Leeds ,

Two milestones for Child Friendly Leeds to celebrate

This month the campaign to make Leeds the most child friendly city in the country has two reasons to celebrate – its third birthday and the support of over 350 ambassadors.

It is now three years since HRH The Queen visited Leeds and helped launch Leeds City Council’s bold ambition to be a truly child friendly city.

To celebrate this birthday the Leeds First Direct arena will be turning a shade of ‘child friendly Leeds’ orange on Sunday 19 July. Leeds Rugby Foundation will also be hosting their annual Children’s Day on that date across the cricket and rugby grounds at Headingley Carnegie Stadium from 10.30am – 4pm.

The council announced its aim to become the best place in the UK for children and young people to grow up, in July 2012, and since then has seen the campaign grow from strength to strength. The number of businesses, organisations and individuals who have pledged to support the campaign has now reached over three hundred and fifty.

Leeds Bradford ® Airport is the latest organisation to sign up as child friendly Leeds ambassadors. Businesses and organisations of all sizes have declared how they will make their organisation more child friendly. These include building stronger links with local schools; arranging for staff to become mentors to young people in care, through the Independent Visitors scheme; helping to promote and support foster care across their workforce and looking at how they can better involve children and young people in their organisations.

There is also a steady stream of individual ambassadors coming forward from across the city and beyond, including Olympic champion Nicola Adams and Leeds Rhino players, as well as people from Leeds schools, the council, the NHS and the West Yorkshire Probation service. Ambassadors help inspire others to make Leeds a better place where children are valued, supported, enjoy growing up, and look forward to a bright future.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for children and families said:

“I am really excited to have been recently appointed as the Executive Member for Children and Families and to be involved with the child friendly Leeds initiative. I am also delighted that Councillor Alice Smart will be joining me as the Executive Member for Child Friendly Leeds.

"We are really proud of how well the child friendly ethos has been embraced by the city. In just three years, to have over 350 businesses, organisations and individuals pledging their support spreading the child friendly message as ambassadors, is just fantastic.

“Child friendly Leeds is a far reaching concept which is about putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do, and we understand that there is still long way to go achieve our aim to make Leeds the best city to grow up in.

“We have around 185,000 children and young people in Leeds, and each one of them must have a voice and the opportunity to be involved in decisions about their city. We’ve already listened to thousands of local children and young people and are working to achieve the things that make the most difference to them.

“If we nurture and support our children today we’ll have a better city tomorrow. Everyone in our city can play their part and everyone in our city will benefit from child friendly Leeds.

“By giving our children and young people the best possible start and making Leeds the best place to grow up then we will have a sustainable, prosperous and economic future. Child Friendly Leeds is not just about doing the right thing for children it is about economic regeneration for our whole city as well.”

Tony Hallwood, Aviation Development Director for Leeds Bradford ® Airport said:

“Leeds Bradford are really excited to be supporting and working on this Leeds initiative. It's important that the airport play their part in the communities that we serve and child friendly Leeds will give us new opportunities to deliver this as ambassadors. We will build stronger links with local schools as we invite pupils to have an exclusive tour of Leeds Bradford Airport and have a chance to see how an international airport serves the city region."