Tuesday, 13 August 2013

New mascot and new kit at Breeze events

Young people with a disability will be greeted by the new Breeze mascot when they attend an exclusive session at Breeze on Tour this Thursday.

Children and young people with a disability or additional needs have been benefiting from brand new accessible equipment and facilities at the Breeze events this summer.

Any young people with a disability or additional needs can beat the crowds and pre-book for an extra special “relaxed opening” at 11am–12 noon on Thursday 15 August, where all inflatables will be running.

A session can be pre-booked by calling 0113 276 0837. The new, yet-to-be named, Breeze owl will be on hand to greet people booked to attend.

************Media opportunity************
Media are invited to join Councillor Lucinda Yeadon and the new Breeze owl mascot at 11.15am on Thursday 15 August at Kirkstall Abbey as they greet and join children and young people attending the exclusive play session.
Please call 0113 395 1577 to confirm your attendance.
************Media opportunity************

The event at Kirkstall Abbey on Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 August from 12-5pm will be the final two-day main Breeze on Tour event for 2013.

In addition to the new inflatables – which include new bouncy castles and a play zone with magic ball blower – there is a newly equipped multi-sensory dome with relaxing bubble tubes, and the latest wireless switch adapted technology.

For the first time, a mobile accessible changing facility has been provided on site, just ask Breeze staff if you need to use it

The new accessible kit has been provided thanks to over £57,000 funding from the Short Breaks Capital scheme

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services said:

“It’s only right that children and young people with a disability can join with their peers in having a fun day out. This new accessible equipment will be able to be used and enjoyed by children with a disability for many years to come.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for leisure and skills said:

“It’ll be great to meet the new Breeze mascot. Many children with additional needs find it difficult to interact with other people so the owl will be there, along with the rest of the team, to give them a big, warm, Breeze welcome.

“The new equipment is also a really great addition to the Breeze on Tour offer. The more accessible kit we have, the more we can encourage young people with a disability to join us and experience Breeze for the first time.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

Clean sweep for housing estates

Caption: (from left) Scott Gatenby, Mark Bell and David Bratten are working to help keep communities cleaner for longer.

The council has issued a rallying call to residents in housing estates to help keep streets clean.

Dedicated street cleaners are working in specific estates to give an extra boost and to support local residents to maintain tidy communities. These are in addition to existing estate caretakers and street cleansing staff.

The extra staff are focusing their attention on those areas where the layout of estates hinders existing services such as emptying wheeled bins and pavement sweeping vehicles.

Different approaches are being tried across the city to meet the different needs of each community and to allow the council to test which approach provides the best results.

As well as providing this enhanced street cleaning service, the estates are benefitting from the advice and expertise of dedicated environmental action officers.

They will be on hand to ensure people get to grips with their waste, storing and disposing of it properly, helping to avoid some of the littering issues that blight certain areas.

The educational focus is a key part of the new approach so residents understand the negative impacts of litter and the part they should be playing in sustaining cleaner, greener communities.

The environmental action officers will be taking enforcement action where necessary.

It’s hoped that the resources being ploughed into education and extra street cleaning will help local residents take action and gain a sense of pride and ownership in keeping their community clean.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said:

“We’re making this investment in some of our estates to make them cleaner, more attractive places to live. By working with residents, we can help instil a sense of civic pride.

“Taking a balanced enforcement and educational approach supported by the extra local cleaning staff means we can help people take ownership of issues affecting their estates and bring about behaviour changes that will help sustain cleaner communities.”

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“Estates have particular needs when it comes to street cleaning, so locally based staff are well placed to respond flexibly to those needs.

“As always, we’re keen to work with people to help them understand what impact clean streets – or otherwise – can have on their locality and help them achieve and maintain an attractive, clean and tidy environment.”

CASE STUDY

Mark Bell, David Bratten and Scott Gatenby have been working in estates in west north west Leeds.

We caught up with them in Wortley, to find out more about their role and the impact they are having in local communities.

What does your job involve?

We pick up our van and meet with the team to discuss where we’ll be working, then we head there. We start on one area and work our way through it. We can be in an area for two or three days or longer.

We litter pick, do strimming, collect and report flytipping, and cut back overgrown areas and ginnels. But litter is the biggest issue, we do a lot of litter picking. You pick litter up one day and you come back the next and there’s more.

We’re trying to change how we clean up streets and this is a good way of doing it; spending a week in one area and then coming back and working our way through again.

The more we get on top of things the easier and better it is for everyone else. We can get further into an estate and estates are starting to keep cleaner for longer. It’s a deeper cleaning, people can see that more, that we’re doing a deeper cleanse.

We have hotspots we have to hit every week, to check and clear any flytipping. Before we do, we’ll take a picture and take it back to the office, report where it was and our enforcement officer follows it up.

But if we have a hotspot we continually clear, people are going to think ‘oh well the council’s going to come to clean it up again so I’ll throw more rubbish there’, so we need to educate people not to flytip. It’s alright cleaning it up but if it’s going to be there again next week, it’s not having an impact we want.

We’ll clear up and check for evidence and that’s where we work with our enforcement officer. Its educating people not to flytip and continuing to enforce.

How can people help you keep streets cleaner?

This is a new way of working and people are starting to see us more. When we’re speaking to tenants we’re saying we’ll be back in a few weeks, so when we come back we can sort issues. But we don’t want people to rely on us. If we tidy up their area, they can they do their little bit to keep their area tidy too.

We need a bit of help from the public. People need to use bins more and we need people to understand that if you throw things on the floor then someone else has to pick that up. Simple stuff, like if you’ve got a wrapper, put it in your pocket or in the bin at home.

For example, we were cutting hedges last week. The minute we started, other people started to jump on board and cut their own hedges. It does work, people see that we’re trying to make it better for them.

There’s always going to be some people who might be saying ‘what are you doing, is this going to be worth the money it’s costing’, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to make it better for them; their area is going to be a lot better and a lot clearer for them.

What’s the biggest difference a cleaner estate will bring?

People are getting to see us more often on an estate, they know we’re around. So we’re working with the tenants and that’s a good thing.

We’re make an impact when we first go in to an estate and people can see a difference and everybody chips in and does a bit and stops dropping litter, uses bins.

Because we’re in an estate for longer, we do get a few people interested in what we’re doing in their area; they ask ‘what are you doing, what’s happening?’.

We need people to understand and get pride in the area so people see litter and pick it up and put it in the bin themselves.

We’re focussed on getting the job right and getting the streets right for people so they can be proud of the area they live in.

All of us like to see an impact, it makes us happy as well, to walk away and seeing a positive impact on an estate.

There’s so much involved in this job and you can see the impact you’re making. Now we’ve got the time to go in and to get estates nice and clean for tenants and hopefully then they will take the initiative and think ‘we’ve got a nice clean estate lets clean our gardens up and keep our streets clean’. It’s what we’re aiming to do for them.

Notes to editors:
The dedicated street cleaning teams will be carrying a range of duties including:
• Graffiti removal
• Cutting-back work
• Road and pavement cleansing with mechanical cleaners
• In depth de-littering
• Fly tip investigation and removal
• Removal of waste in gardens
• De-leafing
• Ginnel cleansing
• Environmental enforcement work
• Surveying

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS

Council secures £1.5million to build extra care housing

Leeds City Council has been successful in a bid for grant funding to support the provision of new build extra care housing in the city.

Leeds is one of 86 agencies that have secured the money from the Care and Support Specialised Housing scheme delivered by the Department for Health. The council will now work with the Homes and Communities Agency to move forward with the delivery of the homes.

The extra care housing will offer older people the chance to live independently, with the option of receiving practical care or help in their homes.

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

“It is excellent that we now have £1.5million to bring extra care accommodation to the city. As part of our ambitions to become the best city to live in, it is important that we can offer a wide range of housing to cater for everyone’s needs, and this is a further step towards this.

“Housing plays a critical role in helping older people to live as independently as possible and receive care and practical help in their own home.”

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:

“It is very important that we are able to provide modern living conditions for older people in the city, especially with the ever changing demographic of Leeds, and it is our responsibility to react to this.

“This latest award of funding will do just that and ensure we can put in place plans to deliver this as soon as possible.”


Ends

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