Thursday, 26 November 2009

Neighbourhood warden to play for Great Britain

Caption: Steve going the full length of the pitch to score whilst playing for Hunslet Hawks

A neighbourhood warden from Leeds will be pounding the rugby field instead of the streets at the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA) sevens tournament in Dubai next month.

Steve Morton has been chosen to represent Great Britain at the prestigious tournament in Dubai which kicks off on 3 December. He has been playing semi professional and amateur rugby for 26 years and currently plays for Queens Amateur Rugby League Club in Burley, who nominated him to take part.

The week-long Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens will launch the IRB Sevens World Series and will take place at the Emirates' purpose built sports facility ' The Sevens'. It is one of eight international tournaments which mark the 10 year anniversary of the highly successful international grand prix style event.

Whilst being over the moon about being invited to take part, Steve faced a big worry as he had to find the money to fund the cost of travel and accommodation for the week long trip. Thankfully with the help of his team, the Leeds and District Amateur Rugby League Club, colleagues, friends and family, who organised fundraising activities to support him, enough cash has been raised for him to take part.

This won’t be the first time that Steve has represented his country in an amateur rugby tournament. Now a veteran, the winger/centre also played in the Emerging Nations World Cup in 2000, where the British side beat Italy in the final.

Steve said:
“I’m thrilled to have been selected to take part in this event. It’s a huge honour to play for my country again, and I can’t wait to get out to Dubai to hook up with the rest of the team.

“I wouldn’t have been able to go without the support of my teammates, friends, family and colleagues though. Their fundraising and amazing generosity have allowed me to realise this dream and I’m really grateful to them. I will do my best to make them proud whilst I am out there.”

Rory Barke, manager for the east north east Leeds area and Steve’s boss said:
“Steve’s colleagues were thrilled when they heard that he had been selected to play the sport he loves for his country, and were more than happy to sponsor him to make sure that he had enough money to get out there and take part.

“We all wish Steve the very best of luck and hope that he has a fantastic time out in Dubai.”


Additional info

The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens is the first round of the eight-leg International Rugby Board Sevens World Series with the next rounds taking place in South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland.

Away from the white-hot atmosphere of the international matches, competitions featuring International Invitation, Gulf, Local Social, Ladies, Veterans, and Youth teams will see all six pitches in almost constant use over three compelling days from 3-5 December.

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

Oh yes it is…panto season!

Caption: The cast with Councillor John Procter: From left to right, Jez Edwards (Muddles), Victoria Holtom (Snow White), Peter John(Dame) and Jean Rogers (Evil Queen).

The panto season has officially started as the cast of this year’s Carriageworks pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs arrived in the German Market yesterday (Wednesday 25th November) to start rehearsals.

The best known story of Snow White is the German version collected by the Brothers Grimm between 1812-1815 from German folklore. The brothers became famous for collecting a variety of fairytales and folklore and publishing them throughout the early 1800’s.

This year’s panto presented by the Carriageworks and Paul Holman Associates brings the old fairytale back to life with a show that will be jam-packed with a stunning array of costumes, scenery and amazing special effects.

This pantomime has a great cast line up with Emmerdale favourite Jean Rogers playing the part of the evil wicked queen, fun-loving BBC presenter Jez Edwards playing the comical jester figure Muddles, local girl Victoria Holtom, who won her place as Snow White and a further brilliant cast all ready to ‘heigh ho heigh ho’ their way into the panto season.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“This year’s pantomime should be fantastic, it is a real classic that families can all enjoy this Christmas with a great cast. The Carriageworks is a great venue, and I am sure the panto will be a real hit with the people of Leeds. I wish all the cast well with rehearsals.”

Paul Holman from producers Paul Holman Associates
“This year’s pantomime is full of all the good traditional audience participation “Oh no it isn’t!” “Oh yes it is!” A production which the children can take their parents to. ”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will run at The Carriageworks from Friday 4th December to Saturday 9th January 2010.

Tickets are 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

Notes to editors:

For further information on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, go to or contact Suzanne David at Paul Holman Associates on 0208 845 9408 or email

The Carriageworks is a thriving theatre at the heart of Leeds’ Millennium Square. It showcases the best new national and regional performances 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:
Catherine Milburn,
Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285

Heroines and heroes celebrated at annual Peace Poetry Awards

Poets from across Leeds will gather at the Civic Hall to celebrate the annual Leeds Peace Poetry Awards.

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘peace heroines and heroes’ and entrants were asked to write no more than 24 lines about their peace own hero. The heroes and heroines could be from all walks of life, from local families and neighbourhoods to international figures who have influenced thousands of people.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to attend the Leeds Peace Poetry Awards tonight (Thursday 26 November) at Leeds Civic Hall. The winners will be announced from 7.30pm. Please email or call 0113 3951577 to arrange attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

Organised by Education Leeds and Leeds City Council, the competition saw over 260 children from primary and secondary schools in Leeds and 45 adults enter in four age groups - primary school, secondary school, 16-19 year olds and adults.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony tonight (Thursday 26 November) at Leeds Civic Hall at from 7.30pm.

This year’s chief judge will be Rommi Smith, a poet and playwright and the Parliamentary Writer in Residence to the British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People exhibition. She wrote the poem ‘A Guide to the Exhibition’ to mark its opening in Westminster and gave a performance of it at its launch event.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“The annual peace poetry competition is a celebration of the importance of peace and this year recognises the people who work hard to promote it. Learning about such an important issue strengthens communities and ensures its importance is never forgotten.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“This year’s competition has seen a great range of entries in all age groups. It’s brilliant that so many schools have entered and learnt more about the importance of peace while developing their knowledge and writing skills.”

Other Leeds Peace Poetry Awards partners include the University of Leeds, Leeds Trinity & All Saints, the Yorkshire Evening Post and Together for Peace.

Schools which have entered the competition include: Beecroft Primary School, Blackgates Primary School, Castleton Primary School, Cottingley Primary School, Cookridge Primary School, Drighlington Primary School, Hawksworth School, Raynville Primary School, Westerton Primary School; Priesthorpe School, Morley High School, Abbey Grange C/E High School, Farnley Park High School.


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

‘Much improved’ refuse service promised for Leeds residents

The councillor in charge of refuse collection and street cleaning in Leeds is promising the city’s residents a ‘much improved’ service in future.

Councillor James Monaghan was speaking ahead of the return to work of several hundred members of staff after an 11 week strike.

On Monday, members of the UNISON and GMB unions voted overwhelmingly in favour of a council deal to bring the dispute to an end.

The vast majority of potential pay losses have been eradicated altogether through a productivity-linked system, which will see the service modernised.

Yesterday morning workers in the refuse collection and street cleaning teams were told in more detail about the proposals they agreed to.

One element is an immediate review of the number of black bin collection routes, which the council wants to reduce significantly.  It is so more effort can be put into green and brown bin collections – with recycling opportunities extended further across the city.

A second element to the deal is the introduction of a seven day week city wide street cleaning service for the first time. This will allow work to be targeted on a daily basis, for a more effective service.

Workers were also told that sickness levels must be reduced.  Better attendance is seen as vital to improving the service and making it more efficient.
The productivity proposals agreed by unions and staff will also see a rise in the number of bins collected per day.
Councillor James Monaghan, executive board member with responsibility for refuse collection and street cleaning said:

“The deal our workers have agreed to means we can now get on and modernise and improve the way we work.

“It means there’ll be a fundamentally better service for the people of Leeds – especially given the fact we’ll be able to extend recycling to more of the city.

“The significance of having staff commit to our plans can’t be overstated.

“I look forward to them helping us deliver a more productive and efficient service which is value for money for our residents.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council press office 0113 395 0393

Posted via web from Leeds City Council

Embargoed until Friday 27 November Leaders gather in Harrogate for regional pilot launch

Political and business leaders from the across the region are today (27 November) meeting in Harrogate to mark the official launch of the Leeds City Region Pilot Programme.

The launch sees the Leeds City Region Partnership take on greater powers and control over funding and key regional issues, such as housing, regeneration, innovation, transport and skills. The Partnership is one of only two city regions in the UK to be granted pilot status by the Government, and the first to officially launch its programme.

The launch is taking place at the Leeds City Region Summit at the Harrogate International Centre. The launch has attracted over 350 national and regional representatives who will also take part in a full day of discussions about how the pilot programme will help the area respond to the recession and set out plans for future economic growth.

The Leeds City Region Pilot Programme has been agreed between the Government and the 11 local authorities that make up the city region. It will give the Partnership more control over how and where money is spent across the city region to address housing and transport challenges.

The summit will also see the launch of two new plans for the city region including the city region’s Housing & Regeneration strategy and its 20-year Transport Strategy.

The conference will be addressed by Regional Minister, the Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP, and other leading national and regional speakers, including Will Hutton (Work Foundation), Tom Riordan (Yorkshire Forward), and Bob Neill (Shadow Minister, Local Government and Planning).

Local Government Minister and Regional Minister for Yorkshire and Humber Rosie Winterton said:

"This Government is committed to devolving powers that will improve local leadership, drive up economic growth and deliver greater prosperity . This is what the city-region pilots are all about.

"The recession may have been global in its origins but the effects have been felt locally, in communities across Yorkshire and beyond. The City Region pilot will play a crucial role in tackling the fallout from the downturn and making sure that Leeds, and the surrounding areas, are ready to seize the opportunities opening up as the recovery begins.

"This is one of the first city-region pilots and it will test what freedoms and powers local areas need to ensure they make an even greater contribution to regional and national growth. City-regions will be critical to the future competitiveness of our economy and they can accelerate our recovery from the recession.

"Leeds is an economic powerhouse in the north and makes a huge contribution to regional and national output and we will continue to work with Leeds City Region to see how we can push this even further."

Councillor Andrew Carter, Chair of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board, said:

“Today’s launch is an important step in devolving more powers and control over funding to local government. I am delighted that the Leeds City Region is one of only two new pilots in the UK. By taking up the new powers, our local authorities will be better equipped to work with local businesses and partners to drive forward economic recovery.”

Notes for editors

1.The Leeds City Region Summit is being held on Friday 27 November at the Harrogate International Centre. Over 350 delegates from across the country and region are registered for the event which is scheduled to take place between 9.30am and 5.30pm.
2. Press briefing, interviews and comment will be given at 11.00am on 27th November.
3. The Leeds City Region Partnership brings together the eleven local authorities across the city region: Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire.
4. The city region local authorities have worked with a wide range of partners on the launch of the pilot, including the 8 Higher Education Institutions in the city region, Yorkshire Forward, the Homes and Communities Agency and representatives from the private sector.
5. The Summit will also see the launch of the Leeds City Region Housing & Regeneration Strategy, Transport Strategy and will discuss the Partnership’s work to develop a Skills and Work Plan and Innovation Capital Prospectus and Investment Plan. Ends
For press/media enquiries please contact: Sara Hyman, Press and Media Manager Leeds City Council press office, tel: 0113 22 43602 email: