Monday, 14 March 2011

South African education minister to learn from Leeds schools visit

A delegation from the Ministry of Education for the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa is in town this week to learn more about the partnerships between schools in Leeds and Durban.

Senzo Mchunu, the minister of education in KwaZulu-Natal, and Edwin Pillay, the manager of intergovernmental relations, arrived in Leeds today and will spend until Wednesday visiting schools and meeting the city’s education experts. The visit has been arranged by Leeds City Council as part of Leeds’ partner city status with Durban.

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If any media would like to attend any of the schools that will be visited by the South African education delegates please contact Jon Crampton on 0113 3951577 or email
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In 2010 Leeds City Council’s international relations team secured British Council funding to work with the Kwazulu-Natal department of education to set up 15 new school partnerships across the city. As a result, two South African teachers and a department of education official visited Leeds earlier this year but this is the first ministerial visit to the city since 2008. Three years ago there were 14 successful school partnerships between Leeds and Durban schools, in 2011 that number has increased to 37.

The partnerships allow children and young people in Leeds to learn more about different cultures and ways of life and develop skills, knowledge and inter-cultural awareness that are essential in an increasingly globalised economy.

On Tuesday the South African delegates will visit Cookridge Primary School which has a cross-curricular link with Hillview Primary in Reservoir Hills and Masiphumelele Primary in Cape Town. They will then move on to St Mary’s Catholic High School, Menston, which has a partnership with Mnyakanya High School, which looks at leadership through sport. The last visit of the day will be to Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, linked with Earlington High School in Phoenix, which has a focus on geography.

On Wednesday the South Africans will visit Gledhow Primary School, which is partnered with Summerfield Primary School in Chatsworth and has a cross-curricular link, as well as Garforth Academy, which is linked with Mzuvele Secondary School in Kwa’Mashu and has a focus on the performing arts.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services, said:
“I’m sure that our visitors will be given a warm Leeds welcome from every school. It’s encouraging that so many of our primary and secondary schools have partners in Durban and already include a global dimension to their curriculum. The minister of education from KwaZulu-Natal will see first hand the benefits of being involved and I hope he takes away some great ideas from his time here that he can share with colleages and schools in Durban.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services, said:
"I’d like to offer a warm welcome to our South African visitors. There are some exciting partnerships between schools in Leeds and Durban which provide children and young people with opportunities to learn about international projects as part of a global curriculum.

"This visit will highlight the excellent work going on in our schools and show the KwaZulu-Natal minister of education how much pupils in Leeds benefit from the partnerships. A global dimension to learning encourages children and young people to find out more about different cultures and I hope we can encourage even more schools to take part.”

Schools are encouraged to use the partnerships for educational benefits and to embed the global dimension into the curriculum. Topics that are covered include sustainable development and globalisation, peace and conflict, diversity, social justice and equality. They also provide an opportunity to celebrate cultural diversity in schools and local communities and enhance community cohesion.


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

Leeds hoping wheel of fortune yields more Chelsea gold

Captions (from top): Members of the Leeds City Council Chelsea Flower Show team in front of the water wheel with third from left Patrick Hennigan of sponsors HESCO Bastion and furthest right executive member for leisure Cllr Adam Ogilvie, next image Patrick Hennigan and Cllr Ogilvie and bottom image visual of The HESCO Garden 2011

The garden which it is hoped will bring more golden glory for Leeds at the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been launched this week.

Following on from the historic triumph of The HESCO Garden 2010 which achieved stunning success at last year’s event, the details of this year’s contender have now been announced by Leeds City Council.

The HESCO Garden 2011, produced by the council’s parks and countryside service with support and full sponsorship from Leeds-based world-leading manufacturers of products used in civil engineering HESCO Bastion Limited, will showcase the power of nature and water power in particular.

The centrepiece of the garden will be a traditional mill as seen in Yorkshire during the industrial revolution, with an eye-catching giant working water wheel attached measuring three metres tall (just under 10 feet) which will be pumping water around the garden.

The role of the wheel it is to celebrate not only the pivotal role water power played in the industrial past but also the growing role it is playing once again as a clean and renewable energy resource in the present and for the future.

The garden will also feature a central source of water which will be fed by the wheel while surrounding the mill will be areas of rockwork, trees and water-loving ferns and plants to complete its natural look and feel.

The HESCO Garden 2011 will be on show at Chelsea from May 24-28 in the elite show garden category alongside gardens designed by some of the biggest names in the horticulture industry.

The event, held annually in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in London, is the biggest celebration of horticultural excellence in the world and attracts over 150,000 visitors from all over the globe as well as receiving extensive coverage from the media.

Leeds’ 2011 challenger, which is the team’s ninth, will be following in some already-famous footsteps as The HESCO Garden 2010 made history three times over and received worldwide acclaim and admiration. Not only did it provide a first-ever gold medal for the Leeds team, it was also the first time in the history of the event dating back to 1862 that a large outdoor show garden produced by a local authority had won gold while its amazing central feature of a canal section and giant lock gates was another first for the show.

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

“The success achieved by the team at Chelsea last year was exceptional and richly deserved for producing a stunning garden, but what is hugely impressive is that rather that rest on their laurels they have designed a successor which looks just as exciting.

“The central water wheel is absolutely fantastic and in the context of the mill and the rest of the garden it is sure to be another show-stopper at Chelsea. We cannot wait to see it finished.”

Partner and garden sponsor HESCO Bastion Limited said:

"HESCO are delighted for the third year running to be sponsoring and supporting Leeds City Council at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show. Leeds has a long-held reputation for engineering excellence dating back to the industrial revolution; this year’s garden focuses on these engineering developments of the past and shows their relevancy and adaptability in providing engineering solutions today.

“HESCO are proud that their products carry on the Leeds engineering tradition for innovation and design. HESCO are a strong supporter of both community and business initiatives in Leeds and are pleased that they are able to offer their support in the design and sponsorship for this year’s entry to this prestigious gardening event."

In addition to raising the profile of the city to an international audience, entering a show garden at Chelsea also allows council staff to learn new skills and techniques which are then used every day to improve green spaces all over Leeds.

Young people in Leeds will also be part of The HESCO Garden 2011, as pupils from local primary schools will be learn about the value and importance of water power and renewable energy through a special education project and competition.

The public will soon be able to visit both the gold medal-winning HESCO Garden 2010 and its predecessor The HESCO Garden from 2009 which won a Silver Gilt Flora award as they are both to be permanently installed in the ‘Gardens of the World’ section of Roundhay Park by mid-May.

For further information on The HESCO Garden 2011 including video clips and blogs, or to see more of The HESCO Garden 2010, visit


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

Fouling dogs and litter louts tackled in Garforth crackdown

Litter louts and rogue dog owners who allow their pets to foul in public without clearing it up will be targeted in an environmental action week this week in Garforth.

Anyone caught committing either offence will receive a fixed penalty notice or possibly be prosecuted as environmental action officers from Leeds City Council are out and about in the town during the week.

They are cracking down on fouling and littering after Garforth residents flagged the two issues up as those they were most keen to see actively tackled.

Free micro chipping for dogs will also be offered tomorrow (Tue) as part of a drive to also encourage responsible dog ownership.

Councillor Tom Murray, executive member for environmental services, Leeds City Council, said:
“These are the two environmental problems which cause the most concern for people in Garforth- they have been flagged up to us frequently at residents’ forums and community meetings.

“It is not acceptable to allow your dog to foul without clearing it up, nor should anyone be throwing litter and our officers are clamping down on anyone caught doing either. However, we’re also keen to help encourage responsible dog ownership and we’re offering the free micro chipping as part of that.”

Enforcement officers are carrying out daily patrols of the main pedestrian areas and nearby parks and anyone caught littering or not clearing up after dogs will receive a fixed penalty notice of £75 or face court prosecution with fines of up to £2,500.

Practical advice on responsible dog ownership and keeping the area litter free is being offered by environmental action officers on Monday and Tuesday at a stall on Garforth Main Street. The free micro chipping will also be available at the stall on Tuesday (March 15) from 10am-2pm.

Any residents who would like to report areas particularly prone to dog fouling or littering issues can speak to officers at the stall. There will also be graffiti removal kits available for anyone who has problems with that.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335


Passion4Fashion is coming to Leeds

An exciting new project is being launched in Leeds this week called Passion4Fashion.

The project is a joint initiative provided by social housing providers in Leeds and will see 70 young people, primarily living in social housing, aged between 17 – 30 years get involved with a project centred around fashion.

Passion4Fashion aims to put the spotlight firmly on the difficulties young people are currently facing, financially and employment-wise as well as helping to increase the confidence, motivation and abilities of everyone involved in the project.

As part of the project the young people will develop unique and creative outfits exclusively from charity-shop finds with a budget of £25. The clothes will be re-created and updated as well with some expert coaching from three established ethical fashion designers in Leeds; Ketchup Clothing, Fabrication and Antiform Industries.

As part of the lead up to a fashion show there will be photo shoots and cat walk coaching before the final show at Leeds Town Hall on 21st April 2011.

The seven social housing providers involved in the project include; East North East Homes Leeds, Aire Valley Homes Leeds, West North West Homes Leeds, Leeds Federated, Affinity Sutton, Connect, Chevin and Unity as well as Leeds City Council, Leeds City Credit Union and Job Centre Plus.

Support and advice will be provided on key areas including budgeting, basic banking, affordable borrowing and training and employment opportunities.

If you are interested in fashion, care about the environment or would like to help to highlight the issues young people are facing and stamp out exclusion, then ring the Passion4Fashion team on 0113 214 9163 or text us on 07876 011 555 to register.

You can follow the progress of the young people at their blog; or follow them on Twitter @ P4FLeeds.

Notes to editors:

East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. They are wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
East North East Homes Leeds covers the areas of Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

West North West Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. They are wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
West North West Homes Leeds covers the areas of Otley, Pool, Bramhope, Guiseley, Yeadon, Cookridge, Rawdon, Holt Park. Tinshill, Horsforth, Kirkstall, Burley, Armley, Bramley, Pudsey, Woodhouse, Wortley, Farnley, and New Farnley.

Aire Valley Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. They are wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
Aire Valley Homes Leeds covers the areas of Barwick-in-Elmet, Swarcliffe, Garforth, Micklefield, Kippax, Swillington, Allerton Bywater, Methley, Rothwell, Middleton, Morley, Drighlington, Cottingley, Beeston, and Holbeck.