King Charles III visits Leeds to celebrate 10 years of Child Friendly Leeds

King Charles III visits Leeds to celebrate 10 years of Child Friendly Leeds

It was a sunny winter morning, on Tuesday 8th November 2022 and we were all very excited as we prepared for the Royal Visit. His Majesty The King was welcomed in Leeds for his first visit to the city since ascending to the throne. The King and The Queen Consort were on a 2 day visit to Yorkshire. Please view the full gallery below.

When King Charles III arrived, everyone turned to look, he was welcomed by a large crowd in Leeds City Centre. He spoke with members of the crowds and then walked into Leeds Central Library and Leeds Art Gallery where he was greeted by The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Robert W Gettings MBE JP, Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council and Tom Riordan, the council’s chief executive along with members of the library and Child Friendly Leeds team, colleagues and partners.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have welcomed The King for his first visit since ascending to the throne and we hope today has left a lasting impression of Leeds as a warm, welcoming city with a unique history and heritage. We’re particularly pleased that as part of his visit, The King has helped us to mark 10 years of Child Friendly Leeds, an initiative which is a real success story for the city, and which has made a genuine difference to the lives of local children and young people.”

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council

In the beautiful Tiled Hall, located in The Art Gallery, we had many guests join us on this auspicious occasion. One special guest was newly elected Leeds Children’s Mayor, Mason Hicks aged 10, was elected last month after campaigning on a manifesto of children’s mental and physical health, promoting kindness and community spirit, and the creation of an event to bring children from different backgrounds together.

“I really liked meeting The King, it was very exciting. Me and my school made cards for his birthday and gave them to him.”

Mason, pupil at East SILC John Jamieson

Marking ten years of a citywide ambition, working on many projects, events and initiatives to make Leeds the best city to grow up in, we (as in the CFL team) were super excited to be part of this royal visit.

We were honoured to present King Charles with a golden CFL pin as well our ‘Child Friendly Leeds Passport’ which was designed by children in Leeds as a little activity booklet including places to visit, where to access support and what CFL is all about. The aim is to give this to children and families as a welcome to the city.

CFL ambassadors who have been working closely with us during our tenth anniversary included representatives from schools, Leeds 2023, Landsec, Leeds Hospitals Charity, Leeds Bid, Leeds Baby Bank, The British Library, Leeds Dads and young people including our three Leeds members of the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP); Amelia, Blessing and Tian.

“I couldn’t stop smiling, I’m so grateful to live in Leeds. The king is such a kind hearted individual and greatly cares about the planet – which is what we need”

Tian – Leeds Member of the UKYP

Launched in 2012 by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Child Friendly Leeds (CFL) began as a city-wide initiative to make Leeds the best city to grow up in. It included extensive consultation to learn what children and young people felt would make Leeds a child friendly city which was used to shape and influence a number of policies across the city.

Marking the tenth anniversary, we reviewed the data from consultations, surveys, and ballots over the last 3 years, capturing the views of 80,000 children and young people in the city to identify the current top issues and priorities, which formed the final 12 wishes.

Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth visiting and launch Child Friendly Leeds in 2012

These 12 wishes were displayed around the room, they are aspirational and provide a clear insight into what children and young people feel will make Leeds a more child friendly city and will feed into city-wide policies and strategies.

world reimagined globes leeds

During the day, King Charles viewed a number of The World Reimagined globes that have been displayed as part of a national project to explore the history and impact of the transatlantic slave trade.

The initiative has seen Leeds join cities around the UK in hosting a trail of large scale, colourful globes created by renowned international artists.

As part of a spectacular cultural education project, pupils from 13 schools around the city designed and created their own beautiful artworks – some who showed their work to King Charles.

The other young people who met the King included:

  • John – member of the Leeds Children in Care Council ‘Have a Voice’, working with teams and decision makers in Leeds City Council to help improve services for looked after children.
  • Sudaba – a young woman from Afghanistan representing the Cooked with Love (a year-long cookery book project involving 30 refugees working with social care and The British Library) and she presented the recipe book to King Charles.
  • Blaise – one of the poetry winners for The World Reimagained and presented The King with a signed book of poetry.
  • Amran – Winner of the child / young person of the year in the Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2022. Amran is a fluent speaker of Darsi/Farsi and won the award as he volunteered as translator to break broke down the language barrier for new pupils at John Smeaton Academy and was joined by his principal Pascoe Gill.

“Myself and Amran had a brilliant afternoon. Amran repeatedly said that he would be ‘forever grateful’ for the experience. It was lovely to see the other young people interacting with Amran and sharing in their pride at being invited”.

Pascoe Gill, Principal at John Smeaton Academy

Just before The King left for another engagement, he unveiled a special plaque to mark the 10th anniversary of the CFL initiative, which was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.

Ten years of a city-wide approach, ten years of listening to the voice of children and young people and ten years of improving outcomes for children, young people and their families. We know there is always more to do and we are constantly working with partners across the city to help make a difference.

King Charles unveiling Child Friendly City plaque in Leeds marking 10 years in 2022

Child Friendly Leeds also has a mascot named Leeds Ted, who has been on improvement journey from area to area, event to event and has been some pretty cool places around the world since 2012. Leeds Ted joined by Councillor Fiona Venner (Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships) in meeting the King and has since shared updates on the official @LeedsTed twitter account.

The atmosphere was great, smiles across the room, networking amongst ambassadors and school colleagues. There was beautiful and empowering music provided by Studio12 in the background. Jamie joined us from Studio12 who have been a part Both Sides Now programme to help reduce the gender gap in the music industry, and to provide equal opportunities for female artists and a platform for emerging talent.

View the full gallery and download the images here…

If you would like to get involved and want to find out more about CFL, please visit our website here. The Royal Family website also shared some highlights from King Charles III 2 day Royal Visit in Yorkshire here.


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