Child Friendly Leeds was launched by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2012. Since then, a growing number of partners across the city have been working together to create better outcomes for children and young people in Leeds. We ask everyone to take action in their schools, communities, businesses and organisations to make Leeds a child friendly city. Working on this citywide ambition, we have hundreds of ambassadors and partners that embed this vision in their work place, plans and day to day work!
Our commitment to being the best city for children and young people is founded on the global movement of Child Friendly Cities initiated by UNICEF, and guided by the voices of children and young people in Leeds.
Celebrating ten years of Child Friendly Leeds in 2022, His Majesty The King was welcomed in Leeds for his first visit to the city since ascending to the throne.
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, Children’s Mayor 2022 – 2023, pupil at East SILC John Jamieson
The Child Friendly Leeds team are based in the Children & Families directorate of Leeds City Council, and are responsible for coordinating some of the key work strands that support our citywide ambition to be Child Friendly Leeds. These include; communications, events, ambassador engagement, play and enrichment activities and opportunities. We work in partnership with teams and organisations across the city, helping develop connections and partnerships that contribute towards the outcomes of the Leeds children and young people’s plan and Child Friendly Leeds Wishes.
During our tenth birthday celebrations, we reconnecting with ambassadors with events and networking opportunities, launched the refreshed 12 wishes, had HRH King Charles visit Leeds in November 2022 to mark our tenth anniversary and meet young people.
We have produced this annual report to share some highlights from the team as well as our fantastic ambassador partnerships from September 2021 – September 2022.
Child friendly Leeds aims to make Leeds a better place for everyone growing up and particularly to address the issues and challenges that can prevent children and young people realising their potential. If you share our ambition for Leeds to be the best city for children and young people to grow up in, you can become a Child Friendly Leeds ambassador. From the outset of the ambition there has been a central aim to harness ‘the commonwealth of the city’ into what has become the CFL ambassador network. Our ambassadors work with us on a range of fantastic initiatives to promote the best start in life and help children and their families to lead healthy and active lives.
Our ambassadors promote this vision through their networks and social media platforms, listen to the voices of children, young people and families, and use feedback to improve their practice and/or services. Ambassadors are invited to regular networking events, receive updates via newsletters, get involved in various projects to help young people develop their skills and experience, and involve their staff in activities and days to help and support children. Child Friendly Leeds can help organisations shape and deliver the aims of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.
Just a few more highlights
Child Friendly Leeds has many strands and one of these is ‘enrichment’. Our enrichment work focuses on supporting many children and young people across the city. Some are in the care of the local authority, and those who are leaving local authority care (care leavers) and we aim to provide them with access to a range of fun and meaningful opportunities that support their aspirations, learning and personal development. A few other highlights include:
- Making Leeds city centre more child friendly including big city wide events such as Child Friendly Leeds Live & Jurassic Trail
- Child Friendly Leeds Awards – Celebration & Recognition
- 3 A’s strategy and promoting Year of Reading
- Child Poverty and reducing the impact
- Skills fit for the digital age
- Baby Week Leeds – bringing sectors together to promote the best start
- Climate Emergency and the voice and influence of young people
What People Say
It’s a ‘win-win’. The children of Leeds benefit from the involvement of local businesses whilst the businesses get a chance to give something back. Staff feel fulfilled, have a greater sense of engagement in the workplace and a stronger commitment to their employer.Arena Group Ltd
All young people deserve the best start in life and should have the opportunity to achieve their potential. We believe that access to quality education is a key element in this, and we are therefore delighted to support child friendly Leeds in putting young people at the heart of the future of a successful city.Go Higher West Yorkshire