Leeds children take on council communications challenge

Children from two Leeds primary schools took over Leeds City Council’s communications team for one day last week to help spread the ‘anti-litter’ message across the city.

Children from Bardsey Primary School and Immaculate Heart of Mary Primary School arrived at Leeds Civic Hall ready for work on Takeover Day 2012, Friday 23 November.

As part of their ‘takeover’ the children visited the council chamber where they met Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services. Cllr Blake spoke about how important it is for children and young people to have a say in issues that matter to them and explained about how the council has plans to make Leeds a Child Friendly City.

The children also had the chance to sit in the Lord Mayor’s chair and say what they would do to improve Leeds if they were in charge of the city. Suggestions included fining over-16s for dropping litter and installing talking bins to encourage people to keep Leeds clean.

The young honorary communications team members also met with Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council and told him about their about their plans to encourage people in Leeds to keep their city clean.

The children’s challenge for the day was to come up with a communications campaign to persuade people in Leeds to stop dropping litter, which included designing images and slogans with assistance from a member of the council’s creative services team who was on hand to give expert advice on making the designs clear and eye-catching.

The young people also used Twitter to tell people about their anti-litter campaign and asked celebrities for follows and re-tweets to boost the number of people following the Child Friendly Leeds Twitter feed @child_Leeds. Their efforts proved very successful as they added another 50 followers during their time as communications officers.

One pupil from Immaculate Heart of Mary Primary School said: “Takeover day has been excellent and I’ve really enjoyed it. You got to do what people really do in the council communications team. I’ve learned how to design posters and do things on the internet like tweeting.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services said:

“It was great meeting with such enthusiastic young people. I was very impressed with their confidence and intelligent questions and opinions.

“Takeover day is a great opportunity for children and young people to find out first hand what a work environment is really like. I’m sure some of these children will be members of our communications team in the future!”


For media enquiries, please contact:

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

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk