Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Yorkshire cricket aces visit Hyde Park youth project

Picture caption: Yorkshire County Cricketers Jonny Bairstow (l)and Jacques Rudolph (r) discuss cricket skills with Hassan Yousaf in the mobile youth vehicle at Hyde Park.

Two of Yorkshire County Cricket’s big stars took time out to meet with young people at a Hyde Park youth project last week.

Jacques Rudolph and Jonny Bairstow spent over an hour at the session at the Royal Park Multi Use Games Area (MUGA), taking part in a game of cricket, chatting with the young people and answering lots of questions about the exciting life of a professional cricketer.

The players heard about the project’s popular cricket skills sessions which are held as part of a Mobile Youth Service session next to the MUGA every Tuesday from 6.30pm – 8.30pm. The sessions are delivered by a Yorkshire County Cricket coach and are very popular with a cross section of boys aged 12 – 17 from the area, and offers fun sessions developing cricketing skills, ball skills and general fitness.

Following the visit, South African international Jacques Rudolph said:“It never ceases to amaze me how the game of cricket can unite and create bonds. I was privileged to be associated with the Leeds City Council Youth Service project at Royal Park MUGA and to witness the work that is happening in our community. I thoroughly enjoyed playing cricket with the kids and to see the joy and fulfilment on their faces. Hopefully their love and excitement for the game will elevate them to one day represent Yorkshire. Thank you to Leeds City Council’s youth service and Yorkshire County Cricket Club partnership for creating opportunities and futures for young stars.”

Tony Edwards, youth work manager for Hyde Park and Woodhouse, said:
“The young people were very excited about meeting Jacque and Jonny and everyone had a great time. This was a fantastic opportunity for the young people and we’re very grateful to Yorkshire County Cricket for their support in making this happen. The gifts they brought also went down a treat!”

Councillor Alan Lamb, lead member responsible for youth services said:“Meeting professional sportsmen like these offers young people the chance to see that hard work and commitment really does pay off. I’m sure this opportunity will have further boosted their aspirations and enthusiasm for the sport.

“The cricket skills project is a fantastic example of how our mobile youth vehicles are bringing youth work direct to young people and offering them opportunities which they would not normally be able to access.”

The project has been running since the spring in Hyde Park, a densely populated area with limited social spaces for young people. A regular group of over 20 young people have been attending over the last few months and the plan is to move the session into the Headingley nets for winter to develop the young people’s skills and access to accreditation.

The programme is funded through Sport England to increase young people’s participation in sport to meet the Government’s target of four hours per week and is co-ordinated by Leeds City Council’s Youth Service with partners Positive Futures.

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

City centre improvements gather pace

Caption: Artist's impression of Kirkgate pedestrian area

Caption: Artist's impression of Bond Street

The transformation of Leeds city centre will continue this month when work starts to upgrade two more city centre streets.

The council is stepping up its drive towards making the city centre more attractive by making improvements to Bond Street and the pedestrianised part of Kirkgate. The move will act as a timely boost to the city centre’s retail environment.

The work continues the council’s refurbishment of the city centre’s pedestrianised area, which has already seen improvements to Albion Place, Albion Street and Briggate. The current refurbishment of Lands Lane will be completed in October.

Both Bond Street and Kirkgate are important streets in the city centre, acting as key gateways from the city’s business and market districts. Kirkgate is the oldest street in Leeds with a history dating back to the Domesday Book of 1086. Over the years it has been home to a prison, a museum and, up until the 19th century, was a fashionable residential district for Leeds’ wealthy merchants.

The work on Bond Street and Kirkgate will start this month, and by next spring both streets will be fully refurbished. They will be repaved in high quality Yorkstone and granite, and new trees and seating will be installed on both streets.

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader and executive member for city development said:
“Our city centre needs to be of the highest quality if we are to continue to attract investors, employers, shoppers and tourists to Leeds.

“Three new businesses opened up during last year’s refurbishment of Albion Place, in what were previously vacant shop units. We are committed to helping our city centre retailers and I am confident that the work on Lands Lane, Kirkgate and Bond Street will go a long way towards achieving our aim of a more attractive city centre”

The work also meets with the objectives of the recently published ‘Leeds City Centre 2020’ prospectus, which shows how the city will move forward over the next 11 years.

Notes to editor

Artist’s impressions of the proposed schemes are available
Leeds City Centre 2020 is a prospectus showing how the city centre will move forward over the next 11 years. It is the product of a conference held in 2008 when employers, retailers, developers, residents, workers and young people came together to map out a long term vision for the city centre. Delegates and speakers contributed their ideas, energy and enthusiasm to the debate over the kind of city centre we want to see develop in Leeds. The prospectus sets out eight key shared aspirations for a city centre that's welcoming, walkable, liveable and well connected. It describes our vision for the centre of Leeds as a place that is sustainable, business friendly and has a high quality environment and cultural offer.

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

‘Boombastic’ Shaggy ready for Leeds return

Caption: Shaggy wowed the crowds at the 2007 event

Chart-topping star Shaggy will be performing in Leeds this weekend as he heads the line-up at the Leeds Reggae Concert.

The internationally-famed artist whose hits include “Oh Carolina”, “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me”, will be returning to the stage at Potternewton Park on Sunday 30th August where he put on a show-stopping performance two years ago.

The 23rd annual Leeds Reggae Concert runs from 12 noon to 8pm and is expected to attract a crowd of approximately 25,000 people. The star-studded line-up who will all be performing live on the ‘Unity Housing Association Stage’ covers a wide and varied spectrum of black music genres.

Sharing headliner duties with Shaggy is American R & B star Bobby V, who has worked with star names Puff Daddy, Ludacris and Timbaland since the success of his debut album in 2005. He has also enjoyed recent awards success, being named Best Male Act and Best R & B Act at the prestigious Urban Music Awards held in New York in July.

British performers will also be to the fore as ‘Lover’s Rock’ duo Peter Spence and Peter Hunnindale will take to the stage, along with rising stars Wretch 32, She Soul and Maleeka.

As ever talent from the local Leeds community will get their chance to demonstrate their abilities in front of the crowd, with stars of the future Jay, Funky but Chunky, Leeds City Harmony, Jhardine and MarQus-Romelle all featuring on the day.

Minority music forms will also have a strong presence in the eclectic mix and this year African and gospel music will be prominent represented by Congolese band Innovation and the Lloyd Watts Band respectively.

For the first time this year the event is sponsored by a local business, Unity Housing Association, while another first for this year will be the presence of a big screen on site showing the event.

Aside from the stage performances there will also be the usual range of stalls and a wide variety of refreshments available.

Leeds City Council lead member for Leisure Councillor Alan Taylor said:

“The Leeds Reggae Concert is a fantastic event and with the great line-up this year and the improved facilities everyone is looking forward to it being a wonderful day’s entertainment."

Leeds Reggae Concert Committee member Bricky said:

“With all the improvements incorporated into this year’s event we are looking to build on the success’s of previous years and securing the status of the UK’s biggest black music event.”

For further press information contact Robert Pitt Press Officer for Leeds Reggae Concert Committee on 07973 801 101.


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