Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Amazing foster carers back new campaign

Picture caption: The Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Jim McKenna and the Lady Mayoress Cllr Andrea McKenna, present Bill Kilgallon and Stephanie Martin with thank you gifts for dedicating 30 years to fostering children in Leeds.

A couple who have fostered over 100 children over the past 30 years have shown their support for a new campaign to recruit more carers in Leeds.

At a presentation ceremony yesterday, Bill Kilgallon and Stephanie Martin who retired from fostering last year, were awarded for dedicating their lives to helping some of the most vulnerable children in the city.

Over the past 30 years Bill and Stephanie provided a safe haven for children in need for all types of fostering placements, including short term, rehabilitating children going home to their birth families, emergency placements and long term care including adopting and assisting young people to adulthood.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jim McKenna, said:
“Bill and Stephanie are real heroes to the children they’ve looked after so I was very pleased to be able to thank them personally for their exceptional dedication, skill and commitment. We really need more people like Bill and Stephanie to come forward and offer their homes, their love and support to children and young people who need it most.”

To try to find more people like Bill and Stephanie, Leeds City Council is launching a new advertising campaign called ‘do something amazing’, which will be seen across the city from this week.

Foster carers Bill Kilgallon and Stephanie Martin, said:
“It has been a wonderful privilege for us to have been able to help so many children through our fostering.
“Being able to care for vulnerable children and young people when they needed stability, support and encouragement in their lives has been so rewarding. We would encourage people to come forward and find out more about how fostering can help change a child’s life.”

New posters to raise awareness of the city’s urgent need for more foster carers will be seen on buses across Leeds and in the city’s train and bus stations, and adverts will be heard on Radio Aire and Magic 828.

Carers are needed for children in a wide range of circumstances, including emergency placements, short term care, school age children, teenagers and long term planned support.

The council offers comprehensive support, training and financial assistance for its foster carers, including 'full time' fostering career opportunities. Leeds rewards its foster carers’ considerable range of skills and dedication through a ‘payment for skills’ scheme.

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer; they can be single, married, divorced or widowed, with or without children of their own, employed or unemployed. Potential carers just need to be at least 25 years old, have a spare bedroom and relevant childcare experience.

People of all ethnic origins are needed - children benefit from living with families who share their own culture, language and religion.

A special presentation ceremony was arranged for Bill and Stephanie as they are unable to attend the foster carer bi-annual awards in May as they now live in New Zealand.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Help make your park a better place

Caption: The Japanese garden at Horsforth Hall Park

Anyone keen to put their gardening skills to the test or learn new ones while improving their local environment can now do so by joining a new volunteer project.

The Leeds Parks Volunteers has been set up by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service to offer people the chance to work alongside staff to improve the quality of parks and green spaces all over the city over the next six months.

The group will meet every first and third Tuesday of the month and carry out tasks such as planting and maintaining flowers and trees, pruning shrubs, maintaining paths, tidying flower beds, hedge-trimming and a variety of other activities in the formal parks in Leeds.

Over the coming months the group will visit Golden Acre Park, East End Park, Horsforth Hall Park, Middleton Park and many others with everyone welcome to take part and refreshments provided. At each site the group meet at 9:30am and work no later than 3:30pm, but any amount of time that can be offered is welcome.

The group is organised by senior countryside ranger Steve Joul, who said:

“With the warm summer hopefully on the way, this group offers the chance to spend a great day outdoors having fun with like-minded people and doing something valuable for the local community.

“The atmosphere and spirit in the groups is always really good with people showing what they can do or learning skills they never knew they could master. We really appreciate everyone who comes along giving up their time and it really is a feelgood thing to do if you have some spare time and would like to get involved.”

The next session for the group takes place at East End Park on Tuesday 3 May meeting at the park office off East End Parade, followed by the Japanese garden at Horsforth Hall Park on Tuesday 17 May meeting in the adjacent car park.

For more information please contact Steve Joul on 0113 237 5317 or email him at countrysiderangers@leeds.gov.uk.


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

Tackling motorcycle casualties in Yorkshire and Humber

Issued on behalf of Safer Roads West Yorkshire

Road safety partnerships and Police forces across Yorkshire and Humber are teaming up this summer in what will be the largest road safety campaign ever undertaken in the region.

This joint working is in response to the number of bikers who are still being injured or killed on the roads, despite widespread publicity around the consequences of irresponsible riding and driving.

Roadside education and enforcement operations will underpin this year’s campaign with the aim of reducing rider casualties and improving road-user behaviour. This will be complimented with BikeSafe workshop sessions being run across the region; the launch of a new national smart phone app to aid riders plan their riding routes; rider information and engagement sessions throughout the summer season; and a campaign aimed at drivers to look out for riders.

The region attracts motorcyclists from around the country who can experience some of the best riding routes available. From the scenic east coast to the expansive Yorkshire moors and dales, it provides breathtaking scenery and superb riding conditions for those who visit.

However, the popularity of this area brings with it a cost and the region has seen a significant number of motorcyclists tragically killed and seriously injured year after year.

Road safety partnerships and police forces are stepping up their activities which will focus on engagement, awareness and education, with the aim of encouraging the biking fraternity to help themselves and ensure they do not become yet another tragic statistic.

However, there are a very small number of riders who dismiss these opportunities and think that our road network provides an alternative 'track day', where anything goes.

Dave Glanville, motorcycle road safety officer for West Yorkshire, said:
“Road safety partnerships are working with the police across the region to help reduce rider casualties through both education and enforcement this summer. We recognise that most riders are safe and responsible and keen to enjoy their riding without putting themselves or others in danger but there is still an extreme element of the riding community who want to use our roads as a race track and it’s these riders the police will be targeting whether they’re in south, east, north or west Yorkshire”.

He continued: “We urge riders in our region to help by riding in a safe and appropriate manner. We have some great riding routes to share and would like riders to make it home safely each and every time.”

The road safety partnerships hope that by working together with the police and riders this summer will be an enjoyable and safe riding season.

Notes to the editors

1. Road safety partnerships and Police forces from the Yorkshire and Humber region are working together to reduce the number of motorcycle casualties within the region. These include:-
• Safer Roads Humber and Humberside Police
• 95 Alive Partnership and North Yorkshire Police
• South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership and South Yorkshire Police
• Safer Roads West Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Police
• In addition, the region is working closely with Lincolnshire Police.

2. Motorcyclists are a very vulnerable road user group and represent 20% of the region’s killed or seriously injured casualties, although motorcycles only make up about 1% of vehicles on the nations roads.

3. In-depth analysis of casualty and collision data show that the majority of riders killed or injured in the Yorkshire and Humber region actually live within the area. However, it is found that riders of larger bikes (over 125cc) are often involved in collisions in other part of the region, away from their home address. A similar pattern of anti-social riding is seen, where riders caught offending live in neighbouring force areas.

4. There were 528 motorcyclists or their passengers killed or seriously injured in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2009.

5. A range of activities are planned for the coming months.
The main activities are listed below but many other projects are occurring in each area:-
• BikeSafe workshops are being held across the region – riders can book their place online at: www.bikesafe.co.uk
• The 95 Alive partnership will be distributing 10,000 “Biker’s guide to North Yorkshire” over the coming months
• iBiker apps – the road safety partnerships have contributed to a national project which has developed a new smart phone app allowing riders to plan routes across the region. The app provides riders with information and advice on how to ride safely within the Yorkshire and Humber region. The iBiker app is being launched in May
• Someone’s Son – the region will continue to raise awareness through its Someone’s Son campaign which is aimed both at riders and drivers to highlight the dangers riders face. www.someones-son.co.uk
• Crash Cards – thousands of motorcycle crash cards are being distributed to riders to ensure that vital medical and contact information is accessible to the emergency services if the rider is involved in a road traffic collision
• Enforcement – the Police forces are working together using a range of tactics which include marked and unmarked vehicles to eradicate dangerous riding. Where possible, riders will be diverted onto a special RIDE course which has been developed nationally to educate riders on the risks they face.

For further information about the range of activities within West Yorkshire please contact

West Yorkshire
Dave Glanville – Safer Roads West Yorkshire
0113 247 5198