Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Resident skills week hits the nail on the head

Tenants in east Leeds are being given the opportunity to learn a new DIY skill to help them to increase their employability.

East North East Homes are running free five-day courses in DIY skills such as fitting bathrooms, and toilets, plastering and bricklaying, painting and decorating.

Over 70 people have applied for the course, and 21 people have already completed the courses which have been run in Halton Moor, Gipton and Meanwood. A further course is running in Haltonmoor with 16-18 year olds.

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All media are invited to attend the course at 10am on Thursday 14 July at 92 Halton Moor Road, Halton Moor and see young people learning to fit kitchens, bathrooms, painting and decorating, plastering, plumbing and brick laying . A number of the young people on the course and Cllr Peter Gruen will be available for interview. Please call the press office on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.
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It is hoped that the skills learnt on the courses will allow people to add to their skills set and in the long term make it easier to find a job, as well as giving them confidence to try out DIY in their own homes. At the end of each course, participants will be awarded a certificate and a portfolio of the work they have completed.

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

“This scheme is a great way of giving local people practical skills that they will be able to use in their own homes, and also to find employment.

“It is a fantastic idea and I am impressed to see so many local people getting involved.”

Notes to editors:

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL)

East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) that manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in 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
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Project to highlight Leeds’ Voices Against Apartheid

Picture caption: Campaigners in Leeds gather to show their support for the anti-apartheid movement (Photo courtesy of Dr Salim Essop - please acknowledge if reproduced).

A project to document the history of the anti-apartheid movement in Leeds and celebrate the partnership between Leeds and Durban will be officially launched this week.

A Voices Against Apartheid display, which will include a number of artefacts relating to the movement including a letter from Nelson Mandela, will be hosted by the Leeds City Museum until 5 September.

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Media are invited to the launch of Voices Against Apartheid at Leeds City Museum on Thursday 14 July from 4.30pm. The leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, the Deputy South African High Commissioner, Ms Bongiwe Quabe, and the new Mayor of Durban, Councillor James Nxumalo, will be available for interview. Please email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 3951577 to confirm attendance.
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The display is part of the Voices Against Apartheid project which has been designed to raise awareness of the movement in Leeds against apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 80s. The passionate involvement by the people of Leeds reflected the city’s values of social justice, equality and diversity and Voices Against Apartheid will raise awareness of the movement, through schools, to new generations.

The project has been put together by Leeds City Council’s international relations team and includes a 20 minute documentary which has been created to highlight the anti-apartheid movement. Local schools, including Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Garforth Academy and Primrose High School, took part in a workshop to learn media skills before interviewing key figures from the anti-apartheid movement in Leeds. It will be screened for the first time at a special launch event at the Leeds City Museum on Thursday and will be on show until 5 September

Those who appear in the Voices Against Apartheid documentary include Peter Hain MP, Councillor Bernard Atha, Carole Summerill and Frances Bernstein.

Peter Hain’s parents were anti-apartheid activists in South Africa. They were briefly jailed and prevented from working and due to police harassment the family moved to the UK in 1966. Mr Hain became chairman of the ‘Stop the 70s’ tour which significantly and controversially disrupted the tours of the South African rugby and cricket teams, which included visits to Headingley.

Councillor Bernard Atha was the Lord Mayor of Leeds when Nelson Mandela visited in 2001. He was involved in the local anti-apartheid movement which included securing the renaming of Mandela gardens and passing the council resolution to stop the purchase of South African products.

Frances Bernstein was part of a campaigning family and her father - Lionel 'Rusty' Bernstein – was on trial with Nelson Mandela. She spent many of her childhood years without Lionel and her mother, Hilda, as they were imprisoned in South Africa. Frances moved to the UK and joined the anti-apartheid movement in Leeds and later the women’s anti-apartheid group.

Carole Summerill was a founder member of the Leeds anti-apartheid movement and worked to support national anti-apartheid policy, in particular the cutting of economic links between Britain and the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Speaking at the launch will be the new Mayor of Durban, Councillor James Nxumalo, and the Deputy South African High Commissioner, Ms Bongiwe Quabe, who will be in Leeds to further develop relations between the two cities. Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, will open the event.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“The anti-apartheid movement in Leeds highlighted how strongly the people of the city felt about the inequality and injustice that was taking place in South Africa. This project – and the film in particular – tells this story and is a fantastic reflection of Leeds and its values.

“I’ll never forget Nelson Mandela coming to Leeds. It was a strange feeling of being in the presence of greatness it was one of the most important days of my life. He represented everything Leeds had been campaigning for and it was an honour for the whole city for him to visit.

“Voices Against Apartheid is an excellent project which I am pleased to support. It will raise awareness to a whole new generation and ensure the efforts within Leeds to stop apartheid are never forgotten.”

Councillor James Nxumalo, the Mayor of Durban, said:
"The anti-apartheid movement in Leeds reflected the strength of feeling in South Africa and provided a solid base for the relationship which has developed to the present day. The Voices Against Apartheid project outlines what happened in Leeds in the 1970s and 80s and shows how important that period of time was in the struggle for freedom. Nelson Mandela's visit in 2001 was the culmination of many years’ hard work and, during my first visit to Leeds, I look forward to developing the relationship between these two great cities even further."

Each item in the display tells a story from the anti-apartheid movement. A unique piece is a copy of a letter written on a piece of cloth by Lionel ‘Rusty’ Bernstein. Whilst in prison, he smuggled letters to his wife by hiding them inside his shirt collar, which she had to take home to wash. It was written using a pen which she smuggled to him inside a banana.

To learn more about the movement visit www.voices-against-apartheid.org.uk where there are useful resources for schools, including historical timeline of the movement, presentations and links for further reading.

Schools can request a copy of the documentary by emailing international@leeds.gov.uk.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

New family homes for inner city Leeds

Work is about to start on a new inner city development that is set to provide 55 family homes for local people in Leeds.

The inner city brownfield site of the Beverleys in Beeston, will provide 55 new family homes for social rent and shared ownership thanks to Leeds City Council’s Affordable Housing Strategic Partnership.

Chevin Housing Association Ltd, a member of the Together Housing Group and Unity Housing Association in partnership with Leeds City Council will start work on the £5.7m development this week with contractor Bramall Construction, part of the Keepmoat group. The scheme is part funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The development will be made up of 26 three-bed houses, 19 four-bed houses and 10 two-bed houses. There will be 28 homes for social rent and 27 for shared ownership.

As part of the scheme four local apprentices have been recruited for bricklaying and joinery positions. Partners of the scheme will work closely with local people and are to provide work placements at the site for students at Cockburn High School as well as construction related workshops at the school.

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All media are invited to the sod cutting ceremony at The Beverleys on Friday 15 July at 10am at the Bramall Construction Compound, Lady Pit Lane, Beeston, Leeds, LS11 6DP . Cllr Peter Gruen and directors from Bramall Construction, Chevin Housing Association and Unity Housing Association will be in attendance. The recruited apprentices will also be on site at this time and available for interview. Please contact the press office on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.

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Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council, Executive Board Member with responsibility for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Regeneration said:

“Since 2008, we have delivered over 1,600 new affordable homes, but there is still huge further demand for affordable family housing. This development will provide an additional 55 properties and support the council in achieving its aim of increasing the number of affordable homes for the city in addition to providing specific regeneration benefits for the local community including an area of greenspace.

“I look forward to seeing the finished result later in the year.”

Neil Baxter, Managing Director at Bramall Construction said:

“We’re delighted to join with our partners on this scheme to mark the start of the build of the new homes at the Beverleys.

“We’re pleased that we are able to offer opportunities for local people to improve their skills and employability through apprenticeships and our links with local schools and colleges. We hope to work closely with the people living around the site in order to leave a long-lasting legacy in the community.”

Denis Creaghan, Executive Director at Chevin Housing Association Ltd said:
“Chevin Housing association is pleased to be working in partnership with Leeds City Council, Unity Housing Association and Bramall Construction to deliver job and training opportunities, together with new high quality affordable housing in this inner city area of Leeds.”

Wayne Noteman, Unity Housing Association said:

“This development is a great example of how the Homes and Communities Agency, the Council and local Housing Associations can work in partnership to build much needed homes for rent and low cost sale.

“The properties which will be built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, will have a range of energy saving measures which will make the properties approximately 40% more energy efficient than houses built to current Building Regs. This will significantly reduce energy bills for prospective residents.”

A Local Lettings plan will be devised in consultation with local ward members in addition to a nominations agreement to ensure the scheme meets the needs and aspirations of the local community.

Notes to editors:

In August 2010 Chevin and Unity Housing Associations were successful in a joint bid to the HCA as part of the National Affordable Housing mini bidding round for grant funding of £2.2m to develop this site.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk