Whole city invited to Child Friendly Leeds Birthday Bonanza

A birthday party with a difference will be held in Leeds next week, when Child Friendly Leeds reaches a special milestone.

To celebrate five years since HRH The Queen visited Leeds and helped launch Leeds City Council’s bold ambition to be a truly child friendly city, the council and partner organisations are hosting a big birthday bonanza, and the whole city is invited.

A weekend of free, fun activities for children and families will take place in Leeds city centre on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July as part of the celebrations.

Millennium Square will host a teddy bear’s picnic on Sunday 23 July, with a grassed area and benches plus giant inflatables and other ‘pop up’ fun and free activities.  Child Friendly Leeds will take over the ‘big screen’ and show CBeebies and CBBC content to keep the little ones entertained.

CBBC is also joining in the celebration providing some activities, as well as Breeze, Active Sports, and city centre ambassadors will be putting on lots of different activities to encourage families to explore the city centre.  These will include a climbing wall, sports activities, go-karts, a flashmob dance performance and arts and crafts activities.

Child Friendly Leeds ambassadors based in the city centre will also be running activities in their own venues including, Merrion Centre, St John’s Centre, The Light, Leeds Central Library, Colby’s Coffee, Leeds City Museum, Kirkgate Market, Arts at Trinity, John Lewis, Victoria Gate, The Corn Exchange, The Tetley, The Works and Hyde Park Picture House supported by Cinema for All.

A special civic reception was held on Monday (17 July 2017) where the executive board member for children and families Councillor Lisa Mulherin and the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Jane Dowson welcomed specially invited guests to mark the occasion.  Guests included present and previous Leeds Children’s Mayors (including Hannah Begum from Beeston), past winners of Child Friendly Leeds awards, members of the UK Youth Parliament, ambassadors and partners that have worked with us and contributed significantly to our ambition.

The civic reception also saw the launch of a new Child Friendly Leeds Fund, which will help corporate fundraising teams to raise money to support enrichment opportunities for vulnerable children and young people in the city.

In addition to these events, on the actual birthday date itself, Wednesday 19 July, various iconic buildings around the city centre will be lit up in orange, and Child Friendly Leeds flags will fly at Leeds Civic Hall and the Town Hall.

The council announced its aim to become the best place in the UK for children and young people to grow up in July 2012, and since then has seen the campaign grow from strength to strength. The number of businesses, organisations and individuals who have pledged to support the campaign has now reached over 700.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive board member for children and families said:

“This birthday celebration is a fantastic opportunity to say thank you to all of the businesses, organisations and individuals who have supported Child Friendly Leeds over the past five years.

“We are really proud of how well the child friendly ethos has been embraced by the city and the way our ambassadors have helped to spread our child friendly message.

“Child friendly Leeds is a far reaching concept which is about putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do, giving them a voice and the opportunity to be involved in decisions about their city. We have made so much progress in the past five years but we understand that there is still long way to go to achieve our aim to make Leeds the best city to grow up in.

“Over the next year there will even more opportunities to celebrate with us, to get involved in Child Friendly Leeds and help make a difference to the lives of children in our city.”