Thursday, 29 August 2013

Leeds getting set to sign up to free sport and fitness sessions

People in Leeds will soon be able to sign up to take part in free sport and fitness sessions across the city.

Leeds City Council’s sport and health pilot ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’, which aims to encourage people of all ages to be more physically active and especially those in areas of greatest health inequality, is set to begin in October pending the council’s executive board giving its final approval on Wednesday 4 September.

Should approval be given by the executive board, details regarding pre-registration will then be provided by the council at a later date. This will provide anyone wishing to take part with the opportunity to express their interest and find out more details.

The project will see one off-peak hour each day made available at every Leeds City Council-managed leisure centre in the city for free gym and swimming sessions. The sessions will be open to all but will be primarily targeted at those who currently do not take part in any sport or physical exercise.

In addition to the core one-hour offer, an additional hour each day will also be available at the John Charles Centre for Sport as well as Armley and Fearnville leisure centres, while at Middleton Leisure Centre a total of two hours of free activities will be on offer as part of the focus on tackling health inequality in the city.

Leeds Let’s Get Active is set to run for 18 months until March 2015 and is being funded through a total of £1million match-funding by Leeds public health and Sport England through the National Lottery, plus an additional £60,000 from Leeds City Council’s health budget.

Running alongside the free offer in leisure centres, community sport sessions such as running, walking and family-orientated activities will take place mainly in parks, while packages offering three months’ of access to council leisure centre facilities and classes for just £5 will also be available via referrals from GP practices and public health service providers.

The project will strengthen ties between sport and health services, with links to health checks and advice on healthy lifestyles being offered. The scheme will be closely monitored to measure its success and impact, with Leeds Metropolitan University confirmed as the official research partner for the project examining how the scheme performs and which sports and activities prove popular.

The project aims to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the city, increasing participation in regular exercise and cutting the cost of physical inactivity which is estimated by Sport England to cost Leeds as a city £10.4m every year.

The project is also part of the drive for Leeds to be the best and most active big city in England, and is a leading example of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games for the city.

Leeds City Council executive member for health and wellbeing Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:

“We are all really excited at what a difference Leeds Let’s Get Active will make to people’s lives.Giving people the chance to get fitter and live healthier lives is fantastic and can have long-term health benefits so we hope as many people as possible sign up and find out more about taking part.”

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

“This project is a great example of how sport and health services can come together for everyone in the city to benefit from. It will provide a real Olympic legacy for Leeds as well as helping the city in its drive to become the most active big city in England. We are very grateful to everyone involved in backing this project, especially Sport England and the National Lottery for their invaluable support.”

For more information, please see:


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

Urgent call for foster carers

Roundhay information evening – Tuesday 3 September

Leeds City Council urgently needs more foster carers to make a real difference to children and young people in Leeds.

People can find out more at a special drop-in information event in Roundhay at St Andrew’s Church, Shaftesbury Avenue. Fostering officers will be on hand from 4.30pm to 7.30pm to provide information and answer questions.

The council set itself the ambitious target of recruiting 200 new foster carers meet the needs of its looked after children population, replace retiring foster carers and reduce the use of private agencies.

There is currently an urgent demand for carers who can foster babies and young children; these carers need to be able to foster full time, be non-smokers and have a spare bedroom.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“By becoming a foster carer with Leeds City Council we are able to offer excellent support and training along with access to a large fostering support network together with our partners. Using Leeds foster carers helps children to remain within their local communities and schools, which is key to our aim to be a child friendly city.”

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer. Leeds City Council welcomes enquiries from people of all religions, races, genders and sexuality. Foster carers can be married, single, in a relationship, divorced, widowed, employed or unemployed. Foster carers sometimes work part-time or full-time, however working arrangements must be child and family friendly.

The council has two dedicated fostering support teams and carers have access to professional training and qualifications. There are also opportunities to diversify into other childcare work.

By working for Leeds City Council, carers will help ensure all the available funding for fostering goes towards children and young people and that Leeds children are fostered in their home city, which at times can help them remain in their local school and community.

Visit or call the dedicated foster care recruitment line on: 0113 24 77 44 3 for more information.

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

Leeds job shop relocates to offer more services under one roof

The Leeds Tunstall Road Job Shop will be closing its doors this week and reopening at the Dewsbury One Stop Shop next week as part of a move to relocate important services under one roof.

From Thursday 5 September the job shop will be relocated alongside other services such as the Credit Union, housing services, health and library services.

The job shop will continue to offer the same service including job searches, CV advice and interview techniques and careers advice.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for leisure and skills said:

“As part of making our services more accessible to everyone in the city we are moving a number of job shops into existing one stop centres.

“The service will remain the same, but will be located with a number of other council and health services which will allow people to access much more in one location.

“With young people receiving their exam results for both A Levels and GCSEs recently, job shops are a great starting place for those looking to move into the world of work.

“Job shops are an important part of helping unemployed people and those looking for new jobs to access available live jobs and in addition any advice they need about the recruitment process.”

The job shop opening times will be 9am – 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and 9am -3pm on Wednesdays. For more information call 0113 395 7373.


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

Senior councillors asked to approve flood defence works

Senior councillors in Leeds will next week be asked to approve flood defence measures at Woodlesford as the first part of a major project to protect the city.

The council’s executive board will be given an update at its meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 4 September on the latest proposals to reduce the possibility of the River Aire flooding.

The executive board will be asked to approve the undertaking of works at Woodlesford in the form of a low-level landscaped embankment to achieve a protection against a one in 200-year flood in that area.

The measures at Woodlesford are the advance works ahead of the main project which includes the replacement of the existing fixed weirs at Crown Point and Knostrop with moveable weirs that can be lowered in flood conditions to reduce river levels and the threat of flooding. The moveable weirs are to be the first installed in the UK although they are tried and tested in other countries.

Additional elements have been brought forward as a result of rapid progress in recent months following successful funding bids to the government and the Environment Agency (EA). In addition to the £10m committed by Leeds City Council to the £44.8m project, the remaining funding package consists of £23m from the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (Defra), £3.4m from the Department for Business Industry and Skills (BIS), and £8.4m from the EA’s Flood Defence Grant in Aid which is expected to be formally confirmed in the coming weeks.

The additional elements include the removal of an island at Knostrop Cut which separates the river from the canal and flood defences in the city centre. The remaining planning application for these additional works is set to be determined at the end of September.

Public consultation has taken place with businesses and residents, as well as with local councillors for all of the proposed works. Information has also been available on the council website and at the Leeds Waterfront Festival where over 150 people visited a stall.

Work on site at Woodlesford is scheduled to start in January 2014, with the main project works programmed to commence in April 2014 and be completed by the end of 2016. The city centre including over 3,000 homes and 500 businesses will then have protection against a one in 75-year flood.

The project is being delivered by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Environment Agency and other organisations.

Leeds City Council executive member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“We are all very keen to see this vital project carried out to help protect Leeds city centre from the risk of flooding.

“These works in Woodlesford need to be carried out first to make improvements as quickly as possible. This will begin the process to provide the residents and businesses in that area with a level of protection and reassurance they have never had before.”

Note to editors:

A 1:75 flood risk refers to a one in 75-year Standard of Protection (SOP), which means that, on average, the city would only be expected to flood once in every 75 years, or twice in every 150 years.


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

New alliance to help improve prospects for children with behaviour needs

A new alliance is being created to help improve the education of children and young people with social and behavioural difficulties.

At next week’s meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board, members will discuss the proposals to create the new alliance that will integrate existing specialist and targeted education provision to create an outstanding learning offer for children and young people with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties (BESD).

Currently children who have such difficulties are educated either at Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), BESD specialist inclusive learning centres (SILCs) or within mainstream schools. The behaviour learning alliance will see these provisions come together to create organisations with the capacity to meet each child’s need in a flexible and personalised way.

The advantages of creating the alliance will be to provide a seamless specialist and assessment provision which is able to respond quickly to need and have more flexible staffing structures. The integrated leadership and governance will allow swift and easy access to appropriate provision. It also provides the opportunity to develop the existing six sites to create learning environments that meet the needs of a very diverse group of children and young people, in a more inclusive and cost effective way.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Providing appropriate and outstanding education for children and young people who have behaviour needs is a really important priority for the city. Unfortunately the outcomes and achievements of these children, both nationally and in Leeds, tend to be much lower than their peers who do not have barriers to learning. This new alliance would address long standing issues of attendance and attainment and deliver outstanding education to give every child the opportunity to progress to the best of their ability.”

In order to achieve this integration the executive board is being asked to approve proposals to start the process to change the age range of the BESD Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre from 5 to 16, to 11 to 16 and expand the capacity from 150 to 200 pupils using sites at Elmete Wood, Stonegate Road, the Burley Park Centre, the Hunslet Gate Centre and the Tinshill Centre and the expansion of its remit to include provision for children without a statement of special educational needs. The board will also be asked to approve proposals to start the process to expand the North East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre (Oakwood Lane) from 30 to 40 pupils aged 4 to 11 and the expansion of its remit to offer learning to children without a statement.

For the first time in Leeds, all but one existing provider for BESD pupils has been judged to be either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

These proposals will not mean those children who have statements of Special Educational Need and complex or multiple needs who benefit from generic SILC provision, being placed alongside children with behavioural needs.

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

Deadline approaches for Leeds photography exhibition

Time is running out for enthusiastic wildlife photographers in the city to enter a competition that could see their pictures displayed in a fantastic exhibition at Leeds City Museum.

Open to people of all ages and ability and divided into seven categories as part of the ‘Natural Beauty’ exhibition, keen snappers have the opportunity to enter and showcase their skills to a panel of judges which will include professional photographer Sara Porter and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Tom Murray.

Earlier in the year as part of Leeds Museums and galleries’ ‘Natural Beauty Part 1’ over 60 high-resolution images by Sara were displayed in the city museum, which is located off Millennium Square. All of the photos displayed as part of the collection were of objects found in the Leeds museums and galleries natural history collection.

Winners and runners-up will be selected for those aged 15 and under and 16 and over in categories that include: Beautiful Yorkshire, Leeds Wildlife, Wild Yorkshire, Animal Behaviour, British Wildlife, World Wildlife and Beautiful Botany.

Along with seeing their photos on show at Leeds City Museum, a range of prizes will also be on offer to the winners and runners-up. These will include camera equipment, and for the 15 and under category winners a high quality canvas or print of an image of their choice. Winners of the 16 and over categories will win £200 of photographic vouchers.

Closing on September 27, anyone interested in entering the competition are being urged to do so as soon as possible.

The exhibition will begin next January and close in July 2014.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure & skills said:

“I would urge all wildlife photographers not to miss out on this fantastic opportunity to possibly have their pictures displayed at Leeds City Museum as part of the Natural Beauty competition.

“Open to people of all ages and abilities, there are seven categories that can be entered, and I am really looking forward to seeing at the exhibition a wide-range of pictures that capture so brilliantly our wildlife.”

Notes to editors:

Natural Beauty is kindly sponsored by CC Imaging, Ark Display Graphics, Dale Photographic and Pictures Plus.

To find out more about Natural Beauty visit the webpage at

To find out more about Leeds City Museum, visit

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578


Target smashed in campaign to get businesses to sign up to apprenticeships

A campaign to get 150 Leeds businesses to pledge to take on apprentices in 100 days has been a huge success.

Between April and July 2013, 235 businesses have pledged 375 apprenticeships for young people in the city.

Currently there are over 170 live apprenticeship opportunities in Leeds ranging from kitchen assistants to business administrators and hairdressing amongst many other opportunities which are all advertised on the website.

Leeds City Council’s Employment Leeds team offer a bespoke recruitment service to businesses in the city looking to take on an apprentice. From identifying a relevant Apprenticeship framework, advert design and vacancy advertising along with a matching service, the team is able to support businesses to realise the benefits of hiring an apprentice.

Case study - Lofthouse Security Systems Ltd

Lofthouse Security Systems Ltd is currently in the process of recruiting a new apprentice to start in September.

Employment Leeds supported the business by advertising the vacancy to maximise exposure across the city within local communities to include schools, partners organisations, appropriate local media and on line advertising through to providing a reply handling service to help them get started with the recruitment process of their apprentice which they hope will be starting on 1 September.

They currently already have two apprentices who have been working with them for the last few years, and have now taken up more responsibility within the company.

Keith Gosney, owner of Lofthouse Security Systems Ltd said:

“Having apprentices on-board at the company really helps to keep the company moving along and growing, but also gives young people the opportunity to learn new skills and get into a work routine.

“The council have been extremely helpful signposting us to possible candidates and offering advice on the recruitment process involved, and we are almost at the stage whereas we can appoint someone.”

Commenting on what he looks for when hiring an apprentice, Keith said:

“We have taken people on in the past that have shown a keen interest in electronics and have done well at school in their various exams.

“If they come in to talk to us and show potential and a general interest in the company and getting work experience then we are keen to have them on board.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for leisure and skills said:

“It is a fantastic achievement to have beaten our target of 150 businesses by such a huge amount. This clearly shows the enthusiasm in local business for taking on young talent to help them grow.

“Taking on an apprentice is a great way of offering new skills to young people, but also brings real benefits to the employer as well.

“We hope to be able to continue to build on this success and continue to add to the already impressive list of apprenticeship vacancies we have at the moment.”

Any businesses in Leeds wanting to pledge an apprenticeship opportunity should contact the Employment Leeds team at or phone 0113 2475862


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