Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Leeds Children’s Mayor winner presents manifesto to council

The Leeds Children’s Mayor winner will present his manifesto ‘When It Comes To Keeping Kidz Active – Leeds Leads’ to all 99 councillors at this week's meeting of full council.

Joe Smith,10, who attends Strawberry Fields Primary School, focused his winning manifesto on how public gyms could create ‘kids zones’ using smaller and specially built equipment for children. He proposed that the same machines could be used as adults, but would also have in built games to keep the children engaged and interested in the exercises.

Joe’s manifesto beat 10 others to gain the largest share of the 3000 votes cast via the Leeds Learning Network and Breeze website.

The Leeds Children’s Mayor competition is an extension of the previous ‘Mayor For a Day’ contest and allows the winner to participate in activities throughout their year in tenure as children’s mayor.

Already, Joe has accompanied the Lord Mayor at the switching on of the Christmas Lights, hosted the gala dinner and judged a film competition for the North of England Education Conference, and taken a trip in the Lord Mayor’s Limo to his school where he presented an assembly.


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

Date and time: Wednesday, 20 January 2012, 1pm
Venue: Council Chamber, Leeds Civic Hall
Event: Leeds Childs Mayor, Joe Smith, presents his manifesto to 99
councillors at a full council meeting.
Please contact the press team on 0113 2474450 to arrange attendance

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



Leeds Children’s Mayor winner, Joe Smith said:
"I am excited to be able to talk about my ideas to the council. I think it is very important for kids to be more healthy and have more exercise so I hope my plan will help.”

Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor said:
“The Children’s Mayor competition is a great way for local government to interact and engage with kids, teaching them the importance of local government and what it is we do.

Hopefully through schemes such as this we can reach out to more children and teach them the importance of being part of local community and the councils part within that.

“I look forward to listening to Joe’s manifesto, and no doubt so will my other colleagues in the chamber.”

The initiative falls in line with a larger national initiative to encourage younger people to get involved in local government and understand how it works as part of the Local Democracy Week.

Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Try, Communications Team
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 247 4450
Email: Michael.Try@leeds.gov.uk

Volunteering success for Leeds


Cllr Lucinda Yeadon pictured at an event to pass on the 'volunteering torch' to the environmental theme from the children and young people's theme in May 2011

The two year focus on volunteering in Leeds, headed by Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL), has now come to an end, but the positive results achieved means that its legacy will live on.

2010 was designated as the Leeds Year of Volunteering, and the city took advantage of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYOV) to continue the exciting work that was taking place.

The campaign was developed in partnership between the voluntary, public and private sectors. Its aim was to promote the benefits and opportunities that volunteering offers, and also to increase the number of volunteers in Leeds, which were low in comparison to other major cities.

Evaluation of the two year campaign has confirmed that the number of people volunteering in the city rose by 25% in 2010 and 20% in 2011. In 2011 there was also a six-fold increase in the number of volunteering placements being offered by organisations.

The 2010 campaign got underway with the opening of the new Volunteer Centre Leeds at St Paul’s Street on a five day a week basis. The centre’s role is to match volunteers to volunteer placements, and help organisations to develop volunteering schemes for their employees. The Leeds centre is now one of the top five performing volunteer centres in the country, and funding has been secured to enable it to continue to operate for at least the next 12 months.

The EYOV widened the scope of the first year to include Leeds’ partner cities in Europe, with representatives from volunteer organisations from Brno, Brasov, Lille, Siegen and Dortmund spending time in Leeds to share information and ideas with similar volunteering organisations. The conference to launch the European Year of Volunteering in the UK was held at the Royal Armouries, sponsored by Europe Direct, in December 2010.

Over the last two years, 16 volunteering themes have been featured, and 150 events have taken place covering all aspects of voluntary work, attended by around 8000 people.

In 2010, the new Compact for Leeds, which has a significant focus on volunteering, was signed up to by organisations in the voluntary sector, the local authority and other partners. The new Leeds Volunteering Kitemark and Toolkit were launched to help improve the quality of volunteering in the city, and the outstanding achievements of local volunteers were celebrated through the Leeds 2010 Year of Volunteering awards held at Leeds Civic Hall.

The Leeds Involvement Strategy was developed in 2011, which aims to increase the level of volunteering, philanthropy and participation in the city. A guide has also been produced for people who want to get involved in volunteering and active citizenship. The council also reviewed how it uses volunteers, and pledged to support its own employees to encourage them to get involved in volunteering.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:
”I would like to personally thank all our volunteers for dedicating their time and effort to supporting people and communities across the city.

“Volunteering is vital to Leeds. We have over 125,000 volunteers helping to connect friends, neighbours and communities, and also bringing significant economic benefits to the city. The annual value of volunteering in Leeds is estimated to be worth over £7 million per year.

“Our volunteering campaigns – 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering and Leeds European Year of Volunteering 2011 – were a celebration of the tremendous voluntary effort that people make every day to help others, raise funds for charities, participate in decision making and help to create the best city for all our residents to live in.

“The campaigns also helped to further develop partnership working between the voluntary, public and private sectors in the city.

“It is crucial that this recent focus leaves an ongoing legacy for volunteering, and to support this a city-wide strategy has been produced. The aim of the Leeds Involvement Strategy is to help Leeds realise its ambition to be the best city in the UK for volunteering, giving and participation.”

Richard Jackson, chief executive of Voluntary Action Leeds said:
“One of the main successes of this campaign has been the strengthening of partnerships and better working relationships between the council and the third sector.

“There’s a real buzz around volunteering in the sector, and people want to continue to see the kind of results that have been achieved. The Compact for Leeds was key in demonstrating the city’s commitment to the public and third sector working together, and now the Leeds Involvement Strategy will help sustain this progress and continue to promote and grow volunteering in the city.”

In addition to the above, the council’s adult social care department has established a commissioning service for small, local voluntary organisations. This will work alongside Voluntary Action Leeds’ commissioning support project. This offers support in business development, competitiveness and entrepreneurial skills to help organisations to bid for contracts. The service is proving to be successful and is already strongly valued by the third sector in Leeds, creating a level playing field for all organisations seeking to provide not-for-profit social commissioning services in the city.

Ends

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

Holocaust Memorial Day event at Leeds Town Hall


Caption: The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is 'Speak Up Speak Out'

This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day event is to take place at Leeds Town Hall next week.

The free annual event open to all takes place from 1:30pm on Sunday 29 January, marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenhau which occurred on January 27 1945.

The event will be hosted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor and will include speakers, artwork, live music and performances with the theme being ‘Speak Up Speak Out’. The Lord Mayor will light a candle to commemorate all those who have been affected by the Holocaust and more recent genocides such as those in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor said:

“Holocaust Memorial Day allows us to honour survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and join together in remembrance. It’s an opportunity to try and learn lessons from history so it doesn’t repeat itself. Without those who spoke up in the past we would not have the freedoms we have today.”

The keynote address will be given by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, who last year joined a party of Leeds and Yorkshire school pupils on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenhau organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Member of Parliament for Leeds West Rachel Reeves said:

“It is important that as a city we remember what happened and learn the lessons of history from it.”

The East Leeds FM Next Generation group of young people will be performing at the event, having been inspired by talking with Moortown resident Iby Knill about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor.

Leeds has applied for ‘City of Sanctuary’ status and is creating a network of people and organisations to ensure Leeds is open and welcoming to anyone in need of protection. The Leeds City of Sanctuary bid team will be contributing to the event and highlighting how the lessons from the Holocaust remain relevant today.

The Holocaust Memorial Day event in Leeds is coordinated by Leeds City Council’s arts and regeneration unit. For more information visit www.leeds.gov.uk/arts

Nationally, Holocaust Memorial Day is organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. For more information on this year’s theme and the aim of bringing communities together to make a fair and safe society visit http://hmd.org.uk/

ENDS

Morwenna Rowlands, Arts and Regeneration,
Leeds City Council on 0113 2478234
Email: Morwenna.rowlands@leeds.gov.uk

Take three takes time out to help dads

A new programme that has been delivered for the first time to dads and their families involved in anti social behaviour has been a huge success.

The ‘Take 3’ course has been delivered for the first time specifically to dads by Signpost. Signpost, the council’s service that supports families involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, has delivered the evidence based parenting programme for parents which aims to build confidence and teach new skills that can be used at home.

Mark and Bridgette Callaghan live their three teenage sons, 12 year old daughter and grandchild. The family were referred to Signpost after being warned about noise nuisance, vandalism, alcohol mis-use and burglary. The family became involved with Signpost as the parents were looking after their grandson and needed help on how to bring in some new house rules.

Mark enrolled with the Take 3 course and has learnt a number of skills, including building their confidence and self esteem to stand up to their children and take back their home.

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

Mark will be available for interview around his experience of the Take 3 course. A member of the Signpost Take 3 team will also be available for interview. Please contact the press office at 0113 247 4450 to arrange an interview.
******************** Media opportunity ********************



Mark said:

“Being on the course has not only helped me with better parenting skills, but I think it has helped save my relationship with my son Lewis.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for community safety said:

“The Take 3 course has proved very successful in helping fathers to gain confidence and learn to control, listen and negotiate with their children.

“It is important that families have access to help, and we have not run a course directed at dads before. I can really empathise with fathers who face challenges when trying to maintain order at home, and I am therefore really encouraged that this course has worked so well for Mr Callaghan and his family. I would encourage any parents experiencing similar issues to get in touch with the service. “

Ends

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