Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Answers on a postcard for your favourite or dream bike ride

People from Leeds and beyond are being encouraged to jot down the details of their favourite or dream bike ride on the back of a postcard as part of a new exhibition set to open later this month.

Included as part of Leeds City Council’s programme of events and activities celebrating the arrival of the Grand Départ on 5 July, those with a passion for cycling will have the chance to share their heavenly bike ride on one of two different postcards produced by local designer Amy Evans of Tiger Tea design company.

Available from local libraries, leisure centres, Leeds Town Hall and the visitor centre at the city’s train station, the postcards can be posted back by using the freepost address on the back of the card, or by dropping them into one of the collections boxes at the town hall by 20 June 2014. All the postcards will then be collected and a selection displayed together at Leeds Town Hall during the end of June and the beginning of July.

Any person wishing to take part is being asked to use all their creative skills on the postcards, whether that is by drawing or colouring in, sticking on photos or even putting a collage on the front. Open to people of all abilities, this is a fantastic opportunity to tell everyone about your most memorable or fantasy bike ride and why it is or would be so special to you.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"Excitement for the arrival the Grand Départ in Leeds is already at fever pitch, and we are celebrating as a council this once in a lifetime chance to see one of the world’s greatest sporting events by providing a varied programme of fun activities that people of all ages can take part in and enjoy.

"Designed by local artist Amy Evans, we are asking people to tell us on the back of one of two cycling related postcards what their favourite dream bike ride is or would be if they could travel anywhere, and the great news is that your work could be displayed next to all other entries in a Leeds Town Hall exhibition set to open later this month."

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

New leadership arrangements for Leeds City Council announced

Jobs, skills and training, delivering more affordable housing and protecting and supporting vulnerable Leeds residents, are all high on the agenda for Leeds City Council, as new leadership arrangements are announced after the recent local elections.

The ruling Labour administration has laid out its priorities for the next couple of years, focusing on equipping the city and its people to cope with current financial challenges and on developing for the future.

Key areas include promoting economic growth in order to deliver jobs and training opportunities, especially for young people; adopting innovative ways of working, including closer partnership arrangements, in order to protect frontline services; protecting and supporting the city’s most vulnerable residents and delivering more affordable housing.

At the council's AGM yesterday Councillor Keith Wakefield has been re-confirmed as leader of the council, along with deputy leaders Cllrs Judith Blake and Peter Gruen.

All existing executive members with responsibility for specific areas of the council’s work have been re-appointed but with some amendments to the portfolio areas to reflect the administration’s priorities for the coming years.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“It is vital that we have a strong team who are committed to doing everything we can to support and protect the people who are in most need of our help is at the heart of what the council has been doing over the past few years.

“As we continue to face severe budget cuts this becomes increasingly important and the lion’s share of our spending is allocated to looking after our older people and the children and young people who need our support.

“However, we also have a very determined focus on working to create jobs and future opportunity, particularly for our young people. In attracting and creating work opportunities we also guarantee that the city itself is strong for the future.

“As the city grows the need for affordable housing grows alongside it and we are targeting our own efforts and working with private and third sector developers to increase the amount of homes available to people on restricted budgets.”

The new portfolio areas are:
 Finance and inequality: Cllr Keith Wakefield
 Children and families: Cllr Judith Blake
 Neighbourhoods, planning and personnel: Cllr Peter Gruen
 Digital and creative technologies, culture and skills: Cllr Lucinda Yeadon
 Health and well-being: Cllr Lisa Mulherin
 Cleaner, stronger and safer communities: Cllr Mark Dobson
 Adult social care: Cllr Adam Ogilvie
 Transport and economy: Cllr Richard Lewis

Also announced this week were the chair people for the council’s scrutiny boards, plans panels, the licensing committee, the governance and audit committee and the standards committee. They are:
 Cllr Pauleen Grahame - Scrutiny (Resources)
 Cllr Debra Coupar - Scrutiny (Health and Well-being and Adult Social Care)
 Cllr Kim Groves - Scrutiny (Sustainable Economy and Culture)
 Cllr Mary Harland – Licensing Chair
 Cllr Rebecca Charlwood – Plans East Chair
 Cllr Mohammed Rafique – Plans West Chair
 Cllr Jim McKenna – City Centre Plans Chair
 Cllr Neil Walshaw – Development Plans Panel
 Cllr Ghulam Hussain – Corporate Governance and Audit
 Cllr Elizabeth Nash - Standards

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

Plans to transform local decision making backed by councillors

Caption: A range of important work is set to be undertaken by Community Committees across the city.

Proposals to transform the involvement of residents in local decision making have been backed by councillors this week.

Approved at the council’s annual meeting, plans will now move forward on the introduction of new ‘Community Committees’, which will replace the previous area committees model, and aim to revolutionise how people can influence the priorities and delivery of important services in the areas where they live.

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

"We are pleased that councillors have backed our proposals to move forward with Community Committees, but we are under no illusions that the hard work very much starts here to ensure residents from across the city can have a bigger say in important decisions for their local areas.

"As part of our aims, we will be putting a greater emphasis on community engagement and how local people can better influence what our priorities are, and also where key services should be targeted. Our meetings will be more accessible to the public, and we will work with key partners to ensure our efforts are more joined up and better meet the needs of residents."

For a number of years, a range of important responsibilities have been delivered locally by area committees. These have included street cleansing and environmental action, the management of community centres and allocation of funding to support local groups and organisations delivering a wide range of important projects. In picking up these important services, the Community Committees will seek to further encourage local people to help drive forward positive changes in their areas. This will become even more vital given the council’s proposals to devolve further budgets.

In order to strengthen involvement and communicate the work that is being undertaken, more meetings of the Community Committees will be held in places and buildings that are most accessible to residents. Agendas at meetings will also be tailored to focus on local priorities Work to build on and improve existing networks with other forums and partners such as Parish Councils, the police and the voluntary sector will also be undertaken to ensure that both the aims and ambitions for each area are more focused and joined up.

The first meeting of the new Community Committees are set to take place in July. To support the launch of the new Community Committees, new, user-friendly branding will be introduced to help publicise the work that they will do and how residents can get involved.

Councillor Gruen added:

"The council has put on record its determination to move more powers away from the Civic Hall and into the hands of people living in our communities. Community Committees are going to have a massive role to play in helping us to deliver this, and we want every single resident to get involved."

Notes to editors:

To find out more about the changes, please see the following report to the council’s annual meeting: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/g6723/Public%20reports%20pack%2028th-May-2014%2010.00%20General%20Purposes%20Committee.pdf?T=10

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

Local groups create re-cycled route reminders for Le Tour

Recycled bikes now mark the Tour de France route.

A yellow route reminder on Harrogate Road.

The Meanwood Urban Valley Farm bike project leave their mark on the bike as well as the route along Scott Hall Road.

Local groups are leaving their mark on the Tour de France route with specially painted bikes.

Young people and volunteers from the Meanwood Valley Urban Farm Bike Project, Opportunities Inspiring Learning (OIL) and Pedallers’ Arms Bike Co-op have so far taken over 40 unwanted bikes and prepared and spray painted them yellow.

The bikes can now be found along the Tour de France route as it winds its way outside the city centre to Otley.

The project complements the hard work of the Otley in Bloom group who have placed yellow bikes adorned with flower-filled baskets throughout the town.

As well as the difficult-to-miss yellow bikes, some have been painted red, white or blue and placed on roundabouts.

The groups are continuing to prepare more bikes as they are donated with these appearing on the route soon. Some bikes have come from the council’s recycling centres while others have come from council staff, Royal Mail and the groups themselves.

With around 7,200 bikes left at the council’s recycling centres each year, the groups involved play an important part in reducing this waste.

The bike project at Meanwood Urban Valley Farm helps young people learn mechanical skills by rebuilding old bikes which they donate to others or use themselves.

Young people attending workshops run by OIL – a not for profit training centre – get to use bikes they’ve refurbished themselves that would otherwise go to waste. OIL also run courses for young people and adults so they can gain accredited mechanics qualifications.

Local people can learn how to repair and maintain their own bikes from the friendly support found at the Pedallers’ Arms Bike Co-op.

As a very visual reminder of the route riders will take through Leeds on 5 July, it’s hoped that the bikes will also make people think about how their old or unwanted bikes could be re-used by others.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for cleaner, safer and stronger communities, said:
“Being able to say you were involved in the Tour de France is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We’d like to thank all of the groups for playing their part in helping us really bring the route to life as we know people have had great fun spotting the bikes as they appear.

“There is a serious side to the bikes though; we hope they’ll act as a prompt for road users, local residents and businesses to familiarise themselves with road closures and plan their viewing point and travel arrangements for the day accordingly.

“But just as importantly, with more people being encouraged to get into cycling we hope that people think about re-using that bike getting dusty at the back of the shed before going out to buy a shiny new one. Even if you can’t make use of your old bike, there is usually someone who can.”

If friends, relatives or neighbours can’t re-use your old bike, you can consider helping the environment and someone else by selling it or passing it on online.

Alternatively, you can leave old, unwanted bikes at the re-use containers at the city’s recycling centres for collection and repair by local charities. Any that are beyond repair are recycled.

Bikes left at the council’s facilities are also re-used by local organisations helping people gain skills and get into employment as well as a mode of transport for their new job.

After the Tour de France, the council hopes to donate the colourful bikes to local schools, community organisations and parish councils while others may remain in place.

Information on re-using and recycling can be found on the council’s website.

Full details of the road closures and travel arrangements for the Tour de France can be found the Grand Départ Leeds website.


Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk

New city Lord Mayor takes office

Caption: The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor David Congreve with the Lady Mayoress Janet Harper.

Councillor David Congreve has been officially confirmed as the Lord Mayor of Leeds for 2014/2015.

Unanimously supported by all parties at the council’s annual meeting, Cllr Congreve, who is the 121st Lord Mayor of the city, takes over the role from previous incumbent Thomas Murray.

Originally born in Halifax, Cllr Congreve, who has served the city as a councillor for over 24 years, previously worked for British Gas as a Senior Productivity Services Officer and Bereavement Services Manager at Bradford Metropolitan Council until his retirement in 2004.

A keen cyclist and speedway fan, the new Lord Mayor, who also enjoys Ornithology, local history, walking, genealogy and ballroom dancing, is set to have a year never to forget with upcoming events including Armed Forces Day on June 28 and the arrival of the Grand Départ on 5 July.

Accompanying the Lord Mayor as his Lady Mayoress will be Janet Harper JP, who until stepping down in May 2014 also represented Leeds as a city councillor for 20 years.

The Lord Mayor’s chosen charity for the forthcoming year is the Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor David Congreve said:

"It is an enormous honour and privilege for me to have the opportunity to represent our great city as Lord Mayor for the next year, which is something I could never have dreamt of.

"Both Janet and I simply cannot wait for our civic engagements to begin, and throughout the year we will be raising money for our chosen charity the Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal who do such a great job supporting and caring for young people."

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