 11 to 17 – took an active part in organising the day. They helped to promote the event and many helped out on the stalls. One resident even took centre-stage to sing to the crowds, and another former resident came back and donned a ‘Sponge Bob Square Pants’ costume to entertain the children.

Jackie Wilson, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for children’s social care, said:
“The young people were very much involved in the day, and were clearly excited and proud of their achievements. What impressed me most of all was the commitment of the staff and their families, to making this a success.”

Andrew Magner, senior care officer at Squirrel Way, who helped organise the event, said:
“As well as raising money for two brilliant charities it was also a great opportunity to prove that the young people who stay at Squirrel Way are a valuable part of this community. Without them we would have struggled to hold this gala.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“This gala was a real community celebration and showed how important our looked after children are to their local communities. It was a testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff and the commitment shown by the children that the gala was such a success. Creating an enjoyable day out for the community and raising money for these well-deserving charities is a great achievement for everyone involved and they should all be very proud.”

A traditional coconut shy and a hook-a-duck stall were hand-built by staff, and the crowds were entertained by belly dancers, a martial arts demonstration and a local band. Children also had great fun on a bouncy slide and mini go-karts.

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

Transport minister sees progress work on new Leeds bus corridor

Government Transport Minister Norman Baker visited a new £20m Leeds bus corridor which could shave up to up to six minutes from rush hour bus journeys.

Mr Baker was in Leeds earier this week to see construction work on the 4km A65 Quality Bus Corridor scheme and hear how it will deliver significant improvements to bus travel along Kirkstall Road.

Norman Baker, Transport Minister for the Department for Transport, said:

"This is a solid and innovative project which offers a real alternative to taking your car in and out of Leeds city centre.

"The issues of urban congestion are well documented, which is why the government has reconfirmed nearly £20 million towards this scheme. I have been very impressed with the progress being made not just on this project but across the city."

Earlier this year, Leeds City Council was awarded grant funding of almost £20m by the Department for Transport to construct the A65 Quality Bus Corridor. Preliminary work started in March and the corridor is on track to open in 2012.

Developed by Leeds City Council and Metro, the scheme will deliver 4km of new bus lanes to both sides of the road, plus cycle lanes and seven new or improved pedestrian crossings together with new bus shelters and real time passenger information displays.

Six busy bus services use the corridor serving destinations like the airport, Guiseley, Otley, Bradford and Keighley. During the day, up to 28 buses per hour will use the route transporting around 7,500 passengers. It is estimated that the improvements should save passengers up to six minutes on their journeys to and from the city centre during the morning and evening rush hours.

The Minister also visited various other transport schemes in the city centre, including a fantastic new cycle hub facility at Leeds train station called Cyclepoint, which has parking for 300 bikes, plus rental bikes and a fully staffed bike maintenance and repair service.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and regeneration said:

“It has been very encouraging to have the Transport Minister up to Leeds to see the great development work that is happening throughout the city.

“The Cyclepoint is a fantastic new facility and the building works to the A65 Quality Bus Corridor are progressing well, promising a marked improvement for commuters when the scheme is completed. Journey times will be reduced and buses will be more reliable and punctual all of which should make travel much easier for commuters.”

Councillor Ryk Downes, Metro’s deputy chairman said:

"Today’s visit was an opportunity to show Mr Baker a key Leeds scheme, which will make bus services along this busy route more attractive by knocking up to up to six minutes off peak-time journey times in and out of Leeds, which per a week means commuters could save up to an hour's travelling time."


Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s delivery partners for the A65 Quality Bus Corridor scheme are Metro and the bus operators, First West Yorkshire and Transdevm, who run services on the corridor


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