Thursday, 22 September 2011

Colourful carnival capers for Chapeltown and Harehills youngsters

Showcasing their colourful carnival costumes are: back row(l-r):Darnell Hammill-Bennett (Hillcrest primary), Mina Maavi (Hillcrest primary), Davyka Mckenzie (Harehills primary). Middle: James Hewson (Holy Rosary and St Anne's primary). Front row (l-r): Alisha Mitchell and Beatrice Lunn (both Bracken Edge primary)

As above but with Paul Pryce from JAM and Lucy Britton from CHESS.

Children and young people who took part in a project about the Leeds West Indian Carnival donned their own colourful costume creations at a special celebration event earlier this week.

The youngsters, aged up to 11, took part in the carnival project organised by the Chapeltown and Harehills Extended Support Service (CHESS) in the run up to the West Indian Carnival. The project included art and crafts, set design, dance, drama, fashion and costume design – including hair and make up, music production and composition – all with a carnival theme.

Children from the six schools and four children’s centres which make up the CHESS ‘cluster’ were invited to take part in the project which saw them designing their own costumes and learning a dance routine for a CHESS troupe to perform at the carnival.

Parents and carers were invited to a celebration event at Shine in Harehills to see the costumes the children had designed and created themselves and watch a dance display by the carnival troupe.

Alisha Mitchell from Bracken Edge primary school who was part of the carnival troupe, said the best thing about taking part in the project was designing the costumes, she said:
“Learning the dance routines was hard but I liked taking part in the carnival. I’ve been to watch before but being part of it was better. My costume was water.”

Councillor Jayne Dowson, deputy executive member responsible for education, said:
“This was a fantastic project which offered a great opportunity for these children and young people to take part in some activities they wouldn’t normally be able to access. The project gave children a great insight into other cultures and everyone had a great time.”

CHESS is part of children’s services at Leeds City Council and aims to encourage children and young people who live in the Chapeltown and Harehills areas to take part in positive activities outside school. The areas fall within the most deprived areas of the country and a large number of families who live there are classed as disadvantaged.

Lucy Britton, who organised the carnival project for CHESS said:
“The carnival workshops and troupe were developed in order to promote and improve opportunities for community cohesion across the cluster. As well as increasing self esteem, confidence and self worth in children and young people, this opportunity created a unique experience and raised aspirations which enriched their citizenship skills.

“The theme of the our troupe was Earth and focussed on the positive and negative aspects and how the human race contributes to the environment. The troupe consisted of the four elements; earth, wind, water and fire, and all the costumes were made mainly of recycled and reused materials.

“This was the first ever troupe which was inclusive to all the schools and children’s centres within CHESS and I hope with additional funding this experience will be available again to more children and young people next year across the cluster.”

The project was delivered by local organisation J.A.M (Just Addictive Music) who employed local artists to work with the children alongside their team.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Help to tackle poverty and homelessness in Leeds

Are you interested in helping to tackle poverty and homelessness in Leeds?

There are some fantastic voluntary organisations in Leeds that are helping people affected by poverty and homelessness. To promote the work of these organisations and charities, and the volunteering work that people can get involved in, a marketplace event is taking place this Saturday, 24 September, 11am to 3pm, on Briggate in Leeds city centre.

The idea behind the event is to encourage more people to get involved in volunteering for these organisations. It’s an excellent opportunity for people to speak directly to volunteering organisations, and find out ways that they can get involved.

This is part of the campaign throughout the 2011 European Year of Volunteering to help make Leeds the best city in the UK for volunteering, and to help tackle some of the big issues that the city faces.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, champion for volunteering in Leeds said:
“We have many volunteering organisations in Leeds that do fantastic work with people that are vulnerable through poverty and homelessness. These organisations depend massively on the army of dedicated volunteers that give their time and support for free.

“We recognise and support the wonderful work that they do, and this campaign is all about encouraging more people to volunteer with them.

“The marketplace event is a great way for people to find out about the work that these organisations do, and to find out if there is anything that they can get involved in. I would encourage people to take a look at the stalls and have a chat with other volunteers.”

There are dozens of fantastic volunteering organisations in Leeds that do this type of work. Organisations like Canopy - a housing charity that works with homeless people in the renovation of disused properties to create homes that are secure, affordable and decent. Canopy renovates empty and derelict houses that have been standing empty for years, and transforms them into homes through the hard work and commitment of their volunteers and tenants.

