Businesses across Leeds are being urged to give our city’s children the best possible start in life.
The YEP is throwing down the gauntlet to organisations to give their assurances they will provide opportunities to brighten the prospects for every child living in Leeds.
Over 100 businesses have already shown their support to Child Friendly Leeds - whether it is using the branding on their website, making sure they have work experience opportunities or opening up their offices to young people.
Among those to show their support to the scheme is Land Securities and Trinity Leeds.
The £350m shopping centre, which opened last year in the centre of Leeds, have tried to make sure children are at the heart of its operations.
Alison Niven, Land Securities retail and operations director for the north and Scotland, said: “When we set out to create Trinity Leeds we wanted to make the centre the heart and soul of the city.
“We carried out lots of work with Leeds City Council and recognised there is a passion for Leeds to be recognised as a child friendly city.
“They have got this vision to make children feel supported and have fun growing up.
“We have to make sure we always keep children at the forefront of the city’s mind.
“It is important for us to get involved because we want Trinity to be seen as the future of Leeds city centre.”
Teenagers were invited to visit the centre and comment on their experiences as well as their opinions about the variety of retailers and layout of the shops.
Trinity Leeds also hosted some of the popular Breeze has Talent events and young performers took centre stage in the mall as hundreds of thousands of shoppers streamed past them.
The centre also placed the council’s Child Friendly Leeds logo on their website and created a safe place for children in their Customer Service Lounge.
Alison added: “It’s important to recognise that a city is made up of lots of different people.
“It would be quite easy to say we will focus on people who work in the city and use Trinity for their leisure time but children are the community of the future.
“I would say to other businesses to embrace Child Friendly Leeds.
“I have been really surprised at the amount of young people in Leeds who have wanted to do things in their own community and perhaps just need a little bit of support to do it.”
British Gas have also pledged their support to the initiative and the forthcoming Child Friendly Leeds awards.
Alison Bush from the company’s Leeds office said: “With over 2,000 people employed by British Gas across Leeds and many with young families we felt it was important to support the Child Friendly Leeds Awards.
“We want to help make Leeds a safe and secure place for children and young people to live in and enjoy.”
Other organisations showing their support for the scheme include the city’s £60m First Direct Arena.
Tony Watson from the arena added: “The First Direct Arena has been designed to meet the needs of a diverse range of user groups and we’re especially proud of working as part of Child Friendly Leeds.
“From supporting youth and community groups to bringing some of the biggest family events to Leeds, from Disney On Ice to X-Factor Live, we’ve already started. In the next few weeks we will also be launching an innovative charity trust to support all of those organisations in the community who support young people.
“We are extremely proud to be working with Child Friendly Leeds and encourage other businesses and venues in the city to support their support, making Leeds child and family friendly.”
To pledge support to Child Friendly Leeds visit www.leeds.gov.uk/childfriendlyleeds.