Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Leeds honoured with Chinese friendship award

Caption: The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Leeds with the award

Leeds’ ongoing partnership work with Hangzhou in China has been recognised with an award at a national ceremony held in Shanghai.

Leeds was presented with the award for ‘Friendship City for Communication and Co-operation with China’ at The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries annual awards ceremony.

The nomination for the award came from Leeds’ long standing Chinese partner city Hangzhou and was collected on behalf of the city by Helen Thompson, senior lecturer in accounting and finance at Leeds Met University.

The ceremony was attended by the rich and powerful from across the globe including former US president Jimmy Carter and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, councillor Jim McKenna said:

“We are delighted to have received this award which recognises the hard work that has gone in to building links with China over the last 22 years.

“We have always recognised the importance of lasting relationships in China and have cultivated a sustainable partnership that continues to provide economic and business benefits for both our cities.

“I am particularly pleased that Leeds Metropolitan University could represent the city to collect this award, it is a testament to the co-operation that the university has with its Chinese partners.”

The Leeds-Hangzhou partnership, continues to provide benefits for Leeds’ schools, businesses and communities. For example Leeds Metropolitan University currently deliver an MA programme in International Trade and Finance with its partner university in Hangzhou whilst also recruiting students from the region.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Local mosque plays host to “crime and grime” consultation

Muslims from the Hyde Park area of Leeds are to be to be asked how they feel about public safety, crime and environmental issues where they live.

An open consultation is to take place at the Makkah Mosque on Thornville Road this Friday, 22nd October, between 2:30 and 4:30 pm. The event has been timed to coincide with the end of prayers.

A number of council services and other agencies will be present at the event, including, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire Service, West North West Homes and NHS Leeds as well as Children’s Services, the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, Safer Leeds , Area Management and Leeds University, who have worked with local councillors to organise the event.

It is the first time such an event has taken place in the mosque. The organisers hope it will give the community the chance to speak out about their concerns and their priorities.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds said:
“Hyde Park is a diverse area with a significant student population but there is also a large Asian community, many of them Muslim, and it’s important that their voices get heard.
“Enabling representatives from our services to visit communities in this way gives us an opportunity to get the views of a wider range of people, and this event offers the chance for us to engage with local Muslims. We want to find out how safe they feel, what is important to them, what the council and its partners are getting right, what needs improving and what is missing”
“I encourage all residents to come and attend the event and have their say on how to improve the area.”

Inspector Ian O’ Brien from the North West Inner Neighbourhood Policing Team said:
"This is a great opportunity for the Police and Partners in the Hyde Park area to explain what we are doing to create a safer more cohesive neighbourhood. More importantly, it is an opportunity for the Community to let us know if we are getting things right. It is vitally important that we listen and act on their concerns."

Qari Asim from the Imam at Makkah moque said:
"Makkah Masjid is pleased to be working with a number of Council Services and partner agencies to improve the area. This event provides local residents with an opportunity to express their concerns to the relevant agencies and work with them to bring about positive changes in their area."

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 224 3937
e-mail michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Statement re the decommissioning of Ark Royal

Statement from Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, regarding the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal:

Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“HMS Ark Royal has a huge place in Leeds’ heart- this is a devastating loss and a body-blow to the city’s immense pride in what is a long-standing and very warm relationship.

“Leeds and Ark Royal have enjoyed the closest of connections since the city “adopted” the vessel a week before it was torpedoed and sunk in 1941. The ordinary people of the city threw their weight behind a mammoth effort to fund its replacement.

“They did the city- and the country- incredibly proud by raising an astounding £9 million and our relationship has gone from strength to strength ever since.

“Ark Royal was awarded the Freedom of the City of Leeds in 1973, at a ceremony attended by the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The ship’s company have invoked their right to march through the streets of the city every couple of years since.

“This is a hugely-popular ceremony, one which we were due to host again in the next six months, and our Lord Mayor, Cllr Jim McKenna, is due to attend a ceremony next month to mark the 25th anniversary of the current ship’s commissioning.

“Leeds is no ordinary city and Ark Royal is no ordinary ship. Our civic life will be the poorer for its passing.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335
Email donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk


Canal commute into central Leeds for students

A new safer walking and cycling route to the city centre university campuses has been created along the canal.

The improved pathway, part of the Aire Valley Towpath, will link the Kirkstall Brewery Halls of Residence to the city centre university campuses, and encourage students and commuters to make their journeys more environmentally friendly.

The scheme has been developed in partnership with Leeds City Council, Leeds University, Leeds Met University, British Waterways, National Grid (the scheme uses a National Grid access road), UK charity Sustrans, and Cycling England.

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All media are invited to the launch of the improved cycle route from Kirkstall Brewery Halls of Residence on Friday 22 October at 10.30am.

There will be information on the UTravel Active project on the day and the opportunity for the students to hire bikes, and try out the cycle skills challenge.

Officers from Leeds City Council, Sustrans and Leeds Met University will lead a ride along the new path to the Rosebowl at Leeds Met University.

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The scheme complements an earlier development that linked the Halls of Residence to the Headingley campus. Over £400,000 has been spent on the improvements, with the majority of funding coming from Leeds City Council, with support from Cycling England and Sustrans of £100,000.

The Aire Valley Towpath Route essentially runs on the towpath of the Leeds & Liverpool canal. There were substantial improvements made about ten years ago but some sections were not treated. This scheme has been an opportunity to improve one of those sections. In particular, two bridges along the towpath have been provided with ramps where before there were only steps and the surface throughout has been upgraded to be suitable for all year use.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member for development and regeneration said:
“Active travel is widely recognised as being one of the best ways of building physical activity into people’s daily lives and so combat obesity and heart disease. The Aire Valley Towpath Route complements the Leeds Core Cycle Network, which aims to provide good provision for cyclists, to encourage higher levels of use.

“It is important that we are able to encourage all commuters into Leeds to try and use more environmentally methods of travelling into the city. In the future we will seek to make further improvements along the Aire Valley Towpath Route towards the city centre to continue to encourage more active travel.”

Lisa Brannan Sustrans ‘UTravel Active’ Project Manager said:“Cycling is getting easier and more enjoyable in Leeds with the continual expansion of the cycle network. Now students can avoid the traffic and follow one of the most picturesque routes along the canal, getting fit and healthy on the way to university”

Rachael Elliott, Transport Coordinator for Leeds Metropolitan University said:
“All Leeds Met Halls and Campus sites are within easy cycling distance of each other. Improved routes like this one, along with better facilities on campus and cycle loan schemes for staff and students help make cycling an enjoyable, local cost option for staff and students alike. It’s fantastic that this route also continues to benefit from the clean up work being done by Leeds Met staff and student volunteers, led by British Waterways, to areas around the canal tow path.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Mini mayors get their thinking caps on

Young people across Leeds have been asked for their ideas on how to change or improve Leeds if they were mayor for a day.

The council’s annual 'Mayor For a Day' competition involves pupils from schools across Leeds submitting manifestos and posters on their ideas of how to improve Leeds. This year, pupils from year six have been invited to submit their proposals.

Schools were invited to submit their ideas which were then shortlisted down to a final ten by a panel of councillors and youth councillors. The ten finalists’ manifestos and posters have now been uploaded to a website where other pupils across the city can vote for their three favourites.

The ten finalists will be invited to for tea with the Lord Mayor on Thursday 18 November where the winner will be announced.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, councillor Jim McKenna said:
“The mayor for a day competition is a brilliant opportunity for young people to get involved with local democracy and learn about the working of their local council.

“By getting young people involved in this competition, we hope it will inspire them to get involved with their local school councils.

“It is fantastic to hear what the young people of Leeds think about their city and how they can improve it.”

The overall winning manifesto will be presented by the author at a full council meeting in front of the city’s 99 councillors. Other highlights for the winner will be taking part in the ceremony to switch on the Leeds Christmas Lights.

The competition is organised as part of Local Democracy Week, which is a national initiative to encourage young people to get more involved in local government to understand what it does and how it affects their lives.

Last years winner, Charlotte Annakin of Brigshaw High School gained great support for her manifesto on trying to make the city centre of Leeds more accessible for people with disabilities.

Notes to editors:

The ten candidates in the final this year are;
• Emily Humphries - Bramley St Peters Church of England Primary School
• Iqrah Sohrab – Harehills Primary School
• Amy Kingdom – Pudsey Lowtown Primary School
• Bethany Mawson – Queensway Primary School
• Bryony Pinate – Seven Hills Primary School
• Phoebe Kendall – Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, Yeadon
• Shantel Msungo – St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, Beeston
• Ciaran Duggan – St. Theresa’s Catholic Primary School
• Ned Ary – Woodlesford Primary School
• Nontobeko Donga – Wykebeck Primary School


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk