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Inspirational Pudsey teen’s recognition at Child Friendly Leeds awards

A Pudsey teenager was part of a stellar line-up of children’s champions who stepped into the limelight at the Child Friendly Leeds Awards 2024.

The red carpet was rolled out for a worthy cast of nominees at this year’s movie-themed ceremony at City Varieties Music Hall, which saw winners crowned across seven categories.

The awards returned for their ninth year to showcase the talent, achievements and energy of the city’s children and young people as well as celebrating the people, places and organisations that help make Leeds a child-friendly city.

West Leeds fared well at the awards, with several winners and nominations.

Pudsey’s Leigh-Taylor Arundale, 14, won the ‘Child/Young Person of the Year’ category, for her incredible work supporting a range of causes.

And West SILC Powerhouse’s Rob Lakewood won the ‘adult making a difference for children and young people award’. WEST Leeds SILC Powerhouse is a 16-19 college for young people with additional learning needs in Farsley, preparing young people for adulthood.

Leigh-Taylor’s dedication to charities has seen her orchestrate numerous fundraising events including supporting the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal since the age of five, crafting and selling poppies each year and serenading the community with Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ during the pandemic.

She has also raffled teddy bears for defibrillator equipment, raised money in the aftermath of the Moroccan earthquake, fundraised for dementia and Alzheimer’s charities, supported a friend though Marie Curie and mobilised efforts to collect clothing for Ukraine, by contacting headteachers at local schools.

Proud mum Lisa Arundale said: “I’m ecstatic for her. It’s nice for her to be recognised. She loves to do what she does and is still continuing to make a difference. She says she’d raise money for every charity if she could.”

Leigh-Taylor encouraged others to get involved in fundraising and said she was “honoured” to received the award, adding: “The award ceremony was amazing but this award is for everyone nominated as we all want to make a change and I do believe we can.”

Also on the night, Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation were named winners of the ‘Overall Contribution to Making Leeds a Child Friendly City’ category. The award recognised their generosity in providing hundreds of free tickets to children from a range of backgrounds and their community work to engage children in sport.

The ceremony was attended by an audience of around 350 people and saw winners announced throughout the night alongside performances from talented young people in Leeds, including singer Mary Collins, indie rock band The Casuals, musician Josh Stanchev and dance act DAZL Explosion, made up of children aged seven to 10.

The entire evening was also organised by a group of young people, called The Midnight Snack Club, who – supported by a team at Leeds Heritage Theatres – had planned every detail from the theme of movies, to the script, performances and decorations.

Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for children and families, said: “I would like to congratulate all winners, all those shortlisted as well as the many nominees this year – their commitment and passion to showcasing what it means to be child friendly is incredible to see.

“Becoming a child friendly city is not something we, as a council, can do alone and these awards are a great opportunity for us to recognise, celebrate and be inspired by the great work going on to help make Leeds the best city to grow up in.”

Little Movers West Leeds was nominated in the ‘best place for children and young people’ category, and Playful Anywhere CIC – run by Pudsey resident Emma Bearman – aims to catalyse creativity, inventiveness, and playfulness wherever people are. 

The winners, and those highly commended, in full

Child/young person of the year: Winner: Leigh-Taylor Arundale (age 14) – Leigh-Taylor is a young charity worker involved in many projects. She is also an ambassador for the Anti-Bullying campaign and the Diana Award. Runner up: Lyla Bell (age 10) – Lyla has cystic fibrosis and raises awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through her school and brownie unit and enjoys playing cricket with East Ardsley Rugby Club.

Youth group of the year: Winner: CATCH Leeds – A youth charity which puts young people at the heart of everything it does, with all activities developed using their ideas and leadership. Runner up: Youth Association – Community Ambassadors – As part of the Youth Association’s detached work on Halton Moor, five young people have formed the Community Ambassadors’ group to support their community through activities including an intergenerational event to combat community tensions.

Adult making a difference for children and young people: Winner: West SILC Powerhouse and Rob Lakewood – WEST Leeds SILC Powerhouse is a 16-19 college for young people with additional learning needs in Farsley, preparing young people for adulthood.  Rob and the staff pride themselves in truly preparing young people for adulthood. They say, “We are incredibly lucky to work with some incredible staff and fantastic young people that prove year after they have valuable employability and independence skills.” Runner-up: Jan Furlong – Jan runs Babybuds and Lilybuds baby and toddler groups in Rothwell where her warmth and generosity of spirit is said to put mums and babies at ease. She also runs activities including clothes swap and groups singing.

Leeds 2023: Creativity through Arts and Culture: Winner: Tutti Frutti Productions – Harehills-based Tutti Frutti have, for over 30 years, created inventive theatre performances for children aged three and over and their families on tour around UK as well as in the USA, Hong Kong and Singapore. Runner-up: Brave Words – A theatre company and social enterprise creating brave, inclusive spaces where young people can take part in high quality youth theatres without the barriers of cost and travel.

Exceptional contribution to the Child Friendly Leeds 12 Wishes: Winner: SNAPS – A charity which supports children with additional needs and their families, delivering hydrotherapy, rebound therapy, dance, yoga, accessible swimming and football lessons. Runner-up: The British Library – The national library of the UK and a Child Friendly Leeds Ambassador, which takes a child-centred approach through collaborations with children’s social care, Elliott Hudson College, Re:establish, Hugh Gaitskell School and others.

Best place for children and young people: Winner: Getaway Girls – For over 35 years, Getaway Girls has empowered girls and young women aged 11-25 from a diverse range of backgrounds, to build confidence, resilience, skills and aspirations. Based in Seacroft, with a satellite base in Harehills, it offers group work, individual support, creche space, school work and much more. Runner-up: Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm – A charity dedicated to brightening children’s lives, supporting over 3,000 young people each year and providing access to nature and outdoor learning, through activities including climbing, biking, animal care and environmental work.

Overall contribution to making Leeds a child friendly city: Winner: Leeds Rhinos & Rhinos Foundation – Sian Jones, Leeds Rhinos Head of Customer Experience, and Bob Bowman QPM, Leeds Rhinos Foundation CEO, introduced an initiative which provides an allocation of tickets for a number of games for Leeds Rhinos to be distributed by the team at Child Friendly Leeds. Runner-up: Freedom 4 Girls – A charity which provides free period products to anyone who needs them, supporting hundreds of diverse community groups, charities and thousands of individuals across Leeds and beyond. In the first three months of 2024, they gave out over 20,000 period products and 3,000kg of food for people in Leeds.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Leigh is a wonderful young woman who has a mature attitude way above her years.  As Vice Chair of Pudsey Carnival for the last couple of years I have had the honour to work with Leigh.  She is treated at meetings as an adult because she acts like an adult, her caring and insightful perspective should be noted. Much credit should also be given to her mother Lisa, who is such a positive influence on Leigh.

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