Friday, 7 February 2014

Young people to be given ‘head start’ to gain employment

A new fund looking to tackle long term unemployment among 18-24 years olds will launch in March 2014.

Towards the end of 2013, Leeds City Region was awarded £4.6million from the Government to deliver the “18-24 Head Start” programme to support young people into employment.

Leeds City Council will receive £1.2million of this money to fund a local programme which will offer 800 young people aged 18-24 years, who are furthest from the labour market (and claiming jobseekers allowance for six months or more), the chance of a ‘head start’ into work through a supported work experience placement.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Friday 14 February, members will be asked to agree the new programme and how this will be delivered.

Head Start will build on the success of other programmes in the city which have offered young people the chance of real work experience opportunities and building confidence and key employability skills.
Programmes such as the Youth Contract initiative providing support to young people aged 16-17 years old, not in education, training or employment and the Council’s Work@Leeds programme have offered plenty of opportunities for people seeking to enter the job market to improve and enhance their employability skills.

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

“Getting young people into work is a real priority for the council and it is great that we will be working with and supporting local businesses to ensure that young people can access new opportunities that will give them a new start.

“We have a number of very talented, job ready youngsters keen to get jobs, but in a market where there are at least four jobseekers to every vacancy it can be hard to find work without experience that demonstrates you have the ability to do the job.

“This new scheme will therefore allow us to continue to meet local business needs and offer unemployed young people, the additional help and support they may need”

Notes to editors:

The ‘Head Start’ placements will last up to eight weeks and include training and a guaranteed job interview. Each young person will also be entitled to a travel card of up to £80. Employers who take part in the scheme will be supported through an employer fee and the opportunity of drawing on the wage incentive after six months of sustained employment.

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

Council proposes Bridgewater Place junction wind closure policy

Leeds City Council has reviewed its wind policy covering the Bridgewater Place junction to include further safety precautions in the light of a coroner’s recommendations.

Councillors will be asked to approve the revised conditions covering when and how the junction around Yorkshire’s highest skyscraper should be closed in the face of high winds.

It will mean that the road junction will be closed to traffic and pedestrians, with pedestrians instead being diverted to a footway to the east and protected by an extended shelter. The lower 45mph wind speed trigger for action- already in use informally- will also be confirmed.

The review was conducted after an inquest found that freak wind conditions that led to a lorry being blown onto Dr Edward Slaney had been caused by the building itself.

Assistant Coroner Melanie Williamson ruled that the council had acted appropriately in its planning and highways decisions concerning the construction of Bridgewater Place. However, she asked the council to consider more stringent restrictions on people and vehicles in the face of high winds.

Key changes in the new policy are closing the junction to all vehicles at wind speeds of 45mph (previously 65mph under the council’s existing policy); closing some pedestrian crossing points, putting the extended pedestrian shelter in place and providing alternative routes, along with extra warning signs.

Emergency vehicle access will still be allowed and the council will continue to liaise with building owners, businesses and residents along with continuing use of variable message warning signs across the city.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy, Leeds City Council, said:
“We are putting in place sensible solutions in line with the coroner’s recommendations as a temporary measure to make the Bridgewater Place junction as safe as possible until the permanent design solution is in place. The building is the owners’ responsibility but we have always insisted that only a comprehensive solution that protects road users as well as those in the immediate vicinity of the building is acceptable. We look forward to the owners submitting their planning application to us.”

A report about the change in policy is going to the council’s executive board on February 14.

Measures put in place by the council at the junction in excessively windy conditions would no longer be needed once the owners have completed construction on the design solution.

*The building’s owners are hosting a public exhibition there tomorrow (Saturday February 8) from 10am-5.30pm of a proposed permanent design solution to the wind issues involving “baffles” suspended above the road, along with a building canopy and vertical screens.

Notes to editors:
For further information about the proposals for the design solution at Bridgewater Place contact Local Dialogue’s community relations team on 0800 319 6162 or by email at

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335

Doctor Terrorvision prescribes active lifestyles for Leeds children

A specially commissioned musical theatre production at the Carriageworks Theatre will see families encouraged to set a limit on screen time and enjoy being active as Year Four children from Five Lanes Primary School perform to a VIP audience on 11th February.

The Public Health team at Leeds City Council commissioned the show which gets children to think about how much time they spend in front of TVs, computers and other screens. Dr Terrorvision is a humorous and touching musical, specially written and composed by All Things Considered Theatre. It brings to life the messages that time spent in front of screens by 5 -16 year-olds in Britain is nearly six hours a day and this can have a big impact on how active children are.

They will be joined by award winning Dance Action Zone Leeds (DAZL) performing #ASHTAG, where young dancers explore the negative impact smoking has on young people, especially young dancers whilst promoting the positive identity of being a young person who doesn’t smoke.

Jan Burkhardt, Health Improvement Specialist with Leeds City Council, said:“We know from research that overall time spent in front of screens by children in Britain is nearly forty hours per week and this means many children lead inactive lives which can affect their health. We want to encourage children and their parents to think of other things they can do to be more active and have fun.

“From February, Leeds City Council’s Public Health team have arranged for all Leeds schools to be offered the scripts and soundtracks to Dr Terrorvision so that they can stage the musical in their schools too. With the musical able to be performed by children aged 7 – 11 years, it offers a great way for families to be involved around the city and helps bring to life the potential risks of excessive screen time in a fun and engaging way, as well as highlighting the importance of being active.”

An early version of the musical was premiered at Castleton Primary last June and was well received by the families who watched it. Claire Watkins, who teaches at Five Lanes Primary, said:
“The children have worked really hard with All Things Considered to make this show work. We’ve got zombies, Terror World and all sorts of other surprises to make the musical fun to perform as well as to watch. As well as being fun, it is also delivering a really important message about being active and healthy, a message we really hope sticks with everyone involved.”

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“It can come as a shock to realise quite how long many of us spend in front of the TV or computer consoles. Doctor Terrorvision is a really entertaining way to promote the message that we need to think about how long we spend in front of screens and that being active can really help our health.”

Notes for editors
If you wish to interview any of the children or others involved, or wish to take photos at the event, please contact Phil Morcom (contact details below).

What is Screen Time?Time spent watching TV or on mobile phones, games consoles, computers etc.
How much do we watch?• The overall time spent in front of screens by 5 -16 year-olds in Britain was nearly six hours a day not including any school time
• The average 10-year-old has access to five different screens at home
What are the risks of sedentary behaviour and excessive screen time?
• Excessive TV viewing can out children at risk of being overweight or obese
Unhealthy eating habits
• TV viewing acts as a distraction resulting in a lack of awareness of actual food consumption, leading to over consumption and increased energy intake
Sedentary behaviour
• Some evidence shows that high levels of sedentary behaviour are linked to obesity, independently of physical activity levels
Exposure to TV advertising
• Television advertises mainly highly processed, energy dense products
• Overweight and obese children and those who watch high levels of TV are particularly susceptible to food promotion on TV

Change4Life campaign suggests; “It can help to set a limit on how long we sit still in front of TV, computer or video games. Some families have found saying “2 hours max” of screen time each day helps make sure kids jump up and play or go outside once they have been sitting around for a while.

Aims of the Musical:
• To create a short piece of musical theatre for primary age school children to perform for their families with the intention of:
• Raising the issue of TV/screen time and its effects on children’s health and wellbeing
• Raising the issue of the importance of physical activity and free play for children’s health and wellbeing
• Encouraging behaviour change in families around limiting TV/screen time and encouraging children to be active
Target group: Children and their parents/carers in disadvantaged communities in Leeds

To book a place contact: - (Administrator, Leeds Public Health Team)

Issued by:Phil Morcom
Communications and Marketing team
Leeds City Council, 4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR
Mobile: 0772 227 5370
Tel: 0113 395 0393
Fax: 0113 247 4736

Social enterprise plan for Learning Disability Service to be discussed by senior councillors

Senior councillors in Leeds will discuss proposals for an innovative new social enterprise to support people with learning disabilities.

The ambitious plans would see Leeds City Council’s Learning Disability Service transfer into the new business model, which would be owned and operated entirely by staff.

The service, which has an annual budget of £20.9m, supports more than 1,000 of the city’s most vulnerable adults, providing help and advice as well as hands-on personal care.

The move, designed to secure the future of the service, would represent the biggest shift to a social enterprise model of its kind ever to take place in Leeds. A detailed business case has been produced which underpins the proposed model.

Social enterprises are businesses that work for the community rather than to make a profit. Any surplus money generated would be used to either improve existing services or for the benefit of the wider community.

At next Friday’s meeting, the council’s executive board will be asked to approve the start of formal consultation on the proposals.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“This social enterprise proposal represents a genuinely exciting opportunity for us to deliver some of our most important services in a new and sustainable way.

“Under a social enterprise model, service users and their carers will still receive the same high-quality support they do now, dealing with the same staff in the same buildings.

“But what these proposals would allow us to do is ensure that the vital support provided by the Learning Disability Service remains protected and secure at a time when we are facing unprecedented cuts to our budget.”

The Learning Disability Service currently employs more than 700 staff, who would all transfer to the new model with the same terms and conditions.

Letters have been sent to service users and their families informing them of the proposals ahead of any decision being taken, and customer’s views will also be used to shape any new social enterprise.

If the executive board approves the start of consultation, detailed service specifications and contracts will be prepared ahead of a further report going before the executive board later this year.

Cllr Ogilvie said:

“No final decisions will be made without the support of staff and elected members, but we firmly believe that this social enterprise represents the best and most sustainable model for the future of our Learning Disability Services.

“Like many local authorities, we are facing immense financial pressures, which means we have to think of creative ways of providing and commissioning services while still delivering on our pledge to provide better lives for our service users.

“By adopting a social enterprise model, the service will be able to operate more efficiently in what is a highly competitive market, attracting new business in the spirit of civic enterprise we are keen to encourage in Leeds."

He added:

“The high quality of the Learning Disability Service is something we are very proud of, and we are determined to do all we can to safeguard those services by securing a solid foundation upon which they can continue to flourish both now and in the future.”


For more information, contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

City’s young diving stars bring home huge medal haul

Caption: L-R, Young diving stars Lois Toulson, Lydia Rosenthall, 15 (front), Sam Thornton, 17, Katherine Torrence, 15 and Matty Lee, 16 (back) on the diving platform at the John Charles Centre for Sport.

Record-breaking young divers have made a big splash by bringing home seven gold medals from a top national competition.

The youngsters from the City of Leeds Diving Team returned from the Great Britain National Cup with an impressive total haul of 15 medals.

Jack Laugher, 18, also set a new British record with his first place showing in the men’s 1m event, taking the gold with a score of 480.60.

Not to be outdone, 17-year-old Alicia Blagg won gold and set a new record in the women’s 1m event, scoring 287.5 and becoming a junior champion in the process.

The incredible team performance also saw Sam Thornton, 17, Lydia Rosenthall, 15, Katherine Torrence, 15 and Lois Toulson, 14, crowned senior champions for the first time in their events.

And 16-year-old Matty Lee was also named junior champion following his performance in the men’s 3m springboard.

Adrian Hinchliffe, head coach of the team, which is based at the John Charles Centre for Sport, said:

“This was a fantastic performance- not just for our established team members, who get a huge boost going into other competitions, but for the younger divers who are working hard to push on to that next level.

“This is definitely looking like it’s going to be our most successful build-up to an Olympics as we approach Rio 2016 and we’re consistently seeing top level divers coming out of Leeds.

“That’s because of a combination of some real talent in the city and the fact that we have great facilities and coaching that puts us on another level to the teams we’re going up against. We also have the continued support of our partner British Diving.”

The country’s most successful diving club, the City of Leeds Diving Club has more than a hundred members.

Divers range from beginners to Olympic athletes, with a number of different squads using the facilities at the John Charles Centre.

The club itself is run by a committee of parents who help to organise two major competitions each year- the G-star Championships and The White Rose Diving Invitational.

Many of the team’s young divers are expected to be at the prestigious Leeds Sports Awards, which this year take place at New Dock Hall on February 27.

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

“Our young divers really have outdone themselves with this amazing team performance and the City of Leeds squad just keeps on going from strength to strength.

“As this record-breaking display shows, Leeds is the national standard bearer for diving excellence and the world class talent that continues to come through the ranks at the John Charles Centre is going to make the build-up to the next Olympics really exciting for our team and our city.

“I’ll also look forward to seeing members of the team at the Leeds Sports Awards, where all of our young sports stars will have their achievements celebrated.”


- The club's full diving results are available on request.

- For more details, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

Call for Leeds to ‘get ready’ as first Tour de France road closure information revealed

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon has called on the city to “get ready and plan ahead for an amazing day” as the first road closure information for the Tour de France was released today.

Leeds City Council has written to all residents and businesses in properties on or directly impacted by the route with initial information about how they will be affected and can prepare for Saturday 5 July when the Grand Départ of the world’s largest annual sporting event begins in the city.

The council has also today launched a new area of its website at which will be dedicated to all Tour-related information for Leeds between now and the race, with residents encouraged to sign up to to receive the latest email alerts.

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

“The Tour de France Grand Départ is going to be amazing for Leeds and Yorkshire, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host one of the world’s greatest events bringing with it unprecedented benefits on a truly global scale.

“We have now started the process of giving people the information they need which we recognise is vitally important in order for them to make the most of this historic day. Our message is very much ‘get ready, plan ahead and enjoy it’ and the key to that is to get the information spread far and wide so I urge everyone to sign up for the email alerts at and look at the new Tour de France pages on the council website to keep updated.”

The information released today reveals roads on and connected to the route in Leeds are anticipated to be closed for a minimum period of eight hours, with most expected to close by 7am and not reopen before 3pm, although selected roads in the city centre will close earlier. This length of time is needed to allow the route to be prepared, infrastructure to be put in place and removed afterwards, the Tour’s publicity ‘caravan’ of vehicles to begin its journey through the stage, the race itself and the safe dispersal of spectators.

The route will need to be clear of all public vehicles prior to the road closure time, with pedestrian access available while the roads are closed through stewarded crossing points.

Vehicle access to the city centre will be significantly restricted with for the most part movement only for public transport and some car parking facilities. Through movement will not be permitted and very limited access from the Inner Ring Road (A58m section) will be available.

A revised bus timetable will be in operation, along with a park and ride service, with full details for spectators and those wishing to access the city centre to be made available nearer to the event.

Extensive multi-agency discussions have gone into the preparations across the route, with emergency services and health and social care providers putting plans in place to maintain essential services and support for those who need it. Emergency access for ‘blue light’ services will be kept open at all times.

All of the city’s MPs, councillors and parish and town councils are being given the latest information, while workshops are to take place with city centre businesses and engagement will continue with the wider business community in Leeds.

The route of stage one of the 2014 Tour de France will see the world’s best cyclists start on The Headrow at 11:10am on Saturday 5 July heading to Eastgate before turning left onto Regent Street and following the A61 Scott Hall Road and Harrogate Road through Moortown and Alwoodley and on to Harewood.

Turning left at Harewood, the race enters the Harewood Estate passing the historic Harewood House before leaving the estate and turning left onto the A659, following Otley Road and Arthington Lane through Pool in Wharfedale and on to Otley.

The route then follows the A65 through Ilkley and Skipton, before turning north and heading through the Yorkshire Dales. The final element of the stage sees the route return south passing through Ripon before the finish in Harrogate.

The start in Leeds is preceded two hours earlier by the Tour de France ‘caravan’, which is a procession of approximately 180 vehicles giving out a range of memorabilia and publicity material to the crowds at the roadside along the stage.

The route through Leeds is expected to include dedicated spectator hubs at Scott Hall Playing Fields, the Harewood Estate and Otley. At these hubs spectators will be able to watch the race as well as enjoy a range of family entertainment, with the numbers expected at the hubs helping to ease pressure on other parts of the route. Plans are also currently being finalised as to locations at the start and on the route for dedicated viewing spots for spectators with disabilities.

The opening three stages of the 2014 Tour de France in England are expected to attract several million spectators to watch the race, bringing in more than £100million to the economy while also being seen by a television audience in the billions across the world.

Councillor Yeadon added:

“Hosting such a massive event takes a phenomenal amount of planning with the reality being that it does involve interrupting the normal routine of the city. Every effort has been and continues to be made to not only ensure the race is a success but also to minimise as much as possible the impact on residents and businesses.

“Everyone in the city can help us to achieve that, by spreading the word to family, friends and colleagues. The day the Tour de France starts in Leeds is sure to go down as one of the most memorable in the history of the city and we want everyone to start planning now how they can make the absolute most of it.”

An update will be given direct to all residents and businesses on or next to the route in the run-up to July, with all the latest information for Leeds able to be seen at

Notes to editors:

In 2014, the Tour de France returns to the UK for three stages. The Yorkshire Grand Départ comprises two stages - Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield - before the Tour moves south for a third stage from Cambridge to London.

For the latest news on the Grand Depart visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,