Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Poetry awards to celebrate city’s peace prose pro’s

Poets from across Leeds will gather at the Civic Hall to celebrate the annual Leeds Peace Poetry Awards.

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘home’ and entrants were asked to write a short poem about home – which could include everything from a soldier’s thoughts of home while being away to issues of domestic violence.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to attend the Leeds Peace Poetry Awards on Thursday (25 November) at Leeds Civic Hall. The winners will be announced from 7pm. Please email or call 0113 3951577 to arrange attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

Organised by Education Leeds and Leeds City Council - in partnership with the Yorkshire Evening Post, University of Leeds, Leeds Trinity University College and Together for Peace - the competition saw over 1,000 children from primary and secondary schools in Leeds and adults enter in four age groups - primary school, secondary school, 16-19 year olds and adults.

This year, the short listing of poems was undertaken by students from Leeds Trinity University College.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday (25 November) at Leeds Civic Hall between 7pm and 8.45pm.

The awards welcome back Rommi Smith - BBC Writer in Residence for the Commonwealth Games, British Council Poet in Residence at California State University in Los Angeles, the Parliamentary Writer in Residence and the chief judge for the Children and Human Rights Poetry Awards at the House of Lords - who was also the chief judge at last year’s awards.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“It’s great to see children and young people taking part in this annual competition. This year’s theme of home is very thought provoking and covers a wide range of issues. The awards ceremony is a celebration of the importance of peace and there have been some fantastic entries this year.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“The schools, children and young people who enter the annual peace poetry competition get a great deal out of being involved and always submit excellent, well written work. Everyone who has taken part has demonstrated great writing skills and should be proud of their work.”

Schools which have entered the competition this year are: Yeadon Westfield Infant School, Blackgates Primary School, Hawksworth Church of England Primary School, Allerton Grange School, Woodkirk High Specialist Science School, Hunslet Moor Primary School, Lady Elizabeth Hastings Church of England Primary School Ledston, Crawshaw School.


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

M621 anti-clockwise carriageway closed tonight

(Reissued on behalf of the Highways Agency)

The Highways Agency is warning drivers that the M621 will be closed this evening to carry out surface repairs to the carriageway.

This work is necessary as the road surface has deteriorated rapidly and tonight’s work should prevent further, more intrusive problems occurring over the winter.

The anti-clockwise carriageway will be closed from Junction 5 (Tunstall) to Junction 2 (Elland Road) between 8pm on Wednesday 24 and 6am on Thursday 25 November.

During the closure traffic will be diverted off the M621 at Junction 5 onto Tunstall Road, turning left onto A653 (Dewsbury Road) then A6110 onto Beeston Ring Road to rejoin the M621 at Junction 1.

Jennifer Hart, Press & PR Officer
Highways Agency | North East RCC | PO Box 680 | Leeds | LS1 9DU
Tel: +44 (0) 192 4243744 | Mobile: + 44 (0) 799 0771822
GTN: 6869 3744

Leeds young offenders learn sensory awareness skills with local charity

Issued on behalf of coHearentVision

Young offenders in the Yorkshire region are developing their skills in empathy and communication following a lesson in sensory awareness as part of their rehabilitation programme.

Leading charity coHearentVision visited East Moor Secure Children’s Centre in Leeds to hold an interactive session on deafness and blindness as part of the Centre’s enrichment programme to improve the children’s victim empathy.

A talk on blindness started the session before the boys were encouraged to wear special glasses that simulate blindness and were given the task to then guide each other, which encouraged cooperation and communication.

David Fowler, who is profoundly deaf, then talked to the boys about growing up as a deaf teenager, and taught them a selection of British Sign Language signs while also encouraging them to speak openly and honestly about their experiences with blind and deaf people.

Staff at East Moor, which accommodates 36 boys aged from 10 to 17 years, felt the boys would benefit from the session to improve their victim empathy, which is an important part of their time at the Centre. coHearentVision worked with nine boys at a time and tailored each training session to match the needs of the group, ensuring that they had the best possible experience.

Rob Young, Chief Executive at coHearentVision, said:
“It is hugely important to us as a Yorkshire charity to give back to the local community in any way that we can, whether this is through the help available to our service users or through projects such as this.

“The boys and staff were so enthusiastic about the session and it was great to be part of the work that East Moor is doing with young offenders to successfully rehabilitate them back into society”.

“Raising awareness of the needs of deaf and blind people is one of our main objectives. Teaching the boys at East Moor how to communicate with the sensory impaired was the first step in breaking down any barriers that may have existed before, and we’re confident that they will benefit greatly from their new skills as part of their rehabilitation program.”

Liz Pattinson, a member of staff at East Moor Secure Children’s Centre, said:
“The young people were very motivated about this project and participated well in the sessions. The interactive lesson meant coHearentVision was able to keep the boys’ attention and taught them some valuable communication skills.

For the boys it was fascinating for them to see how everyday activities can be taken for granted and how they’re not as simple for those with sensory loss. I think the whole day has really made them consider others in a new way, and be more aware of the sort of challenges people with sensory loss face.

We really appreciate coHearentVision taking the time to come and talk to the young people at East Moor and we think it has definitely been a positive contribution and opportunity for the young people at the Centre.”

To donate or find out more about coHearentVision, visit or call 0113 243 8328.


Issued on behalf of coHearentVision by Adessi
For more information contact Laura Coyne at Adessi on
Tel: (0113) 256 9999
Fax: (0113) 256 9989

Notes to Editor:
About coHearentVision:

coHearentVision provides a dynamic social and learning environment for people with sensory loss, offering practical solutions to encourage a better quality of life, including:
• Braille and large print service
• Audio description services
• A deafblind unit to provide comprehensive support to deafblind people, their carers and families
• Sign language interpreting service
• A lively youth development service
• Counselling and support
• Symbolic Language Service for those with learning disabilities
• Social facilities and activities

coHearentVision also delivers a range of accredited courses and qualifications to help people satisfy the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 & 2004, including:
• Taster Course, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 in British Sign Language
• Business training in Sensory Awareness, encompassing Blind Awareness, Deaf Awareness, Hard of Hearing Awareness and Deafblind Awareness skills.

EMBARGOED: Leeds to be awarded White Ribbon for domestic violence work


Caption: Chris Green, Executive Director of White Ribbon Campaign, presenting a white ribbon plaque to Councillor Peter Gruen and Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan

Leeds has become the first major city in England to receive an award for the way it works with men to stamp out violence in the home.

The white ribbon award will be announced on White Ribbon Day tomorrow (Nov 25) at the beginning of 16 days of international campaigning to end violence against women.

The White Ribbon campaign was founded by a group of men in Canada in 1991. Its UK base is in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. The campaign aims to ensure men take more responsibility for reducing the level of violence against women.

In Leeds, the council’s domestic violence team works with people across the city to raise awareness of the issues and improve the way statutory and voluntary services respond to women and children affected by domestic violence.
On average, two women a week in England and Wales are killed by a violent partner or ex-partner.

Between August 2009 to July 2010 West Yorkshire Police recorded 9,332 incidents of domestic violence. But research indicates that that on average women experience 35 incidents of domestic violence before reporting it to the police, so the total figure for incidents will be much higher.

Councillor Peter Gruen, chair of Safer Leeds and the council’s executive board member for community safety and chief executive Tom Riordan received the White Ribbon award at the Civic Hall from Chris Green, head of the White Ribbon campaign in the UK.

Chris Green said:
“Leeds has been awarded white ribbon status because it has produced a really good action plan for dealing with domestic violence and for involving men in preventing it . That is part and parcel of the work that has been going on across the city for 20 years to reduce violence against women and children.
“That means everything from working with men who want to change violent behaviour to Safer Schools police officers delivering programmes for children on domestic abuse and abusive relationships. Leeds is definitely leading the way.”

Councillor Gruen said:
“Domestic violence is some thing that is never acceptable and we men have a responsibility to speak up and say that loud and clear.
“I am proud to be associated with the White Ribbon campaign and absolutely delighted to receive this award on behalf of the council.
“It is a testament to the incredible dedication of our domestic violence team and their commitment to work with everybody – men and women of all ages and from all walks of life – to put an end to domestic violence.”

For more information about the campaign, go to

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

Temple Newsam shop given makeover

The gift shop and visitor centre at Temple Newsam is due to reopen next month after being given a major makeover.

The shop, which is located in the courtyard area of the popular Leeds City Council-managed visitor attraction, is currently closed while a six-week refurbishment and extension project is carried out.

The shop is set to reopen on Saturday 11 December with a new improved look and a wider range of souvenirs and products for visitors to buy. The work has been carried out by the council with funding support from Renaissance Yorkshire, and was based on feedback from visitors and school groups.

The new shop will contain two elements, one area for children and families and the other being a lifestyle section. The children and families area will offer a range of fun and educational products based on Temple Newsam estate and Home Farm such as outdoor games, farmyard toys and fancy dress.

The lifestyle section will feature a range of products linked with the collections which can be found in Temple Newsam House, such as kitchenware and ceramics and souvenirs based on the rare designs on show in the house. There will also be gardening items and home fragrances available, along with books, stationary, postcards and images of Temple Newsam as well as a central visitor information point.

To celebrate the shop reopening there will be a 10 per cent discount offer on everything in store which will run until Christmas Eve. There will also be a competition open to anyone under 16 who visits the shop with a prize of a £50 goody bag for the winner.

Principal keeper of Temple Newsam House Bobbie Robertson said:

“We cannot wait for the work being carried out on the shop and visitor centre to be finished as we think the new look is going to be really popular with people of all ages.

“We have a whole new range of fantastic products based on things in the house, on the farm and outdoor games on the estate, so we are counting down the days to when we can reopen and let visitors come and see it all for themselves.”

The shop will reopen on the same day as the annual Victorian Christmas at Temple Newsam, which takes place from 5:30pm-8pm on Saturday 11 December. The festive event features a living nativity, Santa’s grotto, Victorian dancing, storytelling, mulled wine and the chance to see the house decorated for Christmas.

The event is the start of Victorian Christmas Week at Temple Newsam, which includes a musical performance on Thursday 16 December and a celebration of festive songs and stories on Saturday 18 December.

Tickets for the Victorian Christmas at Temple Newsam are now available priced as follows: Adults £5.75, child (1 to 16) £3.50, family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £14.50.

For more information on Temple Newsam House, visit the website at

For more information on Renaissance Yorkshire, visit the website at


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

Youngster wins the chance to be Mayor for a Day

Caption: Emily Humphries with the Lord Mayor, Councillor Jim McKenna

A pupil from Bramley St Peters Church of England Primary School has been named as the winner of the Mayor for a Day competition.

Pupils from schools across Leeds voted on 10 manifestos all describing ideas as to how Leeds could be improved. Ten year old Emily Humphries was crowned the winner for her manifesto on improving hygiene in schools.

The 10 finalists from schools in Leeds met the Lord Mayor last week as they prepared to bid for their chance to become Mayor for the day. There were ideas from cleaning Leeds up with an army of young volunteers, to better hygiene in schools, more awareness for child abuse and a campaign to stop vandalism, amongst others.

The young finalists were invited to take tea with the Lord Mayor in Leeds Civic Hall, and enjoy a tour of the council chamber and the Lord Mayor’s rooms.

As part of the prize, Emily accompanied the Lord Mayor to the switching on of the Leeds Christmas Lights. She will also get to present her manifesto at the full council meeting in January 2011.

Emily said:
“It was really exciting to come to Civic Hall and present my manifesto.
“I was so shocked, but really pleased that my manifesto was chosen, and watching the light switch on from the stage was an experience I will never forget – it was fantastic!”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:“I really enjoyed listening to all the young people’s manifestos, there were some great ideas, and it was tough to choose between them.
“It was fantastic to have Emily accompany me to the Leeds Lights show, we had a great time and I look forward to seeing Emily again in full council in January.”

Emily’s manifesto described how Leeds could provide better hygiene facilities for children at school. Her ideas included competitions for school children to design posters encouraging better hygiene and also to get schools involved in raising money for the charity Water Aid.


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