Students from Ruth Gorse Academy will speak about their experiences walking to school through the Managed Approach area on BBC’s Look North programme tonight (10 November 2020) ahead of a debate on the Managed Approach at the full Council meeting tomorrow.
Ben Mallinson, Principal at Ruth Gorse, has written to parents explaining the link up with the BBC and praising his students for speaking out, saying:
“The Ruth Gorse Academy stands firmly with them and will continue to offer support to all our students, as well as continuing to express our concerns to all appropriate bodies and channels over the coming weeks and months until the Managed Approach comes to an end.”
Tomorrow Councillors will debate a ‘white paper’ that condemns what it calls a lack of input from residents into the Independent Review published in July and calls for regular reports to the Council’s Executive Board including an exit strategy from the Managed Approach policy. The White Paper states:
“Crucially, Council remains concerned that no action appears to have been taken to address child safeguarding concerns raised by schools in the area.”
The paper has been put forward by Cllr Amanda Carter (Conservative, Calverley & Farsley), but will be countered by an amendment from Cllr Debra Coupar (Labour, Executive Board member for Communities). The amendment states:
“Council further notes the Managed Approach is not a permanent solution to on street sex work and continues to evolve to ensure any impact on local residents is reduced and sex workers are kept as safe as possible.”
You can find the full White Paper and amendment on the Council website here.
As well as the Independent Review seeking residents opinions, the Voice of Holbeck held a series of Listening Well events where residents were able to talk about their experiences of the Managed Approach. The sessions ran between February 2019 and March 2020 and were attended by over 500 people of all ages.
Dennis Kitchen from the Voice of Holbeck group told South Leeds Life:
“The report is now in a draft state and will be forwarded in the first instance to Strategic Leads, Councillor Debra Coupar, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Communities and our Ward Councillors for their comments and deliberations. It expected that this report will be ratified and made public in November.”