Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Consultation begins on gymnastics training shake-up in Leeds

Consultation over possible changes to the way elite-level gymnastics are run in Leeds has begun this week.

Meetings have been held between Leeds City Council who currently manage performance gymnastics training in the city and the gymnasts, their parents and the coaches to outline possible changes to how the training scheme could be run.

The proposal put forward as the basis for consultation would see the creation of a new independent club to take over the training scheme from April 2011, which would benefit from a range of potential improvements.

Such a change to move away from the council directly managing the scheme would also save the authority £197,000 per year after an initial four-year period where the council would supply a reducing level of support while the new club establishes itself.

There are currently 135 performance gymnasts aged from five to 20 on the City of Leeds scheme which is based at Leeds Metropolitan University’s Regional Gymnastics Centre in Headingley.

The outline proposals have now been put to consultation following ongoing discussions between Leeds City Council, Leeds Metropolitan University and the national governing body British Gymnastics, who have offered broad support to the possible creation of the new club.

One option would be for the club to be based in possible new premises, which would allow it to benefit from increased training hours and also be able to host recreational gymnastics sessions. The outline proposals also reflect the findings of a study carried out in 2009 by British Gymnastics and Leeds City Council which looked at ways of providing long-term improvement and stability for elite-level gymnastics in the city.

The outline plan would see the new club operating as a not-for-profit organisation with a strong community involvement and the council maintaining a role in its ongoing management.

An initial consultation period has now begun for everyone involved to give their views on the outline proposals, with ongoing discussions to be held with all parties throughout the process. Once an agreed proposal has been reached it will be discussed and decided upon by the council’s executive board.

Leeds City Council head of sport and active recreation Mark Allman said:

“The initial meetings we held with the gymnasts, parents and coaches were very positive with everyone keen to secure a strong and positive future for elite gymnastics in Leeds.

“The support of British Gymnastics is also much appreciated and hugely important, so now it is vital that everyone involved lets us know their thoughts and ideas so we can move on to the next stage.”

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s Gymnastics Training Scheme currently offers elite-level training in three sections: Men’s artistic, women’s artistic and acrobatics/tumbling.

The scheme currently employs one full-time coach and 18 casual coaches.

Leeds City Council currently offers recreational gymnastics at 11 leisure centres around the city, and these would work closely with the new club to identify talented gymnasts to put forward for the elite-level training.

The 2009 report commissioned by British Gymnastics and Leeds City Council was produced by leisure consultants Knight, Kavanagh and Page. The full report can be seen at


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Film festival smashes records before it even begins

Caption: 'Son of Babylon' has its UK premiere at the festival

This year’s Leeds International Film Festival has proved so successful it has already been extended – before the event has even begun.

Such has been the clamour for tickets for Thursday night’s opening gala showing of Oscar contender ‘The King’s Speech’, a second showing has now been arranged to meet the demand.

The film, part of which was filmed at Elland Road in Leeds, opens the festival with a special preview screening at Leeds Town Hall. Starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, the film tells the story of the man who became King George VI and his battle to overcome a nervous stammer and it is being widely tipped for Oscar success next year.

Due to the high level interest around the film, it has become the fastest-selling movie in the 24-year history of the Leeds International Film Festival with the screening completely selling out.

Such has been its popularity a second screening has now been arranged, which will take place at the Hyde Park Picture House at 4pm on Saturday 20 November. Tickets can be booked in person at City Centre Box Office at The Carriageworks, by calling 0113 224 3801 or online at

The festival organised by Leeds City Council which runs for 18 days until Sunday 21 November is the biggest regional film festival in the UK, with over 110 feature films and 150 shorts being shown across 10 venues.

Among the other notable screenings is the UK premiere of post-invasion Iraq road movie Son of Babylon, directed by Leeds-based Mohamed Al Daradji and supported by Screen Yorkshire, which has just been nominated for the prestigious Raindance Award at the 2010 British Independent Film Awards.

Other highlights include The Animal Kingdom, the new Australian crime-drama starring Guy Pearce, and the 10th anniversary celebration of Leeds International Film Festival’s notorious Fanomenon Night of the Dead complete with an extended 12-hour programme of unmissable horror features and frights.

Director of Leeds International Film Festival Chris Fell said:

"The King's Speech is the fastest selling film in the Film Festival's history, and we are absolutely delighted that a film that is partly filmed in Leeds has proved to be so popular.

“It’s gala screening marks the beginning of an 18-day showcase of the very best cinema in the world including everything from newsreels of Leeds from days gone by to 12-hour horror marathons, so anyone who loves film is in for a real treat."

The focus of the festival is the iconic Leeds Town Hall, with the stunning Victoria Hall being transformed into a state-of-the-art cinema complete with big screen and full digital surround sound with seating for 800 people.
Screenings and events will also be taking place at Hyde Park Picture House, VUE Cinema in The Light, Leeds Grand Theatre’s Howard Assembly Room, The HiFi Club, Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds University, Leeds Art Gallery, East Street Arts and Saviles Hall.

The 24th Leeds International Film Festival is presented by Leeds City Council, and supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and Screen Yorkshire, with lead sponsors anCnoc Highland Single Malt Whisky, East Coast Mainline, Leeds Brewery, Northern Rail, twentysix Digital, Bewley’s Hotels, Vue Cinemas and

Notes to editors:

Full programme, tickets and screening times at

Passes for access to all individual screenings at the 24th Leeds International Film Festival 4th – 21st November 2010 (excluding major events) are available now at £90 for a single pass, or £170 for a double. NB: Major events including Fanomenon Night of the Dead X, Fanomenon Day of the Dead 4 and Fanomenon Anime Day are not included in the film festival pass.

Major events are available now and are priced as follows: Fanomenon Night of Dead X: £30/£25 conc, Fanomenon Day of Dead 4: £30/£25 conc, buy both together for £50/£40 conc, Fanomenon Anime Day: £20.

Tickets and film festival passes can be bought in person at City Centre Box Office (The Carriageworks, Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD), over the telephone (0113 224 3801) and online (

Festival programmes are available now at locations throughout Leeds, and online at To request a copy of the brochure please email Special edition festival catalogues (limited run) will be available during the festival.

All the latest Film Festival news is available at,, and Fanomenon news at and


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Pupils use pedal power to test new skills

Primary school pupils from Pudsey will be putting their new cycling skills to the test this week on a 17-mile bike ride.

Pupils at Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary School have just completed their level 2 Bikeability course and are putting their new skills to the test on Friday 5 November as they cycle from their school to Leeds Art Gallery.

The children will be lead along the Leeds and Liverpool canal path by cyclists from Leeds City Council’s road safety team and officers from West Yorkshire Police. They will use this 17 mile journey to reinforce and put into practice the skills they have learned.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

All media are invited to Leeds Art Gallery on Friday 5 November at 11.30am to meet and talk to the children about their new skills and their bike ride in to the city centre. Council officers will also be available to talk about the Bikeability scheme. Please call the press team on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member with responsibility for development said:
“Since April, staff have trained over 1500 children in Bikeability levels 1 & 2, visiting 73 schools in the process.

“Bikeability gives the next generation of young Leeds cyclists the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today's roads. Cycle training is a vital life skill for children, and it important they are able to learn from a young age the skills required.”

Becky Prosser, road safety manager for Leeds City Council said:

“Bikeability is an exciting new direction for cycle training, and this long ride should prove exciting for the children. With Bikeability our trainers are able to asses the children’s abilities more thoroughly and have more time to teach the necessary skills for safer cycling in a realistic environment. On this ride the children will experience some great cycling challenges under supervision. Rain or shine this will be an enjoyable day.”

Bikeability is the revised and improved cycle training programme re-launched by Leeds City Council in April 2010.

Bikeability has three levels. Leeds City Council aims to offer year six children the opportunity to complete levels one and two on a one and a half day course free of charge. Children are taught in the playground and on the local roads, by trainers qualified to the National Standard. Each child receives a personalised report on their individual abilities and badge upon successful completion of the course.

Notes to editors:

Bikeability is administered by Cycling England. Cycling England works with a range of partners who all share a vision of more people cycling, more safely, more often. For more information about the scheme visit


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

Statement on leisure centre crèche closures

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie has made the following statement on creches in six Leeds City Council-managed leisure centres which were due to close on Friday 12 November.

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

“We have discussed this with colleagues and most importantly face to face with some current users of the service, and ideas have been put forward as to how a different form of creche service may be provided.

“We have listened to what everyone has told us and have decided to put the closures on hold until while we explore possible alternative arrangements.”

The six crèches are at East Leeds, Kippax, Rothwell, Aireborough, Pudsey and Scott Hall leisure centres.

Possible options will now be evaluated and the matter is due to be discussed again at the next meeting of the council’s City Development Scrutiny Board on Tuesday 7 December.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

£6,000 bill for butchers who let hygiene standards slip

The former owner of a Wetherby butchers is facing a bill of more than £6,000 after council health inspectors discovered filthy conditions.

Malcolm Victor Crossley, who owned the M V Crossley butchers at 3 The Shambles in Wetherby but has since sold the business, pleaded guilty to all eight charges brought against him at Leeds Magistrates Court.

He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs plus a £15 victim surcharge.

A routine food hygiene Inspection by Leeds City Council found a litany of hygiene problems at the business and issues highlighted by previous inspections had been allowed to re-occur.

Standards of cleanliness and maintenance were poor and the floor and walls of a walk-in chiller had large amounts of fat, grease and old meat engrained into the surfaces and wooden shelves.

Walls in the shop servery and raw meat preparation area were unclean and greasy, some showing evidence of mould and slime. Holes in the floor in the raw meat preparation area meant it couldn’t be cleaned effectively. Fittings and equipment that come into contact with food were not clean and maintained – old fat and blood were found on a tenderiser, knives, knife rack and meat slicers.

A large cobweb stretched from the flying insect killer to bags of seasoning on adjacent shelves while a long term build up of black mould, grease and slime was present under the cooked meat display refrigerator.

Ready to eat food was not protected from risk of contamination and employees were unable to wash their hands properly due to the lack of hot and cold running water and blockage to the drains consequently.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental action, said:
“The majority of food businesses in this city take their responsibilities towards cleanliness seriously, and the council works with local firms to encourage them to always put good hygiene at the forefront of their business.
“Although these charges relate to the previous owners of this butchers, they act as a warning to any food business in the city that feels it can let standards slip.
“The people of Leeds should be able to shop and eat with confidence. These prosecutions show that we take such things seriously.”

The charges against Mr Crossley were under Regulation 17 of The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 and Regulation (EC) No 852/2004.

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

Pop star urges young people to achieve 100% attendance in November

An international pop star has helped launch Education Leeds’ ‘Give It 100%’ attendance competition by performing in a school assembly.

Alexis Jordan - who is widely tipped to reach the number one single spot in the charts this weekend with her new single 'Happiness' - launched the competition with a performance at Royds School Specialist Language College today (Wednesday 3 November).

The former semi finalist on America's Got Talent was in the city courtesy of Radio Aire and stopped in at the school to remind the young people of the importance of regular attendance.

Education Leeds’ annual ‘Give It 100%’ competition is one of a number of initiatives taking place across the city to remind children and families that every school day matters.

Children and young people in Leeds who manage 100 per cent attendance at school throughout November will be in with a chance to win some brilliant prizes which include: Nintendo DSs, iPods, indoor karting, family meals at Nando’s and Chiquito, signed guitars, school discos, sno!zone, Leeds rugby and football tickets, Hollywood Bowl tickets, Laser Tag and Ice Cube tickets. Over 300 prizes are up for grabs, many provided with the help of Radio Aire and local businesses.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“It’s not everyday that an international pop star drops in at your school to perform in assembly. While it was a fun and fantastic opportunity for the young people, the underlying message was serious and highlighted the importance of regular school attendance.

“It’s vital for the academic and social development of a child to be regularly in school and missing just a few days can lead to a drop of an entire GCSE grade. I hope the attendance competition this month is a real incentive for thousands of pupils to achieve 100 per cent attendance throughout November and the rest of the year.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“It was great for the young people to meet and watch Alexis Jordan perform at their school. The message from her, Education Leeds and every school in Leeds is clear – attendance is vital in order for our young people to achieve their full potential and school is the best possible place for a child to be during the day.

“Every school day matters and we want all our children and young people to spend as much time as possible in our brilliant learning environments. We are working hard to improve attendance in all our schools so our children and young people can be happy, healthy, safe and successful.”

Education Leeds’ attendance champions team is working in partnership with Radio Aire to run the competition and posters and entry postcards have been sent to all schools in the city.

All children and young people who manage 100 per cent attendance will be put into a prize draw to win the prizes with everyone who takes part receiving a certificate.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Passing go and collecting £200 for 75 years

Picture caption: the classic board game Monopoly which was produced in Leeds celebrates 75 years.

Leeds Museum Discovery Centre is planning a fun-packed board game event celebrating 75 years since the classic Monopoly was launched right here in Leeds.

Families can take a trip down memory lane and enjoy popular games including a version of Monopoly in which the traditional, famous London landmarks have been replaced with Leeds’ street names.

Visitors will also get a chance to customise a Monopoly board with their own ideas as well as play a number of retro board games including much loved Waddingtons titles like Cluedo, Air Charter, Ratrace and Railroader.

Discovery Centre Outreach and Education Officer Liz Knight said:

“Monopoly has been connected with Leeds since the 1930s when it was produced here by Waddingtons so why not come down and help us celebrate the 75th anniversary and have a lot of fun.

“This is a magnificent opportunity for families to raid our weird and wonderful games cupboard and also to discover more than 1 million objects housed at the Discovery Centre on our behind the scenes tour.”

Monopoly was first produced in 1936, for the UK, here in Leeds by Waddingtons and transformed the small struggling printers in to a games market leader. Though the packaging has change many times over the years the winning formula of the game, which made it popular the world over, has stayed the same.

The game was conceived by American Charles Darrow and has been played by an estimated one billion people – making it the most played commercial board game in the world according to the 1999 Guinness Book of Records.

As well as Children and adults getting the chance to delve into all the retro games at the Saturday 6 November event they can also enjoy a free tour around some of the 1.2 million fascinating items stored at the Discovery Centre including a giant squid, a piece of meteorite and 3000 year old mummy bandages.

To book a place at the event please contact 0113 214 1548 or for more information or go to The Discovery Centre is on Carlisle Road, Leeds, LS10 1LB. Admission to the centre is free and the event runs 10am until midday on Saturday 6 November.


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

As easy as changing channel – tenants can request repairs through their TV

Council house tenants in south Leeds can now request repairs to their homes – without moving from the sofa.

Looking Local, a new interactive service available 24 hours a day through digital television, is working with Aire Valley Homes Leeds – one of the three Arms Length Management Organisations that manage and maintain council homes on behalf of Leeds City Council.

Using their television or mobile, a tenant can now request a repair to their council house, ask for an application form for housing, or report issues on their estate – all from the comfort of their own lounge.

They can also find out about a number of other services, like local bus and train times or even carry out a search for jobs.

Tenants can use the service if they subscribe to services from Sky or Virgin Media. However, they can also access it through mobile phones that can connect to the internet, through their computer – or even their Wii.

Tenants wanting to sign up for the service should the web address into their browser or web-enabled phone.

Andrew Feldhaus, chair of the Aire Valley Homes Leeds board, said:
“We’re always looking for new ways for tenants and residents to access our services, and now they don’t even have to leave the comfort of their front rooms to do so.
“We can provide a wide range of help and services, and this will make it easier for vulnerable people to be more independent by making it easier for them to let us know what needs doing and what they need.”

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