Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Leisure centre crèche closures talks to continue

Creches in six Leeds City Council-managed leisure centres are to remain open for a further three months while discussions continue over their future.

Deputy executive member for leisure Councillor Lisa Mulherin told today’s meeting of Leeds City Council that the six crèches at East Leeds, Kippax, Rothwell, Aireborough, Pudsey and Scott Hall leisure centres which were due to close on Friday 12 November will now remain open until February 2011.

The extension gives more time for talks to continue between the council’s leisure and early years departments as well as current users and various stakeholders to explore possible alternative options for financially viable and sustainable crèche provision.

The drop-in crèche facilities were due to be withdrawn as a result of falling numbers and the high subsidy required to operate the service, with the closures bringing in a net saving to the council of £60,000 per year.

Deputy executive member for leisure Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:

“The talks we have held with parents using the existing crèches and our early years colleagues have been very positive and some good ideas have been put forward in terms of alternative crèche provision. We have chosen to keep the crèches open to allow us more time to develop those possible options further.”

Executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake said:

“From our initial discussions with our contacts in the industry there have been some positives possibilities put forward so we can develop those discussions between now and February to see just what is feasible for providing crèche facilities in these leisure centres.”

ENDS

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

Leeds says pants to bullies during anti-bullying week

Children and young people in Leeds are saying pants to bullies as part of national anti-bullying week.

Special ‘Power of Me’ pants have been sent to schools across the city to raise awareness that everyone has the ability to prevent and tackle bullying.

The anti-bullying pants were devised by the city’s first group of anti-bullying ambassadors to raise awareness of Education Leeds’ award winning Power of Me campaign.

The ambassadors - who are made up of children and young people who volunteer to help tackle bullying in their schools - regularly meet up to share good ideas and make changes to their school's approach to anti-bullying work.

For anti-bullying week this year (15 – 19 November), children from Adel St John and West End primary schools have re-written their anti-bullying policy and made a display for visitors in each of the schools’ reception areas. Ambassadors from Guiseley and Woodkirk schools have presented special anti-bullying assemblies and Bracken Edge Primary School is hosting an anti-bullying awareness day.

Ambassadors from Cockburn have been learning to utilise their skills to solve problems, increase children and young people’s confidence, become more aware of their own abilities and become more knowledgeable about ways to tackle bullying - including how to use mediation techniques.

The Power of Me campaign has been widely supported across Leeds and later this month (Tuesday 30 November) a group of anti-bullying ambassador primary schools will be trained by Leeds Rugby Foundation at Headingley Stadium on how to deliver positive playtime activities.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The award winning Power of Me anti-bullying campaign has been a huge success and our anti-bullying ambassadors work hard to show that everybody can challenge and stop bullying wherever and however it happens.

“We want all our schools to be safe places for children and young people. The anti-bullying ambassador programme equips children and young people with the skills to prevent and tackle bullying and helps to make school a more enjoyable place to be.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Education Leeds and the city’s schools are committed to ensuring that every young person is able to learn in a safe and pleasant environment.

“Anti-bullying week demonstrates the excellent work that goes on in schools to tackle bullying and highlights the commitment shown by our children and young people to making the lives of their friends and peers as happy and safe as possible.

“The Power of Me campaign has achieved national recognition for its innovative work and I’m pleased that we can highlight its successes during anti-bullying week.”

For more information about how you can prevent and tackle bullying, contact Hilary Farmery, anti-bullying communications champion, Education Leeds, South Pudsey Community Centre, Kent Road, Leeds LS28 9BN.

ENDS

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

Flytipping shopkeeper from Halifax fined for dumping waste in Leeds

A shopkeeper from Halifax who travelled to Leeds to dump his waste at the foot of a council tower block has been fined in court.

Anwar Saeedi, 35, of 39 Lindsey Mount, Burmantofts, Leeds – who at the time was the proprietor of a shop called Zagroz on St. James’s Road in Halifax – pleaded guilty to all three charges of fly-tipping at Leeds Magistrates Court on 12 November.

He was fined £500 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs plus a £15 victim surcharge.

Between noon on Sunday 22 November last year and 8.30am the following day, Mr Saeedi flytipped waste from his shop at the door leading into the bin store at the foot of Cottingley Towers, on Cottingley Drive in Beeston, Leeds. He then did the same three more times – on Saturday 28 November, Wednesday 9 December and Thursday 10 December.

Mr Saeedi was caught after detective work by officers from Leeds City Council, who managed to trace him. It is an offence under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to deposit waste on any land unless there is a licence which authorises depositing rubbish on the land.

When formally interviewed by council officers in March, Mr Saeedi admitted that while he was proprietor of “Zagros” between May 2008 and December 2009 he had never had any system in place to enable him to dispose of commercial waste lawfully.

He admitted the three offences of fly tipping, and that he knew it was “wrong” to flytip his waste outside Cottingley Towers, but he gave no explanation as to why he had done this.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“Cleaning up flytipping costs the council tens of thousands of pounds every year and is a blight on our neighbourhoods and communities.
“This case shows that you will not be allowed to get away with flytipping just by hopping over to another city to dump your rubbish.
“We will always take action against those who seek to dump their rubbish on the streets.”

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