Thursday, 21 April 2011

Competition winner Maya earns Chelsea treat

Caption: The winning entry (above) and top image from left deputy executive member for leisure Cllr Lisa Mulherin, competition winner Maya Dudko, parks and countryside education officer Julia Wynne-Thorpe and parks senior ranger Jenny Rogers

A Leeds primary school pupil will enjoy a special day out next month at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show after winning a competition based on this year’s Leeds garden entry.

Ten-year-old Maya Dudko from Brodetsky Primary School in Alwoodley will be Leeds City Council’s guest at the world-famous horticultural event in London after her design was chosen to be turned into a postcard to promote this year’s show garden entry The HESCO Garden 2011.

Key Stage 2 pupils from over 200 primary schools in Leeds took part in an educational project and competition to create a postcard design based on the power of nature and the role of water power which reflects the theme of the garden.

Maya’s winning design will now be turned into a postcard to be given out at Chelsea as part of the promotion of The HESCO Garden 2011, which is being produced by Leeds City Council with support and full sponsorship from Leeds-based world-leading manufacturers of products used in civil engineering HESCO Bastion Limited.

Together with one of her parents and her teacher, Maya will be given free tickets and transport to the show which takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in London from May 24-28. Maya’s classmates also benefited as they were each given a special environment-themed goody bag, while the school is to receive £200 of plants grown by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service along with a day of curriculum-linked activities at Thwaite Mills Museum to see water power in action.

Leeds City Council deputy executive member for leisure Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:

“It was great to see the entries for this year’s postcard competition and how creative so many of the designs were. Maya’s colourful entry summed up the themes of this year’s garden perfectly and we hope that she and her proud mum and teacher will have a fabulous day at Chelsea where her postcard will be handed out to visitors to this year’s Leeds garden.”

Following on from the historic gold medal triumph of The HESCO Garden 2010, the 2011 challenger features a traditional mill and giant working water wheel measuring over three metres tall (approximately 10 feet) as its centrepiece.

The role of the wheel it is to celebrate not only the pivotal part water power played in the industrial past but also the growing role it is playing once again as a clean and renewable energy resource in the present and for the future.

Partner and garden sponsor HESCO Bastion Limited said:

“This year’s postcard design competition has communicated the garden’s message of harnessing natural resources with engineering traditions to be found in and around Leeds in an innovative way to the schoolchildren of Leeds.

“HESCO Bastion were overwhelmed with the quality of entries received and would like to congratulate Maya for her winning design as well as all the children who took part for their creative entries. HESCO are proud to sponsor Leeds City Council’s 2011 Chelsea garden entry which focuses on engineering developments of the past, and the present, all of which contribute to the vibrancy of Leeds.”

For further information on The HESCO Garden 2011 visit or follow the garden as it develops on Twitter at


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

Caring council awarded charter mark

Leeds City Council is one of the first organisations in Yorkshire to be awarded the Carer Friendly Employer Charter Mark in recognition of its Carer’s Strategy, which offers support to staff with caring responsibilities.

The council's adult social care department took it’s lead from Carers UK to develop the strategy, which sets out standards and good practice for employers to support carers in the workplace.

The largest group of people affected by care-giving is those aged between 45 and 60 years old. This age range is also generally considered to be the prime career and earning period in a person's life. People in this age-group often find themselves juggling multiple caring responsibilities, for example a dependant child and an elderly parent.

There are nearly six million people in the UK currently caring for someone else, with over 50% of these combining caring with paid work. 67.5% of carers in Leeds are working full or part-time. Employers are not always aware of the carers in their workplace, as people can be reluctant to talk about this part of their lives for fear of putting their jobs at risk. They may be caring for someone with an illness that has a stigma attached to it and be reticent to talk about it. As part of it’s Carers Strategy, Leeds City Council has surveyed its workforce and found that 14% of its staff are carers.

In order to achieve the charter mark, the council had to demonstrate its commitment to making sure that the needs of carers are taken into account in its employment practice. A key factor in this is offering flexible working, which can make all the difference to an employee if they find themselves having to manage a stressful and demanding situation in their role as a carer.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:
"We probably all know someone who at some point has acted as an unpaid carer for family or friends. It’s a really demanding role, requiring a great deal of effort and commitment, and to be able to continue working full-time as well can be extremely challenging at times. People in this position make an invaluable contribution to society and it’s vitally important that employers do what they can to help.

"People are living longer than ever before, and this has led to more people finding themselves with extra caring responsibilities. We need to make sure that, as employers, we have the processes in place to support our staff if they are affected.

"I am delighted that Leeds City Council has been recognised for its work to support carers in the workplace, and hope that other employers in the city will follow this lead and help people to combine their paid work with their roles as unpaid carers.”

Additional info

Equality Accreditation Services (EAS) is the largest equality accreditation delivery organisation in the UK and operates on a national basis supporting public sector organisations and their supply chains to ensure they meet requirements of the Equality Act.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578