Monday, 1 November 2010

Silver surfers make waves thanks to £10,000 support

It’s never too late to learn something new and a group of ‘silver surfers’ have been making a splash thanks to a £10,000 award.

The residents at Mason House in Wetherby are gearing up for their first IT lesson after the launch of the Mason House Computer suite on the 25 October during national older peoples’ month.

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) has been awarded more than £10,000 of support from Digital Unite and NIACE - and computers supplied by Infostore to help older tenants dive in and get online.

The support has allowed ENEHL to run a seven week course aimed at older residents of their sheltered complexes in Wetherby. The course is taught by support tutor Terry Greaves and focuses on basic computer and internet skills such as shopping over the internet, communicating with family and friends, and using e-mail and Skype.

The award was applied for after the success of ‘Silver Surfer’ and Wii fit sessions that were held earlier this year with residents. Residents said that having the skills to access IT has helped them maintain and increase their social networks and stay independent.

Once the first group of silver surfers complete their training it is hoped that some of them will stay on to become ‘peer mentors’ encouraging other older people to get digital. There are then further plans to get the ENEHL Junior Wardens scheme involved with inter-generational work aimed at exchanging skills and experiences.

Barbara Clayton, 82, was a new starter on the course and said:
“I’m finding it more difficult to read to newspapers since my eye sight started to fade.
“Today I used a magnifier application on the computer that enlarges the print so I can the newspaper online. It is so great; it helps to keep me busy and my brain busy!”

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds Board, said:
“Computers are so important in today’s world and offers lots of opportunities for all ages.
“Our goal is to empower older people to get them using the web. It has the potential to open so many doors for them, from online shopping to researching family history to hobbies and keeping in touch with family and sharing photos.”

Notes to Editor
The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE)
is the leading non-government organisation for lifelong learning in England, and exists to encourage more and different adults to engage in better-quality learning of all kinds. It campaigns for, and celebrates the achievements of, all adult learners

Infostore is a partnership between Leeds City Council, Leeds Older People Forum and the NHS that aims to promote a healthy and active life for people over 50 in Leeds. Infostore – located at – is a website designed by older people for use with their carers and professionals and has become a valuable information resource. The site includes details of hundreds of organisations and services that work for the benefit of older people and also includes direct access to leaflets and guides which can be downloaded and read or printed off online.

East North East 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.
East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

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

Lord Mayor told ‘on yer bike’ by new mobile neighbourhood staff

Caption: The Lord Mayor of Leeds , Councillor Jim McKenna, tries out one of the new bikes being given to neighbourhood management staff.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds got into the saddle this week after being to told to get on his bike.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna, got to try out for himself the new bikes that are making staff in neighbourhoods in west and north west Leeds a bit more mobile.

To improve effectiveness on selected estates in the area, West North West Homes Leeds (WNWHL) has introduced a pilot scheme that provide neighbourhood management staff with mountain bikes.

Working together with local police, WNWHL is hoping the move will improve customer satisfaction within the neighbourhoods by providing an increased presence so they can provide reassurance, support and assistance to tenants and residents.

Caption: neighbourhood management officers (from left) Mick Parker, Danny Spellman, Mathew Martin and Akbar Khan

WNWHL, one of the three Arms Length Management Organisations that manage and maintain council houses on behalf of Leeds City Council, is now preparing to launch the new scheme on certain estates in the area.

Cathy Clelland, chair of the West North West Homes Leeds board, said:
“Our neighbourhood management staff deal with a whole host of issues on estates in the area so being quick to respond and visible means we can help tackle problems as they arise.
“We’d like to thank the Lord Mayor of Leeds for launching the scene, and hope he enjoyed the ride!”

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

‘Nasty neighbour’ threatened with eviction over behaviour

A woman who assaulted one neighbour, terrorised others and bit two police officers has been told she will lose her home unless she changes her behaviour.

Miriam Kemp, of 12 Tarnside Drive, Seacroft, has been given a 12-month suspended possession order at Leeds County Court following legal action by Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police and East North East Homes Leeds.

The court action followed a string of complaints, beginning in December, from neighbours about alleged noise, threats, violence and antisocial behaviour by Miss Kemp and her former partner Darren Wardle, also known as George Wardle, over many months.

The court heard that in July, Miss Kemp pleaded guilty to two charges of assaulting a police officer and one of criminal damage, for which she received 100 hours community service.

Miss Kemp admitted assaulting a neighbour and biting two police officers who were called to the scene, but told the court she was deeply sorry for her involvement in the incident and had been punished accordingly.

Miss Kemp admitted playing her music loudly between May and June but said she was unaware that it was causing problems for her neighbours was sorry for that.

She admitted being abusive to one neighbour but denied threatening her and other neighbours on various occasions.

One former neighbour told the court he and his family had fled their home in fear because of the behaviour of Miss Kemp and Mr Wardle.

Miss Kemp said she knew her neighbours had left their home but denied that this had anything to do with her behaviour or that of her visitors.

Miss Kemp signed a six month court undertaking not to play loud music, use threatening or abusive language or threaten or inflict unlawful violence on her neighbours in Tarnside Drive.

Darren Wardle was banned for two years from going to Miss Kemp’s home or visiting the surrounding area.

Mr Wardle, who did not attend to hearing, could be arrested if he breaks the terms of the injunction.

Councillor Peter Gruen, chair of Safer Leeds and Leeds City Council's executive board member for community safety, said:
“This kind of behaviour is wholly unacceptable and we acted promptly to gather evidence and ensure that we brought this matter before the courts.
“A council house is a privilege, not something that can be abused. When people make their neighbours’ lives a misery we will take action.”

Inspector Ed Chesters, who leads the Killingbeck and Seacroft Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
"The suspended possession order represents a final chance for Miriam Kemp to modify her behaviour or lose her home.
"Those residents living close to the property have, for far too long, had to tolerate a succession of unacceptable behaviour and I hope this final warning will provide them with reassurance of how seriously both the council and the police take these matters."

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

Work starts on green link cycle route

Leeds City Council has signed up to creating a new walking and cycling route linking Roundhay Park to the David Young Community Academy in Seacroft.

The council in partnership with UK charity Sustrans have signed a memorandum of understanding for the £434,000 Connect2 scheme. Work has recently started on the site, and it is due to be substantially completed by March 2011.

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All media are invited to see the beginnings of the work on the new route on Tuesday 2 November at 9.30am. The site is at Wetherby Road between Elmete Drive and Asket Hill and opposite the Montessori school.
Officers from Leeds City Council and Sustrans will be available to talk about the route, as well as young children from Montessori School and from the David Young Community Academy who will be in attendance. Please call the press office on 0113 2474450 to arrange attendance.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

The scheme forms part of the council’s Leeds Core Cycle Network and will provide a green link from the David Young Community Academy and surrounding communities through Wyke Beck Woods to the historical Roundhay Park. The route has been funded through £200,000 from Sustrans, and funding of just over £200,000 from Leeds City Council.

The widened, renewed path through the Wyke Beck Woods combined with traffic lights to help people across the main road will allow local people, including those with young families, a pleasant place to walk and cycle, perhaps learning to ride a bike or renewing their skills.

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

“The new route will provide an alternative option for people to experience the delights of this scenic route with the added safety of traffic measures.

“The new route will make everyday journeys through North Leeds easier, and promotes the idea of healthy living and making the most of using environmentally friendly methods of getting to and from areas of Leeds, including employment opportunities in the Aire Valley.”

David Hall from Sustrans who signed the agreement, said:“Sustrans is delighted to be working with Leeds City Council, Friends of Roundhay Park, Friends of Wyke Beck Woods and the Wyke Beck Community Forum to provide this attractive new link in the local greenway network. It is also an important phase in the wider city vision of creating a continuous greenway connecting Roundhay Park to Temple Newsam Park, and we hope it will inspire many more people to walk and cycle to these great parks.

Vanessa White, from the Big Lottery Fund Head of Region for Yorkshire and The Humber, added:
“This is great news for North Leeds as the new route will make it all that bit easier to make every day journeys by foot or bike. People from across the UK voted for Sustrans to be awarded the £50 million Lottery grant, so it’s fantastic to see some of that funding making its way to benefit Leeds.”

Notes to editors:
About Connect2
Sustrans’ Connect2 is a UK-wide project that will transform local travel in communities, creating new bridges and crossings to overcome busy roads, rivers and railways, and linking these to networks of walking and cycling routes, making it easier for millions of people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys.

Sustrans’ Connect2 won £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks: The People’s Millions as a result of a public vote televised on ITV1 in December 2007. This is the largest ever single lottery grant. Combined with match funding, the project is worth £142million

Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. It’s time we all began making smarter travel choices. Make your move and support Sustrans today.


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