Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Leeds to say bonjour to foreign languages

Primary school teachers from Leeds have visited schools in Lille to form new partnerships with the city’s schools.

The visit organised by Leeds City Council and Education Leeds, and funded by the British Council is part of the preparation for primary schools to introduce a modern foreign language into the curriculum at key stage 2.

The visit is part of a busy programme of activities between the cities of Leeds and Lille, which have been twinned since 1968. The visit provided an excellent opportunity for the teachers to find out more about the French primary schools and also to establish eight new partnerships.

The eight teachers from primary schools across Leeds spent a day with a primary school in France, delivering an English class to the French students.

Karen Murgatroyd, senior project officer for international relations said:“I am delighted to hear that eight new partnerships have been formed between schools in Leeds and our partner city of Lille. In equipping our young people with both linguistic skills and inter-cultural understanding, we are preparing them for a competitive job market in an increasingly globalised economy.”

Chloe Dakin, one of the teachers on the Lille trip, from Adel St John Primary said:

“Being part of this partnership is an excellent opportunity for me and for Adel St John. It was extremely interesting to visit the French school and I enjoyed teaching an English song to the pupils there. After developing an action plan with my partner teacher, I am now looking forward to putting our joint project into action.”

A primary school teacher from Lille, has spent the current academic year in Leeds is assisting with the school partnership project as part of the “Jules Verne” programme. Christian Didonna has been working with schools showing them French traditions and working on new links between France and Leeds.

Notes to editors:

Education Leeds has been working closely with the British Council on their “Area Linking” programmes in order to establish school partnerships in both France and Spain.

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

Better, safer bikers in west Yorkshire

Bikers will get the chance to put their skills to the test on a rider training course available to riders across west Yorkshire.

The ‘Yorkshire Enhanced Rider scheme’ has numerous free and subsidised places on a post test motorcycle training course available to riders across the district.

Taking part in the course takes just a few hours and could make for a better, safer rider and ensure safety on the roads.

The course has been trialled this year and proved very successful. Last year saw 14 riders killed and 178 seriously injured on West Yorkshire’s roads, with 84% of the casualties in 30 and 40mph speed limits. It is important this information is portrayed to riders, and they are constantly aware of the roads.

Bikers who take part in the course will receive a bag of riding goodies and could qualify for a discount off their insurance once they have completed the course.

Councillor Richard Lewis executive board member for development and regeneration said:
“Too many riders become casualties on our roads and on the roads of neighbouring areas such as north Yorkshire and the peak district. It’s important that riders have the skills to keep themselves safe and to deal with other road users appropriately.”

Dave Glanville, road safety officer for motorcyclists in west Yorkshire said yesterday:
“We’ve been trialling the scheme in Leeds & Bradford for the past year and have been pleased with the results. All the riders who’ve done the course have had a really positive experience and taken something useful away with them whether they’ve been riding for a year or two or a decade or two. Now we’re able to offer some subsidised places to riders across west Yorkshire. The trainers are all DSA approved and keen riders themselves so you’re guaranteed a good day out.”

Training schools delivering the course include 2Wheelskool, Ridesafe, Anchor and Clayton Class, all based in west Yorkshire.

For more information on the courses or to register, visit

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

New Morley Leisure Centre preparing for action

Picture caption: (from left to right) Cllr Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council's Executive Member for Leisure, Martin Brown Interserve Project Manager, Ian Waller Sports Operations Manager and Sharon Gard Operations Manager for Morley Leisure Centre.

The final preparations are being made to the state-of-the-art new Morley Leisure Centre ahead of its opening next week.

The doors to the much-anticipated new centre on Scatcherd Park will open to the public for the first time at 7:15am on Tuesday 22nd June. The fantastic range of facilities inside include a stunning main 25-metre swimming pool, 10-metre learner pool, a 150-station Bodyline gym which is the biggest council-managed gym in the city, a six-court sports hall, four-court sports hall, dance studio and a café.

The new centre has been created as part of a historic joint £33m project overseen by Leeds City Council which represents one of the largest single investments in sport and leisure facilities ever seen in the city. The first part of the project created another new centre at Armley which has proved hugely popular since it opened last month.

Work began at Morley shortly after the ageing former centre was closed in July 2008 to allow for it to be demolished to make way for its brand new successor. The project has been managed by the Local Education Partnership with support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Sport.

Extensive consultation work was carried out with the users of the old centre as well as all key stakeholders and community groups to ensure the new centre met the needs of the local community. A dedicated working group made up of a range of local people has also played a key role throughout every stage of the project.

Contractors Interserve have carried out the project to schedule and the building is now ready for use as a major new public leisure facility to be used by the local community and beyond.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We are all counting down these final days until this amazing new Morley Leisure Centre opens.

“The facilities inside are incredible and we know it is going to be a really big hit with the local community and is sure to also attract people from further afield.

“Its sister centre at Armley has enjoyed a fantastic first month in operation and we know the reaction is going to be the same in Morley so we can’t wait to get started.”

Corporate Director of Interserve Project Services Ian Renhard said:

“It has been a tremendous experience for us to deliver this leisure centre. There has been total commitment from every member of the team to make this fantastic facility something we can all be proud of.

“Interserve is looking forward to building on our partnership with the local community as we support Leeds City Council’s Sport and Active Recreation Service in making Morley Leisure Centre a great success.”

The new Morley Leisure Centre will feature a varied fitness programme, with the Bodyline gym which is one of the largest to be found in the region fitted out with the latest equipment and weights while there will also be 5-a-side football, badminton and gymnastics available along with a range of fitness classes on offer including dance and toning sessions, yoga and pilates.

There will also be the chance to hire the facilities at the centre for parties, while the swimming programme includes general swimming sessions, lane swimming, aqua aerobics, fun sessions, swimming lessons and free swimming sessions for anyone aged 16 and under or 60 and over.

On the opening day, Tuesday 22nd June, the first 100 customers through the doors will receive a special commemorative gift while there will also be a celebratory cake for everyone to enjoy.

For further information on the new Morley Leisure Centre or to download the swimming and fitness programmes go to The new centre can also be contacted from 18th June onwards by calling 0113 3367890.

Notes to editors:

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

Joint operations soothe city centre congestion

Another successful joint operation has taken part in Leeds city centre in a drive to cut congestion.

Leeds City Council has continued its work in partnership with the City Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) on congestion and enforcement on vehicles within the city centre with successful results again at an operation on Friday 11 June.

In the six months since the operations commenced there have been numerous different types of enforcement activities including roadside inspections checking on the condition of vehicles and their compliance with conditions and covert operations to detect private hire drivers who are plying for hire.

In the last three months the enforcement operation has been extended to include parking services in an attempt to combat congestion in the city at certain locations to provide a high visibility presence and deterrent and to deal with offenders.

So far 38 private hire drivers have been suspended for illegally plying for hire and having no insurance. Seven of which have received home office cautions, with four being dealt with at court and subsequently having their private hire licences revoked.

There are 27 drivers who still have pending court proceedings.

Whilst working with parking services and the police, the taxi & private hire licensing enforcement team have carried out 124 roadside inspections 40.32% (50) of those stopped were identified to have faults on them (22.58% (28) suspensions imposed on the vehicles and 17.74% (22) were given advisory notices to have the repairs rectified as soon as possible).

Parking services officers have issued a total of 48 parking tickets to illegally parked Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles and numerous other parking tickets to drivers who had committed offences such as parking in a taxi rank.

John Mulcahy, head of licensing and registration for Leeds City Council said:

“This is a great result for our enforcement team and our partnership with the City NPT is working well to combat congestion issues within the city centre.

“It is encouraging to see such good results from these operations, and to see that congestion is being tackled successfully within the city centre.

“Our operations send out a strong message to people disobeying the rules within the city centre."

The initiatives will continue over the summer months. The public are reminded that it is illegal for a private hire journey to be taken without making a booking with the operator in advance and any journey undertaken in such circumstances would be uninsured. You can however flag down a Hackney carriage in the street without a booking.

Chief Inspector Vernon Francis said:

“Officers take issues surrounding illegal flagging of private hire taxis extremely seriously and have been involved in many operations and initiatives over recent months to tackle the problems this causes.

“Only last week we pledged to give the matter even closer attention after members of the public raised the issue at our latest Partners and Communities Together meeting. It is now a policing priority for the NPT and last Friday’s operation demonstrates not just how closely we are listening to our communities but also how we will quickly act on their concerns.”

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

National Carers' Week 2010

This week Leeds will be celebrating the unpaid work of more than 70,000 carers in the city who devote themselves to caring for the ill, frail and disabled, and raising awareness of the vital role they play in the community.

To celebrate National Carers’ Week (14-21 June), a series of special events have been organised across the city to give carers time off from caring duties and provide a little light relief from their day to day routine. These events are being run by Leeds City Council, NHS Leeds, Carers Leeds, Alzheimers Leeds, Leeds Partnership Foundation Trust, Mental Health Carers Support Team, Willow Young Carers Service and GP surgeries.

The events range from information displays at events across the city to trips to Bridlington and Golden Acre Park, and pampering and well-being days. There is also an information and advice morning for carers who are combining their unpaid caring with paid employment with the council or the NHS. These carers, like many others, are under particular strain trying to juggle work, caring and other family responsibilities.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘A life of my own’, which calls for greater recognition of carers who can all too often feel isolated, lonely and pushed out of everyday society.

Support is available for carers in Leeds if they have an emergency to deal with and for older and young carers, but we know that there are many more carers out there that we’re not in touch with. People can get advice and information about the support networks available from Carers Leeds by phoning 0113 2468338, and details about assessments and other services from the council’s customer services team by calling 0113 222 4401.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“People that provide unpaid care for loved ones who are ill or disabled can often feel isolated because they don’t think of themselves as carers and don’t access the support they need. This can have a real and negative impact on their health, finances, working and social life, and general wellbeing.

“There are lots of events taking place as part of National Carer’s Week to promote the services that are available in Leeds to support carers and help them to feel more appreciated and less isolated.

“I would encourage people that are in an unpaid caring role to find out more about these events and the networks that can support them on an ongoing basis. Hopefully this will give them the chance to do some of the things that the rest of us take for granted.”


Additional info

Carers Week is organised by a partnership of seven national charities: Carers UK, Counsel and Care, Crossroads Care, Help the Hospices, Macmillan Cancer Support, Parkinson’s UK, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

For more information about the events and activities taking place as part of Carers Week in Leeds, visit

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