Thursday, 24 January 2013

Community links helped by migrant volunteers

Migrant community network volunteers with Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Ann Castle, Cllr Lucinda Yeadon (executive member for adult social care) and Sandie Keene (director of adult social services in Leeds)

Leeds City Council held an event yesterday to acknowledge the volunteering achievements of a group of women from different migrant backgrounds.

Twenty two women originating from 15 different countries and collectively speaking 20 different languages took part in the Migrant Community Network Volunteers training programme. They are the fourth group to have completed a 15-week course in helping others who are new to Leeds.

The training is delivered by an innovative partnership between Leeds City Council, Touchstone, NHS Leeds, Job Centre Plus, Feel Good Factor, Leeds Skyline, Leeds University, Leeds Building Society and Chapeltown Citizens Advice Bureau.

It provides migrant volunteers with the skills to help newer migrants quickly adjust to life in Leeds, by providing information on a range of essential services such as housing, employment, education, personal budgeting, health and wellbeing and social care.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon (executive member responsible for adult social care), Councillor Hussain (Stronger Communities Partnership), and Sandie Keene (director of adult social services) were there to congratulate the women and present them with their certificates.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for adult social care said:
“This programme exemplifies the kind of approach that the council is taking to support communities to help themselves. The work that these women volunteers are doing to help their own communities, and in turn all Leeds’ communities, is nothing short of inspirational.

“There has been real cooperation between the council, the voluntary sector organisations supporting the volunteers and the volunteers themselves. This is exactly what we want working with communities to be about in Leeds.”

Chantal Pougue and Mary Conteh – migrant community network volunteers
Chantal and Mary completed the migrant community network volunteers training and acquired a range of skills to help people of their communities, as well as the people of Leeds.

Chantal said:
“I am a migrant from Cameroon. I am very keen to support my community and the people in Leeds. The training programme has complimented my experience and equipped me with the skills and contacts I need in order to support members of my community to improve their quality of life and daily living skills without having to rely on services.

“I am aware of the pressures and demands of services and I am also keen to support services to understand needs of migrant communities.

“I am co-founder of the organisation Women Dignity All Together. This training is crucial for me to pass on important and accurate messages to women who approach me for help and advice”.

Mary said:
“I am a migrant from Sierra-Leone and this training has given me the opportunity to make links with decision makers of Leeds City Council. I am enjoying attending events where I can voice concerns and represent my community and, in particular, women. I am passionate about engaging women to improve their own quality of life”.


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

A little peace of mind goes a long way for carers in Leeds

A service in Leeds is encouraging people who take care of loved ones with long term health conditions to register so they can benefit from additional support in the case of an emergency.

The Carer's Emergency Service is operated by Housing 21 on behalf of Leeds City Council, and provides a replacement care worker for up to 48 hours if the regular carer is suddenly and unexpectedly unable to get to the person they provide care for.

Leeds has more than 70000 unpaid carers who devote a great deal of their time to looking after ill, frail and disabled relatives and friends, but less than 2% of them are registered with this free emergency support service.

The Carer's Emergency Service guarantees a response of less than one hour when they are notified that a carer registered with them has an unavoidable emergency to deal with such as being taken ill, being admitted to hospital, needing to attend to another family member, their transport breaking down, attending a funeral or a work related emergency, but cannot leave the person they care for unattended. Free care can then be provided for up to 48 hours (72 hours over a bank holiday, until alternative arrangements can be put into place.

Registering for the service is simple. Carers just need to make contact and arrange for an emergency liaison officer to visit them at home to compile a bespoke emergency plan about them and the person they provide care for. The carer is also given a card and fridge magnet with an emergency telephone number on it, so they can access the service quickly in an emergency.

Donna Holmes, locality manager for Housing 21 said:
“This service is really highly valued by the carers that are registered with it, and we know that they only represent the tip of the iceberg!

“Carers have a massive responsibility and often have to juggle caring with their own work and family commitments, so to have something to fall back on in an emergency is a massive bonus for them.

“All our staff are appropriately qualified and have undergone routine checks, so carers really do get a service that they can trust when they register with us.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member responsible for adult social care services in Leeds said:
“Being a carer is a really demanding role, which requires an incredible amount of effort and commitment, so it's really important that carers have access to all the support they need.

“Many carers worry about what would happen if they were unavoidably delayed, taken ill or called away in the middle of the night, and this service really does put their minds at rest by acting like the fourth emergency service if and when the need arises.

“I would encourage anyone with caring responsibilities for a spouse, relative, friend or neighbour to register with this service to make sure that their loved ones continue to be cared for in the case of such an emergency.”

Case study - Carer's Emergency Service (CES) - Pattie Ryan
Before her mum passed away last December, Pattie was a carer for both of her elderly parents as well as working full-time as a personal assistant.

Pattie’s mum had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t be left on her own. On one occasion dad was taken into hospital unexpectedly, and Pattie called on the CES to sit with her mum whilst she left work and went to be with her dad at the hospital.

On another occasion, Pattie was due to go on holiday and had arranged for her sister to come down from Scotland to care for both parents whilst she was away. The day before her holiday dad was admitted to hospital unexpectedly. As Pattie’s sister wasn’t arriving until the following day, the service provided a care worker to be with mum until she arrived. This allowed Pattie to be with her dad at the hospital and continue with her plans to go on a well-earned break.

Pattie’s mum passed away in December, but Pattie still uses CES to support her as her dad’s carer.

Pattie said:
“CES has been a fantastic support to me. They have stepped in on three separate occasions with virtually no notice and taken really good care of my mum in her own home.

“The care workers that came were all excellent, and it’s just such a relief to have the peace of mind that my parents can be cared for in familiar surroundings if I’m unavoidably detained.

“CES is like the fourth emergency service to me, and I hope that more carers in Leeds will find out about them and register for the service. I couldn’t imagine being without them now!”

Register for the Carer’s Emergency Service by telephoning 0303 123 1921 or emailing


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

Take on the snowball challenge as Ice Cube returns to Leeds

Caption: Taking to the ice in Millennium Square ahead of the opening of the Ice Cube are Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie (sitting) flanked left to right by Capital FM Breakfast Show presenters Danny Oakes, Simon Hirst and JoJo.

The Ice Cube returns to Millennium Square in Leeds this week with even more exciting new additions for visitors to enjoy.

A year after the popular Capital FM Snow Slide and Glacier Run simulator were successfully introduced for the first time, another two new elements have been added to the winter attraction in Leeds city centre which opens on Friday (25 January).

The new Snowball Adventure will challenge any thrillseekers aged four and over to complete a giant inflatable obstacle course inside a giant snowball. The second new element for this year is the Ice Dragon Coaster – a themed rollercoaster ride for children aged four and above.

The new attractions will join the family-focused outdoor real ice rink with an adjoining nursery rink ideal for younger children at the Ice Cube which is organised by Leeds City Council with support from media partners Capital FM and the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Bookings now available to be made online for all public skating sessions at or via the advanced booking line powered by Quaytickets by calling 0843 208 1841. The ticket office will also be open from 11.30am on Friday morning for onsite sales but people are encouraged to book tickets as soon as possible to guarantee skating at their preferred time.

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

“We are very much looking forward to the return of the Ice Cube to Millennium Square. We have added more new attractions for people to try this year, and I’m sure people will be queuing up again especially to have a go on the snow slide as it proved really popular last year, so we cannot wait for Friday.”

As an added bonus to celebrate the opening night of the Ice Cube, Capital FM Breakfast Show presenter Danny Oakes will be performing a live DJ set from Millennium Square to accompany the 6.15pm and 7:30pm skating sessions.

Capital FM Breakfast Show presenter Danny Oakes said:

"We are all thrilled to be involved with the Ice Cube and of course the Capital FM Snow Slide, I would recommend it for anyone seeking a little adrenaline rush to perk them up this winter. I can't wait to get things started this Friday at the evening sessions.”

Back for a second year, the Capital FM Snow Slide offers the adrenaline-rush of a 40-metre dry slope tubing slide, while other attractions on offer include the Glacier Run Experience simulator plus the Dolomites Cafe run by Casa Mia.

A limited number of ice skating lessons at the Ice Cube are also still available. Open to people all levels and all ages from beginners to more advanced skaters, the four-week Skate UK tuition programme run by National Ice Skating Association (NISA) qualified skating professionals is priced at £58 per person and will run every Saturday and Sunday morning as well as Wednesday evenings. A limited number of individual one-to-one lessons are also available.

To book lessons call the City Centre Box office on 0113 224 3801 which is open Monday - Saturday between 10am and 6pm, or for further details visit the website at Ice Cube runs in Millennium Square until Sunday 24 February.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Leeds sports pitches remain closed

Due to the continued ground conditions and further severe weather expected on Friday, all Leeds City Council-managed sports pitches will be unavailable for use this weekend.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472