Leeds City Council officer is a 'local authority hero'

News release issued on behalf of Locality

Neil Charlesworth, Community Asset Officer at Leeds City Council, has been named as a ‘local authority hero by Locality’, the leading nationwide network for community-led organisations.

Locality’s Local Authority Heroes Awards celebrate the nation’s ‘local government heroes’ – the councillors and council staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support community organisations in their local area.

All the ‘heroes’ were nominated by local community organisations, and Locality members, in their area.

Neil was nominated by Locality member the Bramley Baths and Community Trust, for his ongoing support of Bramley Baths and the trust and excellent relationships he’s built up with them and other community organisations in Leeds.

Cathryn Chrimes of the Bramley Baths and Community Trust, a community-owned swimming baths in Broad Lane, said they nominated Neil because:

“When Leeds City Council said it planned to reduce the hours of Bramley Baths, Neil was immediately open to the idea of a community group managing this asset, and worked very hard to establish a good partnership between us and Leeds City Council that still exists today. Neil guided us patiently through the process. He worked around us, aware of the challenges we faced, even arranging meetings at 7.30am so that we could go to work afterwards. He made us feel comfortable in meetings with senior local authority managers and councillors, and his advice on improving our business plan was invaluable. Neil went over and above his role and is a real community champion.”

Steve Wyler, CEO of Locality, said: “Our Local Authority Heroes Awards are designed to celebrate the local authority staff, such as Neil, involved in outstanding partnership working, and say thank you to him, and to them all, for all their work.”

Neil Charlesworth, Community Assets Officer for Leeds City Council, said: “The individuals from Bramley Baths and Community Trust put a lot of hard work and effort into convincing us they could successfully run the baths. In the eighteen months since they took over they’ve proved that to be the case and turned the baths into a successful community facility for the people of Bramley and beyond which is an important part of the Leeds sport offer. I’m proud to have played a part in such a successful project and honoured to receive this award, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated, community minded people of Bramley or without Council colleagues from the Sport and Active Recreation Service.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for Transport and the Economy, said: “I am very pleased that Neil’s hard work has been celebrated with this award. It’s a shining example of the positive ways in which the council can work in partnership with communities to improve their neighbourhood together.”

The Local Authority Heroes Award winners were announced at Locality’s national policy symposium event, held at the RBS building on Bishopsgate, central London, on 30 June 2014.


Locality contact details:

For more press information on the Local Government Hero Awards please contact: Clare Roebuck on 020 7336 9409/clare.roebuck@locality.org.uk or Jo Shardlow 079 1226 9677/ jo.shardlow@locality.org.uk

Leeds City Council contact details:

Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council communications team (0113) 247 5472

Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk

Notes to editors:

About Locality

Locality is the leading nationwide network of community enterprises, development trusts, settlements and social action centres. Locality’s membership has expertise in community asset ownership, community enterprise, collaborative working, community voice and advocacy.

Locality assists people to work together to create and capture local wealth for the benefit of communities –giving hands-on support and promoting peer-to-peer exchange.

Locality is running the My Community Rights support service with advice and access to grants for the Community Right to Bid, Right to Challenge and Right to Build as well as Neighbourhood Planning and Our Place. It is also the UK expert on asset transfer - facilitating the transfer of assets into community hands since 2009. It runs the Community Organisers programme mobilising people across England to bring the change they want in their community