Friday, 12 July 2013

Careers event to inspire young people into work or education

Young people who are not in work or education are to attend a special careers exploration event to meet with potential employers and find out what help is out there to find a job.

The ‘Inspiring Futures’ event will be held at Leeds Civic Hall next Thursday (18 July) and will be attended by young people who are currently signed up to the government’s Youth Contract initiative.

Media opportunity
When: Thursday 18 July at 11am
Where: Leeds Civic Hall Banqueting Suite
Members of the media are invited to attend to photograph and interview the young people, businesses and council officials.

The young people aged 16 to 17 will be able to find out more about all the services that have been put in place to help them secure employment including, business visits; short-term work placements and; ongoing mentoring sessions. The event will also allow them to explore different career options and network with potential employers.

The purpose behind the event is to inspire the young people to work but also to open their eyes to the range of possibilities that their skills link to. It will also be a learning opportunity and the young people were encouraged to interact with all the businesses and show that they had learnt something about the workplace and the way their skills and attitudes match up to what employers are looking for.

Local and national businesses will be in attendance, to give the young people the opportunity to network and discover what a working environment is like. The businesses attending are:
Interserve, Leeds Federated Housing Association, Leeds College of Building, the RAF, RBS, Whitbread and Premier Inn Hotels, Co-operative Flexible Benefits, O2 and Linda McGowan - a freelance consultant.

The young people will also be able to take part in an interactive short activity to illustrate the skills and qualities required for each industry.

The young people will also have the opportunity to find out more about the ‘Set for Success’ programme and sign up for a mentor, a business visit or a work placement.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“Helping young people into employment is one of our top priorities. Securing their future and raising their ambitions and aspirations is vital, not just for their success but for the future success of the city.

“Opportunities like this enable more young people to gain a better understanding and experience of work to help them get the skills needed to get them a job and off benefits.

“With the initiatives we already have in place been able to reduce the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training but there is still a long way to go to achieve our ambition to be a ‘NEET’ free city.”

Councillor Lucinida Yeadon, executive board member responsible for leisure and skills said:
“This event will be a fantastic opportunity for these young people to progress their search for employment or training opportunities. Meeting with businesses and trying out the activities will help open their eyes to the options available to them.

“Our delivery of the Youth Contract and the Apprenticeship Training Agency are having a huge impact on getting young people back in to work, education or training across the city.”

Notes to editors:
Under the national Youth Contract provision, the Government commissioned a new programme of additional support aimed at 16-17 year olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to re-engage sustainably in education, training or employment with training.

The key objectives of the programme are:-
• to support 16-17 year olds and specifically those in the sustained NEET group and at risk of long-term disengagement to move into education, training or employment with training and to sustain this outcome.
• to increase these young people’s experience and qualifications so that they have the opportunity to continue in education and successfully find work, reducing the proportion who become unemployed in adult life.
• to test methods of local delivery and payment by results, increasing the effectiveness of these models and developing best practice.

Support is targeted to young people who are furthest away from engagement in education and employment and in those localities with the highest NEET rates. The young people get one to one support that enables; engagement and motivation; removal of barriers; and referral and access to opportunities, including support with applications; and provision from a menu of opportunities to match their needs and aspirations. These opportunities include:-
• the current learning / training offer funded by Education Funding Agency
• mentoring support from an employer
• mentoring support from another young person who is in EET
• work placement
• volunteering
• group work with employers to build employability skills

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

City of Leeds divers ready to challenge the world

The City of Leeds Diving Club will have no less than eight representatives at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona later this month.

Five of the club’s senior divers and three coaches will be heading to Spain to take on the world’s best at the championships which take place from July 19 - 4 August.

City of Leeds divers make up four of the 10-strong Team GB squad, with London 2012 Olympians Alicia Blagg, Rebecca Gallantree, Jack Laugher and Hannah Starling all selected while coaches Ady Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans will reprise their roles from the Olympic Games.

History will be made as City of Leeds’ Yona Knight-Wisdom becomes the first-ever diver to represent Jamaica at senior world championship level, supported by coach Adam Smallwood.

Rebecca and Alicia will be teaming up in the women’s 3-metre synchronised event, aiming to carry on the form which saw them claim a historic first medal for Britain with bronze in the European Championships in Rostock in Germany last month.

Alicia will also be competing in the women’s individual 1m and 3m events alongside clubmate Hannah Starling, whose own European Championship preparations were hindered by the distraction of sitting her A-level exams.

