Friday, 25 March 2011

Council signs up to fire safety agreement

Picture caption: Craig McIntosh Assistant Chief Fire Officer(left)and Tom Riordan chief executive of Leeds City Council (r)

Leeds City Council has signed an agreement to improve fire safety arrangements across all areas of the council.

On Thursday 24 March, the council signed a ‘Fire Safety Concordat’ agreement with partners West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (WYFRA), agreeing to work together in partnership approach with the aim to making Leeds a safer place for people to live, work and visit.

The three year agreement will ensure that greater training advice and guidance is provided to council staff, which will help the authority to continually improve its fire safety arrangements.

Leeds is the largest Local Authority to sign up to the fire protection concordat in the country.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:
“We welcome this partnership with the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority. We are working hard as an authority to make the council’s fire safety arrangements exemplary ones”.

Craig McIntosh Assistant Chief Fire Officer West Yorkshire Fire Service (WYF&RS) said:
“It gives me great pleasure to sign this concordat on behalf of the WYF&RS. Partnerships such as this one can protect people’s safety by ensuring that fire risks in a changing built environment are properly controlled. We constantly seek opportunities to develop and use new interventions to augment our traditional approaches and I would like to thank all those individuals involved in developing this partnership.”

The three year corporate fire action plan will support action plans for the council’s five directorates; adult social care, children’s/school services, city development, environment and neighbourhoods and resources.


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

Improving job prospects for Leeds youngsters

Senior councillors are, next week, expected to agree to invest half a million pounds to help improve the job prospects of hundreds of young people across the city.

At a meeting of the executive board next Wednesday, members are expected to approve a proposal to launch a partnership between Leeds City Council, the City College and other post 16 learning providers to improve the employability of young people aged 16 to 24.

If the scheme gets the go ahead the council will invest £500k to deliver a programme of skills training and work experience tailored to meet the individual young person’s needs. Leeds City College is prepared to match the council’s funding from its Learning Budget Allocation and other post-16 learning providers will be encouraged to sign up.

The funding will help up to 600 young people who are currently not in education, employment or training or NEET.

After an initial eight week programme the young people would be supported for a further six months to help them get a job, an apprenticeship or vocational training.

There are currently around 1,700 young people between 16 and 18 who are not in education, employment or training and an additional 6,000 19 to 24 year olds who are claiming job seekers allowance. This initiative would seek to target those who are ready to re-enter employment and prevent them from becoming long-term unemployed.

Councillor Peter Gruen executive member responsible for jobs and skills, said:
“This partnership will mean we can deliver tailored training and support to both maximise the young people’s potential, as well as their local employment opportunities by working directly with major employers to help fulfil their recruitment needs.

“Doing whatever we can to help young people get into employment is so important at this time of economic uncertainty - when unemployment is so high and so many young people are struggling to find work or stay in education.

“If we can equip 600 young people with the skills needed to get them a job and off benefits not only will the long term effect on the city’s economy be immense, their individual future prospects will also improve no end.”

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive member responsible for education added:
“I am really excited by this scheme as it is so important that we do all we can to help reduce the numbers of young people classed as NEET. This has been identified as one of three top priorities within children’s services and this scheme is a great example of the sort of partnership working we are keen to encourage.

“I think it is extremely important that we see reducing the numbers of NEETs as an issue not just for the council but for Leeds as a whole and so I would like to encourage as many post-16 learning providers and businesses as possible to come to the table and see what we can offer jointly to provide a brighter future for our young people.”

Young people who take part in the initiative would receive financial assistance to help them attend the training courses and work experience, and those claiming Job Seekers Allowance would not lose their benefits.

As part of the scheme the participants would be supported by a workplace mentor and would have a caseworker to guide and support their search for a job.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Singers and musicians needed for mass music event

Loud Leeds - the biggest ever mass participation event of its kind in Leeds is set to strike a chord with music lovers in Leeds next month.

Celebrating the city’s music makers Loud Leeds will see musicians and singers, of all ages and abilities, pack the Town Hall for a huge jam session on Saturday 2 April from 12.30pm – 5.30pm. The day will end with a performance open to the public – 5 to 5.30pm, just £1 entry.

Singers and musicians of all abilities are being called upon to take part in this one-off music extravaganza.

Participants can play anything from a harmonica to a double-bass and beginners as well as seasoned musician and vocalists are welcome to come and rehearse and perform contemporary and classical favourites.

Plus, to accompany the jamboree, Leeds music centres are offering a massive music lesson giveaway - as anyone taking part can get two music lessons free of charge at their music centres.

Loud Leeds is being hosted by Leeds music centres and Opera North. Leeds music centres are run by Leeds City Council’s education music and arts service ArtForms.

Frances Bernstein, music centre co-ordinator for Artforms, said:
“As long as you bring your own instrument and can play it - or just want to come and sing - Loud Leeds wants you.

“It will be hands on fun from a mass samba warm-up at the beginning, to a huge finale performance at the end.

“Playing and singing stunning music in the Town Hall with hundreds of other people led by top professionals will be a truly memorable experience and not to be missed.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chorus and Orchestra Director at Opera North, said:

“It’s a brilliant idea to bring so many people from across different generations and musical backgrounds together to celebrate music-making in the area. Opera North is extremely pleased to be part of the first ever Loud Leeds event.

“Leeds is an extraordinary city with truly diverse groups of people who love making music, and we’re hoping that lots of enthusiastic people will take part or come along to listen to the public performance at 5pm. It’s going to be a fantastic, fun-filled day with great music – I can’t wait!”

An extra treat for those taking part will be the opportunity to meet two Leeds Rhinos players. Kylie Leuluai and Ali Lauitiiti are coming along to show their support for the event and maybe even join in a few tunes.

Kylie said:
“We are really looking forward to coming along and being part of this unique event. It sounds like it is going to be a fun day for all those involved and a great way to celebrate Leeds’ diverse community.”

A mixture of favourites will be performed like Elgar’s Land Of Hope and Glory and Bizet’s Toreador’s Song as well as Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up and Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys.

There will be music suitable for both inexperienced and experienced players, all of which can be learnt and rehearsed on the day. (Some will be available on the web-site before the event).

Children under 12-years-old must have a parent or carer with them who are also welcome to join in the fun. Book places now at or call 0113 2304074.

There are nine music centres across the Leeds area, which are for people of all ages and abilities. There are a huge range of groups to take part in – from fun groups for under-5s to rock/pop song-writing, concert bands, orchestras, jazz bands, DJing and many more. And you can have instrument lessons. Classes are held Saturday mornings and some evenings during the week, fees are very reasonable and there are concessions for people on low incomes.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Work starts on £3.5m new Greenhill Primary School

Work on a new £3.5m school which will provide more than 420 children with access to a state-of-the-art learning environment is to begin next week.

Greenhill Primary School in Bramley will be part refurbished and part rebuilt and will benefit from a host of new facilities. Once completed the school will be housed in a purpose designed, single building that will include new Key Stage 1 and 2 classrooms, a new hall, reception area, main office space, community room, practical space and school library.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to a sod cutting ceremony to mark the start of building work at Greenhill Primary School at 1.45pm on Monday 28 March. Children from the school will join the head teacher and Councillor Jane Dowson to mark the occasion. Please email or call 0113 3951577 to confirm attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

Outside there will be new landscaped play areas, a new pedestrian entrance to the school and a new football pitch which will be laid when one of the school’s old buildings is demolished.

Greenhill is one of six schools which will be transformed through the Leeds Primary Capital Programme. Oulton Primary School and Gildersome Primary School will also be part refurbished and rebuilt while Richmond Hill Primary School, Swillington Primary School and SS Peter & Paul Catholic Primary School will be completely rebuilt.

To mark the start of the work, children from the school will be joined by their head teacher, Ann-Marie Reeve, and Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for education, for a sod cutting ceremony at 1.45pm on Monday 28 March.

Ann-Marie Reeve, head teacher at Greenhill Primary School, said:
“It’s fantastic that the work to improve our school is to get underway. There is a strong community spirit within the school and we are looking forward to having excellent facilities to match this. Every child deserves the best opportunities to learn and develop and I am looking forward to our school providing first class teaching in a first class environment.”

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“Even in these difficult financial times, we are continuing to see investment in our children’s education. We are committed to providing the best possible standards of education across the city which includes everything from standards of teaching to the quality of our buildings. The transformation of Greenhill Primary School will ensure that children in Bramley have access to both and will benefit from the best possible start to their school lives.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services, said:
“The Primary Capital Programme will help transform six primary schools in Leeds into fantastic learning environments. The new facilities will provide local children and the wider community with world-class facilities which I am confident will have a positive impact on the outcomes and experiences of everyone who use them.“

The new Greenhill Primary School is designed to achieve a number of local and national targets for sustainability and community cohesion. The school is designed to achieve a BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) ‘very good’ rating, its existing boiler will be re-used and all lighting and radiators will be replaced with new, more energy efficient fittings. The school will include a community room which will be available for hire and a new junior football pitch will be laid which will allow the school to host out of school clubs and sports tournaments.

The new building and facilities will be fully in use by September 2012.


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