Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Council to discuss fund to help tackle poverty from casino coffers

Senior Leeds councillors will next week consider proposals to set up a fund to help tackle poverty in the city, from money generated from granting a licence for a large casino earlier this year.

At their meeting next week (Wednesday 4 September) members of Leeds City Council’s executive board are being asked to agree to the setting up of a Social Inclusion Fund using money which was agreed as part of the process of granting a large casino licence to Global Gaming Ventures Ltd (GGV).

As part of the competition which saw GGV awarded a provisional licence to operate a large casino at the new Victoria Gate development, it was agreed that the council would receive an up-front payment of £1 million, as well as an annual payment of £450,000 or four per cent of net gaming revenue (whichever is the higher) from the first anniversary of the casino opening.

The executive board is expected to agree that the majority of the up-front payment can be invested in initiatives that support the city’s anti-poverty priorities over the three year period prior to the opening of the casino.

Councillor Richard Lewis executive member for economy and development said:
“The establishment of a Social Inclusion Fund provides a timely boost to our anti-poverty agenda at a time when on-going and unprecedented funding cuts, the economic downturn and substantial changes to the welfare system are contributing to growing concerns about the social and economic exclusion of vulnerable people in the city.

“As well as enabling us to create this much needed social inclusion fund the new casino will provide a major boost to the local economy. The leisure economy already attracts thousands of visitors to Leeds, and this new large casino at Victoria Gate will add an extra dimension to the existing popular attractions in the city.

“With GGV committed to create at least 205 new jobs with 90 per cent of roles being filled by Leeds City Region residents, as well as employing 10 apprentices and 15 young people who are not in education employment or training, in the first year of operation, the casino will also provide a boost to the employment opportunities in the city.”

It is also expected to be agreed that the annual payments will be used to fund projects that both mitigate potential harmful social effects of the large casino and more general social inclusion priorities across the city.

Following further discussions with elected members and the inclusion fund steering group, a further report will be submitted to the executive board later in the year, setting out the recommendations for specific activities that will be funded by the SIF.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Council considers consultation proposals on older people’s services

After a wide-ranging 12-week consultation Leeds City Council has drafted proposals for the future of residential and day care services for older people in the city.

They were drawn up following successive government spending reviews that have placed major pressure on the council’s resources, causing it to review many of its existing services.

After detailed analysis of 754 responses, submissions, deputations and petitions signed by more than 13,700 people, the council’s original plans have been directly influenced and amended to address areas of greatest concern.

One of the most significant changes is that two residential homes that had been suggested for closure- Manorfield House and Primrose Hill- are recommended to remain open to continue to care for existing residents but with no new admissions.

Current residents would also be able to stay at a third home, Suffolk Court in Yeadon, with discussions to be held with the NHS about future conversion to an intermediate care centre. New admissions would be for people needing short-term rehabilitation.

These changes from the original proposals for closure of the three homes are aimed at addressing families’ concerns that there are currently no suitable alternative residential places are available within the local area.

Councillors will be asked to agree to these recommendations, along with proposals to close a further four homes and retain another, pending interest from a local community group, at their executive board meeting on September 4. They will also be asked to approve plans to revise the use of four day centre buildings and provide their services elsewhere.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:
“At the very heart of this review is the welfare of our older people: the entire process has been informed by working out what will be best for them in the face of having to make incredibly difficult decisions due to massive budget cuts.

“We have said all along that we would listen to and take account of the views we heard- and we have.

“Where residents may have to move they will not be financially disadvantaged and every single person affected will have his or her own support team to ensure their needs are met, their own choice is exercised and the move is as smooth as possible.”

If the executive board agrees to the recommendations it would mean the following changes for residential services:
• the closure of Amberton Court, Burley Willows, Fairview and Musgrave Court with reinvestment in specialist housing for older people
• The closure of Burley Willows (and attached day centre) and future use of the site for extra care housing;
• Suffolk Court to be re-designated in time to offer transitional care and to eventually convert to a specialist intermediate care centre;
• Manorfield House and Primrose Hill to stay open for existing residents;
• Home Lea House to remain open as talks start with interested community groups about its use for residential care.

Proposals for day services are:
• Closing Doreen Hamilton, Naburn Court and Queenswood Drive centres but working with local neighbourhood networks and community groups that have expressed interest in their possible use;
• Closing Burley Willows (and the attached residential home) with the future development of the site for extra care housing.

All residents needing a new placement will be fully supported by a named social worker to guide them through the move at their own pace and help them settle them into their new home. People who use day centres will also be allocated a named worker to help them choose their new day care. Everything possible will be done to ensure groups of friends, particularly those in day centres, will be able to stay together and be supported by staff they know and trust.

Time will be taken to ensure all preparations are in place in advance to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. This echoes the first phase of the review of services in 2011 after which a significant number of residents were moved with the minimum of disruption to them.

In the past few years there has been a major shift, both nationally and locally, towards providing more personalised services for older people, allowing them more choice over how they live.

This is set against the backdrop of unprecedented budget cuts, changing demographics with an expansion in the number of older people and greater demands on funds for social care from other adult groups such as those with learning disabilities.

Leeds City Council’s Better Lives for Older People programme is responding to all these challenges and changing expectations by encouraging the development of all types of housing and accommodation for older people where most needed.

It also involves investing in assistive technology, along with reablement support to rebuild confidence in independent living skills. This approach is combined with investment in neighbourhood networks and new services such as the Holt Park Active wellbeing centre to help older people stay independent for longer.

An increasingly-ageing building stock has also meant that many existing residential homes and day care centres would need a great deal of investment for future needs yet there is not the cash available to upgrade them.

In Leeds the majority of care homes are already provided by the independent sector and demand for residential care is expected to fall, with those who do need it requiring a more specialist approach such as dementia care and nursing.

Meanwhile, day services are much more flexible with many users already benefitting from community-based activities. There are many good quality locally-based alternative services available and local interest in keeping the council-run centres for community use is welcomed.

The Holt Park Active centre is also due to open in October and some of the people currently attending day centres proposed for closure would be welcome to transfer to attend an expanded number of activities aimed at older people there. It will be jointly run by the council’s sport and active lifestyles and adult social care sections and will provide integrated social care, fitness and leisure services.

The full report can be viewed on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk or by going direct to this page and downloading the meeting papers Executive Board 4 September

Notes to editors
There are 116,600 people over the age of 65 living in Leeds, representing 14.6% of the overall population of the city. This figure will increase to 129,800 by 2020 (15.3% of population) and by 2030 to 153,800 (16.9% of population).
A growing number of older people are now choosing to live in their own homes for longer, meaning that better choice and control over their local services is increasingly important.
All adults with social care needs are entitled to self-directed support provided through a personal budget to help with their daily tasks and social activities, so they can enjoy the same freedom, choice and control as the rest of society. Currently around 61% of Leeds residents receiving a community care service or carer specific service use this system.
The development of Holt Park Active in the west of the city will provide a wide range of inclusive activities and facilities for people to be active, socialise and learn new skills as an alternative to a traditional day centre. Holt Park Active is the result of a successful bid made by the council for £28.894m of government private finance initiative credits (PFI) from the Department of Health.
Neighbourhood network schemes are community based to help enable older people to live independently. They help to reduce social isolation, provide opportunities for volunteering, offer advice and information, and promote health and wellbeing to their customers. The council continues to provide funding and support to 40 neighbourhood network schemes in Leeds to help them expand their work to support a wider range of older people, including those with more complex needs.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335
Email donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk