Leeds will launch ambitious plans to become a child friendly city during this week’s Royal visit.
As part of the tour of Leeds by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on Thursday 19 July, the Royal party will hear how the child friendly city initiative aims to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to grow up in.
After enjoying performances by children and young people from across Leeds at the City Varieties theatre, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will hear Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services, Councillor Judith Blake describe how Leeds’ wants all its residents, businesses and organisations to put children and young people at the heart of everything they do.
Throughout the day there will be over 700 children and young people from 132 Leeds schools taking part to welcome the Royal party and fly the flags for child friendly Leeds.
Following the Royal visit the celebrations will continue with over 100 children and young people at the City Varieties, where they will watch a short film created by Radiowaves and help create a poem to celebrate child friendly Leeds with professional poet Michelle Scally Clarke.
As part of the campaign businesses in the city are being asked to consider how they can become more child friendly. The launch of Child Friendly Leeds is being supported by Marks and Spencer on Briggate, who are providing free healthy lunches for all children and young people taking part in the City Varieties event. As well as lunch, each child will receive a commemorative Union Jack lunch bag to keep as a souvenir of the day.
Members of the media are invited to attend the launch of the Child Friendly Leeds campaign at the City Varieties theatre at 1pm on Thursday 19 July (after the Royal visit). Interviews with Cllr Judith Blake and Nigel Richardson, the director of children’s services, will be available as well as photo and filming opportunities.
Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Making Leeds look and feel like a child friendly city is a bold ambition, but one that can have a big, positive impact on the future prosperity of our city.
“We want everyone to get involved and today's royal visit, when children and young people are the focus of the celebrations, is the perfect opportunity to highlight that.
“Our children and young people face tough challenges as they grow up. Particularly finding jobs and training that build the skills and confidence to do well. One of the ambitions of being a child friendly city is for Leeds to become a city where every young person is in education, employment or training, using our new city deal to make that ambition a reality.
“A child friendly city is about everyone putting children and young people's rights, responsibilities and roles at the heart of everything we do and giving them a stronger voice to influence their future’’.
The child friendly Leeds campaign aims to unite the whole city to create a place where children and young people are:
• Safe from harm;
• Do well in learning and have the skills for life;
• Choose healthy lifestyles;
• Have fun growing up; and
• Are active citizens who feel they have voice and influence.
As part of the campaign Leeds City Council has been speaking to over 2000 young people to find out what is important to them. Their top 12 ‘wishes’ cover a wide range of topics including:
Transport; the city centre; play; information; children’s rights; respect; healthy lifestyles; learning; jobs and careers; litter; and making young voices heard.
Leeds is now looking for people to become child friendly ambassadors and help others to think about what they can do to make the city more child friendly. To become an ambassador or subscribe to child friendly city updates, email; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The celebration event at the City Varieties is being delivered by a partnership of Leeds City Council’s children’s services and Libraries, Arts and Heritage departments, Space2, Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, the City Varieties and Radiowaves.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713