Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Win money for your local community with the Big Lunch in Leeds

Leeds residents have the chance to win grants for their local community if they register their Big Lunch events on the Leeds Big Lunch website.

The Big Lunch is a national campaign backed by the Eden Project. It is aimed at getting everyone in the UK to sit down and have lunch together with their neighbours on 19 July 2009.

Modelled on the street parties of wartime Britain, it asks people to be creative and hold parties in the middle of their streets, in their gardens and in local parks or common ground.

The food, entertainment and decorations will have either been grown, cooked, or created by the people holding the party. The aim is to put a smile back on people’s faces and get everyone talking to their neighbours.

The Leeds Big Lunch is being supported by Leeds Initiative, the city’s local strategic partnership, with prize money donated by NHS Leeds and Leeds City Council.

The prize money will be awarded to the best Big Lunches in Leeds. Prizes can be used to buy gardening equipment, seeds, banners, tables – anything that will help the Big Lunch become a regular event.

Councillor Richard Brett, Chair of Leeds Initiative and Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“The Big Lunch is a great opportunity to meet the neighbours that we see everyday but perhaps don’t always talk to. I think it’s a fantastic idea to share healthy, homemade and home-grown food with each other. I’m pleased that the Leeds Initiative is supporting the campaign and enabling it to happen again and again.”

Leeds Big Lunch events should be registered at for a chance to win a cash prize for the local community. The Leeds Big Lunch website also has tips about how to hold a Big Lunch, seasonal recipe ideas and a chance to find out what Big Lunches are happening across Leeds on 19 July 2009.

For more information contact Rachael Loftus on 0113 247 8989 or email go to For details of the national campaign visit

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office(0113) 224 3602

Superhero on a mission to get people to sign the Thermo Pledge

Caption: Cllr Barry Anderson and Cllr James Monaghan team up with Leeds superhero Thermo to sign the Thermo pledge

Councillors have signed the Thermo Pledge – the energy saving superhero’s plan to cut Leeds’ carbon cost.

The brainchild of the Leeds City Council’s Fuelsavers team, Thermo comes with his own heat-sensitive camera which beams its picture directly to a chest mounted screen – so people can see the ‘hotspots’ in the home, school and office that show appliances using up energy while left on stand-by.

Councillor James Monaghan, the council’s executive board member for environmental services, and Councillor Barry Anderson, chair of the Fuelsavers board, both made the pledge during a personal visit by the Leeds superhero.

The Thermo Pledge encourages people to:
• Turn down or turn off – turn down or turn off heating or appliances on stand-by
• Low carb or no carb – use renewable electricity and energy efficient appliances
• Help save my mate Cli-mate – do everything they can to save energy and cut carbon

Leeds saved 88,000 tonnes of housing-generated CO2 last year and the Thermo Pledge seeks to take this to the next level – assisting the city's Climate Change Strategy objectives to achieve better than a 2% reduction in CO2 from housing per year.

The council’s Fuelsavers team gave advice to 32,000 Leeds households last year, organised 4,500 heating grants and 16,000 insulation improvements. Homes in Leeds emit 6.3 tonnes of CO2 on average – more than the national average of 6 tonnes. Up to 20% of this can be saved by taking simple steps to insulate walls and roofs, or by turning heating down or off when safe to do so.

In October, a ‘thermal over-flight’ will take place in the skies about Leeds to show which roofs need insulation – this imaging will be available on a website for residents or will be used to highlight energy waste by the council’s door-to-door team.

It will coincide with a door-to-door initiative 70,206 household to bring 10,000 households to insulation and a ‘drive-by thermal survey’ of 8,000 Leeds homes to assist householders with wall insulation.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“This is a fantastic way to bring the energy saving message home to people.
“There are simple things that people can do to save energy and cut carbon – buying energy efficient appliances, switching off electrical equipment on standby, installing proper insulation in their homes. All these things contribute to cutting Leeds’ carbon footprint and combating climate change.
“I encourage everyone to sign up to the Pledge and do their bit.”

Cllr Barry Anderson, chair of the Fuelsavers board, said:
"The Thermo Pledge builds on great progress already made by our Fuelsavers team.
"By using energy efficient appliances and insulating their homes people can drastically cut their carbon emissions. Turning down and turning off heating and appliances can save a huge amount of energy, which is not only good for the environment, it helps to save money on energy bills too.
"If we are going to tackle climate change, we need everyone to play their part, so we want as many people as possible to sign up to the Thermo Pledge. With our very own superhero Thermo spreading the word in our schools, I am sure the campaign will be a major success.”

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

Retiring headteachers honoured for 211 years’ service

Headteachers who have clocked up 211 years’ service between them are to be honoured at a special reception.

Nine headteachers from schools across Leeds will retire this summer bringing to an end distinguished teaching careers and long-term associations with their individual schools.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to attend the reception to mark the headteachers’ retirement at Weetwood Hall on Thursday 9 July at 3.15pm. Please contact Jon Crampton on 0113 3951577 to confirm attendance. For individual comments from headteachers, please contact the schools directly.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

Education Leeds has organised a reception to mark the occasion and say thank you for their service to the children and young people of the city.

The headteachers retiring are:
Susan Steward, Broomfield SILC; Pauline O’Connor, Holy Family Catholic Primary School; Janet Poynting, Southroyd Primary School; Paul Tindle, Highfield Primary School; David Wisnia, Fieldhead Carr Primary; Andy Syers, Colton Primary School; Stephen Kelsey, West Leeds High School.

Mary Kate (Kath) Andrews, of Armley Primary School and Jane McMillan, of All Saints C of E Primary School, are also retiring but are unable to attend the ceremony.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“It is always with regret that we have to say farewell to such valued individuals. Headteachers play such an important role in school - shaping the lives and learning of their pupils and leading and inspiring their colleagues. I wish every retiring headteacher the best for the future.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Our headteachers’ passion, energy and commitment has made a real difference to children, young people, their families and their local communities.

“It is thanks to wonderful colleagues like this that our schools are improving, inclusive and successful. They have helped to inspire the next generation of brilliant headteachers in the city and I would like to them all for their hard work and commitment.”

Each headteacher will receive an engraved glass bowl from the chief executive of Education Leeds, Chris Edwards, at the event will take place at Weetwood Hall on Thursday 9 July between 1.30pm and 4.30pm.


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

Footballing legends officially launch Leeds’ World Cup bid

Caption: Pictured at the launch of the Leeds City Region official bid to be a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is Councillor Richard Brett (front) with (from left): Peter Lorimer, Simon Grayson, Gordon McQueen, Norman Hunter, Rui Marques, Nigel Martyn and Shaun Harvey.

The Leeds City Region has officially launched its bid for Leeds to be a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Footballing legends Norman Hunter, Peter Lorimer, Nigel Martyn and Gordon McQueen were joined by the leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Richard Brett, Leeds United manager Simon Grayson and defender Rui Marques to launch the bid on Millennium Square this morning (Wednesday).

And the message from them all was unanimous: back the bid by voting at

With four top professional football clubs - Leeds United, Barnsley, Huddersfield Town and Bradford City - together with other world famous sporting venues such as Headingley, Yorkshire’s sporting heritage is well known.

If the bid is successful, towns and cities which make up the Leeds City Region* would be used as locations for training grounds and ‘Fan Fests’ where supporters can gather and watch matches on big screens.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“For Leeds to be a host city for the 2018 World Cup would be brilliant. It would ensure global coverage for the for the whole city region and provide a huge economic boost.

“We have the facilities, the fans and the support to be a host city and there is already a buzz of excitement in the air. We need everybody to give their support and register their vote by visiting”

Councillor Andrew Carter, deputy council leader, said:
“Yorkshire has a proud sporting heritage and it would be an honour to be a host city in 2018. It was great to see past and present footballing legends backing the bid today - but it would be even better if everybody in Yorkshire got behind us and cast their vote to ensure we are successful.”

Former Leeds United star and England World Cup winner Norman Hunter said:
“The Leeds City Region is a great sporting area and I’m delighted and honoured to be backing the bid.

“It would be terrific for the area if we can bring the World Cup to Leeds.”

Leeds is one of 15 cities across the country which have declared an interest in hosting World Cup fixtures in nine years time if the overall England bid is successful.

Leeds City Council has joined forces with Leeds United and Marketing Leeds to work on the bid process, but many other organisations are lending their support.

If Leeds secures host city status games would be played at Elland Road. It’s proposed that improvements would be made to the stadium so it would be capable hosting group, ‘round-of-16-matches’ and potentially a quarter final.

To vote for Leeds visit


Notes to editors:

*The Leeds City Region Partnership brings together the eleven local authorities of Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council.

For more information contact:
Jon Crampton
Leeds City Council
0113 395 1577

Paul Dews
Leeds United
0113 367 6170

Andy Carter
Leeds City Council
0113 395 0393

Council leader supports National Transplant Week

Leader of Leeds Council, Councillor Richard Brett, is supporting National Transplant Week by urging more people in the city to register to become donors.

The aim of National Transplant Week is to highlight the urgent need for new donors to come forward. Transplants are one of the most miraculous achievements of modern medicine, but they depend entirely on the generosity of donors and their families making this life-saving gift to others.

There are currently more than 8,000 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant, which could save or dramatically improve their lives. Less than 3,000 transplants are carried out each year and nearly 400 people died while waiting for a transplant last year. One in ten people waiting for a heart transplant will die and many others will lose their lives before they even get on to the waiting list.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of the council said:
“Transplants are one of the biggest success stories of modern medicine, giving people with life threatening conditions a real chance of survival.

“National Transplant Week is a fantastic opportunity to encourage more people to become donors. Organ donation can be a difficult subject for people to raise with their families, but having the opportunity to give somebody else the gift of life can be incredibly comforting in times of sorrow.

“I want to urge as many people as possible to think about signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, to show their support and make others aware of the issue."


Additional info

The more people who pledge to donate their organs after their death, the more people stand to benefit. By choosing to join the NHS Organ Donor Register you could help make sure life goes on.

How can you help?
By registering on the NHS Organ Donor Register:

By carrying a donor card - you can find these in leaflets in doctors' surgeries or by ringing the Organ Donor Line on 0845 60 60 400 between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. Calls are charged at the local rate.

When you register it is important that you tell those closest to you about your decision. That you want to donate your organs after your death so others can live. Even if your name is on the register, your relatives would still be asked to agree before you become a donor. So if they know you are registered and that you want something positive to come from your death, that will help them to make a decision.

For more information visit the Transplant Trust website

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

Young people from Leeds to perform at London’s Southbank Centre

Issued on behalf of colleagues at CCE

Young people from Leeds have been selected to take part in a celebration performance at Southbank Centre in London on Friday 10 July as part of national Shine Week 2009 ( 28 young people involved in Leeds’s Find Your Talent programme will join with 300 others from around the country to share their experiences of the programme so far and showcase their creativity and talents. Find Your Talent ( is the Government’s cultural offer for children and young people which is currently being piloted across 10 pathfinder regions across England.

In celebration of the Find Your Talent programme, which has already reached over one million children across 10 areas of England, the event will see young people taking part in a variety of workshops including Hip Hop dance and DJ skills as well as lively debates on topics such as the importance of access to culture.

Performing at the event will be 14 members of RJC Youth Dance Group from Leeds, under the name Shahck Out Too. Aged between 13 and 20, they are part of a larger group of RJC youth dancers currently rehearsing for a community spectacular at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 17th and 18th July. Entitled Dubwise Lik, the performance brings together professional dancers David Hamilton and Gee Goodison, both founder members of Phoenix Dance, with David’s company Regeyshun Dance and a vibrant line-up of youth and community dance groups from across Leeds.

In London the group will be showing a short film about their work made by Space2, an organisation that uses creativity as a catalyst for positive change in local communities. They will also be showcasing one of their dance routines from Dubwise Lik, choreographed by Pauline Mayers, in the renowned Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall.

Presentations from Leeds will also include a visual installation from Find Your Talent’s “Footsteps” projects, which involved young people in creating a heritage trail around the city centre. Photographs, paintings and maps from the project will be displayed in the Festival Hall throughout the day. Meanwhile, other young people from Leeds will be attending the event to take part in workshops and debates, meeting other creative people from around the country and supporting the performances.

Paul Collard, Chief Executive of Creativity, Culture and Education, the new national organisation that manages Find Your Talent and Shine 09, commented:

“Shine 09 is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the success of Find Your Talent so far. This is the first time that children and young people from all 10 pathfinders have come together to share their talents, interests and cultural experience. Share Your Talent highlights why all children must have access to high-quality cultural experiences.”

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre said:

“We continue our commitment to bringing young artists and audiences into the heart of the organisation through this partnership with Find Your Talent. Southbank Centre is delighted to host this exciting event with SE1 United, our Youth Organisation in Residence, which is the first opportunity for everyone from the 10 Find Your Talent pathfinders to meet and celebrate the range of work being produced.”


For more information please contact:
Sarah Scott, PR & Media Manager at Creativity, Culture and Education on 020 7420 5423 or email:

Notes to Editors

Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) –
Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) is a new national organisation which aims to transform the lives of children and families by harnessing the potential of creative learning and cultural opportunity to enhance their aspirations, achievements and skills.
Our vision is for children’s creativity to be encouraged and nurtured in and out of school and for all children to experience and access the diverse range of cultural activity in England because these opportunities can dramatically improve their life chances.

Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and The Hayward as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. The Royal Festival Hall reopened in June 2007 following the major refurbishment of the Hall and redevelopment of the surrounding area and facilities.

Find Your Talent (
Find Your Talent is the Government’s pilot cultural offer for all children and young people which aims to ensure they have access to the wide range of quality cultural experiences essential to unlocking their talent and realising their potential.

RJC Dance
For further information about RJC Youth Dance Group contact Kathy Williams on 0113 239 2040 or mobile 07783403619. For further information about the work of Space2, Leeds contact Sally Brown on 01484 683756 or mobile 07950 870864.

Footsteps and Find Your Talent in Leeds
Contact the Leeds FYT office on 0113 2304074.

Find Your Talent is being piloted by 10 pathfinder areas:
Customs House (North & South Tyneside)
Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) (serving specific areas in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton)
Leicester Shire
Liverpool City region
North Somerset
Telford and Wrekin
Tower Hamlets

Children take safety belt pledge

Recent surveys carried out in Leeds show that a large number of motorists and passengers in cars are still choosing not to wear their safety belts.

Many of the surveys were conducted near primary schools, and the results show that where adults don’t wear their seat belts their child passengers are also likely to be travelling unrestrained, putting them at an increased risk of injury should the vehicle they are travelling in be involved in a collision.

As a result of these surveys, Leeds City Council's road safety promotion unit launched a high profile, regional campaign called ‘Seat Belt On?’ earlier this year, with the aim of increasing seat belt use and reducing the levels of death and serious injuries to car occupants on the district's roads. Road signs bearing the ‘Seat Belt On?’ image have been placed on main routes into Leeds, and signs reminding people to wear their seat belts are on display at various car parks and other sites around the city.

As part of this campaign, all primary school pupils in Leeds will this week receive a leaflet to take home to their parents / carers highlighting the importance of using seat belts and providing information on appropriate child restraints. Additionally a group of children from Shakespeare Primary School will sign individual pledge cards bearing the phrase ‘(I)…promise to wear my seat belt for those I love and those that love me’, then tie their pledges to the school fence with yellow ribbon as a visual and lasting display to remind everyone of the importance of wearing seat belts no matter how short the journey or how familiar the roads.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Media are invited to the 'Yellow Ribbon' Pledge event at Shakespeare Primary School on Thursday, 9 July at 2pm.
The children will be tying their pledges to the school fence following a whole school assembly where they will be addressed by members of the council’s road safety promotion unit. Members of the Road Safety team, the Head teacher Mr Julian Gorton and pupils will be available for photographs and comments.
Please contact Claire Macklam on 0113 395 1578 to confirm your attendance.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Councillor Stuart Andrew, lead member for road safety said:“The statistics show that an alarming number of people in Leeds are ignoring seat belt laws and not wearing safety belts when travelling by car.

“This event will help the young children to understand the significance of making this promise to keep themselves, their family and friends safe in the car. It also sends out an important message to parents and carers that they must be responsible and ensure that everyone is safely belted in for all journeys, no matter how far.”

Additional info

112 children were injured as car passengers in Leeds in 2008.

Car occupants form the largest proportion (37%) of Killed and seriously Injured road casualties in the Leeds District. Often in a collision, the simple use of a seat belt could make the difference between life death.

Every primary school pupil will receive a leaflet and a pledge for them to read and sign. On the reverse is an important message for parents about the seatbelt law and what type of restraint is appropriate for their child. Schools will also receive a ‘safely fitted’ height chart and poster to support activities in school.

Surveys conducted during December 2008 showed an average of 39% of children travelling unsecured during their journey to school.

The fine for failing to wear or ensure the wearing of seat belts rose from £30 to £60 on 1 July 2009.

As part of the ‘Seat Belt On?’ campaign the police will conduct more enforcement activities.

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