Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Festival Of World Cups launched in Leeds


Twenty-nine teams have already agreed to travel to England to be part of the Festivals which is the first time that all the World Cups will be played in the same time of year.

The Festival of the World Cups is part of what will be a momentous year for Rugby League in 2013, with the Rugby League World Cup being staged in England and Wales this autumn.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The Festival of World Cups will be a wonderful international celebration of Rugby League this summer.

“The different tournaments that make up the Festival of World Cups will showcase the diversity in the sport and the wide range of opportunities available to participate at different levels.

“This is the first time all the competitions have been staged together in this way and I am sure that both the athletes and volunteers involved will inspire more people to see new opportunities to be involved in sport and Rugby League in particular.”

Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Rugby League World Cup 2013 in Leeds commented: “We are delighted to be hosting another international sporting event, and together with being a host city for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the Festival of World Cups really cements Leeds' place as a capital for Community Rugby League.

“We're looking forward to welcoming the teams and their supporters this summer, and with all the teams for the women’s, police and students tournaments being based in Leeds throughout, tourism and local businesses around the city will also benefit.

“The Festival of Rugby League World Cups is a real celebration of grass roots rugby league, and the culmination of the tournaments in a finals day at Headingley Carnegie Stadium in July will be a wonderful family sporting occasion.”

The Festival of the World Cups will take place between July 3rd and 14th in a range of venues.

The Women’s, Police, and Student tournaments festivals will take place at a number of venues around West Yorkshire, including the South Leeds Stadium, The Big Fellas Stadium in Featherstone, The LoveRugbyLeague.Com Stadium in Batley and The Tetley’s Stadium in Dewsbury.

The Armed Forces festival will be staged at Colchester Garrison, and the Finals of the Women’s, Police and Student festivals will be at Headingley Carnegie Stadium July 14th.

The Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup Festival will be staged at Medway Park in Gillingham, Kent.

Gillingham's £11m sports complex Medway Park will hold the international tournament from July 2nd - July 13th. Five teams will compete for the title, including reigning champions England, who won the sport's first World Cup in Australia in 2008.

For more information on the Festival of World Cups visit www.rlfowc2013.com/

Improvements to mental health day services in Leeds

Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked to approve recommendations to reconfigure council-run mental health day services at their meeting later this week.

The recommendations are the result of an extensive consultation with service users, and focus on the service becoming more recovery-led with the aim of keeping people well and giving them a more varied choice of support and activities.

The Mental Health Advisory Board was set up in March 2011 to ensure that the proposals for a modernised service were developed fully with service user and stakeholder participation. The role of co-chair was filled by a service user and the group had cross party membership.

The council currently operates traditional building based mental health day services in three bases across the city; Lovell Park, Stocks Hill and The Vale. Each centre has capacity for 60 people to attend every day, although the average daily attendance at each is approximately 25 people. Staff also offer outreach support to service users via telephone, email, texts, letters and visits.

Support is also provided via the community alternatives team (CAT), with staff based in the day centres. This team works across the whole city offering a range of activities to people with mental health needs such as a walking group, sporting activities, social and therapeutic groups, self-help and drop-ins.

In 2011, a detailed audit of how the service was used revealed that some groups, particularly younger people, do not engage with what is currently on offer. 276 service users were consulted, which revealed that although change is very challenging to many of them, they were willing to consider news ways of having their services delivered. The importance of having ‘safe space’ was highlighted by service users throughout the consultation.

A further consultation with service users took place from September to December 2012 based on a set of proposals for a new mental health recovery service, designed to support people along a path to recovery determined by each individual’s needs.

The proposals from this review include some changes to the current configuration of day centre bases as follows:
• Lovell Park will remain and become a mental health hub where co-working and hosting of other organisations takes place.
• Stocks Hill will remain, and share the building with other organisations
• The service currently based at The Vale will be re-located to Tunstall Road, as the Vale building is not suitable for the future direction of the service

In addition to this, staff will strive to develop flexible working relationships with all service users, improving their access to community resources whilst still offering access to a ‘safe space’.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for adult social care said:
“These proposals have been co-produced with the people that use our current mental health day services, and I want to thank them all for their help and contributions.

“The council’s resources are shrinking and we have to make sure that we are using what we have wisely. This means ensuring that the service is fully focused on achieving positive outcomes and recovery for our service-users.

“We have taken plenty of time to talk in length with service-users about the modernisation of this service, and if these recommendations are approved we will continue to be sensitive to people’s individual needs.

“I strongly believe that this programme of transformation will bring mental health care services in the city into the 21st century, and give us the opportunity to provide a more personalised approach for our service users, who remain our main priority.”

Norman Forsyth, service user and co-chair of The Mental Health Advisory Board is keen for mental health day services in Leeds to be innovative, forward thinking and vibrant; something people want to be part of. He said:
”I am confident that if the executive board report is agreed, that service users, management teams and staff will continue to work together to deliver a better and more modern mental health service in Leeds.”

Additional information
The community alternatives team (CAT)
The CAT has been in existence since 1996 and was originally designed to offer a complementary service to day centres, in recognition of the fact that not everybody with mental health problems would want or need to access a day centre.

It supports people to improve their mental health by helping them to put in place things we all take for granted, such as friendships, social activities, volunteering and taking steps to get back to work. Some groups are supported by staff and some are user-led with support from staff on a consultative basis. They frequently help people to join mainstream community groups eg. local walking groups.

Two recent success stories of people being supported by CAT are as follows:
One service-user accessed the weekly Muscels sport and activity group and as a result obtained one to one support to help him to apply for jobs and the encouragement to persist in completing for in excess of 100 applications. The service user has successfully gained paid employment.

One service user was frequently unaware of when they were becoming unwell and worked
with their key worker using cognitive behaviour therapy to develop tools to manage their
symptoms more effectively. They also gained the insight into their condition to develop a more stepped approach to their training and skills and how to keep themselves well.

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


New deal for Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck PFI project

Leeds City Council has been asked to review the funding arrangements for the Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck project.

With very little notice the government have advised the council that it should ask the preferred bidder, sustainable communities for Leeds (sc4L) to seek improved value for money through alternative long term funding options, which it says are now available for similar large scale projects.

The government has indicated that whilst it remains committed to providing continued support for the project, the original terms on which the PFI scheme was to have been funded are now no longer feasible and that new, more advantageous funding options are available.

The decision means the project is still set to go ahead, but faces further delay.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“We have had many months of detailed negotiations and repeated assurances from the banks telling us that they are committed to the project. However, despite these assurances, the progress made to gain financial close has been slow and the costs of funding the project have increased. This has been frustrating, and as a result we have encountered a number of delays.

“I know that in the short term this is extremely disappointing for local communities affected by this project. I want to stress that the council is still totally committed to pushing the project through to completion.

“The council has moved quickly to respond to this further challenge and our preferred bidder is working hard to identify a viable alternative solution which should achieve better value for money over the project’s lifespan.

“The programme for moving forward is still being established, but will ensure that the local community will still benefit from the refurbishment of the 1245 council homes, construction of 388 new council homes to rent and environmental improvements to the estate. In addition to this, the PFI project will include a training and employment scheme leading to around 250 jobs, work placements, apprenticeships and social enterprise opportunities.

“As part of moving forward with the regeneration in the area and to complement the PFI project, the council will invest £2.53 million to bring 87 properties in the Beeston Hill area back into use. Along with this, the Little London local centre and education facilities in the area will be improved in the next few years to address some of the neighbourhood’s needs. These additional schemes bring real benefits and opportunities to the people of these communities.”

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