In a similar position was Jack Laugher, who opted to miss the event in Rostock altogether to concentrate on his exams. He will be eager to return to action in both the men’s 1m and 3m individual events in Barcelona, where among his rivals will be fellow City of Leeds diver Yona representing Jamaica.

Alicia Blagg tuned up for Spain with a dominant performance at the Junior European Championships in Poznan in Poland last week, winning both the 1m and 3m individual events with the second-highest score ever achieved in the event and in the process becoming the first British female springboard gold medallist in the history of the championships.

City of Leeds divers ended up with an impressive haul of six medals in Poznan, with Matty Lee becoming the first British diver to ever successfully defend a European title in his age group as he claimed gold, silver and bronze medals.

Lydia Rosenthall continued her own impressive development by taking home silver in the girl’s 3m event for 14-15 year olds, while 13-year-old Lois Toulson also performed well to make the finals of both the 3m and platform events in her first appearance at European level.

All of the City of Leeds divers train at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds as part of Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“It is a real measure of the quality of the programme in Leeds and the City of Leeds club that eight divers and coaches can rightly be classed among the best in the world. That is something the city should be very proud of, and we wish them all the very best of luck as they head to Spain to take on the world.”

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.

For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at, Edwin Jongejans at or call 0113 395 7363.

Leeds-born Team GB divers Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling are official ambassadors for child friendly Leeds, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future. For more information go to


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

A breath of fresh air for Cottingley pupils

Children and parents at Cottingley Academy will be celebrating the launch of their new “fresh air zone” which surrounds the school, next week.

As part of a project on being healthy, partly funded by the public health section of Leeds City Council, pupils at Cottingley Academy worked with local charity Space2 to create slogans and imagery about being healthy, which have been used to transform the space around the school to create a ‘fresh air zone’.

Parents, carers and local volunteers assisted by Space2 staff have worked hard to tidy the school perimeter and enhance the space using the pupils’ visual imagery, plants and sound-scapes.

Media opportunity
When: Monday 15 July at 3.15pm
Where: Cottingley Primary Academy, Dulverton Grove, LS11 0HU
Members of the media are invited to attend the ceremony where pupils, staff, parents and carers will be joined by local councillors to officially open the ‘fresh air belt’ created at the school.

The decision to enhance the school perimeter came after pupils, parents and carers completed a short health questionnaire, and year 5 pupils at the school worked with Space2 artist Kevin Hickson to create the slogans and imagery. Parents and carers then fed back that they thought using the images to enhance the outdoor space around the school would be beneficial to the community and area.

Dawn Fuller from Space2 said:
“It's great to have the opportunity to work with children and their community in Cottingley to promote healthy lifestyles and how it can be achieved with small changes. After all, prevention is better than cure.”

The improved and enhanced community space will be used to promote health and well-being and be enjoyed by the families that walk to school each day.

Notes to editors:
Space2 is a local charity that uses arts and creativity to kick start journeys of positive change for vulnerable children and communities. They do this because research proves that people’s well-being and confidence is enhanced by taking part in creative activities.

The project has been funded by the public health section of Leeds City Council, Space2 and Arise - a south Leeds partnership of businesses which supports local initiatives.

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

New policy on lap dancing clubs to be considered

Senior councillors in Leeds are expected to give the go ahead for a new policy for sexual entertainment venues (SEV) in the city next week.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board next Wednesday (17 July) members will consider the draft policy and decide whether it should be implemented.

Earlier this year local residents were given the opportunity to share their views on the draft policy which would give the council more control over the location and number of sexual entertainment venues in Leeds, amongst other changes.

The draft policy was drawn up following research with the Leeds Citizen’s Panel which provided clear guidance about locations and numbers.

If given the go ahead the new policy will introduce a cap on the number of premises the council thinks is appropriate for the city centre and state that sexual entertainment venues are not appropriate outside of the city centre. The policy also describes sensitive uses and localities within the city centre where sexual entertainment venues should not be located. The changes would come into force in September 2013.

In January 2011 the council adopted the ability to licence lap dancing clubs and other premises which provide sexual entertainment in the same way as sex shops and sex cinemas.

Following the initial licensing of seven lap dancing clubs as sex establishments in June 2012, the council undertook to review the policy to ensure it still met the needs of the people of Leeds.

The council has drawn up the new policy in response to public concern about lap dancing premises in the city. The former chair of the licensing committee recommended that the policy was reviewed earlier than originally planned.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood chair of the licencing committee said:
“We understand that many people have strong views on sexual entertainment venues so it was only right that we reviewed our policy to make sure it was right for the people of our city. We have listened to public opinion and based the new policy on the views we received.”

