Thursday, 24 February 2011

Leeds commits to supporting people

At a meeting of full council yesterday (Wednesday 23 February) councillors discussed their commitment to the vulnerable people in the city.

The cut to the Leeds Supporting People budget in 2011/12 from central government is £10m, which equates to a 33% cut in funding.

To combat this, Leeds City Council has found £7m from other sources to ensure the pressure only equates to £3m – a 10% reduction. This remaining money will be found through redesigning services, and has been found in agreement with partner organisations who work with the council.

The supporting people service funds housing support services for vulnerable people aged 16 and above. In Leeds there are around 240 services providing support to over 15,000 people across the city.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and housing said:

“We want to make it clear that we are fully committed to protecting vulnerable people in the city despite these huge reductions from the government. We recognise that the impact of these cuts will still be severe but we are determined to do everything possible to protect people.

“In a nutshell we have been and will continue to deal with the national cuts to our budget through working locally with our providers to obtain efficiency savings with minimal impact on front-line services. This budget demonstrates that we are a caring and responsible local partner to the voluntary sector.”


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

An evening with Ashley Jackson

Caption: 'The Spirit Moves' by Ashley Jackson, which is currently on display at Temple Newsam House

Yorkshire artist Ashley Jackson will be giving an insight into his life and career as he hosts a special evening event at Leeds City Museum in April.

The popular Holmfirth-based artist who is one of the country’s leading landscape watercolourists will be guest of honour at the museum off Millennium Square on Thursday 7 April from 6pm at the event to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal.

At the event Ashley will be relating tales and anecdotes from his life beginning with his arrival in Yorkshire as a nine-year-old boy, and will be demonstrating his skills by producing a dynamic watercolour landscape painting during the evening.

The artist will also be signing books of his works while a raffle will feature the star prize of a limited-edition Ashley Jackson work worth over £350.

The proceeds from the evening will go to the charity appeals of Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna, which are Relate Leeds and Leeds Irish Health and Homes.

Artist Ashley Jackson

"The people and city of Leeds have been very supportive to the arts and to me, thus I wished to provide this special evening as a 'thank you'. Whether you appreciate art, Yorkshire or just fancy an enjoyable evening then join us at Leeds City Museum and in the process you will also be raising funds for Leeds-based charities.”

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“Ashley Jackson is a wonderfully talented artist and the event at Leeds City Museum will be a great night out for all fans of his work and also offers the chance to hear a fascinating insight into the life of someone who has reached the very top of their field.

“Any budding artists will have the chance to watch a master at work and pick up tips from the best, and as Ashley has very generously given up his time for free it would be great to have a big audience there. We are really looking forward to it.”

Ashley, who recently turned 70, currently has a major exhibition of his work on display at Temple Newsam House which runs until Sunday 8 May.

Tickets for the event at Leeds City Museum are now available priced £15 for a balcony seat or £20 in the arena, which includes light refreshments.

To book tickets write to the Lord Mayor's Office, 1st Floor West, Civic Hall, LS1 1UR stating the number of tickets required together with a stamped addressed envelope and enclosing a cheque for the appropriate amount made payable to ‘Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal’. The deadline for booking tickets is Thursday 31 March.


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

Claudia Berettoni
Manager to Ashley Jackson
Tel 0775 393 4996

Get your garden in tip top shape

Clean off your tools and get your wellies out as a competition to find the best kept garden in east Leeds is to start this week.

If you are green fingered then East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) would like to hear from you as they launch their best kept garden of the year competition for the third year running.

Each year ENEHL, who manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council, hold a popular garden competition, with sponsorship from Lovells, British Gas, Colour Copy Leeds, Sutton Seeds, Skelton Skips and other partners of ENEHL.

The competition is open to entry by any school, resident or tenant of ENEHL. Entry into the competition is free. There are four categories that people can enter; Best Garden, Best under 16’s garden including schools, Best under 8’s Sunflower and Best newcomer.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:

"Creating beautiful gardens should be encouraged and acknowledged as they make our community a more attractive place for everyone.

“Year on year the entries are getting better and I can’t wait to see the entries for this year.

“If you know of any friend’s gardens that you think could win a prize, make sure you get them involved or you could even nominate them to feature in the competition.”

The competition is judged by other tenants, residents and partners of ENEHL.

People wanting to take part in the competition, application forms are available from local Housing Offices or Library, or by contacting ENEHL’s office on 0113 247 6101.

Notes to editors:

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. They are wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
East North East Homes Leeds covers the areas of Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.


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

You’re hired! Apprentices return to school for ICT experience

Three budding computer experts have taken their first steps towards a career in ICT after starting apprenticeships with RM Education.

RM Education, which provides ICT equipment and support to schools built in Leeds through the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, recruited the three young people from the city’s BSF schools last year.

Peter Siddle went to Allerton High, while Tom Greenwood and Lee Taylor both went to Pudsey Grangefield. Now after a successful five months studying at the Zenos Academy, a national provider of IT support training, Tom, Peter and Lee have started a 10 month contract with RM Education supporting ICT provision in Allerton High School, Rodillian and Swallow Hill Community College.

All three had recently completed their A-levels - which included a qualification in ICT - before taking part in interviews with RM Education. Once selected, they joined the Zenos Academy and achieved an advanced apprenticeship certificate, a City & Guilds advanced diploma for IT practitioners, a City & Guilds NVQ Level III certificate and Key Skills Level II certificates. They also have the opportunity to gain professional qualifications from Microsoft, Cisco or ITIL.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“As a council we are committed to the development and training of our young people. Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular choice as they combine continued education with valuable workplace experience. The apprenticeships with RM Education will allow these three young people to learn about their chosen careers while building their skills and knowledge. Although they will be working in a school environment, they will now be helping others to make the most of their time at school and I’m sure they will excel over the coming months.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services, said:
“Working with RM is a great opportunity for Tom, Peter and Lee. The apprenticeships will provide them with real life experience complemented with continued learning to provide a solid foundation for their futures.

“I’m pleased that all three, who have benefited from learning in state-of-the-art facilities in the city’s BSF schools, have been able to return to similar schools to help improve and maintain them for future generations. I wish them every success.”

Mark Walton, service delivery manager for RM Education, said:
“RM has worked closely with the Zenos Academy for several years and developed a successful apprenticeship scheme in many parts of the country. We chose to recruit apprentices from Leeds BSF schools to enrol with Zenos to further our commitment and support to the apprenticeship scheme and help create employment opportunities in Leeds.

“RM recognises the importance of work experience, particularly in the ICT industry, and the opportunity to work with experienced network managers and technicians will provide the apprentices with an excellent start to their working careers.”

Tom Greenwood (18), who will be working at Allerton High School, hopes to continue working for RM beyond his 10 month contract and would like to eventually become a field service engineer.

Peter Siddle (18), who will be working at Rodillian, chose to become an apprentice with RM to kick-start his career in ICT and hopes to get some knowledge and experience from his apprenticeship which will help him secure a full time job as a field technician.

Lee Taylor (18) will be working at Swallow Hill Community College. He hopes to further his knowledge of ICT and use the apprenticeship to help him become a network manager or network architect.

For more information on the Zenos Academy visit


Notes to editors:

To arrange pictures, please contact Jon Crampton on 0113 3951577.

Leeds BSF schools are brilliant spaces designed for 21st century Learning and teaching, which provide:
• flexible and varied rooms and spaces, offering different environments for different styles of teaching and learning;
• purposefully designed for the curriculum of today and tomorrow;
• unprecedented levels of cutting-edge learning technology;
• bright, open and safe spaces designed with young people, to engage young people;
• fully inclusive facilities, giving every young person access to the learning, support and care they need;
• unique features reflecting the unique ethos of each school and the needs of the local young people, families and wider communities they serve;
• Exciting and innovative environments for highly effective leadership and teaching.

Leeds BSF is delivered through the Leeds Local Education Partnership (LEP), which brings together Leeds City Council, Education Leeds, the government's Partnership for Schools (through Building Schools for the Future Investment), and the Interserve led consortium Environments 4 Learning (E4L). RM is contracted to provide the ICT investment in the schools.

Partnerships for Schools (PfS) is the delivery organisation for Building Schools for the Future. PfS was established in April 2004 as a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), and is operated and funded under a joint venture between DCSF (formerly DfES) and Partnerships UK. PfS is a 100-strong organisation, with specialist expertise including educationalists, designers, ICT specialists, commercial managers and project management.

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Recruitment starts for chief of new marketing and inward investment company

City chiefs are seeking to appoint a ‘city ambassador’ to take on the role of chief executive of Leeds’ new marketing, inward investment and tourism body.

This development follows the proposal considered at December’s meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board. A project board was established to oversee the development of the new organisation and an early decision has been taken to prioritise the appointment of the chief executive to provide executive leadership for the new set of services.

Whilst the new organisation will include a wide range of functions and services - Marketing Leeds, Financial Leeds, Locate in Leeds, Visit Leeds, Leeds Visitor Centre and Conference Leeds – city chiefs have agreed to retain the Marketing Leeds identity and will use the current company structure upon which to build the new arrangement.

James Rogers, assistant chief executive of Leeds city council and chair of the project board said:
“The selection of a chief executive for the new body is a critical appointment for the city. The successful candidate will need to carry on the great work already underway to raise the city’s profile and continue to attract inward investment. The chief executive will need to be a convincing ambassador for the city with a strong professional background, a wealth of leadership experience and have the ability to interact successfully across the public and private sectors.

“Leeds has a very successful and buoyant economy and despite the recent recession, Leeds has shown resilience – supported by the various organisations and services which have worked hard to raise the city’s profile of the city and attract investment.

“Bringing these organisations and services together as one will go a long way to help Leeds attract even further investment, and will give a renewed focus on our refreshed ambition for Leeds to become the ‘best city in the UK’.”

The interview panel will be made up of representatives from Leeds City Council, Financial Leeds and Marketing Leeds as well as an independent member not involved in any of the current organisations. It is anticipated that a formal start date for the chief executive and the new company becoming operational is likely to be sometime between spring and late summer.

The role of chief executive of the new Marketing Leeds organisation is being advertised nationally in recognition of the nature and significance of the new role – this will ensure it attracts the best candidates from both within Leeds and its existing organisations but also from further afield. Final interviews are due to take place in early April.

Notes to editors:
Project Board: the project board is chaired by James Rogers, assistant chief executive, Leeds city council. Other members are Joanne Lake (Chair, Financial Services), Nigel McClea (Chair, Marketing Leeds), Martin Farrington (Acting Director of City Development, Leeds City Council) and Gary Lumby (President, Chamber of Commerce).

Financial Leeds (formerly Leeds Financial Services Initiative, LFSI) is a private sector led partnership organisation whose primary aims are to promote the financial and professional services capability of the Leeds City Region, which has the largest concentration of FPS sector organisations outside London, to develop skills and business innovation, and to improve the cohesion of the sector throughout the region. Financial Leeds currently has over 120 firms and organisations as subscription members, including the major financial and professional services organisations in Leeds.

Marketing Leeds is the city’s strategic marketing organisation, providing a leadership role for the city’s marketing. It aims to raise the profile of Leeds as a vibrant, dynamic, internationally competitive city and as the gateway to Yorkshire and the UK. It was created from a powerful partnership between the public and private sectors and continues to receive funding from three sources: Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Forward and from the private sector through its champions scheme.
The company is limited by guarantee, with a board of directors drawn from a cross section of the business community and the council.

Locate in Leeds is the council’s business investment service. It provides a property location service for start up companies, existing Leeds business and companies looking to relocate or expand their operations to Leeds. The service handles enquires from around 2,000 businesses every year. It is also responsible for promoting the city as a location for business and investment and has played a key role in promoting Leeds, and more recently the wider city region, at the international property event MIPIM and other national and international events.

Conference Leeds is the official convention bureau for Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and Calderdale. The “super convention bureau” represents over 280 venues and 40 suppliers. Conference Leeds is the driving force of Yorkshire’s business tourism industry.
Business tourism generates £777m to the economy of West Yorkshire each year, 5.79 million delegates attend business tourism events in West Yorkshire annually and Leeds is ranked the 5th most popular destination for the corporate market in the British Meetings and Events Industry Survey 2010.

Visit Leeds, part of Leeds City Council, is the official leisure tourism body for the city of Leeds. It is responsible for marketing the city to domestic staying, day and group visitors. Visit Leeds objectives are to contribute to the growth of the Leeds leisure tourism economy, which has an estimated 2.47 million staying and 32.5 million leisure day visitors, spend of £1,157million direct and indirect to the leisure tourism economy and supports more than 15,000 jobs.

Leeds Visitor Centre is one of 300 networked tourist information centres in England. The centre helps visitors to and residents of Leeds by providing a number of information and bookable services including - visitor information for the Leeds and Yorkshire region, accommodation bookings, tickets for major events, transport advice and ticketing. In 2008 Leeds Visitor Centre helped 528,729 customers to get the most out of Leeds and the wider region and turned over just under £1m in ticket sales and bookings.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713