Wednesday, 20 July 2011

All change for Leeds cultural funding

A new approach to how Leeds City Council funds cultural organisations is to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

A proposal to be presented to the council’s executive board meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 27 July will call for a change from the current annual system for the council’s approximate £2.6m allocation of funding to arts, culture and sports organisations to instead be based on three-year terms and the creation of an entirely new funding element entitled ‘Leeds Inspired’ which aims to focus each year on a specific theme to promote the city.

As part of the proposal, organisations wishing to bid for funding will need to provide greater evidence of how they plan to use it following set criteria which will monitored and reviewed each year.

The plan follows a similar change to three-year funding streams by the Arts Council nationally, giving organisations greater stability and ability to plan their programmes for a three-year period rather than having to reapply each year with the same approach.

The proposal came from discussions with many of the major arts, culture and sport organisations in Leeds, who preferred to switch to longer-term agreements especially in light of current and expected future funding reductions both nationally and locally.

If approved, the new system would come into place from the April 2012 with the first set of grants running until March 2015. All organisations would be able to bid for funding, with a completely new application criteria introduced which follows the council’s drive to be inclusive to all and make the city the most dynamic in the country with a strong focus on finding and developing young talent.

The application would be based on four key themes. The first is how the organisation would identify, develop and retain talent in the city, as well as how they would attract established artists to Leeds from outside, using apprenticeships, volunteering, coaching and training.

The second theme is based on removing barriers to show how their activity is open and attractive to all regardless of social circumstances or background. The third theme is to demonstrate how distinctive Leeds is a city, and to promote that both within Leeds and across the country.

The final theme of the four concerns the community, with organisations asked to demonstrate how they work with communities and also the impact of that work.

The council would closely monitor those organisations which successfully apply for funding, with regular checks to ensure the four themes are being followed effectively and an official review each year.

A new secondary element of the funding which if approved would come into effect this year is ‘Leeds Inspired’. This would see organisations apply for separate or additional funding from a pot of approximately £500,000 in order to promote a single overall theme to promote Leeds as a city.

This idea came about following consultation with individual artists and organisation to identify what the city needs to do to become more engaging and vibrant. The response was a single topic which local arts, cultural and sports organisations and especially smaller groups can all focus on simultaneously which is inspired by Leeds and promotes the city.

The first such proposed subject is the Cultural Olympiad around the London 2012 Olympic Games, building on the programme already proposed to deliver a major festival for everyone in the city to enjoy. Possible future subjects include the 2013 Rugby League World Cup if the Leeds bid to be a host city is approved.

Leeds City Council's executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

"With the level of funding available to us and for us to be able to pass on to the cultural organisations being reduced, this was a good time to work with the organisations to see how they can best deliver strong and exciting programmes and the response was strongly to switch to this new system.

“The new Leeds Inspired idea is a really exciting development and offers a fantastic way of bringing all the best talent in the city together to promote Leeds on a national and international level consistently through culture every year.”

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

Leeds museum staff get the party started by ‘Dancing in the Street’





Caption: Images from the exhibition and the troupe in action as part of the recent Otley Carnival (top)

Staff from the Leeds City Museum have gone the extra mile – literally – to promote a new special exhibition which begins this week.

Starting on Friday 22 July and running until January, the exhibition entitled ‘Dancing in the Street’ will be open for free at the museum off Millennium Square celebrating the best in festivals and street carnivals in Leeds.

And to spread the word about the new exhibition, a team of curators and officers from the museum decided to get some hands-on experience by joining members of the local community and taking an active role in festivals going on around the city this summer.

The result was the creation of two dance troupes, complete with colourful and eye-catching outfits which have so far appeared at the recent Otley and Bramley Carnivals. The team features curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick dressed as the ‘Leeds His-tree’ with her colleagues as falling leaves behind her along with a second troupe promoting the Leeds Discovery Centre led by curator of anthropology Antonia Lovelace.

The team’s efforts were given instant reward as they were awarded first prize in the adult float category on their debut appearance at Otley! The team will also be appearing at Leeds Pride on Sunday 7 August and the West Indian Carnival on Monday 29 August while a selection of their outfits will also be on display as part of ‘Dancing in the Street’.

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All media are welcome to preview the new special exhibition 'Dancing in the Street' at Leeds City Museum off Millennium Square at 4pm on Thursday 21 July. Curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick will be available for interviews.
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The exhibition has been organised by Leeds City Council with funding from the Arts Council and support from West Yorkshire Archive Service plus Otley and Bramley Carnivals, Leeds Pride and the West Indian Carnival to celebrate the creativity, diversity and vibrancy of Leeds’ carnivals and street festivals.

Visitors will discover all about the history, costumes and characters that bring these community events to life while there will also be a strong interactive element such as playing a steel pan or the chance to dress up in a virtual reality carnival outfit.

Displays of photos and programmes from festivals and carnivals down the years as well as archive film footage will tell the story of the important role such events have had and continue to play in the strength of communities around the city.

Leeds City Museum curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick said:

“Creating our carnival troupe and getting involved directly like that has been great fun for the whole team and has given us all a terrific insight into the important role that these events play in Leeds and we hope that will come across in the exhibition.

“It will tell the tale of these events and the fantastic people who make them happen in a really colourful and fun way and we think people of all ages who come along for a look will enjoy what they see.”

‘Dancing in the Street’ runs from Friday 22 July until Sunday 8 January 2012 in the ‘special exhibitions’ area of Leeds City Museum. Admission free.

Leeds City Museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am-5pm, Thursdays 10am-7pm and Saturdays and Sundays 11am-5pm. Admission is free.

For further information on Leeds City Museum, visit the website at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum/

ENDS

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

Council chiefs to discuss future of the market

The future of Kirkgate Market and how it should be managed to become one of the best markets in the UK will be considered next week at Leeds City Council’s executive board.

The council is committed to providing a bright future for the market, and the report looks at a number of options that may inform this. They include looking into what might be the optimum size for both the indoor and outdoor markets and how they are managed.

The aim is to be able to rent out all stalls to obtain a 100% letting success rate and attract a greater number of customers to what is intended to be one of the best markets in the UK.

A report will be presented to the executive board on Wednesday 27 July that recommends looking at moving the ownership of Kirkgate Market to an arm’s length company and determining the markets’ best size.

The focus is to build the market’s reputation for excellent food and attract a wider audience, including students and city dwellers. Recently a new Shop & Drop scheme has been introduced to the market to allow people to shop and leave their goods at the market up until 6pm. Opportunities such as this and the Eastgate development will attract a wider audience to the market, and help it to compete in the retail environment.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development, said:

“I believe with work beginning on the Eastgate and Trinity Quarters, this provides a real window of opportunity for us to drive the market to the next level and offer a retail and shopping experience that can compete with the very best.

“This report outlines a number of options which can help us achieve this goal, which will of course need to be considered in the context of a number of significant challenges such as the recession, the changing UK retail sector and public spending.

“While there has been a 14% reduction nationally in traditional market traders and a number of temporary buildings do need extensive maintenance, I do believe it is important that we do not forget what is already on offer at the market and the platform that it now has the chance to build on.

“A number of positive initiatives, such as the Shop and Drop Scheme have been introduced recently, and there is a wide range of stalls offering high quality goods that you might not always find elsewhere in the city centre. I really would urge shoppers to pay a visit to the market and see for themselves what is on offer.”

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For media enquiries, please contact;
Tel: Cat Milburn 0113 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Be a good sport; volunteer in Leeds

Are you interested in volunteering? Would you like to get more involved in sport in your local community? Does your sports club or organisation need more volunteers?

If so, why not come along on to the Sports Volunteer Fair on Saturday 23 July, 11am to 4pm, Albion Street in Leeds city centre, and find out how you can get involved.

This fair provides a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to have a look at a range of sporting volunteering opportunities that can be found all around the city. Sports clubs and organisations that are looking for more volunteers can also use the event to find the help that they need.

The value of volunteering in Leeds is estimated to be approximately £39.5 million a year. Sport and recreation volunteering accounts for 26% of all volunteering, so the value that volunteers make to sport in the city is about £10m each year. The total benefit of what they do goes much further than this though, providing young people with some fantastic opportunities that they otherwise might not get to be involved in sport and keep fit and healthy.

The event coincides with Olympic Open Weekend, and is a great opportunity to see the variety of sport available in Leeds and find out how to get involved in volunteering within sport in the city. Contact Julie Lewis on 0113 395 0614 or by email to julie.lewis@leeds.gov.uk for more information.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“In Leeds we are lucky to have an army of enthusiastic people who give up their free time to support and promote sporting activities. Without them a lot of our sports clubs and organisations would simply not exist, and children and young people in particular would miss out.

“Many of these volunteers don’t even see themselves as that; they just turn up in all weathers, at weekends and in the evenings through their love of sport and their desire to give something back to the community. They do a fantastic job and deserve our thanks.”

Julie Lewis, volunteer sports development officer for the council said:
“We already have hundreds of people volunteering in sport in Leeds, but there are still lots more opportunities out there

“Volunteering in sport is a great way to keep fit and healthy, meet new people and gain new skills. Small clubs and organisations need all the support they can get to stay afloat and continue to nurture new talent in the city.”

Leeds is supporting the 2011 European Year of Volunteering, with a focus on sport during the months of July and August.

The objectives of the European Year of Volunteering in Leeds are:
• To sustain the improvements in volunteering made during 2010;
• To produce a volunteering strategy for Leeds, that will contribute to the city’s priorities;
• To highlight and support the work of volunteer organisations that are tackling some of the most difficult issues;
• To develop closer working links between volunteer organisations in Leeds and our partner European cities; and
• For the council to review the way it uses volunteers.

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For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Proposals to revise charges for non-residential adult social care services

Council chiefs will be asked to approve plans to revise charges for non-residential adult social care services at their executive board meeting next week.

Last December, executive board gave their approval for a consultation to take place with customers and other stakeholders on removing the subsidies that are currently applied to charges for non-residential adult social care services. The consultation also included reviewing the maximum weekly charge, which puts a cap on the amount anyone pays for their services, no matter how much service they get or how much income/savings they have.

Different services are currently subsidised at different rates. For example, home care is subsidised at an average rate of 50% depending on the service provider, with day care and transport being subsidised by more than 90%. Also, people who use personal budgets to purchase their own support receive no subsidies, whereas if they had their home care via adult social care services they would.

The review aimed to address these discrepancies, and set new charges that are a better reflection of the true cost of delivering specific care. The new charges will also help the council to address the widening gap in social care funding that the organisation is currently faced with.

The consultation ran from February to June this year. It asked people for their views on the proposals, what the impact on them would be and how any changes should be implemented. Customers who would be directly affected by any potential changes were provided with details of how much the charges could increase by and given the opportunity to comment.

As part of the review the council looked closely at what other comparable authorities charge for their non-residential services. This identified that current charging in Leeds is generally lower than average and the financial assessment used to determine what people are assessed to pay is lower than most.

The way that people are financially assessed is not changing with these proposals. This means that if someone’s assessment has calculated that they do not have to pay towards the cost of their services, or that they already pay as much as they can afford, they will not be affected by these changes. This applies to over 3,900 people – 78% of customers. No-one will be asked to pay more than their financial assessment calculates that they can afford, and what people are assessed to pay is lower than in most other authorities.

We have listened to the outcomes of the consultation and made some changes to the proposals originally put forward. Some subsidies will remain, particularly for day care, and it is proposed that the maximum weekly charge is increased but not removed. Different day care charges are proposed across client groups to reflect the costs of providing them, with higher costs reflecting higher staffing levels.

As the financial assessment limits how much people pay for their services, the actual impact for people is much less than these headline figures would suggest. As well as the 78% of customers who would see no increase at all in what they pay, 472 people (9.4% of customers) would have an increase of less than £10 per week. Only 60 people (1.2% of customers) would see an increase of £50 per week or more and for these people a phasing-in of the increase is proposed.

There will still be a maximum weekly charge, but this will rise from £140 to £210. Keeping a maximum weekly charge means that those people with the highest levels of need are not unduly penalised.

It is proposed that the revised charges will take effect from 1 October 2011. A staggered increase is proposed for people that are already receiving services when the new charges take effect. So from 1 October, the maximum increase that anyone will have to pay will be £35 per week. A further increase of £35 per week will be implemented after six months, with the full amount being payable from 1 October 2012.

These proposals will generate additional income of £0.85m in a full year, which is less than the £1.3 million originally proposed. This money will stay within the adult social care budget and will be used to invest in the level and quality of services provided.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:
“Leeds, the same as many other local authorities, is currently facing a huge challenge in adult social care services, as the number of older people in our society continues to grow and council budgets are subject to massive cuts.

"The scale of this issue is such that we simply cannot continue to do what we have always done. We have to look closely at how we deliver our services going forward, to make sure that we have the means to look after our most vulnerable people with the resources available to us.

"Although our charges must now increase, people will only have to pay what their assessment says they can afford. Our financial assessment and retaining a maximum weekly charge will ensure that overall Leeds continues to be a low charging authority compared to most others.

“We have to balance the fairness of charges for individuals against sustainable services for the future.”

Benchmarking against other comparable local authorities shows that people would be financially assessed to pay more in most of them than in Leeds. This is because of the way income and particularly savings are taken into account. The highest charges amongst comparator local authorities compared with the proposed costs for Leeds are as follows:









The council will continue to face financial challenges and so a further review of how we charge for these services and assess what people can afford to pay is proposed. Another consultation will take place on this and as part of this review the implications of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support report “Fairer Care Funding” that was published a few weeks ago will be considered.

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Additional info

The consultation process ran from February to June and included three main elements:
• Consultation events for a range of stakeholder groups, drop-in events for the general public and making consultation questionnaires available through the council’s consultation website “Talking Point”
• Working with a group comprising representatives of service user and carer organisations
• Consulting with those service users identified as likely to be affected by the charging proposals

Everyone has a financial assessment to work out how much they can afford to contribute towards the cost of their services. The customer pays the lower of two amounts:
• the amount the financial assessment calculates that they can afford, or
• the hourly/daily rate for their services (for people receiving direct payments this would be the amount of the direct payment)

For example, if someone is assessed as being able to afford to pay £30 per week and they receive two hours of home care each week, with the proposed charges they will pay £26 per week (2 x £13 per hour).

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Plans to redevelop a prime city centre site take a step forward

Plans for the redevelopment of the prestigious Sovereign Street development site in Leeds city centre will take a step forward next week.

Senior councillors will be asked to approve a revised planning statement for the area and to approve the heads of terms with KPMG and developer Sovereign Leeds Ltd.

Sovereign Leeds Ltd will purchase part of the site for the development of a new 60,000 sq ft site which will be leased by KPMG to house its new city centre offices.

If given the go-ahead by the council’s executive board the move will kick-start the redevelopment of the whole of the Sovereign Street site delivering new green space and two further development sites in the city centre.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for city development, said:

“We are delighted at the prospect of the Sovereign Street site being developed, it provides an outstanding opportunity to create an innovative and well designed environment in a key regeneration area of the city.

“It offers the opportunity of creating links to with the riverside area and beyond to the South Bank, Clarence Dock and Holbeck Urban Village, opening up that part of the centre and creating thousands of jobs.

“The response to the planning statement consultation was very enthusiastic with many respondents also recognising the huge benefits that new green space will bring to the area along with the potential to connect to the proposed city centre park to the south of the river.”

Sovereign Street has been a council-owned temporary car park since the Queens Hall was demolished in 1989. It is close to the city’s vibrant waterfront area, the railway station, the city centre retail core and a key part of the council’s plans to enhance and regenerate the southern part of the city centre.

Redevelopment of the site could potentially open up two railway arches which will connect through to the vibrant Dark Arches and Granary Wharf area of the centre. In turn, they will open up linkages to the prime shopping and office quarters of the city and southwards to the riverside and the new proposed green space area on the south bank of the River Aire.

The Draft Leeds South Bank Planning Statement was put out to consultation in September last year. The outcome of this consultation will be reported back to Executive Board soon.

A copy of the full Development Proposals for the Sovereign Street Site report will be presented to a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on 27 July at 1pm.
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For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Future provision for Gypsy and Traveller sites to be discussed

Leeds council chiefs will next week discuss a report on the council’s efforts to address problems caused by unauthorised traveller encampments.

In September 2010 an inquiry into site provision for Gypsies and Travellers in Leeds was conducted by the council’s environments & neighbourhoods scrutiny board.

The board presented 12 recommendations, with the conclusion that the current cycle of encampment and evictions was not meeting the needs of Gypsies and Travellers or Leeds residents, and did not represent value for money for the council.

Good progress has been made on a number of the recommendations, including strengthening the rights of tenants at the travellers site at Cottingley Springs and establishing a residents group.

In order to reduce the disruption unauthorised encampments cause for residents, and to better meet the needs of travellers, it is recognised that the council will need to forge improved relationships with the Gypsy and Traveller community.

The report also recognises that providing further permanent traveller pitches will help to minimise the current disruption. As part of the report it is recommended that the existing Cottingley Springs site is not expanded, but rather that thought is given to identify smaller site areas in non residential areas.

Following evaluation proposals to develop a specific site or sites, a report will be submitted for approval to a future executive board. The public will be fully consulted and planning permission required before any work is carried out.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, housing and regeneration said:
“From the progress that has been made so far, I am satisfied that we are rising to the challenge set by the Scrutiny Board and I hope that the travelling community do the same and meet the standards of behaviour expected by all of us.

“Responding to unauthorised encampments of Gypsies and travellers across the city is a key challenge for the council, and the current cycle of encampment and eviction benefits no one; least of all council tax payers.

“The present system clearly isn’t working as we have spent almost £2m since 2003 in evicting travellers and cleaning up after unauthorised encampments. We need to find a way of working with all involved parties to move forward to a much better solution for the people of Leeds.

“We are at the very early stages of looking into new sites, and no decisions have been made on this as of yet.

“We will of course consult fully on any proposals before going ahead.”


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