Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Major Leeds council housing project will go ahead

A major scheme of council house building and refurbishment in two inner-city suburbs of Leeds will go ahead.

The government has announced that the Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck PFI projects can progress, with the next stage being the approval and appointment of a preferred bidder.

The announcement, as part of the government’s spending review, identifies projects to continue including Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck.

The projects will see the areas significantly revamped, with outdated, unsustainable properties demolished and around 400 new homes built. Over 1,200 properties across the three areas will also be refurbished and environmental and landscaping improvements made.

However, the council has also been informed that the next round of bidding for PFI credits has been withdrawn, including the ‘Lifetime Neighbourhoods for Leeds’ project which would have built up to 700 new homes for older people in Leeds. The council will look at alternative investment opportunities for this project, working with government and other potential partners.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
“We are delighted that such a major housing project for Leeds has got the go-ahead from the government and will be forging ahead with this scheme for the appointment of a contractor.
“While it is disappointing that the next round of bids has been cancelled, we will be looking at a range of viable options for sites in this scheme and remain committed to the needs and priorities of these communities.

Notes to editors:

The Regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck

Leeds City Council is making a major contribution to the regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The council has been awarded PFI credits by the government and is now undertaking the procurement of a contractor for the works.

The PFI contract with the private sector will be for the refurbishment of council properties, construction of new council homes, some environmental improvements and maintenance of all elements over a 20 year period. The PFI regeneration project contributes to the wider regeneration plans for Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck.

The partnership arrangement
The regeneration of Little London and Beeston Hill & Holbeck is being led by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) which are not-for-profit companies set up by the council to manage and improve council housing stock. West North West Homes Leeds is the ALMO for Little London and Aire Valley Homes Leeds is responsible for Beeston Hill & Holbeck.

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

The Reginald Centre

Video: An interview with Cllr Keith Wakefield about the new Reginald Centre.

The opening of a state-of-the-art building housing a range of services for the Chapeltown community was celebrated yesterday.

To celebrate its opening, VIPs from the organisations that developed and funded the building - NHS Leeds, Leeds City Council and Community Ventures - joined local residents, councillors and schoolchildren to take part in a special event. A plaque was unveiled to mark its place in the Chapeltown community and local children put on a musical performance.

The Reginald Centre is on 263 Chapeltown Road, Chapeltown, LS7 3EX. Further information on The Reginald Centre can be found by visiting: www.leeds.gov.uk/reginaldcentre

Notes to Editors:

The Reginald Centre is one of two new joint service centres in the city: the other one is the Compton Centre in Harehills which opened in July 2010. Both centres have been provided by Community Ventures Leeds Limited, a public private partnership joint venture company jointly funded by Leeds City Council and NHS Leeds.

Leeds City Council services
• Customer Services providing the same help and advice as provided at the City Centre One Stop at 2 Great George Street. Staff will be happy to help with issues regarding all council benefits, council tax, East North East Homes Leeds housing enquiries, social care, environmental issues, information on Credit Union products and anything else regarding Leeds City Council.
• Chapeltown Library will relocate from its current premises.
• Advice on jobs and training at the Jobshop.
• Other services include the Environmental Action Team and East North East Area Management Team

NHS services
• Westfield Medical Practice providing GP services and a young people’s drop in service.
• Services for children and families including the health visiting team, school nursing and community midwives.
• Other services include contraception and sexual health (CaSH), community diabetes service, primary care mental health team, sickle cell and thalassemia, tuberculosis (TB) liaison nursing service, speech and language therapy and language liaison.
• Specialist health services which are only available if you are referred to them by your healthcare professional. This includes the community dental service.

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

Weekend offline for libraries computers

Computer access in all Leeds libraries will be unavailable this weekend while improvements to the network are carried out.

Throughout the weekend of November 27-28, all computers in Leeds libraries will be unable to be used while external access to the council website www.leeds.gov.uk and associated services will also be offline.

The temporary loss of access is due to improvements which are being made to the council’s computer network as a whole which will strengthen systems and reduce the chances of future network failures.

Anyone with existing bookings to use the computers has been made aware of the work being carried out, while borrowing and returning items will be able to be carried out in all libraries as normal.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We apologise to anyone who is inconvenienced by the library computers and our online services being unable to be used this weekend, but the work being carried out is vitally important to help strengthen the network so it needs to go ahead and we hope customers will be understanding.”


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

Leeds mentoring awards celebrate 10 years of success

The successes and achievements of Leeds Mentoring will be celebrated at a special awards night this week.

More than 200 people - made up of mentors, mentees, headteachers and local businesses – will gather at the celebration event on Wednesday (24 November) at the Civic Hall.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to the mentoring celebration event on Wednesday 24 November between 5pm and 7.30pm at Leeds Civic Hall. If you would like to attend please call 0113 3951577 or email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

The awards, which start at 5pm, will focus on the achievements of mentored young people between the ages of 14 and 19, the volunteers who give up their time to mentor the young people and the collaboration between Leeds Mentoring and secondary schools in the city.

Mentoring focuses on students who have the ability to succeed but need support to overcome certain barriers to learning. Over 70 young people will be attending and will receive a certificate and tickets (donated by the clubs) for either a Leeds United or Leeds Rhinos match. Awards will be presented by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna, Tom Riordon, the chief executive of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services and Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for education.

Over 50 volunteer business mentors will attend and will receive certificates and awards for their commitment to the scheme. 21 headteachers from Leeds schools will also receive their Approved Provider Standard award from Steve Matthews, the chief executive of the national mentoring body, the Mentoring and Befriending Society (MBF). This is the first time Leeds schools have been rewarded for the professionalism and quality standard of their mentoring programmes.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The recent assessment of Leeds Mentoring highlighted what an effective and valued service it provides to young people in Leeds. Mentoring is highly rewarding and helps boost the achievements, confidence and self-esteem of the young people involved.

“Congratulations to all the young people who have achieved so much and thank you to all the mentors who have given up their time to make it possible.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:“Leeds Mentoring does exceptional work with young people in the city. It pairs them with mentors from different backgrounds who advise, help and support them to make decisions which will have a positive impact on the rest of their lives. It is also a hugely rewarding experience for those who give up their time to help.

“These awards are a fantastic way of acknowledging the successes and achievements of the programme and I thank and congratulate everyone involved.”

The ceremony will include music and performances from students from City of Leeds High School and mentors and mentees will be talking about their positive experiences of mentoring.

Leeds Mentoring supports over 4,000 mentoring partnerships across Leeds secondary schools and FE colleges and its programme has expanded significantly since its beginnings in 1992.

Businesses which will receive certificates and awards for their commitment to the scheme include: Addleshaw Goddard, Lyons Davidson Solicitors, Leeds Building Society, TD Waterhouse and BPP Law School


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