Building For the Future – Inspirational words from our ambassador, Sarah Sibbald from HCP

Last year, we met up with Sarah Sibbald from HCP social infrastructure.  Sarah has been signed up as Child Friendly Leeds ambassadors since 2014 she and her team do lots through their work to support children in the community. Sarah’s energy and enthusiasm is remarkable; we thought it would be a great time to ask her some questions about why she chooses to support #ChildFriendlyLeeds …

Sarah’s answers to our questions and her clarity about the significance of mentoring in her life as well as her gratitude for the various people who supported her family, when she was a child, make this one of our most inspiring blogs!  We hope you enjoy reading her words, as much as we did…..

Sarah, you have an amazing job, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a Police Woman.  I wanted to reduce crime and make people’s lives better.  

Can you tell us a bit about your role in the company and what your business does?

I am the Project Director for PFI Projects across the City.  I have 10 Primary schools and a Transformational housing project at Swarcliffe.  I ensure that the projects are maintained and well looked after by my Facilities Management Companies, Pinnacle and Yorkshire Housing.  These companies do a sterling job and are always looking at ways in which we/they can give something back to the community not just the schemes that we work in.

How did you get into your job?

I worked my way up from being an office Junior, I’ve had some fantastic female and male mentors in every role that I acquired throughout my career, they were really inspirational leaders and showed me what to aim for and how to go about doing this.  Professional and personal mentors played a vital part in my success and they still do.

Why do you support Child Friendly Leeds and why are you supporting the Child Friendly Leeds fund?

As a child I grew up in a one parent family, often having little food and very little clothing.  Electricity and Gas were frequently off.  My mother had a number of serious issues, which were challenging for our family unit.  We had various social workers and charity support workers to help us and if wasn’t for the generosity of these charities and our social worker, working extremely hard, we would have gone without the basics.  My story is not unique, it is the reality for many families and children across the country.  I have worked very hard to get where I am, however, I have not done this alone.  I am now in a marvellous position at HCP to be able to give something back to the community and families and I have a marvellous team that can help to achieve this.

What else do you do to support children via your business?

We are part of  the Beanstalk Vision for Literacy Foundation.  We give our time to help young children and families learn to read and communicate better.

hcp xmas

Since then, Sarah and her team have worked with Child Friendly Leeds on many projects including Child Poverty strategy, sponsoring the Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2019 and supporting us to make Christmas extra special for children in care and care leavers.

Sprouts About at Leeds Central Library! Wronsgsemble Theatre Company presents ‘The Princess and the Sprout & Other Festive Tales’

Local theatre company Wrongsemble have a sprout or two up their sleeve when it comes to festive family-friendly entertainment. Catch their brand new pop-up show The Princess and the Sprout & Other Festive Tales from 7th-31st December at Leeds Central Library, the only festive show in Leeds this year specifically catering to 3-8 year old audiences.

Who are Wrongsemble?

We are a family theatre company based right here in Leeds, dedicated to creating unique and vibrant theatre for young people, schools and families. The company was born out of a desire to make family theatre for all, from the young of age to the young at heart! Since our creation in 2015, we’ve made all sorts of shows that have been performed across West Yorkshire and the UK.IMG_3569

Most recently we’ve been touring our magical reimagining of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, and over the summer we presented The Alia Chronicles outdoors at Bradford’s magnificent Mirror Pool for Bradford Literature Festival.

What is The Princess and the Sprout?

The Princess and the Sprout & Other Festive Tales is a brand new festive show that we have created in collaboration with Leeds Central Library. Our festive tales will be bursting with original live music, and embody our characteristically mischievous style, which turns typical children’s stories on their heads.

Audiences can expect a cheeky retelling of ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’, as well as a reimagining of ‘The Red Shoes’ that transforms the tragic fable into a joyful adventure about the value of inner beauty over outward appearance. The title story takes the fairytale of ‘The Princess and the Pea’ and mounts a timely challenge to the gender stereotypes endorsed by the original, presenting a world where sprouts are magical and girls aren’t defined by delicacy, but by daring and bravery.

Each show will be rounded off with an interactive ‘stay and play’ session onstage, giving you the chance to meet the cast and try on some amazing costumes.

Why have you made the show?

We love libraries, and we want to share their magic with families across Leeds. They are incredible places filled with stories and opportunities, and we want to encourage young people to enjoy them, championing the joy of reading and the power of the imagination. This Christmas, none of Leeds’ main theatres are producing a festive show specifically for three to eight year olds, and we are delighted to be ensuring that new and existing audiences of this age are provided for in a truly unique environment.

What makes it so special?

The Princess and the Sprout isn’t any old festive show; it is one that has been created especially for Leeds Libraries, weaving the people and amazing literary collections found there into each story. It will be performed in a one-of-a-kind pop-up theatre never before seen in the Library, with full stage and lighting. Each tale has been transported to Leeds (our hometown!) and will be routed in the voices and geography of the city. IMG_3566

All of our shows centre around a relaxed atmosphere, enabling families from all over Leeds to experience magical productions. The Princess and the Sprout has been designed with total inclusivity, and we will be staging two Relaxed Performances, along with BSL Interpreted shows. It is a show for the whole festive season – not just for Christmas – and so we hope it will prove an enchanting experience for all ‘sprouts’ ages 3-8 and their grown-ups!



Venue: Room 700, Leeds Central Library, Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 3AB

Dates: 7th-31st December

Performances: Times vary

Running time: 50 mins

Ticket prices: Children/Concessions £5 | Adults £7 | Family of Four £20

Book online: &


  • Rosie Fox
  • Edith Kirkwood
  • Russell Richardson

Creative Team

  • Director / Writer – Elvi Piper
  • Designer – Antony Jones
  • Access Producer – Kirsty Pennycook
  • Producer – Chemeana Lacey
  • Technical Consultants – Production Light and Sound
  • Libraries Consultant – Rachel Ingle-Teare


The Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2019

What are the Child Friendly Leeds Awards?

2019 will be the sixth year that the annual Child Friendly Leeds Awards have been run in partnership between Child Friendly Leeds (CFL), Leeds City Council and the City Varieties Learning Team.

The CFL Awards showcase the amazing things that children, young people, adults, schools, communities, businesses and organisations are doing to make Leeds a better city for children and young people. This year we have eight award categories (a new one seems to get added every year) and these are:

  • Child of the Year (under 11)
  • Young Person of the Year (11 – 25 years old)
  • Youth Group of the Year
  • Adult Making a Difference for Young People
  • Communities and Schools Working Together
  • Inspiring Creativity Through Arts and Culture
  • Best Place in Leeds for Children and Young People
  • Overall Contribution to Making Leeds a Child Friendly City

The nomination window closed at the end of October and we received 573 nominations for children, young people, youth groups, volunteers in schools, adults (including youth group leaders, teaching assistants, teachers, nurses, and physiotherapists), community groups, arts organisations, public places and venues, cafes, restaurants, sports centres, religious places of worship and many more. This year we received the largest number of nominations ever – so a BIG thank you to everyone who made a nomination.

Who organises the CFL Awards?

The CFL Awards are organised by a different group of young people every year who are attend secondary schools or colleges in Leeds. This year there are 13 of us and one of our first jobs was to decide on a theme for the Awards and a name for ourselves. We decided on the theme of comic super heroes and wanted our name to link to this and so we’re called The Dynamics! The group is made up of young people aged 12 to 17 years old (I’m the oldest!) and come from ten different schools and colleges from across Leeds. CV11Oct003

How do The Dynamics organise the CFL Awards?

We started to meet once a week after school for an hour and a half from mid-September and we’ll continue to meet until February 2019 when the CFL Awards are held. Each week we take part in a variety of activities based on our particular interests – we’re all very creative young people and have lots of ideas! We tend to arrive, have a group chat and catch up with each other, play a game to get our creativity moving and then we split into three groups based on our interests. The three groups are:

  • Performing
  • Programming
  • Event Management and Marketing

Each week we have different visitors come into talk to us about an area that we need to know about and understand in order to plan a great awards ceremony. So far we have been visited by:

Kelly and Anna who work on Comms and Marketing for the City Varieties and Leeds Grand Theatre. They came and talked about their job roles and told us about important things like: publicity; how to gather an audience for the many shows that they put on; the importance of social media; press releases and how to get newspaper coverage of our event; the media: newspapers, television and radio; and about targeted marketing e-mails.


Councillor Salma Arif came to visit us and she is the Lead Member for Child Friendly Leeds. Councillor Arif came for our press call and photo shoot where we got dressed up in super hero costumes. She was great fun and enjoyed dressing up!

Our next visitor was Lucy from Leeds City Council’s Comms Team. Lucy is creating all the design work for our CFL Awards and she’ll be using all our ideas to create posters, invitations, a special team logo, and programmes for the night and certificates that are sent to everyone nominated. Lucy worked with us to create our own super hero character – we had to think about characteristics, features, clothing (like capes, head dresses, the colour of our outfits), a catchphrase, a superhero name, and what special super hero powers we would possess. We created these using a mixture of writing and drawings which were given to Lucy, along with a photo of us, so that she can create an individual super hero for each of us. This involves quite a lot of work – she brought along a couple of examples to show us and everyone thought they were really cool. A couple of people also started to work on a design for a logo for the Dynamics that could be featured on our super hero outfits. The next week she emailed through about half of the super heroes she had created and the faces of the super heroes looked really like the people they were based on. Each super hero Lucy designs will feature at some point on the marketing materials – maybe not all 13 on one marketing item as there won’t be space.

Our latest visitor was Lizi Patch, who is a script writer and artistic director of the City Varieties Youth Theatre. Lizi has worked with the CFL Awards Young People’s Planning group for the last five years and is very experienced in listening to their ideas and helping them to write a script based on their theme. Lizi will help us make our script appeal to a wide audience and for it to be humorous and for them to laugh and find it funny. The script might include jokes, puns and references to films.

Who is invited to the CFL Awards?

Attendance at the CFL Awards is by invitation only as the City Varieties can only seat just under 400 people. Therefore, we will be inviting the following people to the CFL Awards:

  • Our (the Dynamics) family members
  • Those people, places and organisations who have been shortlisted
  • Our business sponsors from aql (our overall sponsor), Trinity Leeds, Victoria Leeds and Hammersons, Pinnacle Limited, HCP Limited, Yorkshire Transformations Limited and Yorkshire Housing Limited
  • The young people who will be performing a the awards in between the award categories
  • Representatives from across the city e.g. our Councillors, Lord Mayor, the Children’s Mayor, Leeds City Council Leaders, etc.

We want all our guests to enjoy the awards evening and enter into the spirit of the event by dressing up as super heroes – they can be well known famous super heroes or their own made up creation! It is going to be a fantastic night. Follow our progress here: and on Twitter (@Child_Leeds), Facebook and Instagram!

By Rebecca, a member of The Dynamics, the CFL Awards Young People’s Planning Team

Welcome to Move and Learn!

When a member of Active Schools Leeds suggested we become ambassadors for Child Friendly Leeds, we jumped at the chance! Child Friendly Leeds’ aim, ‘We’re working to bring everyone together to make Leeds a child friendly city’ has to be applauded.

Their resolve to ‘put children and young people at the heart of a strong economy, in a compassionate city’ fits in with our own ethos.

As teachers and school leaders, we know only too well that our schools are incredibly busy places with relentless pressures to increase standards. In amongst all of this, the health and wellbeing of UK primary school children is on the decline.IMG_9825

  • Physical activity levels amongst UK primary-aged children are falling from as early as 7-years of age.
  • Only 10% of children achieve the daily recommendations for physical activity.
  • Increasing numbers of children in the UK are leaving school classified as obese or overweight.

Traditional approaches towards improving health outcomes for children focus heavily upon Sport & PE during segmented periods of the school day. But does this engage all children in becoming more active? Or does it merely maintain the levels of those that are active already?

Move & Learn aim is to get schools to think differently about the way children learn. Our approaches incorporate Physically Active Learning (PAL), thereby creating win/win solutions for education and health.

Research has found that  PAL can:IMG_0599

  • improve classroom behaviour and activity engagement
  • significantly reduce sedentary periods of time
  • offer aggregated improvement in academic performance over time

The team from Move & Learn seek to share the benefits of blending research and practice from around the world – in addition to examples from their own practice – with schools in Leeds and beyond.

To find out more about Physically Active Learning (PAL) in its widest sense, check out the TEDx Talk by Move & Learn Director, Bryn Llewellyn and Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, Andy Daly-Smith.

To find out about Move & Learn, their team and how they can support schools in Leeds, visit

If you like what you see, contact them via and 07806 621508

Join the Movement here:IMG_0875


New wristband challenge to get Leeds primary school children active

Wristband challenge.png

Primary schools across Leeds are getting set to boost their pupils’ motivation for physical activity as they launch a new competitive wristband challenge in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Active Schools.

Addressing new government recommendations that primary schools provide 30 minutes of physical activity for children per day towards their daily target of 60 minutes, the new scheme will see pupils earning bronze, silver and gold wristbands as they smash their targets over the course of the coming school year. Physical activity includes all forms of activity that increase the heart rate, such as walking, active play, cycling and sports.

As well as increasing physical activity levels during the week, the scheme aims to get pupils to change their habits and improve their fitness and wellbeing. After two weeks of meeting the 30-minute target every day, children will earn a certificate. At the half-term mark, they are awarded a bronze wristband; an additional full term gets them a silver wristband; and pupils who commit to the challenge for the full school year will win a gold wristband.

Consulting with young people, teachers and PE experts, Paul Ogilvie, a Senior PE Consultant in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, developed the 30:30 Physical Activity Wristband project which will be rolled out in Leeds primary schools starting this October.

Paul explained: “Too many young people now have lifestyles that include daily long car journeys, technology that encourages sedentary behaviour, and poor dietary habits that can contribute to poor health and fitness levels. Long periods of this type of lifestyle can result in obvious long-term issues such as obesity, which can manifest itself into a daily cycle that is challenging to break.Wristbands 2.jpg.png

“It is hoped that our ‘30:30 Physical Activity Wristband’ offer will motivate young people to make choices that increase their activity levels. If children decide to play on their bikes for longer, jump off the sofa to participate in active play or choose to walk to school instead of being driven, then this project will be deemed a success.  We are asking schools to work with all pupils and families to interpret the guidelines appropriately, ensuring this offer is accessed by ALL pupils in our local schools.

“Our ambition is that young people will be motivated to earn these prizes through choosing to be more physically active. We hope that young people will wear their wristbands with pride and that this will be recognisable across the city.  We are looking forward to pupils and families learning about our offer and changing their daily physical activity habits, which then contribute to a more permanent and sustainable improved lifestyle.”

Schools will complete a simple data collection sheet to keep track of pupils’ physical activity levels and to build an insight into what motivates pupils to change their activity habits.

The scheme, in partnership, with Leeds Active Schools, has been presented to 150 primary school PE subject leaders and was officially launched in Leeds over October half-term.


Darker evenings in Leeds – When do the clocks change in UK?

In case you weren’t aware, the clocks go back on Sunday 29th October.


The October clock change signals the beginning of winter and the start of darker 
evenings. One of the consequences of this is an increased risk to people’s safety on the roads. Vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are particularly at risk of being involved in an incident.

Why are darker evenings dangerous?

There are several reasons why there may be an increase in casualty rates in the darker winter evenings.

  • Firstly, pedestrians, cyclists, road signs, and other road users are simply harder to spot when it’s darker.


  • Drivers also tend be more tired first thing in the morning or after a day’s work and darkness also has an impact on our alertness, so concentration levels are lower at these times of day.
  • Both children and adults tend to make social or leisure trips in the evenings so in winter, these trips are more likely to be made in the dark.

What can you do?

There are many things that all road users can do to help keep everyone safe on our roads. Checkout Tales of the Road for ideas on keeping children and young people safe.


  • Take more care and time looking for cyclists and people waiting to cross the roads
  • Don’t be distracted by mobile phones, loud music or other distractions
  • Plan your journey and leave plenty of time for your journey


  • Wear bright/reflective clothing
  • Cross the road in well-lit places and designated crossings
  • Don’t use phones or hand held devices whilst crossing the road


  • Wear Hi-Viz clothes
  • Make sure your lights are on and not dazzling drives or other road users
  • If your lights are rechargeable, make sure you have enough charge for your journey
  • Avoid using headphones whilst on your bike
  • Look behind before you turn, overtake or stop
  • Use arm signals before you turn right or left
  • Obey traffic lights and road signstime 1

Mental maths? Tagtiv8 brings in the fun through active learning.

When someone suggested we become ambassadors for Child Friendly Leeds, we jumped at the chance! Any organisation with the aim, ‘We’re working to bring everyone together to make Leeds a child friendly city’ has to be awesome.

Child Friendly Leeds’ resolve to ‘put children and young people at the heart of a strong economy, in a compassionate city’ reminds us of a statement made by a teacher during one of our active learning training sessions in neighbouring Bradford:

“We don’t do enough for our children’s hearts.”

Such words are one of many reasons behind Tagtiv8’s purpose. Our aim is to get schools to think differently about the way children learn. Our approach is one of active learning, using the hashtags #sitlessmovemore and #moveandlearn to convey what we are about. Our approaches create win/win solutions for education and health.Processed with MOLDIV

According to Bryn Llewellyn, Founder of Tagtiv8: “We know that something magical happens when teachers take their children outdoors to play with numbers and their Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) kicks in. The extra blood flow, oxygen and glucose to the brain improves learning abilities.”

With this in mind, Tagtiv8 approached Andy Daly-Smith and fellow researchers at Leeds Beckett University to test out the active learning approach and assess whether the anecdotal evidence was true. The aim was to evaluate the impact of Tagtiv8 maths lessons on both physical activity and maths performance.

Initial discussions with Andy Daly-Smith reiterated the international research:

“Lesson times are the most inactive times in a child’s life.”IMG_3693

Children in KS1 and KS2 from a primary school in Leeds were baseline tested before being randomly allocated to groups; taking part in either a seated classroom lesson or a Tagitv8 active learning lesson.

Commenting on the results of the tests, Andy Daly-Smith said: “The results showed that pupils who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson achieved over nine minutes more MVPA compared to the traditional classroom lesson and spent 15 minutes less in sedentary time.”
“When it came to assessing whether active learning led to better academic outcomes we saw promising results. Overall, there were small improvements for pupils who learnt in an active way. Further, those pupils who were most active in the Tagtiv8 lessons seemed to have the greatest benefits which suggests activity may play a key role in enhancing learning. Additionally, lower ability children, who took part in the Tagtiv8 lesson maintained their academic performance whereas pupils in the traditional classroom lesson decreased.”



To find out more about the research by Leeds Beckett University, click here.  We were delighted that the positive findings were featured on ITV Calendar News.

Even though Tagtiv8 work and play with schools across the UK and abroad, we are Yorkshire born and bred. We are proud to tell the world that our active learning resources are Made in Yorkshire. Another reason why we are keen to support Child Friendly Leeds and encourage others to do likewise.

To find out more about Tagtiv8 and contact them:

Join the Movement here:

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Claire Young: BBC The Apprentice Finalist shares her daily routine, her successful business ‘School Speakers’ and much more…

What does an average day look like for you?

Luckily I’m an early bird and am usually up around 6am. claire young.jpgI treasure this time of morning, the peace & quiet, and being able to get things done without any distractions – it really sets me up for the day! First things first is always a cup of Yorkshire Tea, waking up the animals – we have a French Bulldog called Martha, Piggy & Sam the cats –  and putting on a load of washing. I read the news online, glance over my emails and check social media.

I try and eat as well as I can. Food is really important to me and if I eat junk I end up feeling rubbish! Scrambled eggs or an omelette are easy enough for me to do an morning and fill me up. Once showered and dressed I drag Eva my 4 year old daughter and get her ready. She really doesn’t do mornings and it requires serious motivation to get her to school on time.

My work days vary from being based in my School Speakers office, to travelling to London for events and speaking to students across the country. No day is ever the same and I really enjoy this element of being an entrepreneur. I try to travel away from home overnight as little as possible, I like the comforts of home and not staying in hotels. From 3:30pm onwards I am usually my daughter’s social secretary taking her to various clubs, nipping to the supermarket and generally looking after everyone.

I collapse on the sofa around 8pm and every night have a bath. It’s the time I switch off, think about things and plan what is coming next. I’m starting to write a book so I scribble down ideas on an evening whilst rubbish TV and let my brain switch off & rest.

You were on the apprentice?  What was that like?  Do you get recognised a lot?

The Apprentice was an amazing experience, it changed my life in many ways! It’s difficult to put into words how tough it is. Claire-Sir-Alan-SugarThe filming, the intensity of the competition, being away from home (you away from home for weeks with little contact), being capitulated into the public eye and  you are a subject matter on  social media. It was a great learning curve and I came away from it a different person. Alan Sugar was a great inspiration to me – and still is. I get recognised every day still, in a way I forget the scale of the show and millions of people watch it.

What have you done since you left the apprentice?

When I left the show I was inundated with schools contacting me asking to go and speak to their students. I really enjoyed it and started doing it more and more. I spotted a gap in the market to provide motivational speakers into schools to inspire students and started school speakers logoWe are now the UK’s No1 speaking agency working with thousands of schools, colleges and universities across the world. We often receive feedback from young people how a speaker visit really changed their thoughts about the future and inspired them to work hard & believe in themselves.

I also co-founded supporting teenage girls to raise aspiration and confidence.

I am a government advisor on various projects to do with helping young people start businesses, improving employability skills, encouraging more women into work. I am really proud to be an Ambassador The Prince’s Trust and Mosaic charities supporting young people. The work they do really does changes lives! I was also asked to present an award at the Child Friendly Leeds Awards in 2016, and I’m proud to be an ambassador! I’m often on the radio, writing or talking on TV.

What are you most proud of in your life?

I’m really proud to be a working parent. Being able to look after my daughter, run a business and enjoy both at the same.

My daughter was born in 2012.

Why do you think it is important to support children and young people?

As they are the future! How can we expect so much from the next generation if we don’t give them any support to start with? The age of influence is 7 years old so if we really want to see the changes we believe in we need to work with primary & secondary children. I see so much talent which is wasted from young people which is frustrating. Unlock their potential and the results would be phenomenal!

What is next for you?

My business grows from strength to strength and we are expanding more into other countries. On a personal level I would like to do more mentoring. I also need to lose some weight so I am doing more and eating less! Everyday being more active and it’s so much easier when the lighter nights are here with better weather.

To find out more about child friendly Leeds visit: or to share a blog with us, please email


Nominated in the Child Friendly Leeds Awards & Inspirational Woman Community Awards – My ‘Girlguiding’ Experience

Hello my name is Sophie.  I am 13 years old and a member of 1st CrossGates and Manston Guides but I am also a pack leguiding1ader with 1st CrossGates Brownies and 3rd CrossGates Rainbows and a Peer Leader with the CrossGates Junior Wardens.

Last year I was shortlisted in the Child Friendly Leeds Awards and this year I was nominated in the Leeds City Council Inspirational Woman on the Community Awards for the work I do with Guiding.  I was really shocked about this as it’s just something I love doing and wish more would get involved in Guiding both as a volunteer but also as a girl as it offers so many opportunities to everyone.

With the Rainbows and Brownies I help plan the sessions with Jean the Leader and also take on some responsibility of running sessions for the girls in the unit.  It is so much fun as you can see the girls change.  Our youngest are five years old in Rainbows and I have seen them go into Brownies and change totally from shy to confident and outgoing.  The more I enjoy myself and the more confident I become  I can see the girls grow and become confident within themselves and wanting to do what I do which is great.

Brownie and Guide logo 1

The Junior Wardens have been going for a year now at CrossGates Primary with 12 youngsters and I am the Peer Leader.   I am helping them to see how they can make a difference to the community of CrossGates through different activities. guiding I have helped to organise workshops on Dementia, local politics, community involvement and housing whilst running community clean ups in the area.

I am also a member of the CrossGates and Swarcliffe community forums where I get to talk about what we do in Guiding and put a young person’s view forward on a topic.

Why not get involved in Guiding and make a difference.
To feature in our next blog or share a story with us, please email


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