Leeds (UK) has a bold ambition to be a child friendly city. This means we want to ensure that all of our citizens (including our children and young people) are able to enjoy the city and have a voice in how it grows and develops. This paper will explore how the city has embraced this ambition. It will consider the importance of ensuring that the voice of the child is heard and that their voice has real influence. It will also examine the way that a focus on relationships using restorative practice has helped on this journey.
Leeds is a large city in the north of England. It has a population of 850,000 and this is rising each year. Of that population 167,000 are under the age of 18 and so under UK law can be considered as children. Leeds is very multicultural with well over 100 different languages spoken in the city; this is one of its strengths and makes it a delightful place to live and work in.
But of course, a large city always has its challenges and we have to ensure that we are constantly alert to how our children are getting on.