Friday, 6 November 2009

Star Alexandra to add the ‘X-Factor’ as Leeds gets festive

Caption: Alexandra Burke will be the star performer at Leeds Lights

X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke will be joined by a host of famous names in Leeds next week as the city begins its yuletide build-up with the annual Christmas lights switch-on.

The 21-year-old who rose to stardom last year following her victory on the hit television show will be performing at the free annual event which takes place from 7pm on Thursday 12th November and is again expected to attract over 20,000 people to Victoria Gardens in the city centre.

Organised by Leeds City Council and Real Radio in association with the Yorkshire Evening Post, this year’s show will also see performances by Girls Can’t Catch and Mini Viva, while there will be special appearances by television presenter Lorraine Kelly, Leeds United stars, international rugby league stars, Ronnie the Rhino with the Super League trophy and, of course, Santa and friends.

The show will be presented by Real Radio’s Breakfast Show hosts Dixie and Gayle, with headliner Alexandra Burke adding a further touch of showbiz to proceedings as she will be arriving in the city by helicopter.

Following her X-Factor victory Alexandra has enjoyed great success including the coveted Christmas number one slot last year with her hit single ‘Hallelujah’ and is currently in the top-10 of both the UK singles and album chart with her collaboration with Flo Rida on the song ‘Bad Boys’ and her recently released debut album ‘Overcome’.

Also performing at the switch-on will be girl band Girls Can’t Catch, who have supported Girls Aloud on their UK tour this year and appeared in Leeds this summer at Party in the Park. Pop duo Mini Viva will be performing in Leeds for the first time, fresh from the success of their debut single ‘Left My Heart in Tokyo’ which reached the top 10 in the UK singles chart in September.

Star of daytime television Lorraine Kelly will be making a special appearance as a guest presenter, while local sports stars will also be to the fore as Leeds United captain Richard Naylor and some of his teammates will be reflecting on their excellent start to the season and Ronnie the Rhino will be proudly showing off the Super League trophy won by Leeds Rhinos this year for a historic third successive season.

International rugby league stars will also be attendance, with players from the sides who have reached the final of the Gillette Four Nations tournament made up of England, France, Australia and New Zealand making an appearance as they get ready for the decider at Elland Road next weekend.

Local talent will also be on show with the winner of this year’s Breeze Has Talent competition, 12-year-old Bethel Makocho from City of Leeds High School, taking to the stage.

All the star names will come together at the spectacular finale of the show to join Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Judith Elliott. Together with the winner of the ‘Mayor for a Day’ schools competition and Santa and friends, the group will switch on the largest Christmas illuminations in the UK – covering over 15 miles around the city centre.

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

“The Christmas lights switch-on in Leeds is always a fantastic event and this year’s line-up looks sure to provide another great show. The atmosphere is always wonderful as everyone really gets into the spirit of celebrating another Christmas on the way so we look forward to seeing as many people there as possible joining in the fun.”

Managing Director of Real Radio Yorkshire Steve South said:

“The lights switch-on is one of the great shows in Leeds’ calendar of events and Real Radio are very proud to partner this special event. To be able to announce such a fantastic line-up is great for the people of Leeds and those people and families across Yorkshire who travel into the city for the show. It’s an amazing line-up for an amazing event in the amazing city of Leeds.”

Anyone requiring further details can contact Leeds City Council’s Events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit

Notes to editors:
Leeds City Council is the only local authority in the country to design, manage and produce all its own displays, working out of a workshop in Seacroft. It also supplies more than 60 Christmas trees to the city, as well as providing illuminations for the Leeds International Film Festival.

The ‘Mayor for a Day’ competition is open to all schools in Leeds who nominate pupils who put forward a manifesto to explain what they would do if they became Lord Mayor.

Media access to the event is strictly by prior accreditation only and limited to a maximum of three passes per organisation. Please email me or call me using the details below if you would like to attend.


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

Review of the Linton conservation area and the proposed Collingham conservation area

People from Collingham are being asked for their views on the proposed conservation area in the village - what they think is special about it and how they think it could be enhanced. People from Linton are also being asked the same questions during a review of their existing conservation area.

The historic settlement of Collingham currently has no conservation area to safeguard the special architectural and historic character of the village and protect important buildings from demolition. Linton’s conservation area was first designated in 1981 and a review of the boundary is now due.

It is proposed that a new conservation area in Collingham would include the village’s historic core of Main Street, along with many properties on School Lane and Church Lane, with extensions along Leeds and Harewood Roads. The Linton conservation area is proposed to be extended to include areas of special architectural interest including extensions along Northgate Lane, Linton Road and Linton Common.

Members of the public who are interested in the future of the conservation area are being asked for their comments on the proposed alterations. The draft appraisal document will be available on-line throughout the consultation at:

Public drop-in meetings will also be held. A Leeds City Council conservation officer will be on hand on Saturday 21 November 10am to 3pm at Collingham Methodist Meeting Room, Harewood Road, Collingham, and on Saturday 28 November 9.30am to 3pm at Linton Memorial Hall to answer any questions that people may have on the review.

Buildings within a conservation area are protected from unauthorised demolition, and new developments have to meet higher standards of design than elsewhere. Other planning rules are slightly different and permission from the council is needed for certain activities such as tree felling.

Councillor Andrew Carter, joint leader and executive board member responsible for development, said:
“It is important that we are able to safeguard the special architectural nature and historic character of these villages and protect important buildings from demolition. The best way to do this is by designating a conservation area.

“The opinions of local people are an integral part of the process and these two public meetings are an opportunity for people to speak to a conservation officer and make their views on the issue known to the council.

“I strongly urge local residents to participate in the consultation. It is a real opportunity for them to help us protect their local environment.”

The outer north east area committee, with the support of the ward councillors, have made this work a priority and allocated money from their ‘Well Being Fund’ to ensure both Collingham and Linton have up-to-date conservation area protection.

The public consultation will begin on Monday 9 November and will run until Friday 18 December. Posters will be on display in both villages to inform people of their opportunity to comment. The proposals should be approved by council officials in January 2010.

People can also request a copy of the draft appraisal from the conservation team at: Sustainable Development Unit, Leeds City Council, Leonardo Building, 2 Rossington Street, Leeds, LS2 8HD

For media enquiries, please contact:
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 395 1578

Mini masterchefs to cook up school meal masterclass

Budding young cooks will be swapping the classroom for the kitchen next week as schools in Leeds take part in National School Meals Week.

Primary school children will be helping to prepare dinner for their friends on Wednesday and Thursday (11/12 November) and possibly creating a dish which could find its way onto the school’s menu.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to two schools - St Oswald’s Church of England Primary School in Guiseley on Wednesday (11 November) and Whitkirk Primary SchooI on Thursday (12 November) - where children will be helping to prepare their friends’ lunches. To arrange to visit the schools between around 11am and the end of lunch, please call 0113 3951577 or email
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

The classroom for kitchen swap is part of National School Meals Week which takes place between Monday 9 November and Friday 13 November. The week is aimed at promoting healthy eating and encouraging children and young people to take an interest in food and eating well.

Working with Leeds City Council’s catering service, kitchen staff at Whitkirk Primary School and St Oswald's C of E Junior School in Guiseley will be joined by pupils who will help prepare food for the rest of the school.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“Over 100,000 children and young people attend our schools and it is important that healthy eating is a part of their every day lives. National School Meals Week helps to promote healthy eating and raise awareness of the tasty and nutritious food available in our schools throughout the year.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“It is brilliant that children will be swapping the classroom for the kitchen and helping to prepare tasty food for their friends. It will show the children how easy it is to make fresh and healthy food and hopefully encourage them to take an interest in what they eat.

“Our schools provide thousands of tasty and nutritious meals everyday and children who have a healthy diet and an active lifestyle have a much better chance of achieving their potential. National School Meals Week helps to promote healthy eating and allows children and young people to understand the importance of food and how their diet can help them be happy, healthy, safe and successful.”

Children will be given a chance to take away a free recipe book to use at home to help encourage the whole family to cook and spend more time in the kitchen.

Visit for more information on National School Meals Week.


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

Education Leeds commended at Race for Opportunity awards

Education Leeds has been highly praised for its work to improve employment opportunities for ethnic minorities at the national Race for Opportunity awards.

Competing against private and public sector heavyweights - including BT, MITIE, the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence - Education Leeds received a commendation in the ‘collaboration and partnership’ category, narrowly missing out on the award to international auditing firm, Deloitte.

The commendation was for the Refugees into Teaching project, organised by Education Leeds and the Refugee Council, which supports refugees to secure roles as teachers and teaching assistants in Leeds schools.

The Race for Opportunity annual awards, held in London at the end of October, were organised by Business in the Community (BITC) which helps inspire, engage, support and challenge companies to improve their positive impact on society.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“The Refugees into Teaching project is making a big difference to the lives of the people taking part. The partnership between Education Leeds and the Refugee Council has ensured it has a been a success and the commendation, awarded ahead of major international companies and huge government departments, shows the high esteem it is held in.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“To have been commended in the ‘collaboration and partnership’ category, when faced with huge competition from the public and private sector, is a brilliant achievement.

“The award is testimony to the hard work and commitment of the Refugee Council and Education Leeds and the positive impact the project is having. I would like to congratulate everyone who has been involved - they can be very proud of this achievement.”

Sandra Kerr, national campaign director for Race for Opportunity, added:
“Considerable progress on race equality in the workplace has been made but the evidence points to there still being a long way to go before we have total equality. However, I am very encouraged by the actions of the organisations that have entered this year’s Race for Opportunity awards. All of this year’s entries are proof that many organisations recognise the obstacles ethnic minorities come up against and that simple initiatives can really make a big impact.”

Education Leeds has been supporting refugee teachers in Leeds since 2004. To date, the partnership has helped 90 refugees of which 38 have found voluntary placements in schools, 23 have completed familiarisation courses on the UK education system, and six are undertaking degree programmes. Seven teachers have started their PGCEs and seven have gained qualified teacher status (QTS).


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

Green bin collections to resume across Leeds

The collection of green bins in Leeds will start again in the next few days.

Waste for recycling has not been collected since strike action began in the city at the beginning of September.

But, because of the overwhelming response to job adverts for temporary staff, the council now has the people in place to begin collections again.

Starting almost immediately, crews will be sent out to empty a small number of green bins from across Leeds.  This is so a sample can be taken to see what – if any – ordinary rubbish has ended up in the recycling.
The results will then be shared with the company which runs the recycling plant where green waste from Leeds is taken for sorting.

It has agreed to dedicate extra staff to oversee the sorting process in order to stop contaminated material getting through.

Then, from Monday 16 November, at least a monthly cycle of green bin collections will begin.  Letters will be sent to residents to explain how this will work and how it will affect them.

In addition to the green bins, a one-off collection of the contents of the city’s brown bins (garden waste) will take place as soon as possible.

The council has been assured by contractors who handle garden waste that, despite the length of time since the last collection, the contents will still be acceptable and won’t have to be buried in the ground.

Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member with responsibility for refuse collection said:

“For obvious reasons, since the strike began, we’ve had to prioritise black bin collections.

“However, given the success of our recruitment of temporary workers, we’re now able to begin green bin collections once again.

“With the amazing response - 500 people have applied for those jobs - we’ve been able to bring forward our plans to send crews out on recycling routes.

“This proves, that despite the disruption caused by the strike, we’re working as hard and as fast we can to restore refuse services.”


Notes to Editors

Here is the council’s new advice to residents

Black Bin Collections

We currently aim to empty your black bin at least every two weeks. Please put your black bin out on your normal day of collection.

If your black bin has not been emptied by 8pm on your normal day of collection, please leave it out for a further 24 hours.

If your black bin has still not been emptied after this time, please take it back into your garden or yard and put it out on your next scheduled collection day.

If your black bin is full, put your rubbish into bags and put them out next to your bin on your next scheduled collection day.

Green Bin Collections

We are resuming collections of green bins.

We aim to empty your green bin at least monthly.  Please put your green bin out on your normal day of collection.

If your green bin has not been emptied by 8pm on your normal day of collection, please leave it out for a further 24 hours.

If your green bin has still not been emptied after this time, please take it back into your garden or yard and put it out on your next scheduled collection day.

Brown Bin Collections

We are hoping to arrange a one-off collection of brown bins as soon as possible, but we can’t say when that will be at this stage.

We’ll notify you when this is going to take place.

Posted via web from Leeds City Council