Monday, 31 March 2014

New £1.2m back-to-work programme gives young people a Head Start



Caption: Stephen Prince, 22, (front) at his new job alongside David Reed, compliance director of 4 Site Security Services.

A new £1.2m fund to get young unemployed people across Leeds back into work has officially launched today (Monday).

The Head Start programme, designed to help long term unemployed aged 18-24 find jobs, will offer 800 people the chance of a supported work experience placement.

And the council has today issued a rallying cry to local businesses, calling on them to get involved and help the city’s young people get a fresh start.

Head Start comes after the Leeds City Region was awarded £4.6million from the government in 2013, with £1.2m going towards the initiative in Leeds.

The project will build on the success of the city’s other work experience programmes, which have included the Youth Contract initiative for young people aged 16-17 years old, not in education, training or employment and the council’s Work@Leeds scheme which offered placements within the local authority.

Stephen Prince, 22, from Bramley took part in Work@Leeds after being unemployed for around a year.

After getting involved with the programme, he gained employment with Leeds-based 4 Site Security, where he has been working for just over a month.

He said: “I was getting really demoralised, sending out applications and CVs and getting nowhere. It really knocked my confidence and I started to wonder if I was unemployable.

“Then I went to Work@Leeds and did a six week placement with the council’s communications team. They helped me build my CV up and being around the team really boosted my confidence.

“When it came to doing my interview, the experience I’d gained during my placement gave me that bit of something extra. I’m ecstatic to be back in work and there’s nothing like that pride, satisfaction and self-respect you get from having a job.

“To anyone who is thinking of getting involved with Head Start, I’d say give it your all, commit to it and a placement can change your life like it has mine.”

Businesses that take part in Head Start will receive £300 per placement as well as a full range of help and support.

Work experience candidates will get placements, generally up to six weeks long, with two weeks in college beforehand.

They will also get a CV workshop, help looking for work and a guaranteed interview.

The programme is available to those who have been claiming jobseekers allowance for six months or more.

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

“This exciting new scheme will give a huge boost to young people who are struggling to find work in an incredibly challenging job market.

“We know that there are a lot of enthusiastic and hungry young people out there who have been out of work for a long time- all they need is the right chance and they can be an asset to any company.

“By supporting local businesses and giving young people the right opportunities to get back into employment, we’re confident that Head Start can make a real difference.”

For more information about getting involved in Head Start, contact Michelle Law by email at michelle2.law@leeds.gov.uk or telephone 0113 3952905.

ENDS


Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk
www.leeds.gov.uk

Congestion reducing plan set for green-light

Council leaders are set to give the go ahead to a further congestion-busting scheme.

Plans to introduce traffic lights at Rodley roundabout on the outer ring road at a cost of £3.5million are set to get a green-light next week.

The roundabout is a key site in reducing congestion in the Rodley and outer west Leeds area and is used by 44,000 vehicles every day.

Work will be carried out on Horsforth, Rodley and Thornbury Barracks roundabouts from July until April to signalise all three in ambitious proposals to tackle congestion.

Thornbury Barracks and Rodley roundabout projects are benefiting from Local Pinch Point Funding totalling £4.8million.

Leeds City Council was successful in bidding for funding through the Government’s Local Pinch Point Fund, which is designed to remove bottlenecks on local highway networks.

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

“The rules around the Local Pinch Point Fund are that it must be spent by April 2015 so the timing of the works has been dictated by these rules. The Horsforth roundabout scheme is being funded from a number of other sources, but has been scheduled to begin this summer for some time.

“As we neared the beginning of work at Horsforth roundabout funding for Rodley and Thornbury became available. Because this needs to be spent by April next year and to ensure we address the issues in this area for the long-term, we must carry out the work concurrently.

“This is a major undertaking to improve a badly congested key section of the outer ring road. There will be some disruption, but we are doing all we can to minimise it and will ensure we do not work at peak times. Every effort is being made to carry out this work in the shortest time possible.”

Relevant information will be provided to the public informing them of the works while making them aware of possible alternative routes and transportation options during the construction period.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 4450
Email: daniel.johnson2@leeds.gov.uk





Leeds Community Equipment team celebrate 20th anniversary ahead of big move



Caption: L-R, David Kemp, stores manager at Leeds Community Equipment Service celebrates with Sam Prince, executive director of operations at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Liz Ward, head of service for access and inclusion with Leeds City Council's adult social care team.


Dedicated staff have been celebrating two decades of providing crucial help and support to disabled adults and children in Leeds.

Leeds Community Equipment Service (LCES), which has been based on Roundhay Road since it opened in 1994, provides equipment to around 17,500 residents across the city with a range of disabilities.

Later this year, the team will move to a brand new home at the state-of-the-art Assisted Living Leeds hub at New Dock.

To mark their 20th anniversary, staff attended a special event at their current base, where they got the chance to look back at a collection of photographs charting the history of the service.

Members of the team were also asked to pick out their favourite objects and documents from the Roundhay Road building, which will go into a time capsule to be buried in the garden of their new base.

Praising the work done by LCES, Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“For twenty years now, the Leeds Community Equipment Service has been at the forefront of making sure people with disabilities in Leeds have access to the equipment they need to live safely and independently in their own homes.

“These celebrations have been an opportunity for the team to look back with pride at the enormous contribution the service has made to some of our city’s vulnerable residents and their families.”

During their celebrations, the team also received an award as part of the adult social care department’s annual long service awards.

The service, which is a partnership between the council and Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, will move to its new premises in September this year, where it will work alongside other assistive technology services.

Councillor Ogilvie added:

“Whilst I’m sure moving from their current home will spark a lot of nostalgia among staff, I also know that everyone involved with LCES is hugely excited about the potential of the new Assisted Living Leeds building.

“Having all of our assistive technology services in one location will help us to respond faster and in a more co-ordinated way to the needs of those with disabilities and their families.”

Sam Prince, executive director of operations at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust added:

“The Leeds Community Equipment Service demonstrates the excellent partnership working between Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Leeds City Council.

“Over the last 20 years the partnership has enabled local people to live independently in their own home and facilitated early discharge from hospital.

“Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust is delighted that the partnership has managed to secure modern and fit for purpose accommodation for the assisted living facility and the service looks forward to moving later this year.”

To find out more about the new service at Assisted Living Leeds, e mail the ATHubproject@leeds.gov.uk or follow the project on twitter @ATHubLeeds.

Community equipment is provided free and can be requested from the service by a wide range of health and social care staff.

To make a request for an assessment, coall the council's contact centre on 0113 222 4401 (adult's services) or 222 4403 (children's services) or speak to your GP, community nurse or social worker.
ENDS

For more information, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk
www.leeds.gov.uk

Leeds brings homes back to life

As part of Leeds City Council’s commitment to the city being the best city to live, six former right to buy properties which have been left empty are being brought back into use and offered on secure tenancies at a social rent.

The council is planning to acquire more private properties which have been left for more than six months, with the aim of refurbishing and letting them as council housing. As well as empty housing, two empty community centres are also planned to be converted to let as council housing.

The work is part of Leeds City Council’s wider council house growth programme that will also see the council building a significant number of new homes for the first time in decades, with council housing stock increasing by more than a thousand new homes.

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

“We’re determined to make progress with getting affordable, decent accommodation available in the city. This represents the beginning of a long journey to get the amount of housing that the city needs, and I’m delighted we will soon have these properties available for people in the city to use.”

“Overall £2 million being invested will be delivered with a mixture of the HCA funding and from the council’s Housing Revenue Account.”


[ends]

Notes for editors:

The properties involved have been empty for more than six months. All properties will be let as secure tenancies on a social rent. Six offers have now been accepted the acquisitions will be completed by the Council and then refurbishment work will commence, with the properties then to be let as council housing. Further properties will be developed as they become available and necessary legal processes are completed.

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 224 3602
Fax: 0113 247 4736
www.leeds.gov.uk

Website praised for improvements

Leeds City Council’s website, which has undergone a series of improvements to make it more user-friendly, has been praised in a national survey of local authority websites.

www.leeds.gov.uk was awarded top marks – four out of a possible four stars – a significant improvement on last year’s rating of one star. Only eight per cent of councils have achieved a four-star ranking this year.

The annual survey was carried out by the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCITM) which tests the websites of all the UK’s 433 local authorities to identify and promote good practice in council website design and presentation.

The website’s navigation has been overhauled making it much easier for customers to find the information they needed more quickly. The current site was launched summer 2012 with a complete redesign with a fresh look and feel to replace an old outdated system.

In the last 12 months improvements have seen the introduction of one-click navigation to top task plus a comprehensive A-Z of services. The website design makes it accessible from smart phones and tablets, while an improved search function makes it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.

The SOCITM assessor said:

“Overall the site is really well presented and a pleasure to use. I really like the layout and design of the mobile experience - well done. One of the easiest and nicest A-Z's I have seen. Really good implementation of the councillor search and committee information, great to see.”

SOCITM assessors visited the council’s site to check how easy it was to complete a number of different tasks, including reporting a missed rubbish collection, finding out about a planning decision, registering a food business and finding out general information about the council and its services.

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

“This is really positive news and shows all the hard work that has gone into improving our website over the last couple of years. We've looked carefully at what residents actually use our website for and made changes with their needs in mind.

“We know there are still improvements to be made and we will continue our campaign of improvement. The way people use the internet has changed dramatically in recent years with an exponential increase in the number of people accessing our site on mobile devices. Thanks to the effort we’ve put into making the site accessible from smart phones and tablets we have put ourselves in a good position for the future.”

The annual assessment put particular emphasis on the ease of using council websites on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets where the council’s website scored well.

ENDS

Notes to editor

More information about the Better Connected report from SOCITM can be found at http://www.socitm.net/research/socitm-insight/better-connected.

For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 4450
Email: daniel.johnson2@leeds.gov.uk