Wednesday, 4 November 2009

New public art work to be unveiled in Leeds city centre

*****Photo/film opportunity – Friday 2:30pm*****

The latest piece of city centre public art in Leeds will be unveiled this week, (Friday 6 November) marking the completion of a £1.3m refurbishment of Lands Lane.

Nationally renowned artist, Lucy Casson, has installed eight cast bronze characters which act as armrests on granite seating.

Lucy is a nationally renowned artist who first began making sculptures out of recycled tin in the early 1980s. Since then her work has gathered a huge following and has been exhibited internationally, featuring in private and public collections in the UK, USA, Japan and France.

Lucy was chosen for her unique and imaginative approach and the quality of materials.

The art work is part of the first phase of work to improve Lands Lane, which has also included repaving the street in Yorkstone and the planting of new trees.

Photo/film opportunity:

Event: Councillor Barry Anderson unveils the eight bronze characters on seating at Lands Lane, with the artist, Lucy Casson.
Time and venue: 2:30pm, Friday 6 November, Lands Lane, LS1.

This, together with the refurbishment of the Core Shopping Centre (formerly the Headrow Shopping Centre), has transformed the street.

Councillor Barry Anderson, chair of the city centre partnership board, said:

“I am delighted that Lucy Casson’s latest piece of permanent artwork will be here in Leeds.

“The Lands Lane work continues the high standard of public space improvement that Leeds City Council has completed on Albion Place and other city centre streets

“Lands Lane is now an attractive place for shoppers and businesses alike, this scheme has been designed to encourage more people to come and visit the city centre”

The second phase of work will include repaving the northern part of Lands Lane, near its junction with the Headrow. This will take place following the completion of work on the City Varieties in 2011, a project which will provide a further significant boost to the area. Work on the theatre is expected to start in the next few months.


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

Talented songstress picks up Breeze top prize

Picture caption: "12 year old Bethel Makocha sang her way to victory at the Breeze has talent finals last week."

Picture caption: "Third place winners UNI-4M wow the audience"

A 12 year old City of Leeds High School student sang her way to victory at this year’s Breeze has Talent finals.

Bethel Makocha bagged the top prize in the city-wide youth talent competition with her rendition of ‘What a wonderful world’. She saw off competition from ten other finalists at the talent showcase at West Yorkshire Playhouse in front of an audience of 350 people.

The sell out final was the culmination of several months of heats all over Leeds during this year’s Breeze on Tour summer youth programme run by Leeds City Council.

Second place went to 10 year old Ruby Hendry of Poole C of E Primary school with her version of another classic ‘Somewhere over the rainbow. In third place with their brilliantly choreographed piece came five dancers who make up UNI-4M; Cheng Ngo, Dainte Wint-Angus, Nathaniel White, Mugi Zama and Ahmed Zamen, all 15, who attend Carr Manor High School.

The entire evening was bursting with talent and as Tinashe Nyamande of The Saints - the winners of last year’s Breeze has talent completion, and one of this year’s judges said: “This kind of talent makes you proud to come from Leeds”.

Tinashe and the rest of The Saints presented Bethel with a bouquet of flowers, and she will also receive £300 to help her pursue her interest in performance.

This was a culmination of The Saints own triumphant year which has seen them perform at the 2008 Christmas Light switch-on, Dansopolis and Breeze International Youth Festival, as well as taking first prize in this year’s Chapeltown DanceFest. Saints are currently mentored by De Napoli Clarke of RJC Dance.

Councillor John Procter, executive member for Leisure, said:
“The standard in this competition was very high and it’s 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.”

All of the top acts from Breeze Has Talent will receive advice and guidance to support their development over the next few years, as well as a certificate and a video of their performances.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive member responsible for children’s services, who presented the prizes, said:
“This contest provides us with a fantastic opportunity to challenge stereotypes and prove that with a bit of time, effort and commitment all young people can achieve something special.”

Breeze Has Talent is funded through the Find Your Talent (FYT) programme which has been creating new opportunities for children and young people, from toddlers to teenagers, to take part in arts and culture activities. As well as helping develop the Breeze programme. FYT is working with cultural and educational organisations across the city, building new partnerships which will create more opportunities for young people in the future.

For more information about activities for young people in Leeds visit where you can also email us with ideas for what young people would like to see and do in Leeds.

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

Get a voice, have a say, make a change in Middleton Park

Whether it’s litter, parking, anti-social behaviour, youth services, or any of the many services the council provides, the people of Middleton Park ward are to get the chance to ‘Have Your Say’

A community engagement event will be held on 11th November to give local residents the chance to help shape the future of their neighbourhoods, have a greater voice and influence on decision making.

The drop-in event will take place at Windmill Primary School, Windmill Road (off Belle Isle Road) between 2.30pm and 4.30pm on 11th November – an ideal opportunity for residents to tell the council what improvements they would like to see made.

Organised by Leeds City Council's Inner South Area Committee, the events will be attended by local ward councillors, council officers and partners from other agencies who will be on hand to discuss any suggestions people may have.

The area committee, made up of elected local councillors, has an area delivery plan which details actions to be carried out to improve local neighbourhoods. Residents’ ideas and suggestions will be pinpointed on large scale maps to help identify priorities and provide services that are more responsive to the needs of local communities.

Councillor Angela Gabriel, chair of Leeds City Council's Inner South Area Committee, said:
“This is an opportunity for residents to meet their local councillors, council officers and other local stakeholders and help influence decision making on matters which will have an impact in Middleton Park ward.
“People who live and work in the area are best placed to say what affects them and it is important that their views are reflected in the services delivered by the council.”

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council's executive board member responsible for neighbourhoods, said:
“Residents involvement in local decision making is important as it can help to create a greater sense of community spirit, belonging and pride.
“This type of initiative is an important way of working with local people and I hope that residents will make use of these opportunities and help to shape their future for the better.”

Further events are planned for Spring 2010 to feedback on the outcomes of these two events.

Residents with any questions should contact Sarah May in the South East Area Management Team on 0113 2243040 email

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

Even more new council homes for Leeds

Another 63 new council houses could be built in Leeds if a £7million plan is approved today.

Leeds City Council’s Executive Board is being asked to give the go-ahead to plans to build the homes in Gipton

The houses would be built on two already-cleared sites in Gipton – Easterly Mount and St Wilfrid’s Avenue. The 63 properties will include 22 three-bedroom houses, 29 two-bedroom houses and 12 two-bedroom flats.

They will be available as council houses for rent through the council’s Choice Based Lettings Scheme, but a special Local Lettings Policy – similar to ones already operating for new housing in Gipton and Seacroft – would be developed to ensure local homes go to local people.

Paid for by a £3.5m grant from the Homes and Community Agency’s Local Authority Newbuild fund and £3.5m of council borrowing, the scheme will repay the loan through the rental income.

The project is just one of the schemes that have been developed to ensure that the EASEL programme can continue, despite the global economic downturn. Back in January, the council’s Executive Board approved plans to help the scheme continue, even in the face of extremely difficult conditions.

Houses are already being built in the EASEL area at South Parkway in Seacroft and Oak Tree Mount in Gipton. The news also comes on the back of the Homes and Communities Agency’s granting of millions of pounds through the ‘Kickstart’ programme for a further 108 properties in the EASEL area.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“Back in January, when we said we would make sure EASEL could weather the storm of the global economic crisis, we meant it.
“Even though conditions have been tough, I am delighted that we are still aiming to deliver much-needed council housing for Leeds.
“What is happening in the EASEL area reflects what is happening across the city – we are coming up with innovative ways of making sure we deliver more housing.
“Here, 20 years after the last council homes in Leeds were built, we have yet another plan to give people in need a home.”

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

Education Leeds hosts international speaker at its annual lecture

Education Leeds’ annual lecture will feature the internationally renowned and New York Times best selling author Sir Ken Robinson as this year’s guest speaker.

Entitled ‘Passion, Potential, Performance’, the lecture will focus on the future of teaching and learning and assess what can change and develop to allow schools and teachers to continue to inspire children and young people to reach their full potential.

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources and in 2003 received a knighthood for his services to the arts and education.

He regularly speaks to audiences around the world on the creative challenges facing business and education and his latest book, 'The Element', explores the point at which natural talent meets personal passion and how people feel most inspired and achieve the most.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“Sir Ken Robinson is internationally recognised for his expertise and knowledge on educational matters and I am delighted that he is our guest speaker at this year’s lecture.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to be inspired by one of the world's most prominent speakers within education and discover and consider new ways of working to help children and young people continue to achieve their full potential.

“Our annual lecture is a key date for headteachers and management teams across Yorkshire and Humber and Sir Ken’s participation will only add to the high regard it’s held in.”

This year’s lecture, sponsored by educational software, computer and service provider RM, is taking place on Wednesday 25 November at Saviles Hall, Armouries Square, Leeds, starting at 6pm.

Tickets for the lecture are still available and can be booked by visiting or calling 0113 2243323.


Notes to editors:
For further information on Sir Ken Robinson visit

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

Blooming great news for Victoria Park

Caption: Clive Bragg, Bob Berry (Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside), Councillor Frank Robinson, Councillor Andrew Carter, Councillor John Procter and Nicola Holliday (Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside) with the certificate for the Best Public Park.

Leeds City Council’s Calverley Victoria Park has been named as the best public park in Yorkshire as part of this years Yorkshire in Bloom 2009.

This year the Yorkshire Rose Public Park Award has been presented to Calverley Victoria Park for the high quality and standard of the park. The award is presented to the entry with the park designed and maintained to the highest standard.

Judges complemented the Victoria park in their report noting how impressed they were by the floral and environmental quality of the park, which has significantly improved over the last few years.

Allocation of funding from the Parks Renaissance Initiative, a fund allocated to revitalise community parks and green spaces across Leeds, has allowed the standard of Victoria Park to be significantly raised over the last few years.

Victoria park was one of the first to be assessed and recognised, and receive the ‘Leeds Quality Park’ standard in recognition of the high quality of the park. One hundred and forty seven parks and open spaces in Leeds are internally assessed on a three yearly cycle by Parks and Countryside Green Flag judges against the National Green Flag standards.

The Yorkshire in Bloom Award was officially presented to members of staff from the Parks and Countryside service on Thursday 15th October.

Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Andrew Carter said:

“I am delighted that our fantastic community park has been recognised by Yorkshire in Bloom for its excellent standards. It is a wonderful area and has got better and better over the last few years.”

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

“Victoria Park is a wonderful open space and thoroughly deserves the award. This award helps make the continued work and support from staff and volunteers in the park worthwhile.”

The park is open to the public 365 days a year during daylight hours. For further information about the park please contact Leeds City Council’s, Parks and Countryside’s Head Office on 0113 3957400.


For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn,
Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285