Friday, 18 May 2012

Victim of anti-social behaviour gives back to local community

A mother of three children who was terrorised by local youths but has come out the other side is giving back to the local community.

Joanne Binns from Swarcliffe, has turned her life around and is now piloting a course for parents to teach them about the what they can do to prevent their children becoming involved in anti social behaviour (ASB).

Joanne wanted to make parents aware of what some children can be like, and the terror they can cause, after suffering for 12 months from youths targeting her and her family. She is working with the Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team to use a video they produced about how parents can influence the behaviour of their children as part of a session with a group of parents at Swarcliffe Primary school.

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All media are invited to the pilot session which Joanne will present to a group of parents at 10am on Monday 21st May at Swarcliffe Primary school. Joanne will be available for interview after the session, as will some of the parents and the headteacher of the school. Please call the press office on 01132474450 to arrange attendance.

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Joanne, who used to live in East End Park was targeted as she tried to build bridges between the local community and the police. She, and her children had stones thrown at them, parts of their garden set alight, and she was punched in the stomach when she was eight months pregnant. Her children suffered through threatening texts and being bullied in the street, to the point they no longer wanted to go outside. To top it all, they unfortunately lost the dad during this time.

It took a lot of hard work, but eventually Joanne was moved from East End Park, and since the new Leeds Antisocial Behaviour team has been launched, there has been a marked improvement to the response to ASB through the joint working of partners such as the police and local authority.

Joanne said:
“It was an extremely tough time, and I am so pleased that I am now able to work with the Leeds Antisocial Behaviour team to help other victims, and also try to get the message across to parents about how they can help.

“The new ASB service, which links many partner agencies , has made reporting ASB a lot easier, and I now have excellent links with my community and the team to work with anyone who is suffering or involved with this kind of behaviour.

“One of my key areas of work is my charity – Forgotten Childrens Foundation which is run for all the kids out there who are doing something positive – they need to be rewarded, and this is my way of doing that.

“I wanted to broaden the work I have been doing, and talking to parents to make them realise what they can do to help their children is a really positive step forward and should help in the fight against ASB.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds said:
“It is excellent to see Joanne doing so well now, and giving back to the local community after the ordeal she went through.

“It is great to have a community champion like Joanne, who is happy to work with the local authority to bring about positive results.

“It is good to see the marked difference the new Leeds Anti Social Behaviour Team is making. The team was formed over 12 months ago when we realised that a more joined up approach between, police ALMOs and other agencies would make reporting and dealing with ASB a lot easier.”

For more information about the work Joanne is involved in, visit

Notes to editors:

Joanne is a real community champion in her local area, and has been the recipient of a number of awards for her community work over the years, including the Respect Award, Jane Tomlinson Women of Achievement Award and a Reader’s Digest hero of the month award, Yorkshire Women of Achievement overall winner.

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

Leeds urgently needs foster carers – can you help?

Leeds urgently needs more foster carers to make a difference to a child’s life.

Leeds has the fourth highest number of looked after children in England – with over 1450 children and young people currently in the care of Leeds City Council. To help these children get the support they need to live happy successful lives, the council is looking to recruit over 200 new foster care households over the next two years.

A major new foster carer recruitment campaign is being launched this week to coincide with the national campaign Foster Care Fortnight which is organised by the Fostering Network.

Across the UK there is a shortage of foster carers and Leeds is no different. Foster carers are urgently needed for children and young people of all ages across the city.

By fostering for Leeds City Council, new carers would join a well established fostering network with direct support from social workers and specialist staff.

The foster carer recruitment campaign is being featured on local radio and across a range of outdoor advertising across the city over the next few months, to encourage more people to come forward to look after some of Leeds most vulnerable children.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:

“Foster carers do an amazing job and make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

“It can be an incredibly rewarding experience and I would encourage everyone to think about whether fostering is something they could do.

“We are here to offer support and training to help our foster carers every step of the way, as ultimately if the foster family is happy, the child will be happy and that is what we all want.”

To help potential foster carers find out about fostering and discover what fostering in really like, a new website called has recently been launched. The new website explains who can foster, all the different types of fostering, what benefits and payment foster carers receive, as well as real life case studies.

Leeds needs foster carers from all walks of life, people who are single, married, divorced, employed, unemployed, with or without children of their own. People from diverse backgrounds and all ethnic origins are needed to help children benefit from living with families who share their own culture, language and religion.

People are needed to provide a wide range of fostering types, including short term support for young children and longer, planned permanent support, as well as respite foster care, and specialist care for disabled children.

Those interested in finding out more about fostering can register their interest online by visiting or by contacting 0113 2477443 for advice and an information pack. Details of special information evenings can also be found at the foster4leeds website.

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

Major Roadworks on Claypit Lane

Claypit Lane in Leeds city centre is to be temporarily closed to outbound traffic whilst reconstruction work takes place to improve the carriageway and footways.

This work will improve both the crossing facilities for pedestrians and the running surface for drivers.

The outbound carriageway will be closed 24 hours a day from Wednesday 6th June to Friday 22nd June. Diversions will be signposted.

The work is part of a wider programme to upgrade the streets around the new Leeds Arena. Work will take place between 7am and 9pm.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and economy, said:

“These works are part of a much wider programme of improvements which will benefit the entire area. However there will be some disruption and inconvenience in the short term.

“We have done everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum. We looked at the possibility of working right through the night but decided against that because of the impact on nearby properties. We also explored the possibility of setting up a contraflow but the traffic system was too complicated to allow that.

“We will be carrying out the work as quickly and quietly as possible and apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Move to Leeds spells sweet success for company

CGS: Candy Makers managing director Robert Whittleston (left) with sales and marketing manager Paul Finney

A sweet manufacturing company which moved to Leeds in February this year with help from Leeds City Council is on course to achieve 800 per cent growth in turnover.

Candy Makers Ltd has already won large contracts to supply wholesale and retail customers with its sugar-free sweets and plans to recruit up to six new employees to meet growing demand for its range of sugar-free sweets, toffees and chews.

The company found its new premises - a 5,000 sq ft unit at Parkside Industrial Estate in Beeston – with help from Leeds City Council’s ‘Locate in Leeds’ team, which assists businesses in Leeds and from outside the area to find new premises.

Candy Makers received a grant of £6,250 through council’s business growth fund to help cover the cost of new machinery and fitting out the new premises. Employment Leeds is now helping the company to recruit new staff.

The firm currently has around 50 different product lines and also manufactures ‘regular’ sweets to order.

Candy Makers sales and marketing director Paul Finney said:

“The business has grown very quickly and the unit we were in previously had limited capacity for expansion.

“The grant from Leeds City Council has been a great help in covering the cost of fitting out the new premises and bringing in new machinery that will give us greater production capacity and the potential to develop ‘own brand’ product lines.”

With sales for 2012 forecast to reach the £1 million mark, the business is now looking for new markets and opportunities for expansion. Exports, which account for about 10 per cent of sales, and own label products have been identified as key areas for future growth.

The company has recently been granted accreditation as a Halaal site through the British Muslim Food Board which means they are able to supply to ethnic food shops and export to Muslim countries.

Candy Makers is now looking to appoint a team of machine operators, packers and trainee sugar boilers with help from Employment Leeds as it gears up for further expansion.

The Locate in Leeds team worked with Candy Makers for months prior to their move, supplying lists of properties and arranging viewings. The grant was provided through the council’s business growth fund, set up to help small and medium sized companies that are investing for growth and creating new jobs.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for development and economy said:

“This is an excellent example of how we in the council can work with businesses to attract them to the city and support them when they get here.

“It’s exciting to see a local company doing so well and expanding despite the current economic climate. Thriving businesses mean jobs for local people and supports the local economy so everyone benefits in the long term.”

Note to editors
Locate in Leeds offers a free service for start ups and businesses in the Leeds area that are looking to relocate, either to consolidate or expand their operations. The team also works with UKTI on inward investment enquiries and with independent location consultants acting on behalf of large corporate occupiers.

Last year, the service handled more than 1400 enquires form companies looking for new premises including over 300 enquiries from businesses outside West Yorkshire. The team also signposts companies to the range of support available through the council and other organisations.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available through Leeds City Council’s business growth fund to support capital investment and job creation. SMEs in a range of sectors can apply for the grants which cover 20 per cent of the cost of an investment in new equipment and premises fit outs, with a maximum of £2,500 payable per job created.

Employment Leeds is a free Leeds City Council service which helps employers seeking to recruit new staff. It has assisted Candy Makers in drafting recruitment adverts for food and machine operatives, targeting the local labour market through job shops and job clubs and with initial screening of CVs.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

New Lord Mayor elect announced

A new Lord mayor elect of Leeds has been announced.

Conservative Councillor Ann Castle will be taking on the role of Lord Mayor of Leeds from the current Lord Mayor, Reverend Alan Taylor at the Annual General Meeting of full council on Monday 21 May 2012.

Ann will be the 119th Lord Mayor of Leeds and is looking forward to taking up the role later this month.

She said:

“It is a real honour to be able to serve as the Lord Mayor of Leeds, and I am very much looking forward to taking up this new role.

“Alan has done a fantastic job this year, and I look forward to taking up where he has left off.

Councillor Castle, born originally in Hull, moved to Leeds as a baby when her father got a job in the city. She was educated at Leeds Girl’s High School, and later gained a degree at Leeds Met University as a mature student.

Having served on Leeds City Council for 20 years, Ann has a keen interest in planning and local politics and enjoys walking, music and the theatre in her spare time. Ann’s husband, Graham will serve as the Lord Mayor’s Consort.

The current Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor said:
“It has been a great honour to represent the city as Lord Mayor over the last 12 months.

“The people of Leeds have been extremely kind to me during my term and have helped to raise a substantial amount of money for my chosen charity Voluntary Action Leeds.

“It has been fantastic to have such an important role in my last year, as a councillor and as Lord Mayor. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I wish Ann all the very best for her year as Lord Mayor.”


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