Friday, 17 December 2010

Moving kitchen completes new lease of life for woman trapped by her own home

A woman has found a new lease of life thanks to adaptations that help her overcome the illness that turned her own home into a prison.

Bev Thompson, 43, and her two children have lived in their Chapeltown town for 23 years. But when Bev was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which affected her balance and mobility – she now has to use a powered wheelchair to get around comfortably.

A specially adapted kitchen, with ‘rise and fall’ surfaces whose height can be altered to allow her to cook and wash up, crowns a series of adaptations to her home carried out by East North East Homes Leeds. She also has a steplift for the back door, a lift from her living room to her bedroom, and a wet floor shower.

ENEHL is one of the three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) that manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council.

The rise and fall units are operated electronically by a switch control at the side of the worktop. It has four legs which are individually height adjustable to accommodate uneven floors, and can be provided with moulded feet that may be bolted or screwed to the floor. It has limit switches that run along underneath the bottom of the unit to restrict the maximum rise and fall, and a sensor cut out bar so it won’t collapse at any time.

Bev said:
“The new rise and fall worktops can be set at my height. I keep them where I need them and if my son wants to do any cooking he can just adjust it to his height.
“I do ask him to keep it where it was though, after all it was put in especially for me and I’m thrilled that it has.
“When ENEHL said they were able to do the work I had no idea how much easier it was going to make things, even the cupboards are lower.
“Well it’s just been brilliant. I used to dread going in the kitchen. Cooking was not only tiring but mentally tiring as I always had to figure out where stuff was and how I was going to get hold of it before I attempted to do anything.
“Now I don’t even have to think about it, the lowered cupboards mean I have easy access to everything I need and it makes life so much easier. I feel so much more independent now not having to get the kids to do the washing up. I think that having a lowered sink is the best thing really.
“It’s really rare that you can get an adaptation which allows you full access to the sink. The new rise and fall means I can put my wheelchair right up to the sink and do the washing up easy as anything.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and housing said:
“Despite the financial challenges currently facing us, we are determined to continue to protect our most vulnerable people.

“Providing homes suited to the needs of people who need support is a priority for the council. As such we have allocated an extra £1m this year to pay for more adaptations to be carried out, which will help even more people with disabilities to remain in their own homes.”

Bev was able to choose all her own fittings, worktops and taps and drawings were created so she could see what it would look like. Over 389 tiles have been fitted in the kitchen, twice as many as a regular refit, so that they do not catch against the units as they move.

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

Focus on Christmas bin collections as winter weather bites

Leeds’ garden waste collections have been suspended to allow refuse crews to focus on black and green bin collections and Christmas services as harsh winter weather bites.

Leeds City Council bosses want to make sure that residents receive regular collections of their waste and recycling, especially given the recent changes to the city’s collections.

They have decided to call off this month’s garden waste collections in the city as predicted severe weather may affect services over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, residents are asked to pay careful attention to details of bin collection day changes over the Christmas and New Year period dropping on their doormats.

Back-up arrangements have been put in place to tackle missed collections with the aim of emptying all missed bins within 48 hours. Householders are advised to:

• Put bins out before 7am and bring them in when they have been emptied;
• If your bin has not been emptied by 6pm on your normal day of collection, leave it out for a further 48 hours;
• If it is still not emptied after this time, take it back in and put it out on your next scheduled collection day;
• If your bin is full, put your rubbish into bags and put them out next to your bin on your next scheduled collection day;
• Bags clearly labelled as recycling will also be taken and the contents recycled as normal;
• If your bin has not been emptied on more than one scheduled date contact the council so it can be investigated. Call 0113 222 4406 (Mon-Fri 8am- 6pm), call into your local One Stop Centre or email

Residents are advised to check local media for announcements about any possible disruption to services due to severe weather.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335


£23,000 bill for landlord and management firm over unlicensed rented home

The owner and management agent of a rented house in Leeds are facing a £23,000 bill after pleading guilty for failing to licence it.

