Monday, 10 October 2011

New Leeds shop a work of art

Caption: The new Leeds Art Gallery shop and cafe opens this week

Visitors to Leeds Art Gallery will be able to take home a prize exhibit of their own from this week with the opening of a new shop and cafe.

Opening on Tuesday 11 October, the new shop and cafe is located below the main entrance to the art gallery off Victoria Gardens on The Headrow.

The new shop offers a range of items inspired by the art gallery collections with luxurious gifts for every occasion such as books, jewellery and stationery plus exclusive merchandise such as ceramics and kitchen textiles.

Italian silk scarves exclusively by leading British designer Richard Weston will be available, with the gallery shop in Leeds joining Liberty in London’s Regent Street as the only two stores in the country to stock his creations.

Other exclusive brands include home fragrances by True Grace, kitchen gadgets and accessories by Alessi plus British-designed and produced ceramics and a wide range of luxurious handbags and accessories by Drift and Petal Anderson featuring soft leather, vintage fabrics and the world-famous Harris Tweed.

Works by other designers such as Lineke of wivwuv creations, jorjawilkinson design, Janine Barnsley, Lizzie Prestt and Louise Nelson will also be on sale.

In addition, the shop will feature a designer café providing a different experience to the Tiled Hall Café above, offering Barista-style coffee and luxury cakes.

To celebrate the opening of the shop and café, a special offer means visitors will be able to claim 20 per cent off any item on sale or free tea or coffee with any sandwich bought. The voucher can be downloaded from the Leeds City Council website at

The new shop and café will be open from 10am-5pm from Monday to Saturday and from 1pm-5pm on Sundays.

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

“We are delighted to be opening this new shop and café underneath Leeds Art Gallery and Central Library enabling visitors to buy artworks inspired by those in the art gallery as well as some fantastic gifts.

“We look forward to seeing lots of people going in for a look at the great range of items on offer.”

For more information on Leeds Art Gallery visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Statement from the Lord Mayor of Leeds re Leeds Rhinos winning the Super League Grand Final

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor said:

“I would like to congratulate the Rhinos on behalf of the city for their excellent win at the weekend, and securing their place in history as the first team to win the Super League Grand Final five times.

“The team are excellent ambassadors for the city, and I wish them every success for the future.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Social enterprise in the city to benefit from rate relief

The issue of extra rate relief for social enterprises is to be discussed at the council’s executive board this week with a view to encouraging more social enterprises across the city.

Leeds City Council executive board will meet on Wednesday 12 October and are recommended to approve changes to the Business Rate Discretionary Scheme that will help new and emerging social enterprises to establish themselves.

Social enterprises reinvest profits for social purposes and the amount of rate relief will reflect the community and social benefits derived from a social enterprise.

Rate relief is already provided to registered charities and these proposals are aimed at recognising the positive community benefits of social enterprises which are not registered charities.

There are currently around 150 social enterprises which are not registered as charities across the city and the council is hoping that that this additional support will encourage more social enterprises.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“It is important that we look to help social enterprise emerge across the city.

“To do this we need to be able to offer a discretionary rate for these organisations to help them move forward with business.

“Any relief awarded to such an organisation needs to be targeted at those whose activities are most beneficial to our tax payers as a whole, and also support the council’s wider priorities."

Relief will be awarded up to 80% for the first year for organisations that fit the specific guidelines.

For more information and a list of the guidelines please view the report at

Notes to editors:

The costs of the discretionary rate relief are broken down to 25% covered by Leeds City Council with the other 75% funded centrally via the national non domestic pool.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Significant improvements in safeguarding services for children in Leeds

Leeds has made significant improvements in services for vulnerable and at risk children and has laid the foundations to continue this success, according to the latest Ofsted report published today.

The inspection highlights considerable progress since concerns were raised during the last full inspection of safeguarding in July 2009, when services in the city were rated as ‘inadequate’. Following this, an improvement notice was issued by the government and an improvement board put in place to monitor progress. The latest inspection has found that ‘arrangements to ensure children are safeguarded are now secure’, it highlighted ‘significant progress in improving outcomes’.

Following the announced inspection last month, inspectors reported that five of the nine measures they assessed are now ‘good’, with the other four rated as adequate, none were inadequate. The city’s overall effectiveness in ensuring children are safe is ‘adequate’ – and on the key measure of the ‘capacity to improve’ further, the city is now rated as ‘good’.

The report also highlights the pride that staff feel in the improvements that have been made in Leeds, whilst recognising that there is no complacency and a shared focus on continuing to improve.

All of the organisations working with children and young people across the city have a responsibility to keep them safe and the report recognises that since 2009 this work has been given the highest priority. The inspection highlighted many improvements in the way partnership between different services works, especially in terms of shared responsibility, vision and priorities, and the overall understanding that in Leeds, ‘safeguarding is everyone’s business’.

The latest inspection which covers all children’s safeguarding practices in the city was carried out during 12 to 16 September. Inspectors spoke to a range of staff of all levels and considered evidence including electronic case records, supervision files and notes, and observation of social workers undertaking assessments and referrals. As part of the inspection it was noted that cases referred to children’s social care are dealt with quickly, and interventions are done promptly to keep children safe.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services and chair of the Leeds Children’s Trust Board, said:
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for the enormous effort that both children’s services and our partner agencies have put in to achieve this extremely positive inspection result.

“This report is very reassuring and confirms that the changes we have put in place really are already making a huge difference to the well-being and safety of children in Leeds, something reflected by the fact that the inspectors did not identify any children left at potential risk of harm, and no cases they reviewed were deemed to be inadequate.

“We already know how hard everyone involved in children’s safeguarding across all agencies have worked, and the passion and commitment they have shown to improve the prospects of the children and young people in Leeds.

“We know we must keep up these efforts to be even better and we already have actions in place to overcome the areas for development highlighted in the report. We are committed to ensuring that children and young people in Leeds have every possible opportunity to help shape the future direction of our services as we head towards our goal of becoming a Child Friendly City.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services at Leeds City Council said:

“Our staff have worked extremely hard in challenging circumstances to implement improvements to keep children and young people in Leeds safe from the risk of serious harm.

“We are very proud at what has been achieved since the last inspection, but we know that there is still a long way to go.

“It is very positive that the inspectors have recognised that, the foundations have been laid to ensure we can maintain this momentum. With the continued enthusiasm and drive from staff at all levels our services for vulnerable children will be the best that they can be.”

Inspectors noted that changes have been put in place to ensure children and young people are included in child protection conferences so their wishes and feelings are taken into account.

Nigel continued:
“To continue heading in the right direction we have instilled the ethos in all our teams, that the voice of the child is at the heart of everything we do. Only by listening and responding to the voices of children and young people can we make sure the services we provide meet the needs of each individual child.”

John Lawlor, Chief Executive for NHS Leeds, said:

“We welcome the findings of the report which demonstrates that real progress has been made to protect the most vulnerable children and young people living in Leeds.

“We are all committed to continuing this work as we strive towards providing the best children’s services in the country. “

Chief Superintendent Richard Jackson, Divisional Commander of the North East Leeds Policing Division and member of the Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Board, said:
“While there is still work to do, the progress that has been made is testament to the hard work and dedication of a number of people who share a passion and a deep rooted sense of professionalism in protecting young and vulnerable people.

“We aim to build on this success over the coming years to ensure that we, as an organisation, learn from the lessons of the past as we continue to move forward and place ourselves in the best position to protect those in society that need us most.”

The report highlighted that significant progress has been made in laying the foundations for further improvement, “through the strength of leadership, the clear strategic direction that is shared by partners…and the additional capacity in the workforce”.

It also acknowledges that the improvement board which was set up after the last inspection has “very effectively overseen improvements”, and that significant financial investment has been made to increase the number of social workers, and to train and develop staff.

Amongst the other positive comments, the inspectors agreed that the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board is much improved and the independent chair has worked hard to ensure that all agencies are working together effectively on safeguarding issues.

The report also identified a number of areas for development including the ‘electronic social care record system’ which the report says impedes the recording process. The inspectors do acknowledge that enhancements in the IT system mean better reports are available for managers and senior councillors have already agreed to invest in a new IT system for children’s social care, to rectify this issue.

To further strengthen children’s services throughout the city some major developments are well underway. The changes that have already been implemented include significant appointments to strengthen the leadership of children’s services, including a new director and leadership team. A new structure is currently being implemented which will to make it easier for the different teams within children’s services to work together, particularly at a local level, and target support and resources to those young people who are most vulnerable.

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

Smart hero talks to children about risks of the road

Pupils across Leeds will be learning about the risks of the road from a Smart Risk Hero who has survived an injury on the road.

Leeds City Council is hosting a series of four multimedia presentations at schools across Leeds presented by Smart Risk Heroes, a Leeds based charity.

An injury survivor who admits they ‘crossed the stupid line’ will present the fast paced, multi-media presentation which pulls no punches about the consequences of failing to asses risks, and knowing how to keep safe on the roads.

The audience share the presenter’s injury experience and learn about five key messages to keep you safe – Buckle Up, Look First, Wear the Gear, Get Trained, and Drive Sober.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Media are invited to attend one of the events taking place at the four participating high schools from Tuesday 11 October so they can see for themselves the powerful messages delivered to Leeds students. Media who wish to attend should contact the press office on 0113 2474450 to confirm their attendance.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Councillor Richard Lewis , Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development:
“Smart Risk Heroes shows young people how they can take responsibility for managing the everyday dangers they face out on the streets whether as a pedestrian or a new driver. The message is presented in a positive and upbeat way, in manner the young people can buy into.”

Becky James, road safety manager for Leeds City Council said: “It is fantastic that during this period students at 4 Leeds High Schools will be receiving the Smart Risk Heroes message. .

“Being on the road is statistically the most dangerous activity that most young people will undertake. Assessing and managing that risk is vital, if they are to avoid the serious consequences of ‘crossing the stupid line.

“Not everyone can bounce back from adversity like the Smart Risk Heroes presenters have. Sadly, for many of our young people, the penalty of distraction or peer pressure ends up being a permanent legacy.”

Notes to editors:

The four Schools having Smart Risk Heroes are as follows;

Tuesday 11th October..Roundhay High School
Wednesday 12th October..Lawnswood High school
Thursday 13th October..Morley Academy
Friday 14th October..Primrose High school.

Nationwide, road crashes are the biggest killer of 15-24 year-olds. One in eight car licence holders are aged under 25, yet one in three (33%) drivers who die on UK roads are under 25. Young drivers not only kill themselves, but often other road users and their young passengers. One in four (26%) convictions for causing death by dangerous driving are against under-21s.

• Young people aged between 11 and 16 are more at risk of being killed or seriously injured as a pedestrian or cyclist in a road accident than other age groups.
• 69 children and young adults (up to age 19) were killed or seriously injured on the road in Leeds in 2010
• Traffic is the biggest cause of accidental death of 12 to 16-year-olds.
• Almost 1 in 5 teenagers report having been involved in a road accident or "near miss" on their way home from school. But only 4 per cent said that road safety was their main concern.
Sourced from the DfT website and Leeds City Council Accident Studies team


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450