In order to draw up the draft policy the council undertook research through the Leeds Citizens’ Panel - a group of Leeds residents who have committed to respond to a number of surveys each year.

The results of the survey showed that the people of Leeds consider:
• The number of lap dancing clubs should be restricted.
• That residential, rural and deprived areas are all unsuitable locations
• That it is not acceptable to locate lap dancing clubs near:
Schools and other places of education (94%)
Play areas or parks (93%)
Residential areas (92%)
Youth facilities (92%)
Women’s refuge facilities (90%)
Family leisure facilities such as cinemas, theatres and concert halls (90%)
Places of worship (87%)
Places used for celebration or commemoration (85%)
Cultural leisure facilities such as libraries and museums (82%)

In 2010 the Government introduced a new category of sex establishment called a ‘sexual entertainment venue’. This reclassified lap dancing clubs as sexual entertainment venues and gave local authorities the power to regulate such venues.
The council’s licensing committee will review each existing licence when they are due for renewal later this year.

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

Schools rewarded for their commitment to race equality

Pupils and staff from 24 Leeds schools and children’s centres will be awarded for their commitment to the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard at an inspirational event at Leeds Civic Hall on Monday.

Media opportunity
Date: Monday 15 June 2013
Time: 1pm – 3pm
Venue: Leeds Civic Hall, Banqueting Suite
Reporters/ photographers are welcome to attend to the ceremony. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Thomas Murray and the Lady Mayoress Mrs Edna Murray will be attending the ceremony.

The awards ceremony is an annual celebration event for schools and children's centres that have achieved the standard which promotes race equality.

A handful of schools and settings outside of Leeds have now also achieved the Standard, having registered when the SLES originally launched nationally in 2010. This includes schools and settings who are from: Bradford, Bury, Camden, Nottinghamshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Peterborough.

Certificates are to be presented to schools and children’s centres achieving Levels 1, 2 or 3 this year. To achieve the award, schools and children’s centres have to demonstrate knowledge, understanding and evidence of promoting inclusion and race equality to help transform education.

The programme for the ceremony will give children and young people an opportunity to share their learning and understanding of being responsible global citizens. Pupils from Kirkstall Valley primary school and Cardinal Heenan Catholic high school will entertain over two hundred guests attending the ceremony, along with Khadijah Ibrahiim, performance poet and playwright

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“In Leeds we have a proud tradition of celebrating cultural diversity and the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard is an excellent way to broaden young people’s horizons and embed a culture of equality in our schools and communities.

“Our aim to be a child friendly city can only be achieved if our young people understand the importance of race equality, not only in schools, but in all walks of life. The standard encourages our children and young people to treat everybody equally regardless of their race, beliefs or religion.”

The standard was developed in partnership between Leeds City Council and black and minority community representatives, in response to the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and the publication of the Macpherson Inquiry Report into Stephen’s death in 1999.

The award was the first of its kind in the country and the Standard was launched in 2003.

The standard is awarded to schools, children’s centres and colleges which demonstrate knowledge, understanding and evidence of promoting inclusion and race equality to help transform education.

Around 77 per cent of Leeds’ schools have already achieved the award, with others working towards it. In 2010 the programme was launched nationally and became available to schools and learning settings across the country.

The programme provides a powerful framework and programme for schools to work in partnership to enrich and improve the learning experience of children, young people and adults. Schools and learning settings collate a variety of evidence in support of their work and good practice

This ceremony is a celebration of the work Leeds schools and learning settings have done this year, in order to achieve the standard. For the first time, this year a number of schools from other towns and cities will also be attending the ceremony, they are:
• St Aloysius Roman Catholic Infant, in Camden
• Swanland Primary, in East Riding
• Horton Grange Primary, in Bradford

Staff from Meanwood children’s centre will be amongst those receiving their awards at the ceremony – Meanwood is the first children’s centre to achieve level 3 of the standard having completed some excellent work with children at parents at the centre.

Schools and settings achieving one of the three levels of the standard, and those whose commitment to the standard has been revalidated, will be presented with a framed certificate of endorsement.

Notes to editors:
The Leeds schools and children’s centres which have achieved the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard during 2012-2013 are:
Level 1
Collingham Lady Elizabeth Hastings' Primary School; Grange Farm Primary School; Holy Name Catholic Primary School; Parklands Children's Centre; Scholes (Elmet) Primary School; West SILC.

Level 2
Beeston Primary; Boston Spa School; Colton Primary School; Drighlington Primary School; Hunslet Carr Primary School; Methley Primary School; New Bewerley Community School; Roundhay School; Seven Hills Primary School; St Mary’s C of E Controlled Primary School, Boston Spa; The Co-operative Academy of Leeds.

Level 3
Kirkstall Valley Primary School; Meanwood Children's Centre; St Matthew's C of E Primary School.

Bronze Level (Level 3 revalidation)
Prince Henry's Grammar School, Otley; Swinnow Primary School; Wigton Moor Primary School.

The national schools and children’s centres which have achieved the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard during 2012-2013 are:

Level 1
All Hallows CE Primary School (Nottinghamshire); Arnold View Primary School (Nottinghamshire); Bridge Children's Centre (Nottinghamshire); Hampton Hargate Primary School (Peterborough); Hawtonville and Balderton Children’s Centre (Nottinghamshire); Heymann Primary School (Nottinghamshire); James Peacock School (Nottinghamshire); Lutterworth High School (Leicestershire); Ollerton, Boughton and Trent Villages Children's Centres (Nottinghamshire); Sherwood East Children's Centre (Nottinghamshire); Sherwood West Children's Centre (Nottinghamshire); St Aloysius Roman Catholic Infant School (Camden); St. Luke's CE Primary School (Bury); Swanland Primary School (East Riding); West Bridgford School (Nottinghamshire); William Lilley Infant and Nursery School (Nottinghamshire);

Level 2
Horton Grange Primary (Bradford)

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

Retiring head teachers awarded for their service to Leeds schools

The service and dedication of head teachers who have clocked up over 240 years’ service between them are to be honoured at a special reception next week.

Seven head teachers from schools across Leeds will be retiring at the end of this term, bringing to an end distinguished teaching careers and long-term associations with their current schools and schools across Leeds.

Leeds City Council’s children’s services has organised a reception to mark the occasion and say thank you for their service to the children and young people of the city. The reception will take place at Leeds Town Hall on Monday 15 July. The head teachers will receive a gift and a certificate.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to attend the reception to mark the head teachers’ retirement in the Albert Room at Leeds Town Hall on Monday 15 July at 10 am. Photography and interviews will be available.

The retiring head teachers are:

Head teacher SchoolService
Richard Mellard Meadowfield Primary School39 years
Judith Norfolk Castleton Primary School26 years
Janet Howard Greenside Primary School36 years
Linda Dixon Cookridge Holy Trinity Primary School40 years
Victoria Ford Kippax Ash Tree Primary School34 years
Jacqueline Twaites Quarry Mount Primary28 years
Steven Jex Horsforth School/ Academy 37 years

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

Leeds tenants happy with their housing service

Three quarters of council tenants in Leeds have said they are satisfied with the overall service they receive.

Leeds City Council has received a positive response to its recent ‘STAR’ tenant survey, with 74% of people saying they are satisfied with the overall service they receive – up by 5% on previous years.

The survey asked residents what they think of their home, their neighbourhood and the services they receive from the Leeds Arm’s Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) and Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation, which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council.

Over 3,300 tenants took part in the survey by completing either a postal or web version of the survey, which showed that:
• More people are happy with their neighbourhood as a place to live, with 75% saying they are satisfied – up by 4%.
• Many more people are happy with how their enquiries are dealt with – with 72% saying they are satisfied - up by 9%.
• There was also a big improvement of 8% in satisfaction with how anti-social behaviour cases were dealt with.

Councilor Peter Gruen, Executive Members for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Support Services said:

“It is great to see an increase in satisfaction rates for tenants who receive housing services from the council.

“We work hard to ensure our tenants receive a good service across the board and listen to their views to ensure we are constantly updating their services.

“There is however still work to be done to improve on this positive result; with tenants showing concern over how they will continue to pay their rent and manage their finances following the recent changes to the welfare system. Bringing housing management back in house will allow us to continue making improvements.”

Notes for editors:

Leeds City Council has three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) which manage and maintain council housing on their behalf. The ALMOs are wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.

Every two years Leeds City Council must carry out a standardised tenant satisfaction questionnaire – called a Survey of Tenants And Residents (STAR) – which includes questions set HouseMark and endorsed by the Market Research Society
Housing management services in Leeds are currently under review. Following consultation with tenants and other key stakeholders, a report will be presented to the Council’s executive board in June recommending a proposal to bring the services back in-house.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450