Thursday, 20 January 2011

Lord Mayor leads 'untold stories' event for International Holocaust Memorial Day

Caption: Rudi Leavor, who will be reciting a traditional Hebrew prayer at the Holocaust Memorial Day event in Leeds

On Sunday 30 January at 2pm, The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor James McKenna will light a candle in Leeds Town Hall to commemorate all those who have been affected by the Holocaust and more recent genocides such as those in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur.

The candle lighting is part of an afternoon of commemoration at Leeds Town Hall to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenhau on January 27, now known as International Holocaust Memorial Day.

Media invite: Sunday 30 January 2011, Leeds Town Hall, 2pm. Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr James McKenna leads Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration event.

Starting at 2pm, the event – which is free and open to all – comprises a diverse and engaging programme of performances, contributions and responses by local people to the 2011 theme ‘Untold Stories’.

The programme includes visual art by local schoolchildren, live music from the David Young Academy, a new piece of theatre by young people from The Carriageworks Theatre Academy in association with theatre company Blah Blah Blah inspired by the life story of Holocaust survivor Eugene Black, and speeches by Makor Youth Group who have recently visited concentration camps across Poland. The keynote speaker is Mike Love, of Together for Peace, and the event will conclude with a traditional Hebrew memorial prayer sung by Rudi Leavor.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor James McKenna said:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is a chance for people to join together in remembrance and I look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to the event. As well as remembrance, the day is about looking forward and trying to create a better, safer future for us all. The untold stories of victims and survivors can help us to think about ways we can work together as communities to respect and celebrate differences between us.”

The event is co-ordinated by the arts and regeneration unit of Leeds City Council. For more information visit

Notes to editors:

• For information about International Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), visit:
• For information about HMD in Leeds, visit:
• For specific information about the HMD event in Leeds not available on the website, including accessibility enquiries, call the event coordinator Morwenna Rowlands on 0113 247 824 or email


For media enquiries, please contact
Morwenna Rowlands, Arts and Regeneration, Leeds City Council on 0113 2478234

New Lord Mayor announced

The new Lord Mayor of Leeds for 2011/12 was announced yesterday (Wednesday 19 January) at a meeting of Leeds Council.

Councillor Brenda Lancaster, a Liberal Democrat councillor, will take over from Councillor Jim McKenna in summer when his term as Lord Mayor comes to an end.

Brenda will be the 118th Lord Mayor for the city, and is very much looking forward to taking up the role;

She said:

“Being the Lord Mayor is an important civic role for the city, and I am excited about taking on this new responsibility.

“It is a real honour to get a chance to take up this role, and I look forward to developing the profile of the city when it comes to my term.”

A mother of five grown up children, Brenda first became involved in politics 27 years ago and was elected to Leeds City Council in 1999. During her time at the council she has been a member of a number of committees including Scrutiny Board for Social Care, the Adoption Panel and the Leeds Community Equipment Service. Councillor Lancaster also had the honour of being Deputy Lord Mayor of Leeds in 2004-2005.

She is currently a member of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Board and the West Yorkshire Police authority where she chairs their Local Policing committee. She is also a special educational needs governor at Carr Manor High School and has a keen interest in environmental issues. As a Veterans Champion she has been active in supporting veterans groups across the city, playing a key role in organising Armed Forces Day in Leeds last June.

The current Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“I am thoroughly enjoying my term as Lord Mayor and look forward to the next few months. Myself and the Lady Mayoress have met some wonderful people throughout the city of Leeds, and have been invited to some very interesting new projects.

“I wish Brenda the best of success when she takes up the post in May, I am sure she will do an excellent job”

Notes to editors:

Councillor Brenda Lancaster will be installed as the Lord Mayor at Leeds City Council’s Annual General Meeting in May this year.


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

Market consultation aims to make market the best in the country

Leeds City Council has this week launched a consultation to get the views of the city on how to improve Kirkgate market.

The consultation – ‘Towards a Strategy for Kirkgate Market’ has been put in place to give the public and traders the chance to voice their views on what needs to be done at Kirkgate to make it one of the best markets in the UK.

Since the mid- 1990s, Leeds City Council has spent approximately £12m on investment and the general maintenance of Kirkgate Market, but it has become clear that a strategy is needed, and the council are looking to the public and traders for their influence into this.

The consultation will look to find out if the council is best placed to manage a business in the dynamic retail sector, and should all or some of the market profits be ring fenced and reinvested back into the market amongst other key ideas. The consultation will run until 7th February 2011.

To access the survey log on to the Leeds Markets website

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

“It is crucial that we listen to what the general public, tenants, elected members and customers have to say, so that the council can better understand what people expect from Kirkgate Market.

“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. It is important that we revive people’s interest in the market and get people back to shopping locally.”

Kirkgate market 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 of last year, and also the Bazaar which opens every Wednesday on the open market.

You can access the survey here or by picking up a copy at any of Kirkgate Market’s 12 cafĂ©’s, or at the markets information centre and sending it back to the freepost address provided.


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

People encouraged to have their say about the future of residential care homes and day centres for the elderly in Leeds

A citywide public consultation to get people's views about how the council provides residential and day care services for older people in the future is now underway and will run until April 2011.

The council wants to engage with as many people as possible to raise awareness of the issues facing adult social care services, and to gather views on future options.

The fact is that people are living for longer. Clearly this is great news…but with the number of people over 65 set to rise by 86% before 2050 there is a downside.

Half of these older women and a third of these older men will eventually need care. This puts a huge strain on adult social care services, and it will be virtually impossible to cope with such high demand if left as they are today.

People are also asking for changes to how services are provided. We enjoy a better standard of living now than our parents and grandparents did, so we expect more from our care. We don’t want to be slotted into a one-size-fits-all package. We expect to be treated as individuals with the right to exercise choice and control – not just over which services we use, but over how they are delivered too. Many people now say that they would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, and there’s an increasing number of services – including alarms, sensors and other equipment – which can help people do just that.

The consultation will seek people’s views on proposals that the council should reduce the number of residential care homes and day care centres for elderly people that it runs, but continue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable with a broader range of services. This will include looking at whether homes should be redeveloped to offer specialist care for people with dementia and frail or disabled people, intermediate care to help people regain independence following a hospital stay, or respite care to give families and carers a break. It is proposed that this will be achieved by closing some of the 19 council-run homes in line with falling demand for residential care, and commissioning more beds in care homes in the independent sector, which offer a better standard of accommodation.

The consultation will look at what the impact of changes could be on individual care home residents and their families, and at how this might be reduced as plans take shape. Meetings will be arranged with groups of residents at each of the homes in February; carers and family members will be involved as well. Discussions will take place professionally and sensitively at a pace that is comfortable for the customer. No changes to anyone’s residential care will be made until the customers are content with what is being proposed for them. The consultation will also seek the views of key partner organisations with an interest in residential care in the city, such as the voluntary, community and private sectors.

Demand at the council’s 16 day centres for older people is also falling as more people choose to access support and services directly from their local communities. Current attendance at the centres range between 39% and 62%, which means that keeping them all open is no longer financially viable. Proposals will look at how some centres could be redeveloped to offer daytime support to older people with dementia, and at ways to help other service users find alternative activities in their local communities.

As part of the consultation, each service user will be met with to discuss what type of alternative service they would be interested in. This will be done professionally and sensitively at a pace comfortable for each individual. No changes will be made until a new place has been found that the service user is content with.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“We have some really difficult decisions to make in adult social care, as the number of older people in the city continues to grow and the council's budget is subject to massive cuts.

“In light of this we have no option but to look at how we deliver our services going forward. We need to make sure that we have the services in place to look after our most vulnerable people with the resources that are available to us.

“It’s really important that we involve as many people as possible in this process, and I would encourage anyone with an interest or concern about how we deliver services for elderly people in the future to take part in this consultation.”

So how can you have your say? There’s a questionnaire on the consultation section of the council’s website (, which is open for anyone to complete. There is also a fact sheet online, which outlines all the proposed changes. If you would prefer a paper copy, please contact Diane Lillevik on Leeds 247 8595. There is a freepost address for returns.

The council’s ten area management committees will have the consultation on their agendas up until 4 April, which gives people the opportunity to attend their local meeting and share their views with ward councillors, council officers and other members of the community. Dates, times and venues for these meetings can also be found on the council’s website under the area committees section.

Care home and day centre staff will be kept informed of the process by attending meetings with managers from adult social care. Trade Unions will also be invited to attend.

Additional info

The council’s executive board approved this consultation at their meeting on 15 December 2010.

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