An update on Student Changeover, the period when many students in the area all move house. We have had 6 enforcement Officers patrolling the whole area from 8am until 4pm since 20th June. They have been advising residents on what to do with waste, handing out warnings for presenting waste in the street and issuing fines where necessary. This is planned to be continuing until 6th July by which time the vast majority of people moving house in this period will have done so. We have been working on educating students, landlords and letting agents since the beginning of this year in preparation for this student changeover period. In regards to waste clearance we have put in as much extra resource in Headingley, Hyde park and Woodhouse as possible – obviously yesterday and today are the days when most people move so we should be reaching a peak with everything improving over the next few days. Our Cleaner Neighbourhoods Team operatives are working up until 7pm every day in this period, doing extra hours to alleviate as much pressure as possible. As local Councillors we too are supplementing this with ward walks and reporting in flytipping and waste – we are also reporting in all that is sent to us over email or text. If you are moving, please do not leave items out on your wall or in the street in the hope that people will want to take your things. 95% of these sort of items will not get taken and then the rest becomes illegal flytipping. Please dispose of your waste properly, either through acknowledged donation channels or thrown away properly. There is a huge amount to get through, so please bear with us over the next few days, and do contact us if you think there’s a street or area being missed. And thank you to all those residents for their patience in this annual difficult period! Cllrs Walshaw, Pryor & Garthwaite
It was lovely to see this amazing insect hotel in the garden at Woodhouse Community Centre. It was created by the Inkwell gardening group using lots of natural and found materials, this insect hotel is the perfect home for all our beautiful bugs and perfect pollinators!
The gardening group meet on Thursday mornings 10am – 11.30am – new members welcome
The government has announced further measures to help with the ongoing cost of living crisis, and in particular rising fuel bills
All households will get £400 cut from the fuel bill in October, this is replacing the £200 ‘loan payment’ proposed earlier and it will not have to be repaid. It will be credited to your electricity bill (if you are on a prepayment meter this is likely to be paid in top-up vouchers).
In addition, people over State Pension age (on 26th September 2022) will be paid an extra £300 on top of the existing Winter Fuel Allowance. This should be paid directly into your bank account in November or December
Households in receipt of means tested benefits will receive £650, to be paid in two instalments, one in July and one in the autumn. This will apply to you if you get: Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit.
A £150 disability cost of living payment will be made in September to those receiving non-means tested disability benefits—Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Scottish Disability Benefits, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance, War Pension Mobility Supplement.
You do not need to claim any of these—they should be paid automatically to you. You will receive all of the payments you qualify for and they do not affect any other benefits and are not taxable. They are all intended as one off measures for this year only.
This is in addition to the £150 paid via Council Tax that many people will have already received. All households in band A-D qualify for this even if you do not pay any council tax because you get full council tax support or are exempt for another reason. If you pay your Council Tax by direct debit this should have already been paid into your bank account. People who don’t pay by direct debit needed to claim this payment online at www.leeds.gov.uk/council-tax/£150-council-tax-rebate. Caring Together have helped many members to claim this but if you still haven’t claimed please get in touch with us if you need assistance to do so.
The household support fund has also been increased, and extended to March 2023. This is money paid to local councils to help them support those most in need, with rising cost of food, energy, and water bills. You may be able to get help from this if you do not qualify for the other measures. You can contact Leeds Welfare Support on 0113 376 0330.
If you are struggling, please ask for help. Caring Together can help our members to look at the options and to access the support that is available so please contact us. Even if you are not a member, we can try and put you in touch with the organisations that can offer help.
“It’s not called getting old, it’s called getting ill”
It’s Dementia Action Week and this year’s campaign will focus on the theme of diagnosis.
If you or a loved one is experiencing memory loss, it could be a sign of dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society research shows that the misconception around memory loss being a sign of normal ageing is the biggest barrier to people seeking a dementia diagnosis.
With diagnosis rates falling to a five-year low, we want to encourage those who might be living with undiagnosed dementia to come to us for guidance and support and feel empowered to take the next step.
Getting a diagnosis can be daunting, but we believe it’s better to know. And so do 91% of people affected by dementia.
To bring together communities through the losses suffered during Covid-19, a short candlelit vigil walk from the Millennium Square to the Mill Hill Chapel in City Square (Leeds) on the 23rd April, 2022 between 6-9pm.
6pm Meet on the steps of the Civic Hall in Millennium Square where Martin House Children’s Hospice choir will be performing. Civic leaders will be attending and opening our event.
Opening Speakers: Councillor Eileen Taylor; Councillor Sharon Burke; Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung; Councillor Mohammed Iqbal; Councillor Sharon Hamilton
7pm A candle lit walk stopping at significant places to pause and reflect, en route to City Square and finally into Mill Hill Chapel
8pm We will be gathering inside the chapel until 9pm (event finishes)
There will be a musical performance from: Sarah Yaseen & Mina Salama
Two online maps have been launched to help Blue Badge holders and other road users navigate around Leeds city centre as major road improvements are carried out and completed.
The disabled parking map shows the on-street locations where Blue Badge holders can park, with 111 spaces allocated across 21 different locations in the city centre. How to access the spaces and the direction of travel to them is shown on the map in blue, whilst the exit routes are shown in yellow. Everyone registered with the council as a Blue Badge holder will also receive a link to an online version of the and can request a physical copy of the map.
The second map shows which roads have restricted access and at what times. Where there are no restrictions at any time, roads are shown in green. However, others including The Headrow, Vicar Lane and Call Lane restrict access to certain road users at specific times of the day. For example, a large section of Vicar Lane is restricted to only buses, hackney carriages and cycles between 7am – 10am and between 4pm – 7pm.
The new restrictions will be enforced by cameras and Penalty Charge Notices will be issued for infringements. Some of the restrictions are already being enforced. Cameras for several of the new restrictions will be activated over the coming months and the public will be notified when new cameras are to be activated. All funds from this will be reinvested into making improvements to the Leeds transport network.
The maps have been created following discussions with stakeholders, to help ensure people can find their way around the city centre during the ongoing major improvements. These changes are part of the £173.5million Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme as part of Connecting Leeds, that aims to dramatically improve public transport and cycling and walking infrastructure across Leeds. It has been shaped from public consultations including the Transport Conversation in 2016, the City Centre consultation in 2018 and consultations on the Headrow and Corn Exchange improvements in 2019.
In these consultations, members of the public asked for:
priority for buses, pedestrians and cyclists above private vehicles
the retention of access routes to city centre public car parks and delivery routes for businesses
easy access for blue badge parking
bus gates to increase the reliability of buses travelling through the city centre (A ‘bus gate’ is a short section of road where access is restricted to buses, hackney carriages and pedal cycles only at certain times (as specified by the signage)).
enforceable and meaningful restrictions for private vehicle users
access maintained to important Leeds landmarks such as the first direct arena, the universities, Leeds General Infirmary, and Leeds Playhouse.
The maps will be further updated once future city centre improvement works have been delivered.
The local elections will take place 4 weeks from today on Thursday 5th May.
Poll cards are now being sent out to everyone currently registered to vote in this year’s elections for seats on Leeds City Council. Please check the details on your poll card when it arrives, and also note the location of the polling station which may have changed. For those wishing to vote in person at polling stations, all necessary Covid-19 precaution measures will be taken to ensure it can be done so safely.
If you are not registered, or if you have moved home and need to register your new address, this can be done by visiting https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. The deadline for registrations is Thursday 14 April.
Postal poll cards are also being sent to anyone currently registered to vote by post.
If you pay your council tax by direct debit you don’t need to do anything, the £150 will be paid into your bank account by the end of April.
If you don’t pay by direct debit you will need to fill in a form to claim your rebate. This form will be available from today at leeds.gov.uk/energybillsrebate
You can choose to be paid directly, or to get £150 off this year’s council tax bill.
To complete the form, you will need:
an email address
your council tax account number
one proof of identity, such as passport, driving licence, bank statement or utility bill (this cannot be your council tax bill)
Bank details if you want the money paid into your bank.
If you are eligible but don’t pay any council tax because you get full council tax benefit support you will also need to claim via the form at leeds.gov.uk/energybillsrebate
If you need help to claim this you can get help at any of the councils Community Hubs from today.
You can also contact Caring Together for help to fill in the forms.
If you are not eligible for the rebate – for example if your house is in a higher band but you will be struggling to pay your bills there is some support available from a ‘discretionary fund’ and we should have more details on how you can access this soon.
On the second anniversary of the UK lockdown – a day to pause and reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years and on the lives of those we have lost.
Whether a death is recent or long ago, and whether or not it was due to Covid-19, every year there are millions of people bereaved. The restrictions we’ve all been living under have meant that many people have had to grieve without friends and family around them.
At 12pm, there’ll be a minute’s silence and people are encouraged to come together to honour loved ones who have died and reflect on the challenges we’ve overcome by observing a nationwide minute of silence.
Civic buildings in Leeds will be lit up in yellow during the evening.
We are writing to you this week against the backdrop of the crisis unfolding in Ukraine. Leeds has a long and proud history of helping those in need and we are doing everything we can to support the relief effort and welcome displaced Ukrainians to our city.
We recently launched the Leeds Together for Ukraine appeal, and the total is already approaching £70,000. Every donation will help to provide accommodation and support for Ukrainians who have lost their homes.
Thank you to all who have donated, and to our partners helping with the appeal. They include the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Leeds branch), Migration Yorkshire and Leeds Community Foundation.
Another way you can help is by registering with the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme if you are able to offer accommodation for at least six months.
We know however that closer to home the rising cost of living is a serious concern. We will outline below where to get advice if you are worried about money, as well as update you on the local coronavirus situation.
Helping you with money matters
With the rising cost of living putting pressure on household budgets, please remember there is support on hand if you are worried about managing your money and your fuel bills. Advice is free and confidential.
The 25 community hubs across Leeds provide information in person or by phone and can signpost you to other organisations in the city for assistance tailored to your specific circumstances.
If you need urgent help with paying for food, gas or electricity you can call our welfare support team on 0113 376 0330 Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (from 10am on Wednesdays).
Subject to household eligibility, there is funding available for high quality attic insulation to keep homes warmer and cut energy bills. Find out the criteria and apply by 31 March.
Energy bills rebate and council tax
During April, we will pay the government energy bills rebate of £150 to most households in council tax bands A to D. If you pay by Direct Debit, the rebate will be paid directly into your bank account. If you use another payment method you must apply for the rebate by completing an online form, which will be available from 4 April. If you need help with the online form just ask at one of our community hubs.
Your council tax bill for 2022/23 includes more information about the rebate. Please read this carefully and keep your bill handy so you can find your council tax account number. You’ll need it if you have to claim the rebate or make any enquiries about your account.
The Covid-19 case rate in Leeds has reached 462 per 100K, a significant increase of over 50% in the past week. The case rate in England stands at 617 per 100K.
Whilst a rise in cases was likely as the lifting of restrictions led to increasing social contacts, the disease is less severe for most individuals who have been vaccinated. However the case rates are a timely reminder that Covid-19 remains with us and is a source of anxiety for those who are clinically vulnerable. We can all help by maintaining some simple precautions.
As the weather improves, we can enjoy meeting friends and family outdoors which is much safer. If you do have to spend time together indoors, you can reduce the risk of spreading the virus by opening windows and doors for fresh air and wearing face coverings where possible. Please remember to wash your hands regularly and try to stay at home if you are unwell.
During the pandemic it has been reassuring to be able to test regularly for Covid. It’s important to note that under the living with Covid strategy the government will stop providing free universal Covid-19 testing from 1 April. In-person test sites in Leeds offering PCR tests for people with coronavirus symptoms will close on 31 March. After that date lateral flow kits for asymptomatic testing will no longer be issued free of charge but can be purchased from retail outlets.
With effect from today, all Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted for people arriving into England from abroad. Other countries still have entry rules in place, so you should check travel advice before departure from the UK.
Vaccination is the best protection
With restrictions lifted, the national living with Covid strategy centres on vaccines as the best line of defence against the virus. The effectiveness of the vaccines is constantly monitored and the data shows that two doses help you avoid serious illness while a booster dose as well makes you 90% less likely to need hospital treatment.
It’s never too late to start your Covid-19 vaccination course and there are clinics across the city where you can either book or walk in for your first, second or booster dose. Find a walk-in vaccination clinic near you or use the NHS booking service.
The self-isolation support scheme ended when the law on self-isolation was lifted on 24 February. However, if you were required to self-isolate before that date, you may still have time to apply for the self-isolation support payment. You can apply up to 42 days from your first day of isolation and must submit your application via the council website no later than Wednesday 6 April.
And finally…a week left to nominate in the Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2022
The Child Friendly Leeds Awards will be extra special this year. Not only is it their 10th birthday, Child Friendly Leeds is also celebrating all the wonderful ways in which Leeds is the best city for children and young people – even when there’s a global pandemic.
The awards were cancelled last year due to Covid restrictions, so if you know of a child, young person, adult or organisation deserving recognition for amazing achievements over the past two years, please tell us! Make your nomination online by 10pm on Friday 25 March.