Thursday, 4 November 2010

Council house fraudster faces bill after crackdown on illegal subletting

A man who illegally sub-let his council home for 13 months, pocketing the cash while failing to pay regular rent, has been evicted and ordered to pay his arrears.

Chamunorwa Rubaya has been evicted from his Beckhill Avenue home in the Miles Hill area of Leeds, which he sub-let for 13 months to an unsuspecting family.

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL), which manages council houses on behalf of Leeds City Council, was alerted to the problem when the police visited the property on a separate issue and contacted the housing office for more information.

Rubaya had been pocketing the rent paid by the family, while failing to pay regular rent to ENEHL.

The case was heard last week at Leeds County Court where ENEHL applied for possession of the property. Mr Rubaya, who failed to appear at the hearing and is now believed to be living abroad, was ordered to pay £1,749 in arrears and costs of £860.

This investigation was part of an initiative currently being led by Leeds City Council to crack down on unlawful sub-letting across the city.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“Most people in this city are hardworking and law abiding, so it is vitally important that we crack down on those who exploit the system.
“Council homes are not provided so someone can make a profit out of them and I believe any right-thinking person would be angry that there are people who abuse them in this way.”

Angelena Fixter, Chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
“Cracking down on council house subletting is a top priority. He was making an illegal profit from subletting and stopping families, some of whom have been on the waiting lists for years, from having a secure place to live.
“This case sends a clear message that we will not tolerate illegal sub-letting and will act quickly to stamp it out.”

When officials discovered that the house was being sub-let illegally they served Mr Rubaya with a notice to quit. Because the sub-letters were unaware that they had been duped, the courts, with ENEHL in agreement, gave them 28 days to leave the property instead of evicting them immediately. One of the occupants has now moved into a housing association property, and the council is supporting the other to find permanent accommodation.

Unauthorised subletting of a council properties can have a major effect on communities and Leeds City Council and its Arms Length Management Organisations has a duty as a responsible landlord to know who is in its properties to prevent abuse of the housing system and fraud from occurring. Cracking down on illegal subletting of council properties frees up homes across the city for people on the waiting list.

Cases of illegal subletting can be reported in confidence to 0113 2476681 or e-mail enehl.enquiries@enehl.org.uk

Notes to editors:
East North East Homes Leeds
is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) 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.

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

Meet in the suite for a treat

The heart of Leeds Art Gallery has been given a new look as part of the building has been converted into state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities.

The former lecture theatre in the centre of the building on The Headrow has undergone a major £150,000 makeover funded by Renaissance Yorkshire to be converted into a brand new conference suite compromising three ground floor rooms and one above.

The newly-opened rooms have been named in honour of four of the most famous names from the art history of the Leeds region – sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth who both studied at Leeds School of Art, celebrated Leeds painter John Inchbold, and artist Edward Wadsworth who was born in nearby Cleckheaton.

The Henry Moore Room is the largest of the rooms, seating up to 120 people in a theatre style or up to 72 in cabaret style. The room is equipped with a cinema standard large-sized projection screen as well as a PA system and is fully air-conditioned, while a laptop and microphones are also available. The room can be used for a variety of events including conferences, receptions and dinners.

The Hepworth Room on the ground floor and the Inchbold Room on the mezzanine above seat up to 16 people in a boardroom-style and 12 cabaret, while the Wadsworth room will seat a maximum of eight boardroom or eight cabaret. All three of these rooms are equipped with a 40-inch LCD television screen and laptop and also have wi-fi internet access.

Catering is available from award-winning partner agency Boutique, while for smaller conferences and meetings guests space can be reserved in the stunning Tiled Hall for refreshments and lunch.

The new conference suite is the latest addition to Leeds City Council’s stable of city centre ‘Conference Culture’ locations. The other venues available are at Leeds Town Hall, The Carriageworks theatre, Leeds City Museum and the Museum Discovery Centre.

Leeds City Council museums and galleries commercial officer Christine Sitch said:

“The new conference suite in Leeds Art Gallery is a fantastic new addition to our superb range of meeting and conference venues here in the heart of the city centre.

“The new rooms look great so anyone interested in looking for somewhere to host a meeting or event should come along and take a look for themselves.”

If you would like further information or to arrange a tour of the new suite at Leeds Art Gallery please contact Sheel Douglas-Bharj on 0113 247 8256 or email sheel.bharj@leeds.gov.uk

For more information on the Leeds ‘Conference Culture’, visit the website at www.conferenceculture.co.uk or call Christine Sitch on 0113 214 1551.

For more information on Renaissance Yorkshire, visit the website at www.mla.gov.uk/what/programmes/renaissance/regions/yorkshire


ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

UK’s 50,000th Children’s University passport to be issued in Leeds

A pupil from a Leeds primary school will be awarded with the UK’s 50,000th Children’s University passport this week.

The Children's University is a UK wide organisation that provides 7 to 14 year olds with learning activities and experiences outside of normal school hours.

A ceremony will take place at Fieldhead Carr Primary School in Whinmoor on Friday (5 November) to present the children with their passports to allow them to take part in the national initiative.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to attend the Children’s University ceremony at Fieldhead Carr Primary School in Whinmoor on Friday 5 November at 1pm. Please email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 3951577 to confirm attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********


For more than a year, the Seacroft Manston Extended Services team has worked with schools in the local area to take part in the Children's University to highlight the importance of recognising extra curricular achievement. The aim is to celebrate achievement and reward participation while raising children's aspirations.

The passports will be presented by Chris Edwards, the chief executive of Education Leeds, during a special assembly at Fieldhead Carr Primary School from 1pm on Friday 5 November.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The Children’s University is a unique way of encouraging and rewarding children and young people to take part in out of hours education and activities. It’s great that the 50,000th passport is being presented in Leeds and I hope there will be thousands more if we are able to roll out the programme to other schools across the city.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We are always looking for new and exciting ways of encouraging our children and young people to make the most of their time at school and to take part in as many opportunities as possible to boost their learning.

“The Children's University in the Seacroft and Manston area has been such a success that we are hoping it can be something that all children and young people can access across the city.

“Everyone who has taken part in the Children’s University should be proud of themselves. I’m very pleased to be presenting the passports to our brilliant learners at Fieldhead Carr Primary School.”

Children and young people gain stamps in their Children's University passport to record their outside school learning. Bronze awards are awarded at 30 hours of participation, silver at 65 and gold at 100. Gold award graduation style ceremonies are held in universities to celebrate and recognise the children and young people’s achievements.

For further information visit www.childrensuniversity.co.uk.

ENDS

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

November is children and young people’s volunteering month


The bigVbus


Cllr Yeadon signs the Vinvolved giant greetings card showing her support for youth volunteering in Leeds


Are you a young person interested in volunteering? Do you want to get experience to help you get ahead in life? Or are you just interested in getting involved in activities in your local community? Alternatively you might be an adult interested in volunteering with children and young people by becoming a mentor, school governor or working with youth groups.

There are lots of opportunities to help you get started this month as part of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering.

vinvolved is the national youth volunteering service programme, which aims to get a million more young people positively involved in their communities by volunteering. The vinvolved Leeds team, run in partnership by local charity Learning Partnerships, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council, have organised lots of activities during the month of November to help encourage young people to volunteer.

On 4 November the bigvbus is in Leeds and will be returning to the University of Leeds for the second year running, stopping outside the union for the day. Young people will be invited to jump on board and discover how volunteering can help them get ahead through a range of fun activities and talks, ranging from five minutes to one hour. The event will run from 10am until 4pm on Thursday 4 November 2010.

******************** Photo opportunity ********************

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon will be meeting young people interested in volunteering at the bigvbus at the University of Leeds at 12noon on Thursday, 4 November
******************** Photo opportunity ********************

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
"Volunteering can really enrich people's lives by giving them different life experiences and encouraging them to get involved in their local communities.

“With the economic climate making it increasingly difficult to find work, volunteering can give young people the chance to develop essential new skills, which can help them to find jobs in the future.

“Volunteering with children and young people is also really rewarding. We all have things to offer the younger generation be it help with numeracy and literacy in school or being a positive role model for teenagers.

“I would encourage anyone considering getting involved to contact Volunteer Centre Leeds to find out what opportunities there are.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services said:
“Becoming involved in volunteering is extremely rewarding and it is something that I would encourage all young people to do. Vinvolved is a fantastic programme and offers a number of opportunities for young people across Leeds to develop some essential life skills and feel good about themselves at the same time.

“I really hope that the programme is a success and that as many people as possible take up the opportunity to help with one of the projects on offer.”

Live UnLtd and Bright Futures Enterprise have teamed up to provide a fun filled day at SHINE in Leeds on Thursday 18 November for 16 to 18 year olds in West Yorkshire. The event could help them to make their ideas become a reality by giving young people the opportunity to pitch for up to £2000 to support their project ideas. There are only 60 spaces available for this unique opportunity, so please confirm your attendance by contacting joannerich@unltd.org.uk along with 100 words on your project idea by Monday 15 November.

Thought Bubble Sequential Arts Festival are recruiting volunteers to help give away free comics to promote literacy on Friday 19 November. There are also opportunities for Thought Bubble ambassadors to spread the word about the Leeds Sequential Arts Festival and free workshops on offer to other young people. You could be putting up posters, inviting your friends to join the Facebook group and generally getting people excited about the event!
If you’re aged between 16-25 and would like to take part please contact vinvolved Leeds for further information vinvolved@learningpartnerships.org.uk, 0113 380 6888.

Thackray Medical Museum are looking for volunteers to help bring the museum and it's exhibitions to life for visiting children and families. Throughout the year the museum offers loads of fun and educational activities ranging from craft activities to sessions covering issues such as healthy eating. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help support these sessions. This is invaluable experience for anyone interested in pursuing a career in museums or education. Activities run on a weekend during school term time with additional sessions taking place during school holidays. For further details contact the vinvolved Leeds team vinvolved@learningpartnerships.org.uk or 0113 380 6888.

Interested in working with children? We're looking for volunteers, aged 16-25, to form part of a team offering play work sessions for 5-13 year olds at the Burley Lodge Centre. This is a great opportunity to gain experience of working with a wide age range of children in a fun environment. It’s a great chance to develop communication, team work and organisational skills and learn more specific skills including assessing play and risk with young children and designing play spaces that accommodate the needs of the children involved. You will need to be able to commit to a regular weekly session for a full school term (approximately 12 weeks). Sessions take place on weekdays and Saturdays. For further details contact the vinvolved Leeds team vinvolved@learningpartnerships.org.uk or 0113 380 6888.

During November Leeds Met Students Union and vinvolved Leeds will be taking volunteering taster opportunities on the road. Using the Leeds Met Student Union milk float, volunteers will visit two local primary schools to run fun activities to give schoolchildren the chance to try fun volunteering activities.

Ends

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

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

East Leeds household waste site closing for redevelopment

Residents are being reminded that the East Leeds household waste site (HWSS) closes next week (November 12) for a major redevelopment.

The refurbishment will transform the East Leeds site on Limewood Road, Seacroft, into a modern, high-tech recycling centre that will be the city’s largest household waste site.

During the work people who would normally use it are advised to use other sites such as the Stanley Road HWSS in Harehills instead.

When it re-opens next summer East Leeds will feature a low-cost reuse shop allowing people to buy used household items in good condition. There will also be more recycling containers, helping residents to recycle a wider range of materials, as well as clearer signage, improved traffic flow and easier ways to drop off waste.

A key benefit from the redevelopment is that the site will also be able to offer small and medium-sized businesses the option to recycle or dispose of their waste at a reasonable cost.

Cllr Tom Murray, executive member for environmental services, said:
“We do appreciate that the temporary closure of East Leeds waste site may be an inconvenience to some people. However, we would like to reassure local residents that the end result really will be worth it and ask they keep up the good work by recycling their rubbish at other sites in the area such as Stanley Road in the meantime.”

Leeds City Council is aiming to recycle more than half of all the city’s waste by 2020 and East Leeds is one of the few household waste sites not to have already benefited from a major overhaul of facilities.

Information about Stanley Road- the address for which is Stanley Road, Harehills, LS9 7LP- and other sites available for use is on the Recycle for Leeds pages on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk/recycleforleeds


For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

Horsforth conservation area plans move forward

Plans to make parts of Horsforth a conservation area have moved a step closer.

Leeds City Council has published revised conservation area proposals following a successful public consultation earlier this year.

The new proposals take account of residents’ views and offer a further opportunity for local people to comment.

The plans will, for the first time ever, help protect Horsforth’s unique architecture and historical attractions from future inappropriate demolition and development.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member responsible for city development, said:

“We had a very positive response to the public consultation on the Horsforth conservation area and we have listened carefully to residents’ views.

“Awarding an area conservation status is an important step; it helps safeguard the special architectural nature and historic character of the area and protect important buildings from demolition.”

“The opinions of local people are a vital part of this process and we welcome their views on the revised proposals.”

The Horsforth conservation area proposals now include Outwood Lane and historic areas around Cragg Hill and Woodside, both of which are located at either end of Outwood Lane.

The area is steeped in historic and architectural interest, including early 19th century chapels, high status 19th century villas and evidence of the textile industry which was so crucial to the development of Leeds.

It also includes good quality 1930s housing, all of which would benefit from the protection which conservation area status would bring.

The three-week public consultation on the revised Horsforth Woodside and Cragg Hill Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan will begin on Monday 8 November and run until Monday 29 November.

The document will be available throughout the consultation on Leeds City Council’s website using the following link: www.leeds.gov.uk/conservation.

Alternatively, people can request a copy from the council’s conservation team at the following address: Sustainable Development Unit, Leeds City Council, Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds, LS2 8HD, or email building.conservation@leeds.gov.uk.

The final document is expected to go before Leeds City Council’s planning board for approval and adoption early next year.

Ends
For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk