Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Awards ceremony celebrates Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

The successes of children and young people from Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities will be celebrated at a special event in Leeds this week.

Organised by Education Leeds’ Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service (GRTAS), with support from the Department for Education, the annual event helps raise awareness of the communities’ achievements, culture and history.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to the Gypsy Roma Traveller awards ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday 30 June between 5.30pm and 8pm. Please email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 3951577 to confirm attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

This year children, young people and adults from across the country were invited to create a portrait illustrating the different communities and the winning entries will be announced at the ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall tomorrow (Wednesday 30 June)

The winners of the Leeds Portrait competition will receive certificates and prizes from the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor James McKenna, the captain of Leeds United, Richard Naylor, intercontinental champion boxer, Jimmy Lowther, Chris Edwards, the chief executive of Education Leeds, Arthur Ivatts and Andrea Smith, from the Department for Education, and Ferdinand Koci, international Roma artist.

The evening will also feature music from children from Harehills Primary School, Primrose High and the South Leeds Academy.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“The work of our Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service is fantastic and is instrumental in raising achievement and awareness within these communities.

“The Gypsy Roma Travellers History Month is a chance to challenge negative stereotypes and learn more about these fascinating cultures. The portraits submitted this year are once again of a high standard and everyone who has taken part should be proud of their work.”

It’s hoped that raising awareness of the communities’ achievements, culture and history will overcome the prejudice which sees - according to figures from the children’s society – nine out of ten children of Gypsy Roma Traveller background racially abused, and nearly two-thirds bullied or physically attacked.*

The campaign will also focus on ways to improve the achievement of Gypsy Roma Traveller children, which is currently the lowest of any minority group in the UK.

The portrait competition and history month are the latest in a series of projects from the service which bring alive the traditions, values and culture of the Gypsy Roma Traveller communities developed on a thousand year journey across the globe.

This includes, ‘Open Roads Open Minds’, a DVD-based learning resource, bringing the ancient crafts and traditions of storytelling, passed down through generations of the travelling communities, into the classroom. The DVD includes recordings of songs, ballads, plays and 20 specially commissioned illustrations to inspire creativity across the curriculum.

For further details of the new international competition, and for ideas on how to explore these rich cultures for inspiration for your stories, visit the website of Education Leeds’ groundbreaking Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service at www.grtleeds.co.uk or www.grthm.co.uk.


Notes to editors:
*The Children’s Society report that nearly nine out of every 10 children and young people from a Gypsy background have suffered racial abuse and nearly two thirds have also been bullied or physically attacked.(November Report 2007)

Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are the largest Ethnic Minority community in the European Union with over 12 million people. In the UK, they are recognised ethnic minority communities and number 300,000.

The achievement levels of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are the lowest of any of the BME communities and the gap is widening (December 2009 DCSF national figures).

For media enquiries, please contact;
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 3951578
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Morley Leisure Centre offers free sessions

Photo caption: children enjoying a swimming session.

Morley Leisure Centre is offering free access to a range of fitness activities and health checks this weekend with a community open day.

Free taster sessions are on offer Saturday 3rd July for children and adults in activities from badminton to football training, Tri-golf and short tennis.

Kicking off at 10am and finishing at 2pm the day will also offer adults the chance to find out how fit they are with free health checks for adults.

Visitors will be in with a chance of winning a 12-month premier fitness membership, worth £444, that provides access to the wide range of leisure centres, fitness classes, swimming sessions and bodyline gyms throughout the city, not to mention the massive 150-station Bodyline gym in Morley.

Radio Aire DJ Rich Williams will be presenting the winner with their prize and has volunteered to go in goal for a special penalty shoot-out competition.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie, said:

“This event is a fantastic opportunity for the new Morley Leisure Centre to extend it’s links with the community and for people have a go at something new or get back into a sport they haven’t done for a while for free. I would encourage everyone to go along and make the most of this event to find out for themselves exactly what the new centre has to offer.”

96.3 Radio Aire’s Home Run presenter Rich Williams said:

“I’m really looking forward to this exciting event. There are a lot of different activities to have a go at on the day as well as the penalty shoot-out with me in goal. I don’t play football much but I’m definitely up for the challenge.”

The centre has already seen 2588 people visiting in the first three days of opening to take part in the variety of activities on offer.

Free swimming will be available during certain programmed sessions throughout the day for those aged 16 and under and 60 and over, in addition both pools will have a range of activities throughout the day with some charged at normal prices.

The six and four court sports halls will host free badminton, short tennis, table tennis, a bouncy castle and Striker 9 football skills training sessions, while the multi-activity rooms will have boxercise and dance mat taster sessions for all to enjoy.

For further information on the open day, facilities at the new centre or to download the swimming and fitness programmes go to www.leeds.gov.uk/morley. The new centre can also be contacted by calling 0113 3367890.

Notes to editor:

Below is a timetable of events taking place at the community open day on Saturday July 3rd from 10am – 2pm. Please note that while the majority of sessions are free, those marked with a * are chargeable.

Swimming Pool

9am – 10.30am General Swim
10.45am – 11.45am Inflatable Session*
11.50am – 12.50pm Inflatable Session*
1pm – 2pm learner pool Rookie lifesaving demo, General swim
2pm – 3pm General swim

Multi Activity Rooms

10 – 11am Dance Mats
11.30 – 1pm Boxercise*

Sports Hall 1
10am – 12noon 2 courts table tennis
10am – 12noon short tennis
12.30pm – 2pm Badminton
12.30pm – 2pm Bouncy castle

Sports hall 2

10.30 – 11.30am Block booking
11.30 – 12.30pm Block booking
12.30pm – 2pm Striker


For media enquiries please contact:Daniel Johnson, leisure communications officer,
tel: 0113 247 8285, email: Daniel.johnson1@leeds.gov.uk

Volunteers are such good sports!

Are you interested in sports, art and culture? Would you like to share your interest and experience with others? Does your sports club or organisation need help to make it more successful?

2010 is the Leeds Year of Volunteering and the theme for the month of July is ‘volunteering for leisure, sport, arts and culture’, which will showcase the numerous opportunities for people who want to get involved in sport and leisure activities in the city.

Events for the theme kick off on Wednesday, 30 June when anyone with an interest in volunteering in the arts can go along to a meeting hosted by Leeds Arts Partnership at ESA, Patrick Studios, St Mary’s Lane, Leeds LS9 7EH, from 4 – 6pm. These networking meetings are held quarterly for people working in the music, visual and performing arts sectors and are a great chance for arts volunteers to share their experiences. Please contact Dinah Clark on 0113 395 0099 or email dinah.clark@leeds.gov.uk to book a free place at the meeting.

There’s also an arts and culture event taking place on Sunday, 18 July at Clarence Dock, Leeds Waterfront Festival, 3 to 5pm. Arts and culture volunteers are invited to join in a celebration of volunteering as part of the Leeds Waterfront Festival. Activities include ginormous origami sculpturing, yarn bombing and helping to create an outside green space. Please contact Jennie Beaumont 0113 216 2367 or jennie.beaumont@leedscitycollege.ac.uk for more information.

Members of the public of all ages will be given the chance to see the range of volunteering opportunities available in sport in Leeds at the Sports Volunteer Fair on Briggate on Saturday, 24 July 11am to 4pm. This event falls on Olympic Open Weekend, so if you want to see the variety of sport available in Leeds and find out how you can get involved in volunteering within sport in the city, come along and see what’s on offer. Contact Julie Lewis on 0113 395 0614 or by email to julie.lewis@leeds.gov.uk for more information.

Steve Crocker, co-ordinator for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“There are hundreds of amateur sports clubs in Leeds, run by local people who give up their time to promote sport and fitness in their communities. Without these volunteers, sport in our city would be far less accessible and successful, and we should be grateful that so many people contribute in this way.

“Good quality leisure time is an essential part of striking a good work-life balance, and the people that spend theirs sharing their knowledge of the arts and culture with others do a fantastic job of educating others and promoting all that our city has to offer.

“Volunteers in leisure, sport, art and culture do so because they love what they do and want to share their passion with others. If you feel the same, there are loads of volunteering opportunities available for you to get involved in. Come along to one of our events or visit Volunteer Centre Leeds for more information.”

If you are or know of a volunteer or group of volunteers who have made a difference in your local community or organisation, why not nominate them for a volunteer award? Anyone can make a nomination by visiting the year of volunteering website: http://www.leedsyearofvolunteering.co.uk and completing an online form. Alternatively, forms are available from Volunteer Centre Leeds, Enterprise House, 12 St Paul’s Street, LS1 2LE.

The closing date for nominations is 30 September 2010. Everyone who is nominated for an award will be sent a certificate of congratulations. Shortlisted finalists will be invited to the awards evening on 1 December at Leeds Civic Hall.

Additional info

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 www.leedsyearofvolunteering.org.uk

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

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Last days of the Lost Gallery

Picture caption: Dr Rock in his secret office within the Lost Gallery.

Only a few days remain for the general public to see Dr Rock’s Lost Gallery at Leeds City Museum before it is again sealed off and the doctor returns to his private experiments.

Since builders working on Leeds City Museum’s exhibition space discovered the Lost Gallery over 31,000 people have visited Dr Rock’s secret laboratory, which is filled with exciting minerals and experiments.

Dr Rock – a mineral genius – will be around the museum throughout the remaining days of the exhibition. Many of his memos and films around the exhibition will allow the public an insight into his work.

Having found this crazy catacomb sealed off to the outside world inhabited by museum curator Dr Rock and his numerous strange objects Leeds City Museum decided to open it to the public for free and now the countdown has begun until it is sealed off again on Sunday 4th July.

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

“This special exhibition has been great fun and fascinating for the staggering number of people who have already been wowed by its weird and wonderful displays.

“If you haven’t yet experienced these exciting interactive exhibits and minerals only a few days are left before it is sealed off forever so get down to Leeds City Museum while you still can and you might see Dr Rock himself.”

On display are a collection of poisonous rocks, human implants and the effects of putting a mobile phone in a blender amongst other exciting things.

Coming soon after the Lost Gallery closes will be a new special exhibition entitled Heroes and Heroines. It will be a collection of costumes worn by some of the silver-screen’s biggest names in blockbuster movies from Pride and Prejudice to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

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

Dr Rock is updating his blog frequently at: http://dr-rocks.blogspot.com/ . Take a look to keep up to date on new experiments and any new finds. For more information about the museum visit www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum

Notes to editors:

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

Dr Rock ( Dr 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 officer, tel: 0113 247 8285, email: Daniel.johnson1@leeds.gov.uk

VIDEO: Yes they can… aerosols helping Leeds become greener

Aerosols can now help Leeds to become greener as the latest item which can be put in green bins for recycling.

The spray cans are the newest addition to a long list of products that can be recycled after being collected from homes across the city and their inclusion is a topical start to next week’s national Recycle Week.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council's executive board member for environmental services, introduces the scheme with representatives from partners Unilever and Alupro.

For more information, please see our original press release.