Anthony David Welch, of Hendon Wood Lane, Mill Hill, London, owned the house in multiple occupancy (HMO) on Claremont Avenue in Woodhouse, though it had been managed and previously owned by agents Cityred Ltd of 35 Cromer Terrace, Woodhouse, since 2006.

At Leeds Magistrates Court yesterday, Mr Welch and Cityred were both fined £10,000 for failing to licence the property. Costs were awarded against them – Mr Welch was ordered to pay £1,089 and Cityred £2,179.

Cityred originally owned the property and had applied for a licence when HMO licensing was introduced in April 2006. The licence was not granted as the property was sold to Mr Welch, though Cityred continued to manage the property. However, neither Cityred nor the new owner, Mr Welch, made a valid application for a HMO licence.

Since 2007, Leeds City Council’s HMO Licensing Team had been regularly corresponding with both Mr Welch and Cityred, informing them that the property needed licensing. However, despite numerous communications over a prolonged period, Cityred continued to manage the property without a licence.

In February 2010 , officers from the council visited the property and confirmed that it was a four storey property occupied by five students, meaning it had to be licensed as a house in multiple occupancy, but neither the managing agent or the owner had made a valid application for a HMO licence.

Magistrates took the view that both parties were experienced in property management and that they were both under a separate legal duty to which neither had complied and they had been given many opportunities to do so.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“This decision underlines a very important message – whether you are the owner or the letting agent of a house of multiple occupation you have a legal duty to protect your tenants.
Obtaining a licence is the best way to ensure these duties are met. The council can give advice about how and when to obtain a licence. If this advice is ignored then the consequences can be serious for all concerned.”

HMO licences are issued for a five year period and have a number of conditions attached to them which include; fire safety requirements, levels of bathroom and kitchen facilities, and the number of people permitted to occupy the property. Leeds has the highest number of licensed HMOs in the country, with more than 2,800 licences now issued.

Landlords are in a position of trust to ensure that the properties they provide are safe and that licence conditions are being complied with. Where landlords and managing agents are found to be operating licensable properties without a HMO licence, the council will not hesitate to take action against them.

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

Leeds Art Gallery Henry Moore exhibition dates announced

Caption: Two of the works by Henry Moore (1898-1986) which will be on show - top 'Shelter Scene: Two Seated Figures, 1941' and above 'Reclining Figure, 1929' (both images courtesy of Leeds Museums and Galleries reproduced by permission of The Henry Moore Foundation)

Leeds Art Gallery has confirmed the dates for a major exhibition of works by one of the world’s great sculptors Henry Moore next year.

Leeds City Council, which manages the art gallery on The Headrow, has revealed the exhibition of works by the Castleford-born Moore which have never been seen together in the city before will be on show for free from Friday 4 March to Sunday 12 June 2010.

The exhibition will see Moore’s work coming home to the city where he studied at Leeds School of Art (now Leeds College of Art), and to the art gallery where he laid the first foundation stone when it was extended in 1982.

The announcement is confirmation of a second high-profile exhibition coming to Leeds Art Gallery in 2011, as the Moore show will be followed by the ARTIST ROOMS display of works by Damien Hirst which was announced in October.

The Moore exhibition has been organised by Tate Britain, London in collaboration with Leeds Art Gallery, and will cover both the pre-war and post-war era concentrating on British loans. Items on display will feature sculpture including work in bronze, stone and wood as well as drawings such as Moore’s ‘shelter drawings’ from the Blitz on London and wartime drawings of coalmining in his native Yorkshire.

Henry Moore (1898-1986) is one of the world’s most famous sculptors, with his works seen around the globe. The first showing of this exhibition at Tate Britain earlier this year drew excellent attendances, and it has now moved on to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada.

The Leeds exhibition will contain works never seen together in Leeds before from Tate Britain and other national lenders, along with items from the Henry Moore Foundation, public and private collections including items held by Leeds Art Gallery.

