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NEWS ROUNDUP: Safer Leeds strategy review


15/11/21 | Leeds local news | Safer Leeds Strategy Review | Members of Leeds City Council’s executive board will discuss a refreshed version of the ‘Safer Leeds’ partnership strategy in its ongoing commitment to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime and protect communities.

Over the past three years, the council has worked with a range of partners including West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, West Yorkshire Probation Services, Leeds NHS, the Office of the West Yorkshire Crime Commissioner and Leeds based Voluntary and Community Sector, to implement the ‘Safer Leeds’ strategy.

Achievements over the last three years include a reduction in recorded crime and real positive changes in the way victims are supported and encouraged to report crimes.

The plan is now to be updated for the next three years, aiming to build on the work through strengthened relationships, for the benefit of all communities in the city.

From listening to our communities, the Safer Leeds partnership have heard how the impact of crime on individuals, families and neighbourhoods can be devastating and understand how the fear of crime can affect people. Some communities will experience crime and anti-social behaviour because of who they are, or where they live, and some may not feel comfortable in coming forward and reporting it. In turn, peoples’ experiences and perceptions can have a detrimental impact on their lives.

Moving forward, the Safer Leeds partnership will look at how victims can be further supported, how offending can be reduced and prevented, and how neighbourhoods can be safer.  The ambition is to get to the root causes of the issues in the areas worst affected, with an increased emphasis on early identification and prevention that enable and create opportunities to allow all communities to prosper safely.

A decision on the plan will be made at the council’s executive board meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 17 November. 

Councillor Debra Coupar, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said:  

“People living in Leeds have a right to live in a safe, clean and tolerant society and everyone has a responsibility to behave in a way that respects this right. Although we have seen much success over the past three years, we must now work to build on that and continue to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and protect and support victims.

“Feedback from the community and research we have carried out suggests that the nature and type of crime is also changing and evolving; for example, cyber related crime has become more prevalent and together with our partners we need to be vigilant of technology being used for the wrong reasons.

“As a compassionate city, preventing victimisation and supporting people harmed by crime is central to our work, as is tailoring our response to individual needs. This is why it’s so important that we have a people-focused approach and that we are informed by, and work with people with lived experience, to shape services.”



Baby Week Leeds has returned with a programme of events to help babies get the best start in life possible.

Free and low-cost events include baby-friendly film screenings, sensory and messy play and baby first aid courses.

This is the sixth year Leeds has hosted a Baby Week and the theme for 2021 is ‘Strengths and Struggles’.

There are now around 9,500 babies born in Leeds every year. Babies who have the best possible start in life will be more likely to benefit from successful futures.

Baby Week Leeds is supported by Leeds City Council, the NHS, Leeds Bid and Leeds Community Foundation, and works to improve the health and care services in Leeds for parents-to-be and new parents.

There’s a week-long programme of both digital webinars and face to face events for parents, carers, families and professionals kicking off on 15 November.

This year’s theme reflects strengths and struggles in the world of maternity and early years and addresses the added challenges of experiencing pregnancy, birth and first steps during a global pandemic and how families were supported with the added power of social media.

Cllr Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council's Executive Member for Children and Families and Adults and Health Partnerships; and Cllr Salma Arif, Executive Member for Public Health said:

“We are delighted that Baby Week Leeds is able to celebrate its 6th anniversary. It is brilliant that parents, professionals and families will be able to come together (virtually and in-person) to share ideas and good practice. 2021 has continued to be a challenging year for so many people and many have struggled during pregnancy due to the impact of Covid and the restrictions this placed upon them.

“As a city, we are working hard to deliver on our ambition for Leeds to be the best city for children and young people to grow up in. Baby Week shows we are committed to placing children and young people at the heart of everything we do and this includes from the very start of their lives as new born babies. We are delighted that other cities and areas in the UK are working with Leeds and hosting Baby Week in their locality.”

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of connecting parents and carers to services across Leeds and bring sectors together more effectively. As part of the week’s celebrations, there will be many free and low cost events including an ‘Ask the Professionals’ webinar where parents can book on a ‘closed’ Zoom call and submit questions to many experts in the world of maternity and early years.

There will also be a free half-day conference for professionals focused on the best start, mental health, attachment, and the exciting developments of the brain in a baby.

To find out more, click here.



A fascinating stash of movie-going artefacts dating back more than a century has been discovered by workmen during the renovation of an old cinema.

The floorboards at Hyde Park Picture House were lifted for the first time in decades, revealing a treasure trove of items belonging to patrons from as far back as the 1920s.

Long lost items, some of which had fallen from the pockets of former patrons, were discovered including cigarette packets and sweet wrappers from a by-gone era.

The theatre in Leeds, West Yorks., began exhibiting their finds in weekly social media posts called “treasure trash Tuesdays”.

Ollie Jenkins, marketing and communications manager, said the objects sparked interest as they chronicle the lives of visitors back to 1914 when the site first opened.

He said: “They tell the story of what was happening in the cinema throughout those years.”

The cinema is being restored after securing a £2.3m lottery grant.

Back in July, work began to modernize the historic Leeds cinema, with a second screen in the basement, a front-facing extension and changes to improve accessibility.

But as the restoration of the grade-two listed building progressed, Ollie, 32, became fascinated by the things left behind by its former patrons.

He said: “As the work has happened, we have uncovered all sorts of bits that have been hidden under the floorboards and under carpets – things that have slipped through the cracks over the years.

“Most of it is kind of rubbish, essentially – things like cigarette packets and sweet wrappers – but obviously when they are 60 to 70 years old, they become quite interesting.”

So far, Ollie has recovered around 20 household items that dropped out of people's pockets, with some dating back a century.

He said: “All kind of fall within the categories of either chocolates and sweets or cigarettes, but we found a film box, too.”

“The earliest stuff we are finding is from the 30s or maybe late 20s, which feel pretty old – 100 years, almost.”

One specific item stood out to Ollie, an intricate Woodbine cigarette packet, as the brand was often smoked by soldiers in the Wold Wars.

He said “I think they’re a very popular brand of cigarettes, particularly during both the First and Second World War, because they were the cigarette of choice for soldiers.

“When I picked that up, I did wonder if that was from a soldier who was on leave and had maybe come back to Leeds to see a film, and maybe dropped that.

He added: “You start to romanticize these things a little bit.”

Since Ollie started posting the items online last week, theatre enthusiasts of all ages have been trying to date the historic objects and trace their backstory.

“We’re sharing them online every Tuesday and making a point that if they have any information about these items – if you can help in terms of dating them – let us know!

“We’ve been using the hive mind of the internet to help us.”

He added: “It’s basically desk research in terms of seeing if anyone else has picked up something similar and shared it online and what their best guess is.

“Usually, it’s hard to get better than within ten to twenty years, but sometimes the packaging is a really good sign of when exactly something came out.”

Though Hyde Park Picture House is in a process of redevelopment, it remains one of the oldest independent cinemas in the UK today.

One of its most unique period features is its nine gas lamps that flicker throughout screenings, which its owners believe are the only working examples still used in a cinema anywhere in the world.

During the building work, these will be restored along with the cinema’s façade, with the conservation project due to be completed in September next year.

The cinema has begun a fundraising campaign, running for six weeks, to raise further money for the improvements that are currently underway.

(LDRS | Douglas Whitbread)

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