‘Join panel to help shape Leeds’s future’

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A campaign to recruit a 6,000-strong citizens’ panel to give the public a say on key issues has quickly signed up 2,000 members.

But, organisers are keen to enlist many more people to make the project the biggest of its kind in the country.

Leeds City Council and its partners, including NHS Leeds, have launched the initiative to try to build up an accurate picture of what Leeds people want and need from their public services.

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The panel project was inspired by enthusiastic feedback on previous consultations on subjects like the Leeds arena and what older people’s services should look like.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Signing up 6,000 residents to the citizens’ panel is an ambitious target, but we think that it’s vitally important. Our vision is for Leeds to be the best city in the UK, and the Leeds Citizens’ Panel will play a key part in making this happen. People will be asked for their views on topics including environmental issues, cleanliness, transport, health and well-being, and agreeing future priorities for the city.

Panel participants need to be 18 or over, and prepared to spend a small amount of time taking part in surveys and discussions.

The aim is to have a balanced mix of people of different ages, backgrounds and communities to reflect the population of Leeds.

The first survey is due to be sent out early in the new year.

One person who has already signed up to the citizens’ panel is Marilyn from Meanwood, who said: “As a lady in her 60s, I carry a huge amount of guilt from being part of the “liberal” generation who reigned from the 60s to the end of the last century. We allowed our country to sink into an abyss of greed and corruption, so now it is time to give something back. I am very good at complaining so what better way to use my voice than within the community I live? I want to help our local community thrive.”

Another member, Ejaz, from Beeston, added: “I take great pride in my city, Leeds, one of the best cities in the world. The citizens’ panel will give me an opportunity to share ideas with other citizens. I am grateful that I have been given an opportunity to be part of a group of people whose aspirations and ideas will be taken seriously by the decision makers.”

Visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/citizenspanel or contact: citizenspanel@leeds.gov.uk or (0113) 2474610.

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