Monday, 30 March 2009

Enjoy a fore-course deal in Leeds

Caption: Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter playing at Temple Newsam being given advice by Golf Development Manager Allan Cooper (holding flag) and Course Professional at Temple Newsam and Roundhay Ady Newboult.

Variety will be the spice of life for golfers this year as the new Leeds City Council season ticket means they will be able to play four courses for the price of one.

Coming into effect from Wednesday 1st April, the new season ticket which starts from £208 for the year will allow players to pit their wits at any of the four council-managed courses in the city.

Previously a season ticket was only valid for one of the four courses, but now players will be able to choose to tee up at any of the courses at Temple Newsam, Roundhay Park, Middleton Park or Gotts Park at no extra cost.

Ticket prices vary according to categories, with an intermediate ticket for those aged 18-25 priced at £263, while budding juniors under 18 can get a ticket for just £67. In order to give players more flexibility in buying their ticket, there is also the option of paying in instalments.

Further information about tickets and the courses can be seen on the website at Season ticket application forms can also be downloaded from the website or picked up at any of the four courses.

All four courses are also in the process of having improvements carried out. Drainage and bunker work is being carried out at both Temple Newsam and Gotts Park, while Roundhay has seen a new irrigation system installed which will help produce top quality greens all year round as well as improved tees.

The biggest improvements have taken place at Middleton Park, with fairway drainage work carried out to enable the course to be playable throughout the winter, while a refurbished clubhouse complete with new restaurant, bar, café and pro shop will be fully open by this summer.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We are very pleased to be able to offer golfers in Leeds this great new flexibility with our season tickets. By offering people better choice and competitive prices, we have listened to what people have been telling us they wanted and hopefully it will encourage as many people as possible to come and see what all our courses have to offer or even take up the sport for the first time.”

Golfers can also take advantage of the chance to pay-and-play at any of the four council courses. Prices per round start from as little as £7.25.

For further information on the Leeds City Council-managed golf courses, go to


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer, 0113 247 5472

Take the plunge and swim for free!

Caption: Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Cllr John Procter (front left) and 14-year-old Stephen Regan from Hunslet Hawks Learning Centre (front right) holding swim4free cards surrounded by users of the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport and pupils from Hunslet Hawks Learning Centre.

Free swimming officially begins in Leeds this week.

Starting on Wednesday 1st April, swimming will become free at all Leeds City Council-managed swimming pools for anyone aged 16 and under or 60 and over.

The move is part of a national plan for the whole nation to benefit from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in London and the legacy the world’s greatest sporting event will leave behind.

Swimming is recognised as one of the best forms of exercise there is for people of all ages, as not only does it build endurance and muscle strength, it can also be a great source of relaxation and stress relief which contributes to improved mental health.

In Leeds residents will be able to take advantage of free swimming at pools across the city. The majority of general swim sessions will be free, but the full list will be clearly identified on the swim programmes available from leisure centres or can be downloaded from

The sessions will be easy to access, by presenting a Breezecard, LEEDSCard 60 or LEEDSCard 60 Extra at the leisure centre reception. Those without a card can still take part by filling in a form when they arrive, but proof of identification will also be required for those 60 and over in the form of a driving licence, passport or birth certificate.

Demand is expected to be high for the free sessions, so places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

By taking part in the scheme, Leeds has also benefited by receiving over £225,000 from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to invest in improvements at leisure centres across the city, while further funding is also expected in the next two years.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We are very pleased to be offering free swimming for so many people here in Leeds, and it would be fantastic to see the sessions full with people really making the most of it. Hopefully it will encourage as many people to nip down to their local leisure centre for a dip.”

The swim4free programme is part of the national Change4Life campaign being run by the Department of Health which aims to encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles.

NHS Leeds director of public health Dr Ian Cameron said:

"Getting the Leeds population more active is crucial to improving and maintaining health levels in the city. The free swimming initiative provides the ideal opportunity for people to take part in one of the best forms of exercise around and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on their health and well-being.

"Being able to access free swimming at local leisure centres removes many of the barriers that may have prevented participation in the past so hopefully as many people as possible will take advantage of this exciting opportunity."

The swim4free initiative will run for at least the next two years in Leeds, and its success will be monitored and reviewed at the end of that time.

For more information on Swim4free in Leeds, visit the website at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Young Leeds badminton stars prove cream of the crop

Caption: Jessica Fletcher (left) and Sarah Milne were two of the stars for Leeds

Leeds cemented its place as a hotbed of talented young badminton players by claiming superb results in the recent Junior National Championships.

The squad, who are all part of Leeds City Council’s Badminton Development Scheme, came away from the under-19s and under-17s events held at Milton Keynes and Stoke respectively with six of the 10 national titles on offer.

Under the tutelage of Racket Sports Development Officer Brian Wallwork, the squad took on the finest young players in the country and claimed an impressive haul of 14 medals overall.

Leading the way were 16-year-old duo Jessica Fletcher from Garforth and Sarah Milne from Bardsey. The pair teamed up to win the girls doubles at both under-19 and under-17 level, while Sarah also won the under-17s girls singles and claimed silver medals in the under-17s mixed doubles and the under-19s girls singles. Jessica was also a multiple medallist as she secured another gold by winning the under-17s mixed doubles.

As a result of their success the duo, following in the footsteps of fellow Leeds stars Jenny Wallwork and Gabby White who came through the same training scheme and are now established full internationals, will now take on the best young players in Europe at two tournaments this month.

The pair have been selected to represent England at the European Under-19 Team and Individual Championships which begin in Milan this week (April 2-12) as well as at the Under-17s Six Nations event to be held in Copenhagen in Denmark on April 22-26.

They will be joined in Italy by fellow Leeds juniors Mark Middleton and Kate Robertshaw, who won the boys doubles and girls singles respectively at under-19 level, while Mark also won silver in the under-19 mixed doubles.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“This is another set of fantastic results for our junior sports stars in Leeds. Following on from the superb results our divers achieved at their recent national championships, this further underlines the great young sporting talent we have here in Leeds and it is marvellous to see that talent showing itself at the highest levels like this.

“We are really proud of the players for their accomplishments and great credit must also go to Brian Wallwork and his team of coaches for helping them develop and perform so well.”

The Badminton Development Scheme in Leeds is the largest and most successful of its kind in the UK. The Advanced Training Scheme is for promising juniors aged 8-18, and is renowned for producing players who go on to perform at ‘elite’ level. For further information contact Racket Sports Development Officer Brian Wallwork on 0113 395 0187 or email

Notes to editors:

The full breakdown of Leeds medal winners at the Under-19 and Under-17 Junior National Championships is as follows:

Gold - Mark Middleton (Leeds) - Boys Doubles
Gold - Sarah Milne (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Gold - Jessica Fletcher (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Gold - Kate Robertshaw (Leeds) - Girls Singles

Silver - Sarah Milne - Girls Singles
Silver - Mark Middleton - Mixed Doubles

Gold - Sarah Milne (Leeds) - Girls Singles
Gold - Jessica Fletcher (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Gold - Sarah Milne - Girls Doubles
Gold - Jessica Fletcher - Mixed Doubles

Silver - Sarah Milne - Mixed Doubles

Bronze - Sophie Brown (Leeds) - Girls Doubles
Bronze - Laura Mercer (Leeds) - Mixed Doubles


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer, 0113 247 5472

Exciting £1.4million boost for Armley’s historic commercial centre

A £1.4m scheme to revitalise a cultural and historic hub of Leeds is to be launched tomorrow.

The Armley Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) will be unveiled on Tuesday 31st March.

The £1.4 million scheme, jointly funded by Leeds City Council and Heritage Lottery Fund with additional private investment, will help to revitalise the cultural and historic value of Armley as well as providing a much needed economic boost to local traders.

Councillor Andrew Carter, executive board member for Development and Regeneration at Leeds City Council, will be available for interview at the launch, as well as local business owners and THI Officers.

******************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ********************

Reporters, photographers and film crews are invited to attend the official opening of Armley THI and to meet the businesses that will benefit from the scheme
When: 4pm – 6pm, Tuesday 31st March
Where: Armley One Stop Centre, Stocks Hill, Armley, LS12 1UQ

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937

Radical new Leeds housing scheme ‘will transform respite breaks for learning disabled people and their carers’

The first new homes built as part of a scheme to transform housing for learning disabled people in Leeds are completed this week.

The new supported bungalows at Scott Hall Grove will be used to provide short respite breaks for learning disabled people close to their home community. They will also be able to provide emergency support and assessment services.

******************** MEDIA OPPORTUNITY ********************

We are holding an open house at the new respite facilities before they start providing services in April. Other guests, including future service users will be visiting at the same time. Media are invited to attend and take photographs.
Date: Tuesday, 31st March 2009
Time: 11:00am
Place: 83 & 85 Scott Hall Grove, Leeds LS7 3JH.

Councillor Peter Harrand, Executive Board member for adult health and social care, explained:
“This new accommodation will help us transform the way we provide respite care. Previously, respite was mostly about providing a break for the carer, but now we will be able to provide a much richer experience for the person receiving care.”

People staying in the new respite facilities will have a much greater opportunity to develop skills and get out and about in Leeds and Yorkshire. Residents will be able to book in at the same time as friends, and transport has been improved so that people travel together on the same vehicle.

The new accommodation also includes accessible databases, IT and communications facilities to help residents keep informed and in touch.

The Independent Living Project seeks to increase the opportunities for adults in Leeds with learning disabilities or mental health needs to live independently. It is doing this by replacing their current hostel-style accommodation with high quality, purpose built properties across a number of sites throughout Leeds, over the next three years.

Work has just started on another strand of the project, which will replace the out-dated, Leeds City Council-run hostel at Windlesford Green, Rothwell, with new supported apartments to replace the existing block.

For media enquiries please contact:
John Donegan, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 247 4450