Organisations like FareShare, an operation which rescues hundreds of tons of good quality surplus food from producers and retailers destined for landfill and redistributes this to local projects and charities that need access to food and good nutrition.

Organisations like The Big Issue in the North offer rough sleepers and those who are vulnerably housed an opportunity to earn a legitimate income by selling the The Big Issue in the North magazine. Or organisations like Simon on the Streets or St George's Crypt working with people who are homeless and who are unable or unwilling to access existing provision.

Each year, Simon on the Streets organise a sponsored sleepout. This gives people the chance to get a real insight into the harsh realities of rough sleeping, raises awareness and much needed funds. Last year, over 50 people took part, and this year’s event is proving to be even more popular. Councillor Yeadon, along with two of her executive board member colleagues Councillor Adam Ogilvie Councillor Mark Dobson, are taking part to show their support. The sleepout is taking place on Thursday, 29 September. For more information please go to

Talking about taking part in the sleepout, Cllr Yeadon said:
“I’m really looking forward to taking part in this year’s sponsored sleepout. I’m sure it will be a really challenging night, but I know that everyone taking part will support one another and come away with empathy and a much clearer of understanding of the issues facing rough sleepers.

“Simon on the Streets do a really fantastic job, and I’m really pleased to be able to support them by helping them to raise funds in this way.”

Additional info

The organisations taking part in the marketplace event are:
• Touchstone
• St Vincents
• Voluntary Action Leeds
• St Georges Crypt
• Unity in Poverty Action
• Salvation Army (with a band!)
• Big Issue
• City of Sanctuary
• Leeds Asylum Seeker Support Network
• Meeting Point/Christ Church Armley Youth Project
• Europe Direct

The poverty and homelessness theme of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering in Leeds is led by Unity in Poverty Action, who bring together Christians to work with the most impoverished people in Leeds.

Simon on the Streets is a charity offering street-based services to people with complex support needs and a history of rough sleeping. Their team of support workers and dedicated volunteers aim to give the necessary support to people to get them to engage with the services they desperately need in order to start making some positive changes in their lives.

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

Report it to sort it

A council resource centre will open its doors next week, to host a community event aimed at helping people to recognise and deal with disability hate crime.

The ‘Report it to sort it’ event on Wednesday, 28 September, 1 - 3.30 pm, will take place at the Mariners Resource Centre in Hunslet, Leeds 11. It is open to everyone in the local community, whether they are disabled or not. People are invited to come along on the day to find out what to do if they are concerned that somebody they know might be the victim of hate crime. There is also a free workshop aimed at empowering people to tackle bullying and abuse.

The event is a joint initiative of Access Committee Leeds, adult social care services, West Yorkshire Police, Change - Power Changers, and Arise South Leeds. It is supported by volunteers from key third sector organisations from across Leeds, and is part of a set of initiatives aimed at encouraging disabled people to report hate crime

People are invited to ‘drop in’ and take advantage of free training and advice from the Police and other support organisations.

The event will be officially opened by Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, the council's executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care, who said:
"The bullying or abuse of a person because they have a disability is totally unacceptable.

"This event is an opportunity for anyone with concerns that they or someone they know is being victimised, to speak directly to somebody that can help. They can also attend a free workshop, which aims to help people take back control of a difficult situation, and change their lives for the better.

“The event will be really useful for people who feel nervous about raising their concerns with the Police, and an important step forward in making sure that disabled people feel safe in their local communities.

“I would like to thank officers from our adult social care services, West Yorkshire Police and Arise South Leeds for their support in putting on this key community event.”

Acting Chief Inspector Susan Jenkinson, of West Yorkshire Police’s City and Holbeck Division, will be speaking at the event. She said:
“We take all forms of hate crime extremely seriously, and we have dedicated and specially-trained officers available to support anyone who becomes a victim.

“No-one should feel as though they should suffer in silence because reporting hate crime is the first step towards putting a stop to it, and events like this are an excellent way to get this message across.”

Additional info

The Mariners Resource Centre is a council-run centre where disabled people come together to socialise, learn new skills/hobbies, and get advice and support.

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