Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Work to be carried out on historic Roundhay tram pylons

Part of Leeds’ proud transport history at Roundhay Park is to be the focus of essential maintenance work next week.

Elements of the old tram park pylons to be seen in the main car park are to be removed in the week commencing Monday 31st May as they have suffered severe corrosion over time and now need to be taken down for safety reasons.

The pylons are some of the few remaining elements of the former tramway which ran from Leeds city centre to Roundhay Park before their operation ended in November 1959. The tramway made history when it opened in 1891 as it was the first public electric tram using an overhead power system anywhere in Britain.

The pylons have been recently inspected and due to their condition they are to be removed. The work is expected to take up to three days, and engineers will then look at whether they can be repaired or need to be replaced with the hope being they can be repaired due their historical significance.

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

“These pylons are an important part of Leeds history but sadly time has led to them breaking down so they must be taken down as public safety is obviously our prime consideration. Disruption for park users will be kept to a minimum while this work is carried out, and hopefully they will soon be back in position at Roundhay Park.”


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

Hat trick for Leeds’ ‘excellent’ youth offending service

For the third year running Leeds youth offending service has been given an ‘excellent’ rating, following a detailed assessment verified by the Youth Justice Board.

The assessment considered the entire work of the youth offending service, which is run by Leeds City Council, and works with children, young people and their families to prevent and to challenge offending behaviour.

The service was assessed under the Youth Justice Board’s ‘Performance Improvement Framework’, which aims to help improve the performance of youth offending teams, the youth justice system as a whole and ultimately improve the lives of young people.

To achieve the excellent rating Leeds was required to submit a strategic plan to demonstrate how they intend to maintain and improve their services, and a detailed self assessment to evidence the service’s current achievements, abilities and successes.

The Youth Justice Board agreed with Leeds’ self assessment that their current capacity and their ability to sustain and improve their performance was excellent.

Councillor Stewart Golton, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
"This was a really comprehensive assessment of all the activities of the youth offending service, so to have been rated as excellent is a great tribute to the hard work and dedication of the team.

“It basically means that we are helping reduce the number of young people entering the criminal justice system, and are working to improve the prospects of those young people who do. The assessment also showed how we work well with the families and victims of young offenders – all contributing to making Leeds a safer place.

"The team is committed and positive about its work, and is already working hard to further improve and ensure the service builds on the strong foundations already in place.”

To achieve the excellent rating Leeds provided evidence of its current capacity and capabilities, across nine areas, which are:
1. Assessment, planning, interventions and supervision (2.25)
2. Resourcing and workforce development (2.5)
3. Access to universal and specialist services (3)
4. Reductions in first-time entrants to the youth justice system (3)
5. Reducing reoffending (2.67)
6. Use of custody (2.25)
7. Risk of serious harm (2.67)
8. Safeguarding (2)
9. Victim and public confidence (2.67)
In each area Leeds was give a score out of three, which is shown in brackets.

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

Leeds children’s champions put their heads together

The health, wellbeing and happiness of the children of Leeds was top of the agenda when the new Leeds Children’s Trust board met for the first time.

The board, which is made up of senior representatives from all the main organisations in the city which have a responsibility for children and young people, was set up in response to a review of children’s services across the city.

The members of the board considered the key themes which emerged from the recent review of children’s services and discussed how they would best work together to improve the future for children, young people and their families.

Eleanor Brazil, interim director of children’s services said:
“The first meeting of the board proved to be a great opportunity for everyone to reaffirm their organisation’s commitment to improve the lives of the children and young people of Leeds.

“There is no doubt that there is a long way to go but it was agreed that by working together, learning from past experiences and celebrating successes better we can start to make a real difference to the lives of children in our city.”

Key principles identified to underpin the work of the board are:
• consistency – building on where things are working well;
• communication – improving communications at all levels and across partners;
• celebration – taking time to celebrate services and partnership activity which is working well;
• co-operation – working together better to resolve tricky and hard to improve issues; and
• challenge – challenging existing ways of working and how we can work together better.

Members of the Leeds Children’s Trust board includes senior representatives from:
Leeds City Council, NHS Leeds, Leeds Youth Offending Service, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Probation, Job Centre Plus, local schools, colleges and children’s centres, the voluntary sector and government office.

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

City centre revamp nearing completion

The £11 million transformation of Leeds city centre has taken a step closer with the renovation of Kirkgate and Bond Street.

Kirkgate, which is the city’s oldest street, and Bond Street are the latest streets to be revamped in Leeds City Council’s six-year programme to transform the city centre and boost business investment.

Most of the city centre’s pedestrianised area has now been repaved and planted with trees and some fantastic new public art sculptured seating has also been installed.

Kirkgate and Bond Street are among the final pieces of the jigsaw. The other streets and green spaces to be renovated include: Briggate, King Edward Street, Merrion Street Gardens, Park Square, Chancellor Court , Assembly Street, Albion Street, Albion Place and Lands Lane.

On Bond Street and Kirkgate, shoppers will soon be able to enjoy some great public art. Sculptures, created by award winning artist Linda Schwab, will be installed at Bond Street’s junction with Park Row and on Kirkgate. Special written text will also be carved into the paving along Kirkgate highlighting the street’s long history and importance to the city.

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council and executive member with responsibility for city development, said:

“This is a fantastic programme which will make the centre a more attractive place, all of which helps to boost city centre retail and investment.

“Since the improvements were made to Albion Place and Lands Lane, we have seen a drop in the number of empty units on those streets, and it is hoped that Kirkgate and Bond Street will follow suit.

“An attractive city centre makes for happy shoppers, visitors and workers and that’s great news for the city centre retail sector and for the Leeds economy overall.”

Both Bond Street and Kirkgate are important streets in the city centre, acting as key gateways from the city’s business and market districts.

Kirkgate has a history dating back to the Domesday Book of 1086. Over the years it has been home to a prison, a museum and, up until the 19th century, was a fashionable residential district for Leeds’ wealthy merchants.

The street has also just won a £1million lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to repair some of the buildings and help regenerate the whole area surrounding Kirkgate Market.


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

New business ideas to ‘Czech’ out

Leeds is hosting a networking meeting for people wanting to know more about starting a business in the Czech Republic and other eastern European countries.

The Central and Eastern Europe Business Network (CEBN) will host the event at club LS1 on Tuesday 8 June from 3.30pm. CEBN is currently promoting business opportunities in the Czech Republic ahead of a business mission to Leeds’ partner city of Brno in September.

Guest speakers will include Peter Urbanek, counsellor and head of the commercial and economic section of the embassy of the Czech Republic to the UK, Hana Chlebna, director of operations for UK and Ireland, Czech Invest UK.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council and executive board member responsible for international relations, said:
“The CEBN provides a useful platform for people looking into business opportunities in local and central eastern European countries.

“I would urge anyone looking for information or ideas about starting businesses abroad in these countries to attend this meeting.”

The closing date for reservations is Friday 28 May 2010, with places being allocated on a first come first serve basis. To reserve a place please contact, or call 0113 3950688.

Tickets for non CEBN members cost £20 (payable by cheque or credit card).

Notes to editors:

The business mission is an opportunity for Leeds’ businesses to take part in targeted one to one meetings with local Czech companies, meet CEO’s from the key exhibitors, receive specialist sector briefing..

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

Superstar search in south Leeds

Caption: Finalists at Holbeck Gala last year

Do you think you have the moves to rival Diversity or a voice to match Lady Gaga? If so get yourself to an audition in south Leeds to show off your talent.

This year the search is on to find the next Leeds superstar from talented individuals in south Leeds.

Any youngsters between the ages of eight to 16 can audition for the South Leeds Superstar competition. This years talent showcase promises to be bigger and even more spectacular than ever before.

Leeds City Council is encouraging all young people with talents ranging from singing and dancing, to martial arts and gymnastics to audition. Whether you think you can amuse the masses with your comedy act or wow the judges and audience with special talents such as ventriloquism or contorting your body in weird and wonderful ways, this competition is for you.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for area management, said:
“Events like this allow whole communities to be involved and celebrate the talents of their community members.

“I hope that as many young people as possible take part in the Junior Superstar event and maybe we will uncover some talent of the future.”

Councillor Angela Gabriel, chair of Leeds City Council’s inner south area committee, said:
“The south Leeds Superstar competition is a brilliant way for young people to show off their talents in front of their local community.

“I am looking forward to seeing all the various acts and I wish everyone auditioning the best of luck.”

Auditions are taking place on two separate days, with the semi finals to be held at Beeston Festival, Belle Isle Gala and Hunslet Festival.

Community auditions will be taking place in the following venues:

Date: Thursday 27th May 2010
Time: 5.30pm until 8pm
Venue: Belle Isle Family Centre, Belle Isle Road, Leeds, LS10 3PG

Date: Monday 31st May 2010
Time: 6.30pm until 8.30 pm
Venue: St Luke’s Church, Malvern Road, Beeston, LS11 8PD

The grand finale will take place on 10 July at Holbeck Gala. The overall winner of South Leeds Superstar will automatically go through to the city-wide final of Find Your Talent, taking place in December.

For more information on the events running throughout the I love south Leeds Festival visit; or call South East Area Management on 0113 224 3040.

Notes to editors:

South Leeds Superstar is one of the many activities taking place during the I Love South Leeds Festival this summer. The Inner South Leeds Area Committee funded festival will running a series of musical workshops called Turn It Up and South Leeds Olympics sporting activities.

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