Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Plans for new specialist day service in Rothwell

Council chiefs will be asked to approve plans for a new build in south Leeds that will create a new, specialist day centre base for adults with learning disabilities, at their executive board meeting next week.

Approval is being sought for proposals to demolish the existing Rothwell Fulfilling Lives (west building), and build a new bespoke facility on the site. This will provide a specialist day service for adults with learning disabilities who have additional health needs in the south of the city.

The existing building was initially going to be completely refurbished to bring it up to the required standard. The surveys and investigations that were subsequently carried out showed that this was not the most cost effective option due to the scale of work required.

In light of the overall cost of the project and the requirement to provide a service for customers with the most complex care needs, a new build is now the preferred option. This will deliver significantly lower maintenance costs and be more energy efficient. An integrated community room will be part of the new building, which can be hired out to local groups. A number of specialist facilities will be incorporated to meet the complexity of need of customers including:
• A rebound therapy room
• A sensory room
• Dedicated medical room to support the work of NHS staff based there
• Dedicated discreet space for enteral tube feeding
• Charging stations and areas for electric wheelchairs
• Purpose built physiotherapy and postural management room
• Changing Place toilet and changing facilities
• Tracking hoists in many areas

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“This proposal is another landmark in our drive to modernise services for people with learning disabilities in Leeds.

"Our shared vision with customers and other stakeholders is for adults with learning disabilities to be given every opportunity to benefit from engaging in the life of the city from a base that is appropriate to their needs.

"If approved, this new building will deliver a bespoke service for customers with complex health needs for many years to come.

"All the demographic information available to us, both locally and nationally, points towards a steady increase in demand for services for customers with complex health needs. This is the result of both an ageing population and improvements in health care for people with learning disabilities.

“We need to make sure that we have the specialist facilities in place to meet this demand, along with activities and services to enable vulnerable adults to fulfil their potentials.”

The proposed new facility will be a 50 place unit with 25 place specifically for customers with special care needs, and will complete the modernisation of learning disability day services in the south of the city.

Ends

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

Council sets out “incredibly difficult” £51.3m budget savings plan

The Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield has warned of having to make decisions “more challenging than any of us imagined” after outlining budget proposals aimed at saving a further £51.3million for next year.

The proposals for the council’s annual budget for 2013/14 will be discussed by senior councillors at the executive board meeting to be held at Civic Hall on Wednesday 12 December.

The annual report outlines measures across the council to achieve additional savings following on from the £145m reductions to council funds already realised over the last two years due to cuts in government funding and rising costs and demand for essential services.

The details of the report are now to be consulted on before being discussed and finalised at a meeting of the full council on February 27 2013.

The report has been prepared as part of the council’s broader four-year financial plan to 2016/17 to provide stability as it strives to be seen as the best city in the UK, but the details will be influenced by the amount of funding to be received from the government when the Local Government Finance Settlement is announced later this month.

Underpinning the proposals, key themes for 2013/14 include:

- Working to ensure best levels of frontline services can be offered in local areas
- Developing stronger links with partners such as the NHS, businesses, community groups and third sector organisations to maintain or take over running of services
- Leeds City Council becoming a smaller organisation but with a larger influence through developing new or existing partnerships
- Developing additional income from new funding streams to protect jobs and services
- Greater collaborative working across council departments to improve efficiency and make savings
- Greater collaborative working with other councils to maximise benefits of the City Deal devolved powers and funding from government to the Leeds City Region

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“Looking to deliver yet more savings, after already saving £145m, is more challenging than any of us imagined. Sadly, there is no escaping the fact that future savings will directly affect services and jobs, and our ability to protect services will be more restricted than ever. That said, we do still have choices about how to make savings –and we need to be clear about those choices, however difficult they may be.

“We are looking at all areas of the council to find savings, including some that we hoped we would never have to consider. We remain determined to do all we can to improve the lives of people in Leeds through new ways of working, although the simple fact is the council is getting smaller. We need to look at any and all ideas to ensure the best services can be offered to people in whatever form that may be. The council is in an incredibly difficult position but we are determined to work through this as a city.”

The council has an option to freeze Council Tax in Leeds for a further year for 2013-14, with the government offering a grant equivalent to a one per cent rise for both next year and the year after. Councils which choose not to accept the grant would be limited to raising Council Tax by a maximum of two per cent with any wishing to increase by more having to carry out a referendum on the subject.

The numbers of staff at Leeds City Council is projected to fall by another 388 full-time equivalent posts in 2013-14, adding to approximately 1,800 staff to have left since April 2010 as part of the drive to reduce staff numbers by 2,500 full-time posts by March 2015, a 12.5 per cent reduction in the overall council workforce excluding school-based staff.

The council has operated a voluntary retirement and severance scheme for those staff who have left, and another scheme for any staff who wish to leave before April 2016 has now been launched.

Under the budget proposals adult social care and children’s services will continue to be the focus of council resources, but with a stronger concentration on preventative interventions and reablement services which it is hoped will bring about significant savings as well as improving people’s lives.

The proposals would see the alternative-week recycling and waste bin collection services rolled out across the city, helping to encourage greater recycling while cutting costs and reducing landfill.

Encouraging business and housing growth is a key aim of the budget, with spend on services such as planning and economic development protected where possible. In addition to maintain the condition of the road network in Leeds the highways budget would remain unchanged, while an increase in funding for transport improvements would form part of the commitment to carry out the £1billion West Yorkshire Transport Fund as set out in the City Deal.

Summing up the budget proposals, Councillor Wakefield added:

“Looking ahead, 2013 is going to be a big year for Leeds with the opening of the long-awaited Leeds Arena and Trinity Leeds plus a major focus on investment and job creation through the City Deal and the work of the Leeds City Region. So it is important to remember it is not all doom-and-gloom, but make no mistake about the severity of the challenge we face which is exceptionally difficult and unprecedented in modern history.”

Consultation and discussions on the budget proposals will now be carried out within the council and with partners, stakeholders and third sector groups in the city. The council has also launched an online budget simulator called YouChoose which more than 1,000 people have already completed. The aim of the simulator is to realise savings while continuing to provide essential services, while it also offers an insight into how council resources are currently used. Everyone who takes part before Monday 24 January 2013 will have their views considered when the budget is finalised in February and to take part go to www.leeds.gov.uk/youchoose.

For more information on the council budget and ways to have your say visit www.leeds.gov.uk/budgetconsultation

Notes to editors:
The Leeds City Region Partnership brings together the eleven local authorities of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council to work with businesses and partners toward a common prosperous and sustainable city region in areas such as transport, skills, housing, spatial planning and innovation. For more information visit www.leedscityregion.gov.uk/

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk


Funding spreads warmth in Leeds

Thousands are set to benefit from energy efficient home improvements and advice while extra accommodation for homeless people will keep residents warm and well this winter.

A successful bid by a number of Leeds organisations to the government’s Warm Homes Healthy People fund means more people will be able to heat their homes efficiently.

People sleeping rough will also be able to stay in a new overnight accommodation hub throughout the colder months.

The £199,067 from the Warm Homes Healthy People fund will be added to the £171,000 already set aside by NHS Leeds to help people susceptible to the cold. The combined funding pot will be used to provide an all-round winter service for some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

The Citizens Advice Bureaux in Leeds are offering guidance on managing fuel debts, maximising income and the best ways to pay for energy.

As well as helping keep tenants warm and save money with free energy saving measures and gadgets, Leeds Federated Housing are also providing practical advice on how to make their tenant’s homes cheaper to heat. Around 240 tenants will be able to benefit from advice or the installation of measures. Tenants are also being offered advice to ensure they are in receipt of the correct benefits.

St Georges Crypt have set up an overnight emergency shelter to accommodate up to 21 homeless people. People will be allowed to stay at the shelter for up to 72 hours until a longer term housing solution can be secured.

Funding already announced from NHS Leeds is set to help vulnerable Leeds residents. Emergency repairs and temporary heating from Care and Repair will help around 300 households. Energy efficiency advice and home improvements like draught-proofing, free reflective radiator panels and pipe insulation by Groundwork Leeds’ Green Doctor will help another 490 households.

Grants of up to £5,000 from Leeds Community Foundation will allow local groups to support people in their own communities with advice, cold weather assistance and emergency boxes.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said:

“The priority for schemes like this is to assist people who are most in need, helping them to save money and keep warm and healthy while at the same cutting carbon emissions. Our long term goal is to lift people out of fuel poverty and this will only be possible by working in partnership so I’m delighted to see the co-ordinated efforts of organisations across the city.”

Ian Cameron, executive director of public health at NHS Leeds, said:

“NHS Leeds is delighted to work with Leeds City Council and other key partners to deliver practical help and assistance, enabling vulnerable people to stay warm and healthy this winter.”

Nick Morgan, Chapeltown Citizens Advice Bureau chief executive, said:

“More and more people are coming to us for advice on how to spend less on their fuel bills, manage their fuel debt, and maximise their income. While we continue to help people on a daily basis with face to face, telephone and online advice – there is a real need to reach out to more people who are struggling and the Warm Homes Healthy People fund will be a chance for us to do just that.”

David Malsom, Leeds Federated Housing’s energy and sustainability manager, said:

"We're delighted to be included in this project. Leeds Fed is working hard to help its tenants make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat. This funding will allow us to assist more householders this winter and to protect tenants against long-term energy price rises.”

ENDS

Notes:

  • Advice from Citizens Advice Bureau is available by calling 0844 477 4788.
  • Leeds Federated Housing tenants can contact 0113 386 1000 for advice and support.
  • For emergency heating repairs through Care and Repair’s Warm Home service call 0113 200 9165.
  • For free energy efficient home improvements and energy efficiency advice contact Groundwork Leeds’ Green Doctor service on 0113 238 0601.
  • Leeds Community Foundation can be contacted on 0113 242 2426 to discuss grants for communities or information can be found at www.leedscf.org.uk 


For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk