Child Friendly Leeds champions announced

"The Child Friendly Leeds Award winners with Cllr Judith Blake."

The winners of the second annual Child Friendly Leeds awards were announced in a glittering ceremony last (Thursday 29 January) at Leeds City Varieties.

The awards, led by Leeds City Council, sponsored by British Gas, with support from Leeds City Varieties, Marks and Spencer, First Direct Arena and the Yorkshire Evening Post celebrated some of the people, places and organisations helping to make Leeds a child friendly city.

Around 550 nominations came in for champion children, child friendly places, people who go the extra mile and great organisations, with the winners announced at tonight’s special event.

The awards showcased the talent, achievements and energy of the city’s children and young people, as well as highlighting and celebrating what people, places and organisations are doing to make Leeds a child friendly city.

With all the planning and preparation done by young Leeds people, the Child Friendly Leeds awards was a night to remember for many children and young people, as well as those who care for them.

The children’s champion award (under 11), went to Evie Addelman:

Evie is 9 years old and has battled Crohn’s disease for the last two years. She has raised over £3,000 to help the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Society. Although Evie has been weakened by her illness, she faces every challenge with bravery.

She has organised fundraising events and shared her story by speaking at events for the Crohn’s and Colitis UK society and at the Leeds City Council children’s services awards for excellence.

The children’s champion in the 11 to 18 category was Aimee Grayston

Aimee is a truly inspirational young woman. Despite having a complex health condition and only being able to communicate using a head-switch operated communication aid and having constant painful, distracting involuntary movements, she has done a great job talking about her experiences and sharing views on how services for other young people with complex needs can be improved.

She is a moving, passionate and funny public speaker and people have been inspired to make changes as a direct result of listening to her. Aimee has influenced real change to benefit other young people in Leeds.

Winner of the looking after children and young people award was Tim McSharry

The Access Committee for Leeds (ACL) is an unfunded body run by volunteer advocates that campaigns on behalf of disabled adults, carers and older people.

Tim is significantly visually impaired, yet is a volunteer with the Access Committee for Leeds supporting children and young people with severe and complex learning disabilities and autism. He helps them to have their housing needs better met and helps families continue in their caring role, especially when the child exhibits difficult or destructive behaviour.

The title of best place for children and young people, went to Herd Farm Residential and Activity Centre

At Herd Farm Residential and Activity Centre children and young people of all abilities can access fun activities at the right level to suit their needs. The staff are friendly and go out of their way to ensure that all have a good time. It is often the first time that young people have been away from home and they ensure that the experience of these children and young people is fun.

The activities are discussed with the children and young people and their views are listened to and respected, but they are also encouraged to challenge themselves, building on their confidence and self-esteem.

The centre and the activities were built to accommodate those with a disability and were included from the beginning and not added as an afterthought.

Leeds Rhinos Foundation was given the prize for best overall contribution to child friendly Leeds.

The Foundation and the Leeds Rhinos work in partnership to make the city a better place to grow up in, and to play a part in making our children and young people healthier, happier and safer.

The Foundation has taken the ambition for Leeds to be a child friendly city to its heart and has focused its energies on making a real difference to children in our city. This has been achieved through a range of initiatives such as:

• Tryzone, an educational project aimed at working with young people and their families with need for additional support.

• Rhinestones Junior Dance Academy that works with primary and high schools to work on confidence, self-esteem and combating anti-social behaviour.

• And a new initiative working with Leeds City Council and partners to tackle domestic violence and abuse.

The vision of the Leeds Rugby Foundation is to change lives through sport.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children and families said:

“The Child Friendly Leeds Awards ceremony was an absolutely fantastic night which not only celebrated the people, places and organisations which make Leeds a great place to grow up, it also really showcased the hugely talented young people we have in Leeds.

“I would really like to congratulate all the winners and nominees - they are shining examples of what it really means to be child friendly.

“Becoming a child friendly city is not something we, as a council, can do alone. There are so many people across the city who have really taken on board what we are trying to achieve and these awards are a great opportunity for us to recognise and celebrate their great work and achievements.”

The event would not have been possible without British Gas, who sponsored the whole event and City Varieties for hosting the event and also supporting the young people’s planning group to run the event through workshops, training and much more. The Yorkshire Evening Post is also media partner for the event and supporters of Child Friendly Leeds.

Cllr Blake added:

“Without the support from these businesses we would not have been able to hold this fantastic event and celebrate all the people in our city who are helping to make Leeds child friendly.

“We are always looking for more businesses which are willing to make a pledge to look at how they can help make Leeds a great place to live for every child in the city.”

Sarah Fanthorpe, head of customer service for British Gas at the Newbridge House contact centre, said:

“We are pleased to support the awards again this year as many of the 2,300 people we employ across Yorkshire have young families themselves. I would like to congratulate the winners on their achievements. Their work is key to making Leeds a safer place for our young people to grow up in.”

For more information about how to get involved see www.leeds.gov.uk/childfriendlyleeds.

A full list of the shortlisted nominees:

Best place for children and young people in Leeds

• Belle Isle Family Centre, Health for All

• Herd Farm Residential and Activity Centre

• Meanwood Valley Urban Farm Limited

• SCRAP centre of creative reuse, play and learning

• The Works Skatepark Charity

Looking after children and young people

• Al Osta - Youth Employability Scheme (YES)

• Marvina Babs-Apata - Project Manager Angel of Youths/ Nigerian Community Leeds

• Melanie Metcalfe

• Stacey Robertson - youth worker for groups ‘Out 2-25’ and ‘Transtastic Leeds’

• Tim McSharry - Access Committee for Leeds (ACL)

Children’s champion: individual or group under 11

• Brooke Taylor

• Evie Addelman

• Jake Frood

• Kayleigh Glancy

• New Bewerley Community School, school council

Children’s champion: individual or group age 11- 18

• Aimee Grayston

• Have A Voice - Children in Care Council

• Osauyimwen (Uyi) Ogieva

• Rebecca Slatcher

• Swarcliffe Youth Matters group

Best overall contribution to making Leeds a child friendly city

• Leeds Rhinos Foundation

• Opera North Education

• Prince Philip Centre PHAB Club Leeds

• REEMAP's Junior Fellowship Project

• Central Yorkshire Scouts, Leeds area


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk