Designs on better living for everyone

For more than 30 years, students at Leeds Metropolitan University have been offering their expertise to build better communities across Yorkshire.

Next week, they will be showcasing their work with a wide range of groups and organisations. The Design and Community Exhibition, which is being held in Leeds city centre next week, will give Landscape Architecture and Garden Art and Design students the chance to present their latest plans and talk over the future of projects with the people who are benefiting from their visions of a better future.

LMU students have been working with elderly people, environmentalists, entrepreneurs and disabled groups on everything from the concept of therapeutic gardens to the practicalities of outdoor learning facilities and better design for school playgrounds to stop bullying.

Over the years, dozens of schemes have helped schools, hospices and community centres.

This time round, initiatives include a new garden for the Hollybank Trust, and a school and residential care centre for disabled children in Mirfield.

Other beneficiaries of the students' time and expertise include Billings View, a sheltered accommodation complex in Rawdon.

Beckfoot School in Bingley and a business enterprise project in Harehills, Leeds are also on the list.

And postgraduate students have been working in consultation with schools on the design of new school playgrounds in Leeds and Bradford.

Debbie Samuel, Leeds Metropolitan Lecturer in Architecture, Landscape and Design, said the outreach work provides students with vital skills and is of real long-term benefit to communities

She said: "We started this work over 30 years ago and it is a unique relationship we have with our local communities.

This is not like a TV garden makeover programme or any other artificial, instant fix solution.

It is a real and serious engagement in the design process between local people who tell us what the issues are and what kind of help we can give them.

We then go back to the drawing board and come up with drawings and blueprints to take things forward. "

In recent months, LMU students have been working with staff and pupils at the Hollybank Trust on plans for new gardens.

Workshop

They are currently liaising with architects and drawing up the final details of the designs, which will be presented at the exhibition.

Debbie Samuel added: "As part of the understanding process, our students attended a disability equality workshop where they were blind-folded and sat in wheelchairs to help them understand the sensory deprivation of many of the residents at the centre. We are proud of their work and their commitment to our communities which leaves a real and lasting legacy. "

LMU's Design and Community exhibition will be available for public viewing on Wednesday January 19 and Thursday January 20.

Students will be talking about their community partnership work as well as showcasing an impressive portfolio of designs and drawings.

Venue for the exhibition is LMU's Old Broadcasting House building.

A world tour... without leaving the school building

STAFF at a Leeds primary school created a magical world for youngsters returning after the Christmas break.

Pupils at Yeadon Westfield Junior School came back on the first day of term to find their school hall transformed into an enchanting space evoking all kinds of different terrains from tropical rainforests to desert landscapes.

The project took months to prepare and this year's imaginative extravaganza marks the third time it has been organised.

Deputy headteacher Lisa Piotrowucz said:"We have been planning it since June because it takes months and months of effort.

In previous years we have taken on themes like Narnia or Under The Sea.This year the topic was unknown lands,so we had a very big area to play with."

The project is designed to promote everything from art to geography and creative writing,with a finale which stays secret right until the very end.

Mrs Piotrowicz added: "On the day, we pretended it was a staff training day and put up a special covered scaffolding so when the children came in they were taken completely by surprise."

In previous years actors playing roles have joined in the fun.

This time round,staff dressed as everything from Egyptian princesses to lumberjacks as they enjoyed widening the youngsters' horizons.

Other local schools,including Yeadon Westfield Infants,were also invited to take part.

Minister praises improvements

A North Yorkshire school is celebrating after winning official recognition for its hard work in improving performance

Selby Community Primary has been congratulated by the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb MP, for its sustained improvement each year from 2008-2010.

The statistic places the school in the Top 100 of performing schools nationally.

The good news follows a highly successful Ofsted inspection in March 2009 and governors say it marks a "huge turn around" for the school.

Kathy Fiddes, Chair of Governors, said:"We are delighted that the hard work and achievement of the pupils and staff has been recognised nationally and that we arein the group of 100 top performing schools for sustained improvement.Selby Community Primary continues to gofrom strength to strength.

The pupils themselves have contributed to the changes at the school.This, coupled with the high standard of teaching and learning, means that pupils are now leaving Selby Community Primary School in a better position for the future than ever before."

Headteacher Ian Clennan added: "I was incredibly surprised to receive this letter from the Department for Education and would like to thank everyone at school for their continued hard work and dedication."

Call to 50th anniversary

Former pupils at a North Leeds school are being invited to celebrate a landmark anniversary and share their memories.

Bramhope Primary School is celebrating 50 years in the education business and the 2011 generation wants to hear from others from across the years with fond recollections of the school.

In June, classes will be presenting a special assembly themed on each of the decades.

Children and staff will dress in the appropiate clothing, perform songs and dances and share important events.

More information about the events on 0113 214 1037.

Netbook prize in art contest

An IT accessories company is calling on budding artists to draw 'something that makes them happy'.

The winning artist in the contest sponsored by Lapsafe products will win five Netbooks for their school and a trolley to store and charge them.

The winner will also take home a Netbook for themselves and a runner-up will also win 100 worth of book vouchers for their classroom and 30 worth for themselves.

The competition, running to March 31, is open to all UK primary school children.

Visit www.lapsafe.com/competition to download an entry form.

Fillingfir Drive, Leeds (Google)

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