Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Better Lives Explained gives a local account of Leeds

Leeds City Council’s executive board was presented with the Local Account for Leeds 2012-2013 at their meeting today.

The account, published under the title of Better Lives Explained, sets out activities and progress made over the past 12 months by the council’s adult social care department. It also describes priorities for improvement and further developments for the coming year.

Better Lives is the council’s commitment to making Leeds the best city in the UK for people with social care needs to live, and giving residents the best possible support to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Better Lives Explained identifies a number of areas where improvements have been made and also areas where there is still work to do to meet citizens’ rightful expectations about their care and support.

Some of the key strengths identified in the report are:
• As a result of better preventative services and alternatives, fewer people needed to have their care needs met through residential and nursing care.
• All home care providers used by the council who were assessed in 2011/12 met our local standards of care.
• 74% of the people completing their program of reablement in Leeds between January and April 2012 reported that they now feel they have control over their lives
• 95% of adult social care service users report that they feel that their social care worker/s treated them with respect

The report also highlighted areas for further improvement including:
• 14% of service users were not satisfied with the care and support service they received.
• Although more people than ever are receiving their social care through a personal budget, a smaller proportion feel that they have control over their daily life in 2011/12 (74%) than the previous year (79%). Leeds performance is now only average in relation to comparable towns and cities
• In some cases it took a long time for service users to get the right care, and some people have found that constraints around the planning of care made it difficult to get consistent staffing and flexible care.
• Only 64% of service users feel able to do enough or more of the things that they value or enjoy. This is a lower proportion than the previous year. Some people needing care and support have found that they are still not able to go out without having to plan a long way in advance and want better transport facilities.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member responsible for adult social care in Leeds said:
“In Leeds our aim is to help make better lives for people, and the local account is a great way to share with residents what we have achieved over the past year and what our priorities are for the coming year.

"The council’s budget is getting smaller, and this brings with it a huge challenge for us to be able to continue to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“We have already introduced new measures to make sure that our diminishing resources are more effectively directed, but there is still more to do to ensure that our services are fit for purpose in the future.

“I am confident that what we are striving to achieve over the next few years will make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of people who use adult social care services in Leeds.”

The local account explains how people with care and support needs will be supported to achieve better lives through three main themes:

Better lives through integrated services
This will be achieved by delivering the new city-wide Health and Wellbeing Strategy, through which we will provide easier access to joined-up health and social care services. People with social care needs will receive co-ordinated, effective, personalised support from a range of agencies in the health, social care, independent and third sectors, all working together. These same services will, where possible, help people with poor physical or mental health to learn or re-learn the skills they need for independent daily living.

Better lives through housing care and support
This will be achieved through extending the use of personal budgets, which are being used successfully by a growing number of people who are improving their own lives through taking control of their housing, care and support needs. We will improve the range of daytime activities for people with eligible needs, providing them with the day-to-day support they need to stay living at home, or close to home, for longer. People whose circumstances make them vulnerable in living safely and independently will be given the safeguarding and support they need to stay in control of their lives.

Better lives through enterprise
This will be achieved through ensuring resources are efficiently matched and directed towards those with the greatest need. Existing and new kinds of enterprise will be developed in the Leeds care market, which will provide a variety of services geared to respond to people with all levels of support and care need.

Additional info

All local authorities are required to produce a local account each year to explain the progress that councils and their partners have made towards achieving their strategic aims for social care over the past year.

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

Get Totally Tropical in Leeds this Christmas

Visitors to Tropical World in Leeds will be able to experience the festive spirit with a difference next week as the popular Totally Tropical Christmas returns.

Taking place at the Leeds City Council-managed visitor attraction in Roundhay each night from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 December, Totally Tropical Christmas sees the venue transformed into a yuletide celebration coupled with Caribbean warmth to offer the perfect escape from the winter chill.

Running from 5-8pm each night, visitors of all ages will see Tropical World and Canal Gardens illuminated in festive lights, while there will be indoor snow and a steel band playing calypso carols.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy seeing the famous residents of Tropical World - including the three Morelet’s Crocodiles, the rare albino Burmese Python, the Yellow Anaconda, the Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor, the Bearded Dragon and the ever-popular meerkats. All children who attend Totally Tropical Christmas will also receive a special present.

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All media are invited to a photocall at Tropical World in Roundhay this Thursday at 8:45am to launch this year’s Totally Tropical Christmas.

Among the animals available to media to photograph/film will be the red tailed boa constrictor, the bearded dragon, a Tenrec and also the meerkats.

Please note the arrival time of 8:45am is to allow some time for film/photography equipment to acclimatise to the humidity inside the building.

Tropical World is located off Princes Avenue opposite the Roundhay Fox pub, LS8 1DF.
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Leeds City Council deputy executive member for the environment Councillor Jack Dunn said:

“Totally Tropical Christmas has become a much-loved part of the festive season in Leeds and gets more and popular each year.

“Tropical World and Canal Gardens look fantastic all lit up and there is a really fun atmosphere for all the family to enjoy, so we are very much looking forward to it once again.”

Tropical World is set to undergo a major refurbishment in the new year, with proposals for a £720,000 revamp to be discussed by senior councillors today (Wednesday). Under the proposals a new crocodile enclosure and aquarium would be created, along with a new entrance, education area and children’s party space plus extended cafĂ©, new shop and toilets.

The improvements will be funded by Leeds City Council along with a generous donation from the Ziff family, who are to continue their long-standing patronage of Tropical World which dates back to the 1980s when Arnold Ziff donated a substantial sum to help Leeds City Council turn the idea of creating a visitor attraction displaying tropical plants and animals into a reality.

In the summer of 2008, the contribution of the Ziff family to Roundhay Park and the city of Leeds as benefactors was officially recognised when Tropical World was renamed ‘The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World’ in their honour, although for day-to-day use it is still known as Tropical World.

Totally Tropical Christmas runs from 5-8pm every night from 19-21 December. No booking is necessary, admission is paid on arrival. Prices are £3.90 per person or £3.15 for any LEEDSCard or Breezecard holders, with last admission at 7:30pm each night.

Anyone who attends Totally Tropical Christmas will also be able to use their admission receipt to take advantage of a buy one get one free offer to Home Farm at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall throughout January 2013.

For further information on Tropical World and its opening hours go to or call 0113 395 7400.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472