Friday, 21 May 2010

Countdown begins to opening of new Morley Leisure Centre

Caption: The new Morley Leisure Centre was toured by (left to right) Morley South Councillor Terry Grayshon, Project Manager for contractors Interserve Martin Brown, Morley North Councillor Robert Finnigan, Leeds City Council Sport and Active Recreation Area Manager Ray Ashcroft, Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter and Morley North Councillor Bob Gettings

The countdown to the opening of the new Morley Leisure Centre is now firmly underway with a month to go before the doors open for the first time.

The state-of-the-art new facility at Scatcherd Park, built as part of a historic £33m project overseen by Leeds City Council which has also seen another new leisure centre built at Armley, will open to the public on Tuesday 22nd June.

The new centre will boast a range of facilities including a 25m main swimming pool, a 10m learner pool, a 150-station Bodyline gym which is the biggest council-managed gym in the city, a six-court sports hall, a four-court sports hall, a multi-activity hall and a dance studio plus cafe.

After having a tour of the building to see the finishing touches being made, Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We are now counting the days until we can open the superb new Morley Leisure Centre. It is looking absolutely amazing and we are confident it is going to be exceptionally well used by the local community as well as people from all over the Leeds area.

“Together with its sister centre which has just opened and is already proving hugely popular in Armley, these are two more examples of the world-class leisure facilities we now have in Leeds and that is something which as a city we can all be very proud of.”

The new leisure centres have been built through the Local Education Partnership with support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Local Education Partnership works to assist in the delivery of education and leisure projects in Leeds. It is made up of Leeds City Council, the national Building Schools for the Future investment programme and private sector companies Interserve, Barclays Private Equity and Cambridge Education.

For more information on the new Armley Leisure Centre go to and enter Armley Leisure Centre in the search box.


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

Playtime is even more fun in Rodley

Picture caption: "(l-r)Executive member for leisure, Cllr John Procter, council leader Cllr Andrew Carter with two year old Eleanor Coates, trying out the new playground at Brookfield recreation ground in Rodley".

Playtime for children in Rodley will be even more exciting thanks to a fantastic new children’s play area at Brookfield recreation ground.

Brookfield recreation ground is one of 22 sites across the city which will boast improved play equipment as part of the Playbuilder project. With additional council funding the playground has been transformed into a modern and adventurous play area with a range of challenging and exciting new equipment suitable for toddlers through to teenagers.

As part of the initiative local residents and school children helped to guide and influence the design, choice of equipment and layout of the play area.

The play area which is being officially opened this week boasts a cableway, slide with rope net bridge, giraffe swing, five way swing, inclusive orbit roundabout and for the younger children a home/rescue multiplay unit, garden seesaw, swings with cradle seats and a spinner bowl roundabout.

Councillor John Proctor, executive board member responsible for leisure services said:“The new playground is a fantastic addition to the area and offers exiting and challenging new equipment for children and young people to enjoy.

“The input of local residents and children was vital to make sure this play area becomes a popular, well used focal point for youngsters in this community now and for many years to come.”

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We want to be able to help the children of Leeds to make the most of their playtime, so by providing lots of fun, adventurous and challenging playgrounds across this city we are striving to achieve this.

“I’m sure the children of Rodley will have a great time trying out this fantastic new playground. The equipment will allow them to be adventurous and have great fun with their friends, in a safe environment.”

Playgrounds that have already opened across the city as part of the Playbuilder project include Gipton Square, Potternewton Park and Deepdale.

One of the main aims of the Playbuilder project is to make sure the improved play equipment can be used by children and young people with disabilities. All the new playgrounds include some items of equipment offering challenge and opportunity to children and young people with varying needs.

Playbuilder funding is specifically aimed at improving play for 8 to 13 year olds, although where consultation identified specific needs for improved opportunities for younger children this has been included wherever possible.

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

Leeds curator Joe helps make earth-changing discovery

Caption: Dr Joe Botting (above) at Leeds City Museum and an image of one of the fossil discoveries from Morroco (top courtesy of Nature)

A curator from Leeds City Museum has played a key role in rewriting the history of life on earth.

Doctor Joe Botting, Assistant Curator of Natural Sciences, is part of an international group of palaeontologists who recently unearthed a rich array of marine animals living around 480 million years ago in the Anti-Atlas area of Morocco.

Their findings, which are helping scientists re-evaluate the evolution of life, were first presented in prestigious scientific journal Nature last week and will soon feature in National Geographic.

Perfectly-preserved soft-bodied fossils thought to have been extinct before 500 million years ago were discovered in the Upper Fezouata Formation of south-eastern Morocco.

Until now scientists have had little except hard-shelled fossils to help them understand dramatic evolutionary events, during the Ordovician period, which has led to huge gaps in our understand of the way life evolved.

Fossils found at the site included sponges, worms, molluscs and arthropods.

Dr Botting can currently be seen in person curating a special free exhibition at Leeds City Museum off Millennium Square called Dr Rock’s Lost Gallery until Sunday 4 July.

The exhibition centres on the weird and wonderful uses of minerals in everyday life.

Doctor Joe Botting, Curator of Natural Sciences at Leeds City Museum, said:

“It was an honour to be part of the team which found these amazingly well-preserved fossils and provide a more compete understanding of marine life at that time.

“Basically, evolution happened very quickly during this epoch and these new fossils are helping us understand the details of what happened for the first time.

“There was an anomaly in the fossil record. Most of these soft-shelled animals just seemed to disappear, but we found several examples thought to have been long-extinct. Our finds reveal they survived for a good while.

“We also found they were living alongside some very advanced-looking animals like barnacles and horseshoe crabs, which show just how quickly things can change in that interval.”

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

“Congratulations must go to the whole team, but these priceless finds only go to show what we already know, that we have some of the brightest and best working for us here in Leeds. We are all very proud of Joe’s role in this landmark discovery.”

Dr Rock is updating his blog frequently at: . Take a look to keep up to date on new experiments and any new finds.

The special exhibition is free and will be running until Sunday 4th July 2010.

For more information about the museum visit

Notes to editors:

Please be advised that Dr Rock is a fictitious character, although he is based on one of the museum curators, Joe Botting. The Lost Gallery is located in the special exhibitions space on the top floor of the museum.

Dr Rock (Joe Botting) will be around the exhibition on some days, but will be constantly maintaining a blog, so the public can keep up to date with any new experiments etc.


For media enquiries please contact:
Daniel Johnson, Leisure Communications Assistant
Tel: 0113 247 8285, Email: