Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Get in the abbey habit for fabulous Fantasia

Historic Kirkstall Abbey will be the setting for a magical evening of music, colour and fireworks as Classical Fantasia takes place this weekend.

The annual performance of open-air classical music set in the grounds of the 12th century abbey takes place from 8pm on Saturday 3 September and will feature fantasy-inspired music performed by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia accompanied by the now-famous spectacular illumination of the ruins and electrifying fireworks.

Gates will open at 6pm for the event organised by Leeds City Council which is now in its 16th year. The performance by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia will once again be led by conductor John Pryce-Jones, who said:
“Classical Fantasia is a highlight for the Orchestra of Northern Ballet where we reach out to new and old friends with a programme of exciting pieces including some of our current and past ballet repertoire. The setting is possibly the best in the UK with the wonderful backdrop of Kirkstall Abbey enhanced by spectacular fireworks and plenty of space for picnics!”

This year’s event is supported by Magic 828, and Breakfast Show presenter Glenn Pinder said:
“Magic 828 are proud to support this year’s Classical Fantasia. As one of Leeds' long-standing annual event highlights, I am really looking forward to introducing John Pryce-Jones and the Northern Ballet Sinfonia to the stage on what is set to be a wonderful occasion for everyone attending with the unique combination of classical music, fireworks and the stunning illumination of the historic abbey ruins."

Tickets can be purchased online at www.leeds.gov.uk/fantasia and will also be available in person from the City Centre Box Office at The Carriageworks off Millennium Square up to 6pm on Saturday, Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Rail Station until 5:30pm as well as a limited number being on sale at the Abbey House Museum up to 8pm on the day at the venue.

As part of a drive to make Leeds residents more aware of what the LEEDSCard and LEEDSCard Extra discount cards have to offer, cardholders can take advantage of a special price of £7.50 for LEEDSCard and £6.50 for LEEDSCard Extra to attend the event. The full admission price without a LEEDSCard is £12, while the tickets for Breezecard holders (for anyone aged 18 and under) are priced at £7.50 (all prices inclusive of VAT).

The LEEDSCard scheme is open to anyone aged 19-59 in Leeds on an annual membership and offers discounts and exclusive offers across the city all-year round at leisure facilities, events, shops, museums, theatres and restaurants. For more information on how to get a LEEDSCard visit www.leeds.gov.uk/leedscard or call 0113 224 3636.

Tickets are still available at www.leeds.gov.uk/fantasia or in person or by calling the City Centre Box Office at The Carriageworks off Millennium Square (0113 224 3801) or Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Rail Station (0113 242 5242).

For the latest information on the event including travel details visit www.leeds.gov.uk/fantasia. Anyone requiring further information can also contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 396 0891 or by email at events@leeds.gov.uk.

Notes to editors:
A booking/transaction fee will apply to bookings made online or by telephone.


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

Council asked to approve plans to reshape residential and day care services for older people

30th August 2011

Council chiefs will be asked to approve recommendations that will reshape local authority residential care home and day centre provision for older people in Leeds, at a meeting next week.

The recommendations will transform current day and residential services so that they focus more on delivering specialist care. This will make better use of the resources available to the council, utilise partnerships with the NHS and strengthen links with the independent sector.

The report also confirms that discussions with the NHS have developed into a firm proposal for the establishment of the city’s first integrated intermediate residential and nursing care centre. This is a significant step forward, which will help to integrate the work of adult social care services and the health service to promote faster recovery from illness, prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and premature entry into residential care, and help with timely discharge from hospital.

The report also provides details of the feedback gathered from the citywide consultation about the future of adult social care in Leeds, and the more detailed consultation with the people living in the six residential care homes and using the four day centres which were earmarked for possible closure earlier this year. The discussions that took place have provided information on how the proposals could affect customers and their families, and what their ongoing care needs are.

The report includes detailed information about the processes which will be in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of residents directly affected by the proposed changes and also to ensure no-one will be financially worse off if they have to move to an alternative home.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:

“This has been a really difficult process, and I fully accept that our customers have found some of our proposals upsetting. However, with reducing resources and more older people to take care of, we simply cannot continue to do things exactly the same way that they have always been done for any longer.

“Leeds City Council is committed to creating better lives for older people in the city, and this consultation has given us a fantastic opportunity to re-evaluate what we currently do, and look really closely at what else is happening in the city.

“Our final recommendations, if approved, will start us on the path of transforming housing, care and support services for older people so that they have access to a wider range of high quality options in the future.

“ We have listened carefully to concerns raised by local people in Otley, Morley and Rothwell, where there is no immediate local alternative residential care home. As a result, we have committed to keep their homes open, either until an alternative management operation is put in place, or there is a newly-built, local alternative up and running for people to move to.

“In the meantime I’d like to reassure those people living in homes which are directly affected by the changes that nothing will be done suddenly or unexpectedly.

“There will be a team of social workers and health professionals who will work with individuals and their families to make sure their individual circumstances are taken into account and their longer term needs are met. People’s health and wellbeing is our top priority.”

In brief, the recommendations in the report are:
Day centres
The following day centres should be recommissioned as specialist day units – Middlecross, Apna, Calverlands, Springfield, Laurel Bank, The Green, Frederick Hurdle, Wykebeck
The following should be closed – Spring Gardens, Firthlands, Rose Farm and Lincolnfields
Residential care homes
The following homes should be recommissioned or retained as specialist units - Middlecross, Richmond House, Siegen Manor, Harry Booth House, The Green.

The following should be closed - Westholme, Kirkland House, and Grange Court. Spring Gardens and Knowle Manor should also be closed, but only when new residential homes have been built in Otley and Morley respectively. Dolphin Manor could be transferred to a community interest company (subject to satisfactory business evaluation), or closed on completion of a newly built care home in Rothwell.

Eight remaining council-owned residential homes will be subject to further review.

Council-owned residential and day care units have high running and maintenance costs, and the capital funding needed to upgrade those requiring modernisation is not available. However, Leeds has a strong independent sector that continues to develop new homes with better specifications and high standards of care and accommodation. As the number of beds available in the city outweighs current demand, it makes sense to take out old, out-dated facilities and work closely with independent providers to continue to drive up standards in care and ensure that the market is stable.

A second report to executive board seeks approval to implement a revised temporary fee structure for publicly funded residents taking up places in Leeds homes from 1 October 2011.

Fees paid by Leeds City Council to independent residential and nursing care homes are higher than those paid by most comparable and all neighbouring local authorities. This is not a sustainable situation for the council as it struggles to make savings of £90million in response to the comprehensive spending review.

The executive board will be asked to approve the implementation of a revised, temporary fee structure for the placement of new residents from 1 October this year. This will act as a first step in bringing fees paid in Leeds into line with those of neighbouring authorities. It will also seek the go ahead to set up an advisory board made up of representatives from groups with an interest in delivering high quality care for older people. The board’s remit will be to agree a long term, sustainable fee framework for the future.

Councillor Yeadon said:“In light of the recent high profile financial problems experienced by Southern Cross, we are keen to work with independent providers in the city to ensure that we continue to have a stable residential care market in the city.

“We can’t afford to bring all of our homes up to modern standards, which is why we have had to make recommendations to close some of them. However, we are fortunate that the vast majority of care homes in Leeds are rated as good or excellent, so we are confident that older people in Leeds will still have access to high quality care.

“We now need to start conversations with independent providers in order to establish a fee and quality structure in Leeds that is fair and sustainable for everyone involved.”

Additional info
An enquiry by the Adult Social Care Scrutiny Board last year agreed that people’s expectations around choice, quality and control over their residential care accommodation have increased significantly, and that the option to ‘do nothing’ to ensure that council services are fit for purpose for the future is not an option.

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