Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Child's play as Mary's design scoops garden prize

Caption: Competition winner Mary Temple-Smees (centre) holds her design with Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter on the left and Kevin Hardy of sponsors HESCO Bastion Ltd on the right. They are surrounded by Mary's Year Three classmates holding their goody bags which they received as prizes.

Caption: The winning design by Mary Temple-Smees

A postcard image designed by a Leeds primary school pupil will be seen by thousands of people from all over the world as it helps to promote the city’s garden entry at this month’s prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Eight-year-old Mary Temple-Smees of Broadgate Primary School in Horsforth wowed the judges with her design to reflect the environmental message behind The HESCO Garden which aims to raise awareness of things people can do in their own gardens to help reduce flash-flooding.

Key Stage 2 pupils aged 7-11 at schools across Leeds took part in the competition to design a postcard image based on the garden, and Mary’s winning design will now be turned into 10,000 postcards to be given out in Leeds and to the visitors at the show itself which runs from May 19-23.

Mary’s design shows the positive approach to coping with heavy rainfall, with a garden featuring trees, plants and a waterbutt collector helping to retain water and reduce the chance of flash-flooding occurring. This contrasts with the negative approach on the other half of the image, which shows a garden which has been covered over with concrete and the water level rising up to cause flooding as a result.

Competition winner Mary said:
“I’m thrilled to have won the competition and also that everyone in my class and the school get prizes too I enjoyed it a lot and learned that gardens are important to stop flooding. People shouldn’t concrete over their gardens, that makes flooding happen, and we don’t want that. I’m looking forward to helping plant our flowers in school and am really excited about going to the Chelsea Flower Show with my family.”

As a result of her efforts, Mary will be able to see the garden which inspired her design for herself as she has won free tickets and transport for herself, a parent and her teacher to attend the famous show in London which attracts over 150,000 visitors from all over the globe.

In addition, every pupil in Mary’s class is to be given a special environment-themed goody bag from the garden’s sponsor HESCO Bastion while Broadgate Primary will receive £200 of plants grown by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service and a day of curriculum-linked environmental activities with the council’s Parks and Countryside Rangers.

The HESCO Garden has been designed and created by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service with support and sponsorship from world-renowned manufacturers of products used in civil engineering HESCO Bastion, who themselves are based in Leeds.

The theme of this year’s garden is how to limit the impact of climate change and to reduce the effects of flash flooding to stop a repeat of the major problems which hit Leeds and the UK in the summer of 2007.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“This competition was a great way of making young people aware of the environmental problems we face, and the level of entries we received were fantastic.
“Mary’s image sums up perfectly the message behind The HESCO Garden so we will be very proud to see her design helping to promote our garden and our city at the Chelsea Flower Show.”

HESCO Bastion said:
“HESCO Bastion would like to offer their congratulations to Mary Temple-Smees and Broadgate Primary School for producing the winning entry in The HESCO Garden postcard competition.
“The competition has been a great opportunity to promote understanding and knowledge of the environmental pressures facing our communities. HESCO were also delighted to be able to provide every member of Mary’s class with a special environment-themed goody bag.
“Our products are used worldwide to provide planned and sustainable flood protection, so we were pleased to be asked by Leeds City Council's Parks and Countryside Service to be the sponsor of The HESCO Garden at Chelsea this year and get involved in not only the design of the garden but also the educational programme.”

For all the details and latest news on The HESCO Garden, visit the official website at www.leedsatchelsea.com.

Notes to editors:
The summer floods in 2007 left 55,000 homes and businesses in the UK flooded and led to insurance claims of almost £3 billion. From Environment Agency figures, approximately 550,000 people live in areas at risk of flooding in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

HESCO were called on during those floods in 2007 to protect key installations while internationally their flood defence capabilities were used in the US to ease the effects of Hurricane Katrina during Hurricane Gustav.

Leeds City Council has enjoyed great success at Chelsea in recent years, with all six previous gardens dating back to the first in 1997 earning bronze or silver awards.

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Comedy star Eddie wows The Carriageworks

Caption: Eddie Izzard (second from right) before the show flanked by (from left) Carriageworks Programming Co-ordinator Gemma Bonham, Customer Services Co-ordinator Louisa Starr and Carriageworks Manager Martin McInulty.

One of Britain’s best-loved comedians made a flying visit to Leeds last week as Eddie Izzard performed a ‘secret’ show at The Carriageworks.

The award-winning stand-up comedian, who is also enjoying a burgeoning film career after appearing in Hollywood blockbusters ‘Valkyrie’ with Tom Cruise and ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ and ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ with Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon, performed at the Millennium Square theatre as part of a short tour of smaller venues.

Used to playing to crowds of thousands as part of large arena tours, this was a chance for his devoted fans to see him up close. All tickets for the 350-seat venue were snapped up within two days of going on sale.

The Emmy-award winning comedian, who has also enjoyed theatre success in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York, was delighted with how the show went.

Eddie Izzard said:
“I had a great time visiting Leeds again. I haven't been there for a while, but it was great to be back.”

His appearance at The Carriageworks represents a major coup for the Leeds City Council-managed venue, which has firmly established itself as providing a showcase for the best new national touring arts productions despite being open less than four years.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“We are all absolutely thrilled that a performer of the calibre of Eddie Izzard chose to put on a show at The Carriageworks. The fact that we have been able to attract such a popular performer and someone with such a high standing in the entertainment world is a fantastic reflection of how well regarded The Carriageworks is and that is great to see.”

For further information on Eddie Izzard’s ‘Stripped’ tour of the UK and Ireland which runs from October to December, visit the website at www.eddieizzard.com

For further information on The Carriageworks, visit the website at www.carriageworkstheatre.org.uk or call 0113 224 3801.

Notes to editors:

The Carriageworks, Leeds City Council’s thriving young theatre, is situated on Millennium Square within the Electric Press Development.

It showcases the best new national and regional performance, with a dynamic programme of theatre, dance, comedy and film. At the same time it provides support to young and emerging theatremakers, offering them a key platform to develop their work.

The Carriageworks also gives opportunities for members of the local community to take part in a variety of high-quality arts activities.

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leeds City Council, 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Survive the credit crunch in west and north west Leeds

Advice on debt, reducing fuel bills, accessing benefits or sources of credit, getting a new job or even starting your own business – experts are to be on standby to help people in west and north west Leeds survive the economic downturn.

West North West Homes Leeds is working with InCommunities, Bradford, to encourage tenants to come along and speak to experts at Fairfield community centre on Wednesday 13 May between 2pm and 6pm.

If people are having problems with debt and need to be able to manage their money better, help may be available to reduce fuel bills, or access benefits or sources of credit. Those looking to learn new skills for a job or even start their own small business will be able to speak to people who can help.

Advice will be available for lone parents or those with disability or health problems looking for work. Age is not a problem as experts can advise on opportunities for those between the ages of 16 and 65.

There is also the chance to win tickets to a Leeds Rhino game, a mobile phone or a games console by entering one of the prize draws being held at the event.

Cathy Clelland, chair of the of West North West Homes Leeds board, said:
“Events such as these show that we are really keen to help any of our tenants who need financial advice or want to realise their potential. It is also important that we forge partnership links with other agencies so we can all work together to support our customers.’

Notes for editors:
West North West Homes Leeds
is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
West North West Homes Leeds covers the areas of Otley, Pool, Bramhope, Guiseley, Yeadon, Cookridge, Rawdon, Holt Park. Tinshill, Horsforth, Kirkstall, Burley, Armley, Bramley, Pudsey, Woodhouse, Wortley, Farnley, and New Farnley.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk