Thursday, 25 June 2009

Having fun is a Breeze this summer

Picture caption: Fun at Breeze on Tour last year

Breeze on Tour is ready to blaze a trail across Leeds this summer offering young people throughout the city the chance to have a go at a wide range of exciting activities on their doorstep.

Beginning at Scott Hall playing fields on July 23 and 24, the free annual roadshow event run by Leeds City Council for young people aged 8-19 will take in five venues in five weeks attracting up to 15,000 visitors. Now in its sixth year Breeze on Tour continues to grow.

Breeze has Talent is back again with a whole host of hopefuls, heats will take place at each Breeze on Tour event with a finale at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in October. Brand new for 2009 will be a focus on ‘Urban Sports’, open break-dance - rap workshops and battles, Rock School for the budding rock stars, a whole new world of games to explore and for the Grand Finale at Kirkstall Abbey we will be joined by the BBC Blast Roadshow.

Five-weeks of pure fun, Breeze on Tour gives young people the chance to get outside, have new experiences and have a laugh with their friends. Travelling around different locations throughout the city the event is free and provides art, physical challenge, performance, play, sport and information zones.

Children and young people aged 8 to 18 can just turn up with their Breezecard and can get in for free at every location on every day. There's a whole load of different activities including dancing, arts and crafts, music, football, giant inflatables, DJing, movie making, performances from international and local artists and bands, competitions …and so much more. If people can’t make it to Breeze on Tour they could try one of the mini Breeze events – it’s just like Breeze on Tour only a little bit smaller!

Councillor Alan Lamb, lead member responsible for Youth Services, said:
“Breeze on Tour gets bigger and better every year and the line-up of activities for this year looks really impressive. They are fantastic events with something for all young people in Leeds to enjoy, so make sure you go along and don’t miss out on all the fun.”

All Breeze on Tour events take place between 12 noon and 5pm, and mini Breeze events take place between 1pm and 5pm.

Thu 23rd July - Scott Hall Playing Fields
Fri 24th July - Scott Hall Playing Fields
Wed 29th July - Fearnville Leisure Centre
Thu 30th July - Fearnville Leisure Centre
Wed 5th August - Cross Flatts Park
Thu 6th August - Cross Flatts Park
Wed 12th August - Armley Park
Thu 13th August - Armley Park
Wed 19th August - Kirkstall Abbey
Thu 20th August - Kirkstall Abbey

And if you can't make any of them, Mini-Breeze will be coming to a place near you! Locations for Breeze on Tour will be announced soon. Check for everything about Breeze on Tour.

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

New free map turns Leeds centre into a walking city

From tomorrow, residents and visitors will benefit from a new, free map of Leeds city centre, which aims to help people get around easier on foot.

The new ‘Walk it’ map has been carefully designed to make exploring Leeds city centre on foot easier for visitors, shoppers, workers and residents alike. Its the first product to be delivered as part of council’s wider Legible Leeds initiative to improve visitor wayfinding information in the city centre, and will be followed by improvements to on-street maps and directional signage.
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The team at Leeds Visitor Centre will be distributing free copies of the ‘Walk it’ map at Leeds City Rail Station on Friday 26 June between 10am and 1pm. Councillor Jamie Matthews, lead member for city development, and Cath Follin, city centre manager, will be handing out maps to visitors to Leeds at 12 noon, and will be available for comment.
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The new design, created by independent Information experts Applied Information Group (AIG), highlights walking routes throughout our vibrant retail area, including our many shopping centres and beautiful covered arcades. Each grid on the city centre side of the map represents an average 5 minutes walk time, showing just how compact and ‘walkable’ the city centre is.

By creating maps specifically designed for people on foot and producing visitor information that links with the on-street information, visitors will be encouraged to explore more of what the city centre has to offer. Different areas will be linked together resulting in attractions being promoted more effectively and new developments being highlighted as destinations to explore. The aim is to ensure that the improved visitors’ experience to the city centre will be enjoyable and encourage repeat visits, an outcome increasingly crucial in this time of economic downtown.

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader and executive board member responsible for city development said:
“This new walking map has been designed to help people get around our expanding city centre, and encourage both residents and visitors to explore more of what Leeds has to offer. It will help to promote our many attractions more effectively and highlight our new developments as destinations to explore.

“We want to stimulate and move forward our public realm work in the city centre; retailers generate £1.2billion a year and maintain thousands of jobs there, and it is crucial that we support them.”

“We also need to encourage people to walk for the benefit of their health and for the environment. This map shows that walking is a manageable and enjoyable option for people of all ages.

The free ‘Walk it’ maps will be distributed through key visitor gateways such as the Leeds Visitor Centre, located at the Leeds City Rail Station. For your free copy pop in to the centre or order one by telephone on 0113 242 5242.

Additional info

An audit of the current information in Leeds city centre identified the need to make getting into and around the city centre on foot easier.
The map is part of a larger Legible Leeds initiative being developed by independent information experts, AIG Lacock Gullam, for Leeds City Council.

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

Pudsey Grangefield highly commended in BCSE Industry awards

Pudsey Grangefield school has been highly commended at the national British Council for School Environments awards.

The state-of-the-art school, built as part of the Leeds BSF (Building Schools for the Future) programme, opened in September 2008 to high praise from students, staff and the local community.

Now, in recognition of its successes, the school has been highly commended in the ‘Inspiring Design’ category at the BCSE Awards which took place at The Emirate’s Stadium, London, yesterday (Wednesday).

The school combines a range of learning spaces with state-of-the art ICT equipment. It is loosely faculty based with innovative open learning areas, break-out spaces and show-and-tell rooms which provide informal briefing, discussion and presentation areas where up to 50 students can learn in a relaxed atmosphere.

The building has a minimal amount of corridors to ensure it is as open and welcoming as possible while the central ‘street’ and general teaching areas are linked by a three-floor hub of ICT facilities, library and resources.

Personalised learning is an important aspect of Pudsey Grangefield and the school has been designed to reflect that. The flexible classrooms are equipped with smartboards and wireless learning is available across the school to encourage children to take control of their learning and develop their skills as much as possible.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“Leeds City Council is transforming learning in the city through state-of-the-art buildings and 21st-century provision. This recognition, at such a prestigious awards ceremony, highlights the successes which have been achieved in the city so far.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
The BCSE awards ceremony is a prestigious event which reflects the huge steps being made in education across Britain. The fact that Pudsey Grangefield has been highly commended illustrates the excellent work being carried out in the city.”

Ty Goddard, chief executive of the BCSE, said:
“The quality of entries led to intense debate amongst the judges, which is how it should be. Pudsey Grangefield School shows that the right resources and approach can produce great projects which we can be proud of.

“Our thanks go to all for being willing to invest their time and energy in a project which ensures pupils and teachers have such an inspirational centre to learn, play and teach in. These awards are a big ‘thank you’ to all those across the sectors helping to make our schools better.”

The next new BSF school to open will be Swallow Hill Community College - the new secondary school for Armley and Wortley - in September 2009.

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month celebrated at Leeds Civic Hall

Caption: Picture shows the winners of the Key Stage 1 storytelling competition awards (from left): William Collinson, Indianna Reynolds and Sophie Rhodes, with Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott.

The successes and achievements of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in Leeds schools have been celebrated at a special event.

The celebration - which took place at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday (Wednesday) - was attended by children and young people, teachers, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott, the chief executive of Education Leeds, Chris Edwards and members of the Gypsy Roma Traveller community.

The evening also celebrated the winners of the National and Regional Storytelling Competition - organised by the National Association of Teachers of Travellers and other professionals (NATT+) - which saw children from across the city write a short story to celebrate Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.

The winners were: William Priestley and Eleanor Gregson (Foundation Stage); Indianna Reynolds and William Collinson (Key Stage 1); and Zoe Tempest-Mitchell and Joe Moore (Key Stage 2) who all attend Blackgates Primary School in Ardsley and Robin Hood.

Organised by Education Leeds’ Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service (GRTAS), with support from the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF), the annual event raises awareness of the communities’ achievements, culture and history.

According to figures from the children’s society - nine out of 10 children of Gypsy Roma Traveller background are racially abused and nearly two-thirds bullied or physically attacked.*

The campaign also focuses on ways to improve the achievement of Gypsy Roma Traveller children, which is currently the lowest of any minority group in the UK.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for Learning, said:
“This month has been a fantastic opportunity for our children and young people to explore these rich and fascinating cultures.

“Ofsted has recognised the pioneering work of our Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service, which has been opening up a new world of learning and cultural understanding for over 25 years. It is great that so many children’s centres and schools have been involved.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We want every child and young person in Leeds to be able to learn and develop in a happy, safe and inclusive environment.

“The Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month is another excellent chance to inspire all our children and young people with creative learning based around these fascinating cultures while challenging negative stereotypes.”

The storytelling competition and history month are the latest in a series of projects from the service which bring alive the traditions, values and culture of the Gypsy Roma Traveller communities developed on a thousand year journey across the globe.

There have been a number of events taking place across the city this month including an arts week at the West Park Centre.

Organised by GRTAS and Artforms, and featuring artists and performers including Richard O'Neill, Romany Storyteller, and Ferdinand Koci, Roma artist, the event was attended by over 400 children from 12 different schools in the city.

Awards will also be presented to children and young people from both primary and secondary schools in the city recognising their achievements.

There is also an opportunity for children to enter an international competition to describe a unique, new picture which has been designed by Roma artist, Ferdinand Koci.

For more information on this and Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities visit or


Notes to editors
Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are the largest Ethnic Minority community in the European Union with over 12 million people. In the UK, they are recognised ethnic minority communities and number 300,000.

*The Children’s Society report that nearly 9 out of every 10 children and young people from a Gypsy background have suffered racial abuse and nearly two thirds have also been bullied or physically attacked.(November Report 2007). The achievement levels of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are the lowest of any of the BME communities and the gap is widening (December 2008 DCSF national figures).

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Last chance to sign up for talent competition

Picture caption: Last year's Breeze has Talent winners 'Saints' have had a great year since winning the competition. They are receiving personal mentoring from the creative director of RJC Dance and are performing on Sunday 27th June at the Carriageworks as part of the Breeze International Festival, and again on Saturday 4th July as part of the prestigious Dansopolis performances at Yorkshire Dance.

Talented young people only have one week left to enter the popular Breeze has Talent competition.

Leeds City Council is searching for talented youngsters to audition for Breeze has Talent 2009. This year the hunt is on for 100 acts – aged 8 – 19 for gifted musicians, singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, jugglers – anything. This is their chance to shine.

The response from young people to Breeze has Talent 2008 was tremendous – from the auditions where 60 acts competed in front of judges, right through to the final at the Carriageworks - the whole competition was a real celebration of the passion and dedication of the many talented young performers who live in Leeds.

Breeze is anticipating an even bigger response this year – and as there will only be a limited number of places for auditions, so performers should contact the Breeze auditions hotline on 0113 277 9861 as soon as possible to apply for an audition pack. Alternatively those wishing to register can contact the organisers direct by emailing

Auditions will be held on Sunday 28th June and Sunday 5th July at The Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds and successful acts will perform at this year’s Breeze on Tour to compete for places in the final which will be held in the Quarry Theatre at the West Yorkshire Playhouse – with fantastic prizes and opportunities for all the finalists.

Councillor John Procter, executive member with responsibility for Leisure, said:“The standard of last year’s competition was very high and was really encouraging to see our young people demonstrating what they can do. We will continue to support and nurture that talent over the next few years- and will be doing all we can to help every young person across the city to fulfil their potential.”

Councillor Alan Lamb, deputy executive member with responsibility for youth services said:
“There are so many talented young people in Leeds we don’t want anyone to miss out on this fantastic opportunity.

“Last year’s competition was a great success and really challenged stereotypes to prove that with a bit of time, effort and commitment all young people can achieve something special.”

To find out more – and see video footage of last years’ winners - visit the Breeze website at or

Notes to editors:
Breeze has Talent is just one strand of Breeze which brings a wide ranging program of activities to young people in Leeds.

Breeze Has Talent is part funded by Find Your Talent which gives children and young people the chance to try out different cultural and creative activities. It's about helping them to discover new things, to express themselves, to develop a passion and to make the most of their talent. Whether it is music, art, film, theatre, dance, digital media, exploring libraries, museums or heritage, Find Your Talent is for every child and young person, whatever their age and whatever their ability.

The scheme is being piloted in 10 pathfinder areas across England and offers children and young people regular involvement with arts and culture both in and out of school. Find Your Talent is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, Arts Council England and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

Partner organisations who have already agreed to support Leeds’ Find Your Talent include:
Cultural organisations: West Yorkshire Playhouse, Opera North, CAPE UK, Yorkshire Dance Centre, Royal Armouries, The Old Chapel Studio, Leeds Archive Service, Issacs Uk, Earlyarts, Yorkshire Evening Post, Phoenix Dance Theatre Co., Northern Ballet Theatre, Thackery Museum, Harewood House, the Grand Theatre, City Varieties, Hyde Park Picture House, East Street Arts, Axis, the Project, Interplay, Visual Arts Forum, Blah Blah Blah Theatre Co., Alive & Kicking Theatre Co.
Further and Higher Education:
Leeds College of Music, Leeds University, Leeds Metropolitan University, Studio Theatre and Gallery, Training and Development Agency, Yorkshire and Humber Regional Centre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, College of Art and Design.

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

Leeds teachers reach finals of the national Teaching Awards

Two teachers from Leeds have reached the national final of the Teaching Awards.

Matthew Browne, deputy head at Austhorpe Primary School, and Peter Harris, headteacher at Farsley Farfield Primary School, both won their respective categories in the north of England heat.

Mr Browne won the BT Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School in the North of England while Mr Harris won the Becta Award for Next Generation Learning in the North of England at the competition held in Sheffield last week

Mr Browne only joined the school last September but has already made a huge impact. The parent who nominated him described how pupils are enthused by his creative ideas and practical lessons, making cakes, puppets and paper-mache space rockets

A judge who watched one of his lessons described it as ‘inspirational’ saying “The best compliment that I can bestow upon a fellow teacher is to be so in awe by their lesson that I return to school and teach the same lesson that I observed”.

Farsley Farfield has made effective and innovative use of technology across the whole school, transforming communication with parents and providing children with opportunities to enhance their learning across the curriculum at home as well as in lessons

This has ensured pupils leave the school competent in a range of technologies at a level that is well beyond their years and left judges saying that Farsley Farfield was “quite simply the most exciting, the most stimulating, the most revolutionary, creative and innovative school in ICT that we have ever seen. Peter is at the heart of the vision”.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“It is a testament to the high standards of teaching in Leeds that the city is so well represented at this stage of these prestigious awards.

“Both Peter and Matthew are carrying out exceptional work in their individual schools - the benefits of which are being reaped by the children they are teaching. I wish them the very best for the national finals.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“This is a brilliant achievement for both of these very talented teachers. The competition at this level of the competition is fierce so to be named as the best in the North of England is quite an achievement. I’d also like to congratulate the other colleagues who did so well to reach this stage.

“Peter and Matthew now have the opportunity to go one step further and be named the best in the whole of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I have every faith they can do it and wish them both the best of luck.”

The finals will be held on the 25 October at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London. For further information visit

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577