Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Successful and enterprising women celebrated at Leeds event

Women and girls from across Leeds are being invited to inspire change at a special event at Leeds Civic Hall this week.

Over 150 inspirational women will be attending the event on Friday 4 April, which is being hosted by Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader Leeds City Council and Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, to celebrate the return to Leeds of an exhibition of photographs and stories of enterprising women and girls from Yorkshire. The exhibition, which has been on display at Westminster since late February includes photographs of students from east Leeds schools, some of which will be present on Friday.

The return of the exhibition has inspired the theme for this week’s conference: inspiring change and making Leeds the best city for women.

Keynote speakers at the event will be award-winning inventor, Emily Cummins whose sustainable fridge, which runs on dirty water, has changed people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest countries. Emily will be joined by Danni Hewson who is BBC Look North’s business correspondent and was named the Yorkshire and Humber Business Journalist of the Year at last year’s O2 media awards.

The guests will also be able to take part in a number of interactive workshops including: the stars of Channel 4’s Big Ballet – featuring Leeds City Council employee Sarah Peart - addressing inclusivity and body image; Leeds based Olympic Team GB women divers, Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling; Director of the Black Health Initiative Heather Nelson; as well as sessions on coaching, living libraries and social media. The interactive conference will also ask the invited guests to consider ‘what can we do to make Leeds the best city for women?’

The guests will also be able to view a selection of the portraits alongside the women and girls who are featured in the exhibition. The exhibition will be curated by Ruth Dass, Director of Connecting Enterprising Women.

The programme which developed the exhibition, The Connecting Girls Programme, is run in partnership by Leeds City Council and not-for-profit organisation, Connecting Enterprising Women (CEW). The programme addresses a gap with regards to girls from local communities having opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills whilst still in education. They receive support from CEW mentors.

At the conference the guests will also be shown an interview with Rachel Reeves MP carried out by two schoolgirls from Castleton Primary school. Ashanti Carlton and Kaycee Barwell tried their hand at being reporters for the day by quizzing the city’s first female MP for 40 years. The girls wrote their own questions, which were themed around entrepreneurship and inspiring women and girls.

Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council said:
“I am very proud to be hosting this fantastic event to celebrate the remarkable achievements and contribution women make to our city. This will be an extremely inspirational day so it is very important that we are able to share this with the young women who took part in the Connecting Enterprising Girls portrait exhibition.

“The women attending this event come from all walks of life, but the one thing they have in common is that they are inspirational and amazing role models.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:
"We have some of the most inspirational stories to tell about the achievements of women and girls in Leeds and this conference will look at how we celebrate those successes throughout the year."

Members of the media are invited to attend the event between 10am and 2pm on Friday 4 April. A surpise (and very visual) element has been planned for 1.50pm. Please contact Leeds City Council press office to arrange attendance – 0113 2474713.

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

Children’s Mayor helps launch new Bikeability training

Picture caption "Leeds Children's Mayor Charlotte Williams and fellow pupils from Rufford Park Primary School try out this year's Bikeability courses."

The Leeds Children’s Mayor along with fellow pupils at Rufford Park primary has helped launch this season’s Bikeabilty courses, to celebrate ‘a summer of cycling’ in Leeds.

Leeds City Council has received £276,000 of funding from the Department for Transport to deliver 6,900 Bikeability places to school pupils in Leeds over the forthcoming financial year. The Leeds Children’s Mayor, Charlotte Williams, has helped launch the new courses by taking part in one of the first sessions

Charlotte, who is a year six pupil at Rufford Park Primary, based her winning Children’s Mayor entry on encouraging children and young people to do more cycling with a manifesto entitled “The Life Cycle of Leeds”

Bikeability is ‘cycling proficiency’ for the 21st century, designed to give the children and young people the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today’s roads. Since April 2010, over 18,400 young cyclists in Leeds have received Bikeability training

Councillor Judith Blake executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“This funding will help us continue our commitment towards developing the next generation of cyclists, and with her keen focus on cycling, our Children’s Mayor Charlotte, was the ideal person to launch this year’s sessions.

“As a council we are committed to promoting more sustainable modes of transport, and in particular we are keen to promote active travel amongst our young people as part of our bid to reduce congestion on the district’s roads, improve the health and wellbeing of our young people and of course as part of our commitment to becoming a Child Friendly City where young people can make journeys safely. I am delighted Charlotte is committed to helping us with our aims. It is very important that we listen and engage with our young people as they are the next generation of cyclists.”

There are three levels of Bikeability with each level designed to help improve cycling skills, no matter what children know already. Levels 1, 2 and 3 take trainees on a journey from the basics of balance and control, all the way through to planning and making a journey by themselves on busier roads. Children will typically start Bikeability lessons once they have learnt to ride a bike. Level 1 helps new riders to control their bike in an off road situation (usually the playground) before they move on to developing on-road skills at Level 2. Level 2 is usually tackled by children in Years 5 or 6, before they leave primary school. Level 3 teaches trainees how to ride in different and more challenging traffic situations, and is usually completed by children of secondary school age.

In addition to the standard levels Carnegie Bikeability, who provide the training on behalf of Leeds City Council, will be running some free family cycle training sessions this summer. The sessions are aimed at the parents of pupils in years five and six, with the aim of giving parents the skills and confidence to continue cycling both for leisure and for regular utility journeys with their newly Bikeability trained children.

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

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 this week.

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.


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

New fund to tackle problem trees for council tenants

A new £160k fund to tackle trees deemed as non-hazardous but blighting the lives of council tenants has been given the green light by Leeds City Council this month.

This follows concerns raised by residents, who supported by local councillors, have highlighted a range of problems created by trees falling into this category. These include issues relating to daylight loss, trees that could cause this problem in void properties and poor TV/satellite signals.

Currently, due to the volume of trees needing immediate work, which is measured by their potential to pose harm to the public, this has meant that other tree work has not been able to be undertaken unless on a further inspection, the problem is considered to have become worse.

In response, the council has now allocated funding from its Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to tackle those trees classified as non-hazardous but which are impacting on the lives of council tenants. As part of this effort, a new dedicated forestry team consisting of four members will be formed to undertake this work.

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

"Having listened to a range of concerns, we have taken the decision to allocate £160k from our Housing Revenue Account to tackle trees which while classified as non-hazardous, are having a negative impact on the lives of council tenants across the city.

"As part of our work, we will be working closely with our forestry team and local councillors to identify the worst affected properties by issues such as daylight loss and TV/satellite signal.

"This funding whilst very welcome is certainly not limitless, and we would ask residents to please bear this in mind, as we begin to allocate work to those homes that need it the most."

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

"Our forestry team do a really fantastic job day in day out in our city, but because of the severe pressures that the council faces, they are only able to tackle those that are an absolute priority.

"We wanted to change that, and I am delighted that funding has been identified through the HRA to put together a team of four people that will tackle those non-hazardous trees in our communities which have become a real problem for council tenants.

"Where a healthy tree has to be felled and removed, we will make sure that in all cases replacement planting takes place on a one for one basis. This work will be undertaken on the most appropriate site close by and we will also ensure the most suitable tree species are used."

Notes to editors:

While classified as non-hazardous, concerns have been raised by both council tenants and councillors that problems created by trees in this category affect their health, wellbeing and quality of life. Issues highlighted include the loss of daylight, leaf fall, and the loss of TV reception/satellite signal.

In order to meet this challenge, the council will now create new sub categories to reflect the order in which work should be carried out on non-hazardous trees across Leeds. These will focus on those homes which are affected the most by daylight loss, trees that could cause this problem in void properties and poor TV/satellite signals.

Work is prioritised by the council’s forestry team on the following criteria:

Emergency (1), Urgent (2), Developing (3a), Developing Hazard (3b) and Non Hazardous (4).

New sub categories by the council to reflect the order in which work should be carried out on non-hazardous trees across Leeds are as follows:

Trees affecting health and wellbeing (4a), which incorporates daylight loss (assessed depending on the size of the tree and how near it is to certain rooms in the house) and will also include trees that could cause this problem in void properties. The second category is Trees affecting quality of life, which will address poor TV/satellite signals (4b) where no alternative engineering solution can be found.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk