Thursday, 20 May 2010

Active learning activities for would-be volunteers

Interested in conservation and the environment? Fancy finding out more about growing your own food, pond dipping and wildflower and insect identification? Then the Active Learning Event at the Hollybush Conservation Centre could be for you!

The event, on Monday 24 May, 1 - 4pm, has been organised by BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) as part of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering's learning and literacy month, and highlights that learning doesn’t just have to take place in a classroom. Its an ideal opportunity for members of the public to find out more about volunteering for BTCV Hollybush and with other organisations who support literacy and learning in the city.

People are invited to come along to learn traditional conservation skills and get involved in activities including wildlife identification, food growing, propagation, pond dipping with rangers from the council, wildflower and insect identification, and environmental art with craft activities for children and mosaic art for all by Hyde Park Source. Otley Dry Stone Walling Association will be providing a demonstration on how to dry stone wall. The council's mobile library will be there to provide the books to support the many activities available on the day. Free refreshments will be available as well as a chance to enjoy the pleasant gardens at Hollybush.

Members of the public will be able to find out more about volunteering by speaking to representatives from different organisations.

Jess Kandola, BTCV's volunteer co-ordinator said:
“Learning doesn't stop in the classroom. Our volunteers learn new skills on all our conservation tasks whether its dry stone walling, footpath/fencing construction, tree planting or creating a wildlife area. Everyone has something to offer and share, and we all learn from each other."

Councillor Richard Brett, joint leader and executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“This promises to be a fun packed event and a fantastic opportunity for people to try some new activities and learn new skills.

“There are numerous volunteering activities around Leeds and for people with an interest in conservation it’s a brilliant opportunity to find out what is involved and speak to people already doing the different types of work.

“I would encourage people to come along to the event at Hollybush to find out more, or if they can’t make that to contact Volunteer Centre Leeds to find out about opportunities across the city.”

Hollybush Conservation Centre can be found at Broad Lane, Kirkstall, Leeds, LS5 3BP, telephone 0113 274 2335.

Additional information

The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering theme for the month of May is ‘volunteering in literacy and learning’, which will highlight opportunities for those who want to help people of all ages learn.

For more information about volunteering opportunities you can also call into Volunteer Centre Leeds, 12b St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2LE, telephone 0113 395 0405 – open Mondays to Thursdays 10am to 3pm. Alternatively visit our website

Organisations who have volunteering opportunities can get information on how to register via the website or by contacting Volunteer Centre Leeds.

For details about what’s happening in June, which is all about ‘valuing volunteering’, please visit

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

World-famous artist Sean Scully coming to Leeds

Caption: 'Without' by Sean Scully is part of the collection

One of the most famous modern abstract artists in the world will be in Leeds next week as a special new exhibition by Sean Scully begins at Leeds Art Gallery.

Beginning on Wednesday 26th May, the exhibition entitled ‘Works from the 1980s’ showcases the work of Turner Prize nominee Scully during the period when his international reputation was forged.

The artist himself we will be in Leeds to open the exhibition and at 4pm on Tuesday 25th May will be giving a special talk about his work at the Rose Bowl Lecture Theatre behind Civic Hall with admission free and all welcome.

Born in Dublin, Scully settled in New York in 1975 and is widely credited with developing the field of abstract art in the years which followed with his use of minimalist shapes and multiple layers of paint.

The exhibition which is supported by the Arts Council is made up of paintings by Scully from the 1980s, along with works on paper provided by the artist from his own private collection. His growing reputation during the decade led to Scully being nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in both 1989 and 1993, and his works can also currently be seen in some of the finest art galleries in the world including The Tate Gallery in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the National Gallery of Australia.

Scully is quoted as saying of his work: “I liked the idea of looking at a painting that you could not look at just from the front, but had to move around.”

Welcoming the exhibition, Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“It is fantastic that Leeds Art Gallery has been able to attract an artist of such world-famous renown as Sean Scully so we are looking forward to the exhibition starting.

“This is another great sign of the standing of Leeds Art Gallery as one of the major galleries outside London and that should be a source of great pride for the city and everyone involved in its success.”

Special exhibition tours will be held every Tuesday and Thursday at 1pm and on Saturdays at 11am. For further information on Leeds

The exhibition ‘Sean Scully: Works from the 1980s’ runs at Leeds Art Gallery on The Headrow from Wednesday 26th May to Sunday 8th August 2010. Admission is free.

For further information on Leeds Art Gallery visit the website at

Notes to editors:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Wednesday 12 noon – 5 pm
Sunday 1 – 5 pm


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

£7,000 legal bill for collision claim man

A man who tried to claim up to £9,000 in compensation for a road accident is instead facing a £7,000 bill after a judge said he “could not be relied upon to give accurate or truthful evidence”.

Zamir Akram, aged 38, of Grange Drive, Bradford, claimed a Leeds City Council van had collided with his as he stopped at traffic lights on the Elland Road roundabout in Leeds on 6 July 2006.

But yesterday a judge at Leeds County Court threw out his claim and ordered him to pay £7,000 towards the council’s costs.

Mr Akram claimed his van was hit in the rear after he had slowed down before coming to a stop at a red light. He claimed damages of £7,321.24 for repairs to his vehicle, allegedly damaged items in the vehicle, hire of a replacement vehicle and various other items.

He also claimed he had suffered a whiplash injury in the incident and, if successful on all claims, the total damages would have been around £8,500 - £9,000, plus legal costs of approximately £20,000.

The council admitted that its driver had collided with the rear of Mr Akram’s van, but it disputed the size of the claim, arguing that the damage to Mr Akram’s vehicle was not consistent with the circumstances of the accident. Nor was it satisfied with the evidence provided in support of the other losses claimed.

Mr Akram’s medical report showed he had been involved in another accident two weeks earlier but he had denied being injured in it. Yet routine enquiries revealed that he had in fact made a personal injury claim for an alleged whiplash injury from it, for which he had been paid £1,100 in compensation.

Furthermore, he had been involved in at least four or five previous accidents for which he had made personal injury claims, although these did not appear to have been mentioned to the doctor who prepared the medical report.

In view of these suspicions, the council was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to support the claim for personal injury. It claimed evidence suggested the damage to Mr Akram’s vehicle pre-dated this accident, and there was little or no evidence of the other losses.

In giving judgment, Judge Hawkesworth QC noted that there were “serious issues” about Mr Akram’s credibility. He said he found Mr Akram to be an “utterly evasive witness” who “could not be relied upon to give accurate or truthful evidence”.

The judge was not satisfied that any significant damage had been caused in this accident to Mr Akram’s vehicle, and he also found that the claims for personal injury and other losses were not proven. Mr Akram’s claim was dismissed in its entirety and he was ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of just under £7,000.

Councillor Richard Brett, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for legal services, said:
“We can and will investigate claims made against us and, where there is no evidence to back these claims, we will seek to recover our costs.
“Compensation payouts come out of the public purse, so I believe the taxpayer will only thank us for being thorough.”

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

£12,000 fine for supermarket that ignored floor warnings

A supermarket has been fined £12,000 after ignoring warnings and installing unsafe flooring in one of its new stores.

WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC was fined £12,000 at Leeds Magistrates Court after it pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety rules at its new Rothwell store in south Leeds.

Before it was even built in February 2009, officials warned Morrison’s that it should not use terrazzo tiles in its food preparation areas, as they had previously been shown to be dangerous if food or liquid was spilt on them.

Because food was being prepared in these areas, the likelihood of them become slippery on a regular basis was very high, putting employees at risk. Use of the same tiles in food preparation areas of other stores had been found to be a factor in previous slipping accidents.

Regulations insist that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the workplace is safe, so Leeds City Council took the view that Morrison’s had failed to ensure that surfaces in these areas were appropriate. The court hearing took place last month.

Councillors James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for health and safety, said:
“We hope this send out the message that the safety of employees is of vital importance to businesses and that employers must take their responsibilities seriously.
“It is important that businesses deal with avoidable risks at a early stage of any new store or refurbishment.”

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

Young football stars to channel their talent

Caption: The Farsley Junior Football Club under 14 team

A junior Leeds football club is heading over to France this weekend to take part in an international football tournament.

Farsley Junior Football Club under 14 team will have the honour of representing Leeds ahead of the World Cup, in the tournament held in Leeds’ partner city of Lille in the suburb Hellemmes.

The 12 boys will play eight games against teams from France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg over the course of the weekend.

The team, based at Farsley Cricket Club, have supported two national charities in their fundraising events throughout the year, Cancer Research and The Multiple Sclerosis Society. The club carried out various fundraising events for the trip including a bag pack and a live band night which were both a success.

Councillor Richard Brett, executive member with responsibility for international relations said:
“I wish the young team all the best at the tournament, and we are very proud that they are representing the city.

“No doubt they will provide a great inspiration for the England team when they compete next month in the World Cup.”

Joanne Bradley from Farsley FC said:
“We are pleased to be involved in the tournament as we are keen to give our boys the opportunity to take part in an international tournament and also to represent Leeds. We are a brand new club and we have 12 players who are raring to go and looking forward to the experience.”

Two young football coaches will join the team on the trip who are studying Sport and Performance Excellence at Leeds City College to give them valuable experience for their future careers.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450