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

“This is fantastic news for Leeds Art Gallery – the first time ever these works by Henry Moore will be displayed together in the city for the public to see for free and the art gallery is the ideal host venue.

“This has been years in the planning and is a huge undertaking to organise so we are absolutely delighted that all that hard work has paid off and the result will be this amazing exhibition. Together with the ARTIST ROOMS exhibition of works by Damien Hirst, 2011 is already shaping up to be a phenomenal year for Leeds Art Gallery.”

Head of Displays at Tate Britain Chris Stephens said:

“We are delighted that the Henry Moore exhibition, following its success in London, will be presented at Leeds Art Gallery in spring 2011. It is very appropriate for Moore to return to the city where he began his career."

Director of The Henry Moore Foundation Richard Calvocoressi said:

“The Henry Moore Foundation is delighted to announce its grant support for Leeds Art Gallery's Henry Moore exhibition. The Leeds exhibition, launched so successfully at Tate Britain, will give audiences in Yorkshire and beyond a chance to see an exceptional selection of Moore's earlier work.

“Next door to the gallery, the Henry Moore Institute will have a simultaneous display of the artist's deluxe prints and portfolios during the show's opening weeks, giving extra insight into Moore's work in the city where he studied.”

The Henry Moore exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery is organised by Tate Britain, London in collaboration with Leeds City Council and supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, Renaissance Yorkshire, Leeds Art Collections Fund, Arts Council England with sponsorship from Abstract Group of Companies and Stewarts Law LLP.

For more information on Leeds Art Gallery visit

Notes to editors:

Works by Damien Hirst will be on display for free at Leeds Art Gallery from July to September 2011 as part of the national ARTIST ROOMS programme which will see collections of modern and contemporary art held by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland going on display at venues around the country.

ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with the Art Fund supported by The Scottish Government has been devised to enable this collection held by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people.

To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour please visit To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection please visit and


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email:

Young Leeds swimmers making a real splash

Caption: City of Leeds junior swimmers aged 9-12 celebrate after winning the national Junior League

Junior swimmers in Leeds are on the crest of a wave after a hugely successful year which has seen them become national champions in three age categories.

The City of Leeds squad, who train at The Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport under Leeds City Council’s Swimming Training Scheme, enjoyed a superb year becoming the best in the country in the nine to 17 age groups supported by some breakthrough performances by the senior swimmers.

At junior level, the squad became national champions in the Junior League (age 9-12), the overall Age Group Team (11-14) and also claimed the Youth Girls Team title (14-17) as the resurgence of elite swimming in Leeds continues to gather pace.

Two of the standout performers in the junior ranks were 11-year-old Kiani Campbell-Grady from Roundhay and nine-year-old Liam Birrell from Methley, who were both awarded Best in Age Awards for their efforts marking them out as the finest swimmers for their age in the country.

At senior level this success was echoed by University of Leeds student Claire Cashmore, who claimed two silver medals at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Swimming Championships in Holland, and 17-year-old Anne Bochmann, who became the first City of Leeds swimmer to qualifier for a major international event as she claimed fourth place in the Commonwealth Games Women’s 400m Freestyle in India.

Such has been their success that City of Leeds now accounts for more swimmers on national elite squads than any other swimming club in the country.

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

“Congratulations to all our City of Leeds swimmers who have enjoyed such great success this year and it is really encouraging that at all levels our swimmers are really flourishing.

“Training at the superb Aquatics Centre has obviously provided a major benefit but also a great deal of credit needs to go to the entire coaching team who are doing such an impressive job of helping to turn talent into results. Well done to everyone involved and here’s to even more success next year!”

The City of Leeds Swimming Training Scheme is run as a natural progression from the council’s learn to swim programme with talented young swimmers aged six to 11 from across the city identified and invited to join. Swimmers enter the scheme at entry level at one of 10 groups around the city, with the emphasis on technique and skill development. Swimmers then progress through the scheme to reach county, regional, national and international standard.

For further information on the scheme, go to and search for ‘swimming training scheme’ or call 0113 395 0154.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email: