Thursday, 4 June 2009

Leeds’ green school tour kicks off Green Day for city’s schoolkids

How green is your school? That’s the question being considered by thousands of Leeds schoolchildren as a day of environmental activities kicks off with a tour of what will be one of the city’s greenest schools.

Local dignitaries will be given a tour of the site of the new Swallow Hill Community College to mark Leeds Schools Green Day 2009 – the result of a partnership between Education Leeds and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Leeds Schools Green Day coincides with World Environment Day on June 5th and the aim is to raise young people’s awareness of the contribution the built environment makes to climate change and, at the same time, help make Leeds schools more sustainable.

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WHAT: Leeds Schools Green Day will be officially launched. Staff, pupils and dignitaries – including John Battle MP, Chris Edwards of Education Leeds, Matthew Bell from CABE and Cllr Richard Harker.
WHERE: Site of new Swallow Hill Community College, LS12 3DT
WHEN: 12noon to 1pm, Friday 5th June
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A total of 46 Leeds schools have already received a Green Day Activity Kit from CABE filled with ideas and suggestions for the day, as well as benefiting from practical support from a range of Leeds agencies and council services. Schools also have the chance to use a checklist devised by Leeds young people to undertake a sustainable schools audit of their school.

The focus of the tour around Swallow Hill, which is due to open in September, will be the sustainable design features incorporated into the new building including:
• Timber from sustainable sources
• Use of recycled stone
• Lighting that reacts to daylight, dimming as natural light increases
• Water efficiency measures e.g. valves on sinks
• Outdoor habitat area with wild flowers
• Natural ventilation
• Orientation of the building – learning areas are orientated north to south

The event is also intended to mark a number of other Leeds initiatives organised to coincide with Green Day including;
• The launch of ‘Your Climate, Your Call’ competition for schools, sponsored by Europe Direct Leeds, part of the Library Service, as part of the campaign to raise awareness of the European Union's work to combat climate change. Sunflower seeds provided by Europe Direct Leeds are being distributed to all participating Green Day schools
• A brand new, novel and exciting energy conservation initiative from Fuelsavers which will be happening in two Leeds schools; Five Lanes Primary School and Swillington Primary School.
• BTCV is celebrating 50 years of environmental volunteering at Skelton Grange Environment Centre
• Interserve Project Services Ltd is marking Leeds Schools Green Day 2009 by focussing on measuring the use of energy in its BSF phase 1 schools at Allerton High, Rodillian High and Pudsey Grangefield High.
• Groundwork Leeds is working with Otley All Saints Primary School and Hunslet Carr Primary School
• The challenge of Climate Change in Church schools – a free training event for teachers and governors run jointly by the Diocesan Education Team, Craven and Leeds DECs, and Christian Aid at Oxford Place Methodist Centre, Leeds

Councillor Richard Harker, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for education, said:
“Teaching young people about the importance of paying attention to the environment benefits the city not only now but for future generations. I hope Green Day will be a big success that we can repeat in the future.
“Before it opens this is an ideal time to see the work that has been done at Swallow Hill, which combines a design that not only boosts learning but also helps the environment.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“This will be an excellent launch for Green Day, which will be full of inventive and fun ideas for children and young people in our schools – showing them that being environmentally conscious can be a part of every day life.
“Swallow Hill Community College will provide a brilliant state-of-the-art learning environment that is also sustainable for the future.”

Matt Bell, Director of campaigns and education at CABE, said:
“Everything about a school should model how to be sustainable: the buildings, the lessons, how you get there, what you eat, and even what you wear. Green Day is a fun way to embed that idea in the values and ethos of every school.”

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

Two wheels good for everyone during Bike Week 2009

Leeds’ annual Bike Week gets underway later this month with a series of events taking place across the city to urge more people to consider using pedal power.

Bike Week 2009 is a nationwide cycling event taking place between 13 and 21 June. It aims to promote cycling as a fun and sociable activity to help families enjoy more time together whilst exploring the local community, keeping healthy and being active.

To encourage people to get ‘more out of life’ by taking up cycling, Leeds City Council has organised a number of free events to help highlight the environmental and health benefits of cycling. These include a cycling skills course, a bike try-out roadshow and free cycle surgery, plus a chance to compare different ways of commuting into the city with the commuter challenge. Other events include on-road and off-road cycle rides, mountain biking and picnic rides – most of which are free to enter.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of the council said:
“The theme of this year’s Bike Week is ‘Live local, get cycling’, which is all about encouraging families to get on their bikes, explore their local community and find out just how convenient cycling is for all those short trips that we make each day.

“There are lots of events taking place, which will appeal to cyclists of all ages and abilities, so if you are new to cycling or just out of practice – Bike Week can help you get back into the saddle and get the most out of cycling.”

“Cycling has proven health and fitness benefits and can help beat traffic congestion and pollution, so making the switch from a car to a bike whenever possible really is a winning solution.

Leaflets on Bike Week 2009 – which list all the events taking place – are available in local sports centres, One Stop Centres and libraries across the city.

Information about all the events is also available at or by contacting Charlotte Jones at Leeds City Council on 0113 395 0276 or by email to . For more information about Bike Week please visit


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

People’s Millions multi-sensory room unveiled

Members of the media are invited to attend the unveiling of the new facilities at: North West SILC Penny Field site, Tongue Lane, Meanwood, LS6 4QS on Friday 5 June, 10.30am.

A centre which provides education and support to children and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities is celebrating the launch of its newly equipped multi-sensory environment.

The North West SILC (Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre) Penny Field site won £50,000 in the Yorkshire and Humber round of ITV’s Big Lottery Fund People’s Millions contest last November.

The money has been used to install state-of-the-art multi-sensory equipment in the sensory room, an interactive learning library and a hydrotherapy pool.

The new multi-sensory provision includes music, moving colour and shapes which can be interactive or pre-programmed to let young people experience a virtual world. It will be used by children and young people with emotional, behavioural and communication difficulties, as well as those with physical or sensory impairment.

The new equipment will be unveiled on Friday 5 June at 10.30am by Chris Edwards, the chief executive of Education Leeds.

Councillor Stewart Golton executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“It’s great to see what the centre has been able to achieve thanks to all the people who voted for this project last year.

“The new state-of-the-art equipment in the multi-sensory room will provide a sanctuary and stimulating learning environment for all of the children and young people who attend this centre.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“The North West SILC is doing brilliant work teaching and supporting children, young people and adults with learning difficulties from across north west Leeds. The teaching and learning team are doing exceptional work to extend and enrich provision and to improve outcomes for this very special group of children and young people. These new facilities will allow them to take their work to new heights and provide for real excellence.”

Alison Ings, chair of Governors at the North West SILC, said:‘The children, young people, staff and governors at the centre would like to extend their grateful thanks to everyone who supported their People’s Millions campaign and voted for them. The new multi-sensory environment will massively improve the quality of life of all the children, young people and adults who use the centre, all of whom have a wide range of specials needs including profound disabilities and multiple learning difficulties’.

The People’s Millions is a UK wide programme run by The Big Lottery Fund and ITV which funds projects that improve the quality of life in local communities through transforming the environment, or providing opportunities or facilities for local communities to use.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

A big thank you for youth offending volunteers

People who freely give their time to help young offenders get back on the straight and narrow are being treated to a special thank-you event today (Thursday 4 June).

Around 50 volunteers will formally be thanked for the difference they make to young people’s lives, by the head of Leeds City Council’s Youth Offending Service at the New Conservatory in Leeds city centre.

The people of Leeds have shown that combating youth crime and helping young offenders steer their lives in the right direction is really important to them, as the volunteering programme is currently over-subscribed with around 150 volunteers already supporting the service - so Leeds has even more to celebrate this year.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive member responsible for Children’s Services said:
“We are indebted to these people for the time and generosity of spirit they give in working with some very challenging young people.

“Our volunteers recognise that young offenders are often just young people who’ve got caught up in the wrong crowd who, with a bit of nurturing and assistance can really turn their lives around.

“Volunteering with young offenders is a challenging but rewarding role and can have a massive impact in the futures of both first time and regular offenders.”

Youth Offending Teams work with children, young people and their families to prevent anti-social behaviour and crime, and to prevent re-offending. Volunteers play a vital role supporting the service especially because young people who struggle with formal environments often find it easier to talk to them rather than someone they see as an ‘official’

The volunteers who will be attending the event undertake one of four roles with Leeds Youth Offending Service, which are:
Appropriate Adults support young people while they are questioned in the police station about alleged offences. There is a legal obligation under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) for an Appropriate Adult to be present during all interviews with juveniles to ensure their needs and rights are met and that the interview is conducted fairly.
Youth Offender Panel Members work with young people who have been convicted of a first offence and have received a Referral Order. The panel members meet with the young person to agree a contract of activities for the young person to make amends and move their lives forward more positively.
Mentors work on a one to one basis with young people leaving custody, who have also been identified as having substance misuse issues and additional needs. The mentors offer support to the young person during their transition back into society, including introducing new experiences and providing a non judgemental approach.
Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) Volunteers assist within the ISSP programme which is a community sentence used as an alternative to custody for certain young people convicted or bailed for serious or persistent offending. The volunteers can be involved with a variety of group or one to one work depending on their interests.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713

Be there or be square for party fun

Caption: Party in the Park hopefuls queue patiently at last year's ticket giveaway.

Tickets to the two biggest free outdoor events in Leeds will be available at a special launch event to be held on Millennium Square this month.

From 10am-4pm on Saturday 13th June, tickets for the annual Party in the Park and Opera in the Park will be given away on the square in Leeds city centre.

The events, which this year take place at Temple Newsam on July 25th and 26th, are organised by Leeds City Council and attract a capacity crowd of 120,000 people with 50,000 attending Opera in the Park on the Saturday night and 70,000 at Party in the Park the following day.

The ticket launch has been designed to allow families and friends more time throughout the day to make sure of their tickets. With the large capacity of each event, there will be tickets available throughout the launch so organisers are encouraging people to arrive at different times to reduce the risk of long queues forming. Tickets are strictly limited to four per applicant and must be collected in person.

The launch event will be hosted by presenters from event media Partners 96.3 Radio Aire during a special live broadcast on Millennium Square. A children's funfair ride and refreshments will be on offer together with information about how to sign up for the city's LEEDSCard and BreezeCard schemes plus details of other forthcoming Breeze events.

Those attending the launch will also have the chance to pick up a limited number of special consumer voucher packs bulging with exclusive promotions and offers from numerous city centre businesses.

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

“Party and Opera in the Park are two of the best free events in the UK and I’m sure this year will be no exception. Even the ticket launch has become something of an event in its own right, so make sure you go along to Millennium Square to get your tickets during the launch day and join in the fun.”

Opera in the Park will return to a more classical theme this year featuring performances by award-winning soloists Alfie Boe and Natasha Marsh together with the universally renowned Hallé Symphony Orchestra and the Leeds Festival Chorus led by conductor David Parry.

Party in the Park the next day will once again feature a jam-packed line-up of the latest chart-topping pop acts, with the star names being revealed on 96.3 Radio Aire from Monday 8th June and over the course of the following weeks.

96.3 Radio Aire presenter Simon Logan said:

“I can’t believe it’s that time of year already! Get down to Millennium Square for the launch to get your hands on the hottest tickets in Leeds because they’ll be gone before you know it. Trust me you won’t want to miss this year’s line-up – all will be revealed over the next few weeks!”

Party and Opera in the Park are part of the Summer of Fun in Leeds, with details of all the council-managed free or low-cost events and activities going on around the city able to be accessed through the new web portal at

Anyone requiring further details should contact Leeds City Council’s Events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit Details of where to get any remaining tickets will be announced after the launch.


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