Friday, 8 October 2010

Volunteer your time and skills in Change Leeds Week 2010

Change Leeds Week takes place next week (11 to 15 October), and Leeds’ residents are being encouraged to get involved in fundraising activities and volunteering opportunities to support the initiative.

As well as raising much-needed cash for small charities and community groups, people are being given the chance to make a difference by donating their unwanted goods and volunteering their time and skills.

Why not recycle your good quality, unwanted goods instead of throwing them away? Monday 11 October has been designated as Donate Day, to encourage the people of Leeds to donate items such as clothing, bedding, small electrical appliances, bicycles and furniture. This helps the environment and also supports people on low incomes, living on benefits or in supported employment. Interested? Then contact one of the following organisations to arrange collection at a mutually agreeable time:
• Emmaus (furniture, electrical, bicycles) tel: Leeds 248 4288
• Leeds and Moortown Furniture Store (furniture only) tel: Leeds 273 9727
• St Judes Furniture Store (furniture, electrical, bicycles, clothing, bedding and bric-a-brac) tel: Leeds 245 0800

For more information about recycling unwanted goods, contact Rachel Charlton, Leeds City Council on Leeds 247 5878 or email

Fancy finding out about the many volunteering opportunities that are available in Leeds? On Wednesday, 13 October, Volunteer Centre Leeds will open its doors from 8am to 8pm, to give more people the chance to drop in for information. Come along before work, during the day or in the evening and find out what you can do for your local community. Organisations can also find out how they can get some volunteer help, pick up a copy of the new Leeds Volunteering Toolkit, and find out how to get the new Leeds Quality Kitemark. Volunteer Centre Leeds can be found at Enterprise House, St Paul’s Street, LS1 2LE, telephone Leeds 395 0405.

For would-be volunteers, there are three fantastic opportunities available for you to try during Change Leeds Week. No previous experience needed; just turn up and have a go!

Tuesday 12 October - Support the Hyde Park Community Association in improving their local greenspace by coming along to an environmental day at Rosebank Millennium Green. For more details contact Jenny Twaddell, Hyde Park Source tel Leeds 245 8863 or email

Thursday 14 October - Volunteer for the day or part of the day at Lineham Farm. Volunteers are needed between 9.30am and 4pm to plant saplings. Call Steve Hannaby for more details on 07751 403140.

Friday 15 October - Come and help to improve the Leeds Liverpool Canal by making improvements to the Wyther Lane greenspace area. For more information call Rachel Clunas on Leeds 281 6804 or email Meet at 9am for a 9.15am briefing at BTCV Hollybush Conservation Centre, Broad Lane, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3BP.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering said:
“Change Leeds Week is a fantastic opportunity for people to do something positive or pledge to do something for the good of our city.

“Lots of small charities and community groups are finding it really difficult to keep going during these difficult financial times. These organisations work in the heart of our communities tackling some of the city’s most difficult issues and need our ongoing support.

“The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering has already had a positive impact on the numbers of people coming forward to offer their time for the good of the city and their local communities. I hope that some of the opportunities during Change Leeds Week will encourage even more people to get involved.“


Additional info

The Leeds Community Foundation is working closely with the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering to promote Change Leeds Week.

The aim of the initiative is to encourage anyone and everyone to do something positive to help local communities.

The Leeds Community Foundation is encouraging individuals, companies and organisations to do something to raise money during the week. Thanks to a special government-backed initiative called Grassroots Grants, the Foundation is able to match, £1 for £1, any monies raised during the week. All the proceeds will be invested in a special City of Leeds Fund and, each year, the interest will be given out to local community groups in the form of grants.

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

Don’t be fooled by council tax band leaflet claims – do it yourself for free

Council taxpayers are being warned not to fall for companies who claim they can lower their home’s council tax band for a fee – when they can do it themselves and for free.

Companies have been targeting homes in areas of Leeds with flyers that say the firm can help people challenge their home’s council tax band, with a suggestion that they could save money if they did.

While the practice is not illegal, the flyers often claim that properties in the area have already had their council tax bandings lowered. A council tax band is used to work out how much council tax is paid for each property.

But Leeds City Council is alerting local people to the fact that they can easily find out if their council tax band is incorrect – for free.

You can challenge your band yourself, which if successful, could reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay, but only at certain times. Information about when challenge your band can be found on the VOA website at

Steven Carey, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for revenues and benefits, said:
“While there’s nothing illegal about these leaflets, people may be fooled into thinking that they need to pay someone to see if they are in the wrong tax band.
“Our advice is that you can do it yourself for free – you don’t need to pay, so if you think your house might be in the wrong band, contact the Valuation Officer and check for free.”

Notes to editors:
Properties are put into council tax bands by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). There are eight valuation bands from Band A to Band H, with Band A being the lowest. The band is an indication of how much a property was worth on 1st April 1991, and not its current value. Even new properties are valued on what they would have been worth in 1991. The council tax band is used to work out how much council tax is paid for each property. You can challenge your band yourself but only in certain circumstances. However, even if you do not meet the criteria, the VOA will still review the banding on your property if you can provide evidence to show that the current band is incorrect, although the valuation banding of your property could also go up, as well as down.

If you think the banding of your property is wrong, contact the Valuation Office Agency on 0113 3884500 or go to their website for more information. You do not need someone else to do it for you.

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

Limited time remains for exhibition

Picture caption: Leeds Musuem's British Wall Hanging created around 1830 – 1840 by an unknown artist

Time is running out to see a major textiles exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery which has brought together for the first time significant works of art from across Europe and Britain.

The incredible show closes Sunday 31 October and showcases historical art created from woollen cloth off-cuts with museum loans from Bautzen, Dresden, Altenburg, Hamburg, Cardiff, Glasgow and Berlin.

The “Inlaid Patchwork in Europe from 1500 to the Present Day” exhibition was a huge hit in Berlin and Vienna and its residency in Leeds is the only appearance in Britain.

Stunning examples of historical hangings and covers are on display all made using a special inlaid patchwork technique – heavy, felted woollen cloth is stitched together with embroidery and appliqué to create incredible designs.

Horsemen, decorative flowers, religious motifs and even 19th century celebrities all feature on the textiles telling stories or representing important historical and cultural events.

A highlight of the exhibition is Leeds Museums and Galleries’ own example of the inlaid technique, which was created by a 19th century tailor.

Natalie Raw Leeds City Council’s curator of costume and textiles said:

“There’s not much time remaining for people to come down and see this incredibly vibrant and fascinating exhibition. Not only are the pieces visually striking but the skill that was used to produce them is remarkable. So come along while you still can and witness for yourself this never to be repeated informative and awe-inspiring exhibition.”

The exhibition, put together by the Museum of European Cultures – National Museums in Berlin, is accompanied by special events such as study days, for those wishing to find out more about the exhibition and patchwork techniques. There is also a series of schools’ workshops and a three-day artist’s residency during the October half-term in the Gallery’s Artspace.


Note to Editors

• High resolution press images are available

• Leeds Art Gallery’s 2010 exhibition programme is being supported by The Arts Council

• Admission to Leeds Art Gallery is free

• Admission times:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10am -5pm
Wednesday 12 -5pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm

For media enquiries please contact: Daniel Johnson, leisure communications officer, tel: 0113 247 8285, email: