Friday, 10 December 2010

Leeds launches Volunteering in Europe project with partner cities

To mark the end of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering and the start of the European Year of Volunteering 2011, the council’s international relations team have developed a project linking local and European voluntary organisations.

The project involved a visit this week from representatives from Leeds’ partner cities Brașov in Romania, Brno in the Czech Republic, Dortmund and Siegen in Germany and Lille in France. The 26-strong delegation included representatives from European voluntary organisations, who came to Leeds to take part in a three day working visit, and to attend the European volunteering conference, that took place on 7 December at the Royal Armouries.

The visit to Leeds allowed the delegation to exchange ideas and experiences of working within the voluntary sector with their local counterparts from Leeds. Each visitor was matched with a local voluntary organisation and given the opportunity to share ideas with them about how to raise levels of volunteering within their particular areas of work, and how to tackle shared challenges. During tailored meetings and workshop sessions at the conference, local and European participants also had the opportunity to consider possibilities for ongoing cooperation and exchanges during the European Year in 2011.

The European delegates came together at Volunteer Centre Leeds where they were briefed about the themes and successes of the 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering. Over the following three days they met with 26 local organisations with similar aims, and attended a civic reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna. At the European Year of Volunteering conference, the delegation had the chance to network with key volunteering organisations from across the region. There was also time to enjoy a fish and chip supper at a Leeds’ restaurant!

The project is a great opportunity for mutual learning for both Leeds and visiting organisations, and has already generated significant interest in continued links and exchanges with an action plan being now drawn up for joint projects to take place during 2011 and beyond.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for volunteering in Leeds said:
“The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering has been a fantastic project for the city, and we are keen to continue our focus on volunteering by supporting the European Year 2011.

“Getting funding to bring over representatives from our European partners has given us a perfect opportunity to showcase the excellent projects that have taken place in Leeds, as well as sharing some lessons that we have learnt along the way. We have also benefited from comparing our volunteering practices with our partner cities and have already learnt a lot from the approaches and good practice developed elsewhere in Europe.

“I hope that this project will encourage more cross-European joint working, which will be of benefit to all parties involved.”

The European Volunteering conference was funded by Europe Direct Leeds and sponsored by youth volunteering project vinvolved Leeds, which is managed by local charity Learning Partnerships.

Additional info

Leeds City Council's international relations team obtained European funding to support the incoming visit by the city's European partners, under the Europe for Citizens funding programme.

2011 will be the European Year of Volunteering, which has the following objectives:
- Work towards an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering in the EU;
- Empower volunteer organisations and improve the quality of volunteering;
- Reward and recognise volunteering activities; and
- Raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering.

The European Year of Volunteering is intended to promote and encourage volunteering throughout the European Union, via activities designed to give greater visibility and profile to its benefits.

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

VIDEO: Fire Kills - switch off your Christmas tree lights

Posted on the Leeds City Council virtual newsroom on behalf of the FireKills campaign

Landlord’s ‘flagrant breaches’ of licence lead to almost £7,000 in fines

A landlord has been fined more than £5,000 over poor conditions in a house he rented out in Headingley.

Arshad Javed, of Allerton Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court on Wednesday to six charges relating to conditions at St Annes Drive in Headingley, was fined £5,150 and ordered to pay £1,756 in costs with a £15 victims surcharge.

In March, Leeds City Council officials inspected the five-bedroom property and found flagrant breaches of the Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Licence that had been issued on 17 July 2007.

The breaches included:
• No hardwired fire detection system had been installed – despite Mr Javed being told it had to be installed by 17 January 2008 ;
• Failure to maintain one of the two battery operated smoke detectors in the property ;
• The front door should have been fitted with a thumbturn lock to allow easy escape from the property in the event of a fire. The one key provided to the front door was missing at the time of inspection, meaning that in the event of a fire, escape was through the kitchen (which is a fire risk room). This combination of factors increased the likelihood of entrapment in the property in the event of a fire;
• Gas safety and electrical installation certificates were not provided within seven days of a formal request being made for them. At the time of the hearing Mr Javed had still failed to provide them.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“These properties are licensed to ensure the protection of the people living in them.
"But these breaches show that Mr Javed had complete disregard for his responsibilities as a landlord.
"The majority of landlords take their responsibilities seriously but when one fails to maintain such a property, we will take action against them.
"I hope this sends out a very clear message to tenants that if there are problems with your accommodation the council is there to help.”

HMO licences are issued for a five year period and have a number of conditions attached to them which include fire safety requirements, the number of bathrooms and kitchens, and the number of people permitted to occupy the property.

Leeds has the highest number of licensed HMO’s in the country with over 2,800 licences having being issued, and landlords are in a position of trust to ensure that the properties they supply are safe and that licence conditions are being complied with. Where landlords are found to have ignored HMO licence conditions and the maintenance of basic services including gas, electrical installations and fire safety devices, the council will not hesitate to take action against them.

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

Council executive board to discuss Kirkgate Market

Council chiefs will be discussing how to make Kirkgate market the best in the country at a meeting of the executive board next week (Wednesday 15 December).

Councillors will be asked to agree a major consultation exercise on a proposed way forward for the future of the market, and how to attract the investment needed. Recommendations will also include a freeze on rent increases for traders as well as approval for the immediate improvements needed to be made to the market buildings.

As the largest indoor market in the UK, Kirkgate market has the opportunity to position itself as the best in the country and encourage more shoppers to visit, as a tourist destination and a place to buy quality, locally sourced food.

The consultation document will consider how Kirkgate can develop and take advantage of new initiatives such as the new Eastgate development amongst others within the city centre.

The document will allow for detailed consultation with tenants and traders, shoppers, staff, elected members, trade unions, other city centre retailers and the general public about the market and the next steps forward.

The 1976/81 structures, erected as temporary buildings following the market fire in 1975, have now exceeded their fifteen to twenty year life expectancy and have extensive maintenance requirements that need to be addressed. A recent survey of all the market buildings at Kirkgate, showed that work needs to be carried out totalling £2.4m just on the roofs and the structure of the building.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member with responsibility for development said:

“Kirkgate market is an important part of the city centre. It supports independent businesses and encourages new entrepreneurs to become established by providing an environment where they can build up their business in a way which they perhaps could not do in a high street retail unit .

“It has long been a ‘jewel in the crown’ of Leeds city centre and it is vital we find a way forward which secures it for generations to come. This means adapting to new ways of shopping, and finding the right way to get our message to our customers about what it has to offer”
“Looking to the future, and given the importance of Kirkgate market, it is essential that we continue to meet the needs of existing customers and work hard to find new ones.

“There are many positive opportunities for Kirkgate market, including the new Eastgate development, the launch of some great initiatives and promotions, and the start of a new markets manager in the New Year.”

As the UK’s largest market, Kirkgate offers a unique shopping experience, and has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months with a number of new initiatves including Jamie’s Ministry of Food, which was introduced in the summer, and also the Bazaar which opens every Wednesday on the open market.

Recently a new website has been launched, which features trader profiles, news and events for all the markets across Leeds. Visit for more information.

Notes to editors:

Completed capital environmental improvements to the value of around £11.5m have been made to Kirkgate Market during the last 12 years. Ongoing routine, planned and reactive maintenance is undertaken each year throughout the indoor market; improvements since 2000 have cost a further £1.4m.

The Council has recently invested almost £½ m in business support for traders, and environmental improvements to make the market more attractive and customer-friendly.


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

Community served well as offenders clear walk to school

Caption: youngsters from Hunslet Moor Primary School join the clean up effort

Offenders with community service sentences have joined local residents to help clear up the area around Hunslet Moor Primary School.

The team from the West Yorkshire Probation Service cleared a skip full of waste and cut back overgrown hedges from around the school – making a clean and attractive environment for pupils walking to school and local residents.

Leeds City Council’s environmental action team worked with children from the school and their teachers, taking part in an environmental project to raise awareness of the adverse effects of littering in their community.

Pupils are busy designing leaflets that will be given out to parents, carers and local residents to help get the ‘Litter Free Leeds’ message across.

Councillor Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“It’s great to see that community service can truly be used in service of the local community.
“This work will help give people from Hunslet Moor renewed pride in their area and hopefully reinforce the anti-litter message.”

James Oldroyd, Leeds Project Officer from the Probation Service, said:
“West Yorkshire Probation Trust has a long and very productive working relationship with Leeds City Council and the local residents of Beeston.
“Community Payback teams have helped the council with tasks, such as gardening work and clearing areas.
“Offenders completing community orders have learnt valuable skills while giving back to the community many hours of much needed work in and around Leeds.”

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

New-look Temple Newsam shop gets ready to open

Caption: The shelves are being stocked ahead of the reopening of the shop at Temple Newsam

The final touches are being made to the new-look gift shop and visitor centre at Temple Newsam ahead of its reopening this weekend.

The shop, which is located in the courtyard area of the popular Leeds City Council-managed visitor attraction, will reopen at 10am on Saturday morning after being closed for six weeks to be refurbished and extended.

The shop has been given a new improved look and offers a wider range of souvenirs and products for visitors to buy. These include a variety of ideal Christmas gifts such as bespoke Temple Newsam ceramics, kitchenware, scented candles, biscuits, jams, confectionary and scented candles all inspired by the estate and the rare historic designs on display in the house as well as fragrances and gardening items.

To celebrate the shop reopening, there will be a 10 per cent discount voucher available 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.

The new shop, which will be open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-3:15pm, contains two elements; one area for children and families offering items such as outdoor games, farmyard toys and fancy dress, and the other being the lifestyle section which also includes books, stationary, postcards and images of Temple Newsam.

The work has been carried out by Leeds City Council with funding support from Renaissance Yorkshire, and was based on feedback from visitors and school groups.

Principal keeper of Temple Newsam House Bobbie Robertson said:

“We are really excited about getting all the finishing touches done and reopening the shop this weekend.

“A lot of hard work has gone into it but we think visitors are going to really like what they see and especially for anyone looking for a special unique Christmas gift the shop is well worth a look.”

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 of period instruments entitled ‘Deck the Halls’ from 6pm on Thursday 16 December and a celebration of festive songs and stories from 2-4pm 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 or any of the Victorian Christmas Week events, visit the website at or call 0113 264 7321.

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:

Actors discover a whole new world

The cast of this year’s Aladdin will be taking their cue from Kirkgate market traders this week.

Next Tuesday (14 December) the lead characters from the West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Christmas play will be stopping by in full costume to learn what it takes to trade on a market.

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

Gregory Bartlett who plays Aladdin and other cast members will be at Kirkgate market in full costume from 3.45pm to 4:15pm on Tuesday 14 December learning the art of being a trader. They will start at Malcolm Michael’s on Butchers row and move round to Neil’s greengrocers. Please meet at the top of Butchers row.
Please call the press office on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.

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

The story of Aladdin is set in an old style bazaar, and the set designers for this year’s play have based their set on the layout and what they have seen of Kirkgate market.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member with responsibility for development said:

“It is great that we have some of the cast of Aladdin coming into the market.

“Part of a market’s true atmosphere is brought to life from the traditional and creative chants from traders to sell their produce, so I am sure once the actors get to learn these from the masters themselves they will take to the job fantastically.”

The actors will join Malcolm and Adrian from Malcolm Michaels on Butchers’ row to learn the art of selling meat, and then move round to learn the art of selling fruit and veg from Neil at his greengrocers.

Aladdin runs at the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 3 December to 15 January 2011. For more information visit

For more information about Leeds markets visit


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