Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Leeds actress Victoria proves whiter than White

Caption: Victoria Holtom will play the fairytale princess this Christmas

A new leading lady has been unveiled in Leeds as local actress Victoria Holtom has been chosen to play the title role of Snow White in this year’s Christmas pantomime.

The 26-year-old from Teeside who attended Leeds University and now shares her time between Leeds and London, successfully saw off the challenge of over 50 other hopefuls to clinch the prized role of the fairytale princess in the festive production at The Carriageworks on Millennium Square.

Producers of the pantomime Paul Holman Associates were casting for a local girl to play the part, and Victoria emerged from the final 10 to secure the role after starring in auditions.

Victoria Holtom, who will play Snow White, said:

“I’m so happy about landing the role and I can’t wait to start! It’s a great feeling to know that all the hard work has paid off. I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to be on the stage and meet everyone involved in the production.”

Victoria is no stranger to the world of pantomime, having played Princess Jasmine in Theatre North's version of ‘Aladdin’, while she is also a singer in a local band in Leeds and was awarded a BBC Fame Academy bursary in 2007 for being a musical theatre performer.

Victoria added:

“I love pantomimes. They are hard work but so rewarding. You get to sing, dance and act. It’s lots of fun and when you see everyone in the audience having a good time it’s the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will run at The Carriageworks from Friday 4th December to Saturday 9th January 2010, organised by Leeds City Council and produced by London-based pantomime experts Paul Holman Associates, who enjoyed great success at the venue last Christmas with their performance of Aladdin.

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

“Congratulations to Victoria for winning the role of Snow White. The standard was exceptionally high so well done to everyone who entered and we cannot wait to see Victoria performing in The Carriageworks this Christmas.”

Paul Holman from producers Paul Holman Associates said:

“Victoria looks Snow White, sings Snow White and acts Snow White – she is the classic Snow White!”

Advance tickets are now on sale from The Carriageworks box office or by calling 0113 224 3801. They can also be booked online by visiting the carriageworks website at www.carriageworkstheatre.org.

Notes to editors:

For further information on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, go to www.carriageworkstheatre.org or contact Suzanne David at Paul Holman Associates on 0208 845 9408 or email suzanne@paulholmanassociates.co.uk.

The Carriageworks is a thriving theatre at the heart of Leeds’ Millennium Square. 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 theatre makers, 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, and is home to the Leeds Civic Arts Guild. This is an umbrella group of performing societies offering the opportunity for local people to experience making theatre in a fully-functioning professional venue.


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

Pick up your guide to holiday fun

Caption: The guide is full of great day out ideas and activities

Anyone struggling to find ways of filling the summer holidays now has the perfect solution by looking at a handy guide to all the events going on in museums and galleries across Leeds.

A new ‘what’s on’ guide to all the events and activities taking place at the nine Leeds City Council-managed museums and galleries is now available to be picked up for free at every venue as well as the Leeds Visitor Centre and tourist information centres in and around the city.

The guide gives details of what’s on where for families and young people to enjoy at the nine venues – Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds City Museum, Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, Leeds Industrial Museum, Lotherton Hall, Temple Newsam and Thwaite Mills Watermill – from now until the end of August.

Aside from basic details of regular events, the guide also details the activities on offer by theme and also a useful week-by-week guide of things to do throughout the holidays. These include events around the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne, an exhibition of 1960s and 70s British fashion, a spectacular birds of prey demonstration, arts and crafts, fancy dress, bug hunts, a special football exhibition, a dog show and even a teddy bears’ picnic and a welly-throwing competition!

The guide can also be downloaded from the Leeds museums and galleries website at www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries. All the events are part of the wider 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 www.leeds.gov.uk/summeroffun.

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

“There is a fantastic range of activities and events going on all over Leeds this summer for people of all ages to enjoy, and this handy guide is a great way for people to find out more about what there is to see and do in our wonderful museums and galleries so they can make the most of the holiday period.”

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

Don’t let a burglar spoil your barbie!

Community safety chiefs today issued advice to people in Leeds on how to protect their homes against summer sneak-in burglars.

The advice follows the release of new figures showing nearly half of all burglaries in Leeds in June and July were caused by people leaving doors and windows open to would-be thieves.

Between 17 June and 16 July 2009, 773 domestic burglaries were recorded. Of these, 281 were able to happen because doors or windows were left open. 97 took place while the householder was on the premises.

The figures have been released by Safer Leeds, the city’s Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.

Sneak-in burglaries increase during warm weather, as people leave their homes unsecured, and spend more time in their gardens, relaxing or having barbecues.

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds says:
“Burglars cause real misery, but residents can fight back by making life as difficult as possible for them. Avoiding this type of sneak-in burglary is easy and people in Leeds can make sure their summer isn’t spoiled by following some simple safety advice. Let's keep the burglars out this summer.”

This includes:
• Lock your windows and doors.
• Keep your keys out of sight.
• Leave a light on inside the house in well used rooms such as your lounge or bedroom. This will create the impression that someone is in.
• Use a Timer Switch – they are excellent ways of triggering one or more lights and can be used to set times or to randomly switch on and off.
• Use lighting outside your home – Dusk to Dawn low level lighting is recommended because it is an environmentally friendly light source and it is an effective deterrent. If you choose to fit motion detected lighting it is not necessary to fit a lamp of more than 150 watts. More powerful lighting may cause distress to neighbours

Forther information on burglary prevention is available from the Safer Leeds website on www.saferleeds.org.uk, or by telephoning 0113 395 0821.

• Safer Leeds is the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tacking drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership organisation between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.


For further information contact:
John Donegan
(0113) 247 4450 (mon-wed am) (0113) 395 1510 (wed pm-fri)

Work starts on Leeds’ greenest primary school

Work has started on what will be Leeds’ most environmentally friendly primary school.

The existing buildings at Bankside Primary School in Harehills will be demolished and replaced by a £9.1m state-of-the-art building. Developed by Kier Northern, the new three-form entry school will continue to be called Bankside.

It is due for completion in November 2010 and will provide modern teaching accommodation for up to 630 pupils and will include a 52 place nursery and community facilities.

The project team - made up of Leeds City Council, Education Leeds, Kier Northern and the Strategic Design Alliance - are aiming for a BREEAM Very Good rating.

It will include renewable energy sources such as a ground source heat pump - which draws heat from the ground to contribute to the school’s heating system - and solar thermal hot water heating and photovoltaic cells which capture energy from the sun to be converted into electricity.

As part of the transition to the new school, the construction process will be recorded by a video documentary being undertaken by pupils to follow the progress of the new school build.

Jointly run by the school council and Education Leeds sustainable schools co-ordinators, the project will focus on the environmental aspects of the building and will feature interviews with the pupils who will inherit the school on its completion, as well as school staff, the project team, BREEAM co-ordinators and community leaders.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“This 21st century learning environment will be the greenest school in the city – and is a milestone in the ongoing development of our schools.

“As well as being kinder on the environment it will help to provide our young people with the skills, knowledge and experience needed for the best start to their adult lives.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We have an excellent track record of creating brilliant learning environments so to build a school which is the most eco-friendly in the city is a natural next step.

“We are committed to providing every young person with a place where they can learn and be happy, healthy, safe and successful. This new school will continue that tradition and ensure state-of-the-art facilities are available for the local community for generations to come ”

Kier Northern operations director Tyd Gray added:
“By working closely with Education Leeds and the Strategic Design Alliance, Kier Northern have helped to develop an impressive and innovative new school. We are looking forward to working closely with the Bankside team to deliver this wonderful new school for the local community.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Council urges event-goers to recycle

Recycling will take centre stage at Leeds music events this summer.

Visitors to Party and Opera in the Park and Classical Fantasia are being encouraged to recycle while they enjoy the free music events.

Recycling bins for glass bottles will be provided by Leeds City Council at Opera in the Park and Classical Fantasia. Plastic bottles and drinks cans will be collected at Party in the Park. Event-goers should look out for the green bins located throughout the site.

Thousands of music fans are expected to flock to Temple Newsam in Leeds, during this weekend - on 25 July for Opera in the Park and on 26 July for Party in the Park and to Kirkstall Abbey for the Classical Fantasia event on 12 September.

Last year 2.4 tonnes of glass and 140kg of plastic bottles and cans were collected and recycled after Opera and Party in the Park. It is hoped audiences will recycling more of their waste this year.

All materials will be collected and processed for recycling after each event. Leeds City College will be providing volunteers to help with recycling and big screen messages reminding people to recycle.

Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member for environmental services, said:
"We know our residents and visitors to the city want to be able to recycle whilst they are out enjoying these summer events, just as they do in their homes and we’ve worked hard to make our events more environmentally friendly. We want residents to get into the habit of reducing, reusing and recycling their waste wherever they are so that we can divert waste from landfill and help protect the city for future generations to enjoy.”

For media enquiries, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk

Caring dog warden takes the heat off for rescued dog

Captions: (top photo) Buddha the dog shortly receiving medical help after his rescue and (above) fit and well and waiting to be rehomed.

A dog who nearly died after being left to roam the streets during a heat wave has been found a new home by caring council dog wardens.

Leeds City Council Dog Warden Nichola Smith responded to a report of a dog roaming the streets during the spell of very hot weather in the Chapeltown area of Leeds in June.

When she arrived at the location the dog, known as Buddha, was lying on its stomach in the middle of the road, legs sprawled out and with its eyes bloodshot and bulging. He was clearly suffering from the heat and was so badly de-hydrated and over-exerted that he could not move.

After carrying him to the van, Nichola took the dog straight to the vets where it underwent emergency treatment to bring his temperature down and re-hydrate him. Buddha recovered well and after a short time spent getting better in council kennels, he was re-homed.

Over the past year, Leeds City Council has dealt with more than 1,200 calls about abandoned or stray dogs.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“If it had not been for Nichola's prompt response to the report, this dog would probably not have survived.
“Buddha’s case is just one example of the professional caring service that our Dog Wardens strive to deliver on a daily basis and a classic example of the harm that can come to dogs which are not cared for responsibly.”

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

Report outlines major improvements in work to protect vulnerable people from abuse or neglect

Work to ensure vulnerable adults in Leeds are protected from abuse or neglect is described in a report to council chiefs tomorrow.

The second Leeds Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board Report, will be presented to Leeds City Council’s Executive Board tomorrow, Wednesday 22 July.

The report details work completed in the past year to strengthen the city’s ‘Safeguarding Partnership’ which is made up of a range of organisations working to protect vulnerable adults. These include: Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, Leeds NHS Teaching Hospitals Trust, the Leeds Partnership Foundation Trust, voluntary and faith sectors across the city, independent care providers and service user representatives.

A year ago, a government-led inspection of care services in Leeds said the Partnership needed to be strengthened and that existing practice to safeguard vulnerable adults be significantly improved across the full range of organisations involved in protecting vulnerable adults.

The annual Leeds Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board Report, describes the work done to ensure the various organisations are represented on the Partnership Board at the most senior level possible, with the result that safeguarding is now becoming deeply embedded throughout the organisations. This means that staff at all levels have a heightened awareness of abuse or neglect, know how to prevent it – and what to do about it if things go wrong.

Councillor Peter Harrand, Leeds City Council’s Executive Board member for adult health and social care said:

“With older, ill and disabled people choosing ever more independent lives, we need to manage the level of risk this entails, without unnecessarily restricting people’s lifestyle choices.

“The overwhelming message is that safeguarding people is everybody’s business – from chief executive to front-line worker and from elected member to the person in the street. We all have a role to play.”

As a result of increasing alertness and a large-scale training programme for staff, referrals of cases for investigation have more than doubled over last year. The work of the unit has been reviewed and more professionals appointed to deal with this growing work-load.

The city’s revised safeguarding policy emphasises the need for all to be vigilant, to ensure that people are safeguarded before they experience harm or abuse, as well as protecting those who have been harmed.

The full Leeds Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board Report will be presented to members of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday 22 July. The meeting begins at 1pm and will be held at the Leeds Civic Hall. Advance copies of the report are available by contacting the council press office on the number below.


For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office(0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk