Thursday, 2 May 2013

Leeds sports stars give exam boost to youngsters

Picture caption: Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams with young reporters (L-R) Jade Chadwick, Emma Roberts and Greg Newark.

Sporting heroes from across the city have been showing their support to Leeds pupils who are taking exams this year, by being part of a motivational film for Child Friendly Leeds.

A team of young reporters visited sports stars including Olympians, Paralympians, footballers and rugby players to record messages of encouragement and inspiration for all youngsters in Leeds who are taking exams this year.

Nicola Adams, Hannah Cockroft, Leeds Rhinos and LUFC U18 players and coaches were among the role models who gave their time and top tips for free to the young reporters from DigitalMe. The final film has been shared with all Leeds secondary schools, to inspire all their students preparing for their exams.

Olympic boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams and Leeds Rhino Danny McGuire, who both appear on the video, have also agreed to support the council’s aim to be the best city for children to grow up in, by becoming Child Friendly Leeds ambassadors.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said: “It is fantastic that so many talented sportspeople have taken the time out of their busy schedules to record these messages of support and good wishes to young people taking their exams.

“We all know how important it is to give all our children and young people the encouragement and inspiration to be a success. This film shows them that Leeds is behind them and believes they can do well.

“Child Friendly Leeds is about putting young people at the heart of everything we do. By recognising that exams are one of the most challenging times in a young person’s life and giving them encouragement to try their best will hopefully give everyone a real boost.”

Simon Flowers, principal at Carr Manor community school said:
“I am looking forward to showing our young people this unique video. I know they will find real inspiration from the Leeds sporting stars’ messages of encouragement and support. This is a difficult and challenging time for thousands of Leeds young people and it is really positive and important to have the city united behind them as they tackle these crucial examinations.”

Notes for editors:Here’s a link to the video:

DigitalMe help young people gain skills and confidence through new technology. Our open programmes develop and reward 21st century skills through real life learning. DigitalMe have been training and facilitating young reporters in Leeds for the past four years through Leeds Inspired funded project LS Live.

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

Insulation scheme hailed a success

Thousands of satisfied customers are now saving millions of pounds on their fuel bills in warmer, more energy efficient homes.
In less than a year, the council’s completely free insulation scheme – Wrap Up Leeds – insulated 10,007 lofts and cavity walls in 8,098 privately owned and rented homes.
Having lofts and cavity walls insulated for the first time or having existing loft insulation topped up, means residents are now expected to save a combined total of £1.4million on their energy bills every year.
Although the free offer was available to anyone who owned their own home or rented it privately in Leeds, the scheme was targeted at properties the council knew stood to benefit the most.
The council estimates that around 500 people have now been lifted out of fuel poverty thanks to having their home wrapped up.
With a particularly cold start to the year, many vulnerable people will have felt other benefits too, as a warmer home is a healthier home.
Residents are now using less energy to keep their homes heated, so the environment is a winner too. It’s estimated that CO2 emissions from Leeds’ domestic properties will now be cut by over 5,600 tonnes each year.
Much of the project’s success is being put down to excellent partnership working with the council’s appointed contractor, Yorkshire Energy Services, shown in the consistently high levels of customer satisfaction reported.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“The figures speak for themselves. Not only have we been able to insulate more homes than we agreed to, we’ve been able to do it for significantly less money than anticipated.
“By working closely with Yorkshire Energy Services and being responsive to the many challenges faced by the project, we’ve made a significant, tangible impact on the lives of thousands of Leeds residents.
“But our ambition to help people out of fuel poverty, improve the energy efficiency of homes and reduce the city’s emissions hasn’t stopped now that the project is complete.
“This has been a springboard for us to tackle many of the solid walled homes we weren’t able to help last year. The savings made from the original scheme will be reinvested in other elements of our Green Deal demonstrator project to bring the benefits of a warmer, greener home to many more Leeds residents.”
Vincent McCabe, Managing Director at Yorkshire Energy Services said:

“Wrap Up Leeds has really highlighted the public’s growing appetite for domestic energy efficiency. Through the schemes success, Yorkshire Energy Services has been able to develop a close relationship with Leeds City Council and work proactively on a series of new initiatives.
“Through the Government’s new Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation programmes, we feel confident that thousands more will benefit from affordable energy saving solutions and take steps towards a sustainable low carbon future.”
With utility companies having to spend dedicated funding on helping people make their homes more energy efficient throughout the lifetime of Wrap Up Leeds, the project faced stiff competition from other offers.
The backing of Leeds City Council and the fact that Wrap Up Leeds was the only genuinely free offer for insulation in the city was enough to persuade many residents to sign up.
Having signed up and having a home suitable for loft or cavity wall insulation, local installers worked to consistently high standards ensuring customers remained satisfied.
Wrap Up Leeds in figures:
  • Launched in January 2012
  • 10,007 cavity walls and lofts insulated in 8,089 homes in 11 months.
  • £1.4million collective saving on fuel bills anticipated each year.
  • 500 people lifted out of fuel poverty.
  • 5,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions cut each year.
  • £397,000 to insulate homes from a total budget of £1.3million.
  • £903,000 savings to be reinvested in other Green Deal demonstrator projects.
  • £3.3million of private sector investment secured through utility company carbon emissions reduction target (CERT) funding.
  • 120 person years of employment created or sustained.
  • 10,760 cavity wall and loft insulation measures installed in other properties by utility companies through CERT obligations throughout lifetime of Wrap Up Leeds project.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577