Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Tennis treat for Leeds serves up £285,000 ace



Captions: Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Cllr Adam Ogilvie (second right) at the Tennis Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport with (left to right in top image) principal service development officer Kim Newman, senior tennis coach Dwight Brown and tennis development officer Charlie Tatman
Lower image: Cllr Ogilvie having a rally with Dwight Brown on the indoor courts (lower image)


Tennis facilities in Leeds are to receive a major boost after funding was secured for £285,000 of improvements to courts in the city.

National governing body for British tennis the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is investing approximately £265,000 in grants with support from Sport England for a major refurbishment of the courts at the John Charles Centre for Sport, Dartmouth Park in Morley and Springhead Park in Rothwell.

Further investment of £20,000 has come from the Caird Bardon Community Programme for the work at Springhead Park .

Work is to begin next week with the improvements at all three Leeds City Council-managed sites scheduled to be completed by mid-summer.

At the Tennis Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport, all six indoor courts are to be resurfaced with the effects of wear and tear repaired while the six outdoor courts are also to be refurbished along with improvements to all court fixtures and fencing.

At Dartmouth Park in Morley and Springhead Park in Rothwell, work will be carried out to revamp the four outdoor courts at each site along with significant improvements to the court fixtures, courtside areas and fencing.

The three sites were identified for improvements as part of the Leeds Community Tennis Strategy created by Leeds City Council which aims to make the city a leading centre for tennis development in the country. The strategy identifies the need to improve facilities as well as developing closer links with the universities in the city, private clubs and coaches and has received the backing of the LTA and the Tennis Foundation.

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

“We are delighted that the LTA and Caird Bardon are supporting us with such significant funding to allow us to carry out these major improvements to our tennis courts in Leeds.

“Tennis is watched by huge numbers of people in Leeds and the UK, especially around Wimbledon time. We want people of all ages to pick up a racket and play regularly and having these fantastic improved courts in Leeds will hopefully encourage more people to do that.”

Lawn Tennis Association Operations Manager for the North Paul Bennett said:

“We want to help more people in Leeds play tennis, and the impact of these developments in the local community will be fantastic. Juniors and adults of any age will be able to play on good facilities all-year round, access good coaching at affordable rates, play in fun local competitions and even have a go at Cardio Tennis which gets everybody at every level playing tennis in a really fun way.

“Organised activities will be established at all three sites, and each one will work towards Beacon status, which will allow them to provide high quality programmes and free or affordable tennis. Not only that but opportunities will be provided for future coaches to develop programmes on the sites and children and young adults will be provided with opportunities to develop as volunteers and helpers.”

For further information on tennis development in Leeds contact Leeds City Council’s tennis development officer Charlie Tatman on 0113 395 0186 or email Charles.tatman@leeds.gov.uk

Notes to editors:

The LTA is committed to improve playing facilities and to enhance access to tennis nationwide. This strategy has received substantial investment from Sport England. This makes an important contribution to the drive to increase tennis opportunities for people to participate, compete and get access to coaching at all levels of the game in communities nationwide.

For more information on the LTA and British tennis visit: www.lta.org.uk and for more information about Cardio Tennis visit: www.lta.org.uk/cardiotennis

The Caird Bardon Community Programme has funds available for community projects located in Leeds. GrantScape, the community and environmental charity, is managing the fund. The charity's aim is to work with communities nationwide in funding projects that have benefit to the local environment. For more details visit www.grantscape.org.uk or call call Liz Payne on 01282 603 842.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds pupils being inspired by Chelsea challenger


Caption: Key stage 2 pupils from Middleton St Mary's Primary School with Leeds City Council executive member for children's services Cllr Judith Blake (far left) and Patrick Hennigan of garden sponsor HESCO Bastion (far right)

Young people in Leeds are learning all about the power of nature as part of a special project based on Leeds City Council’s entry at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Key Stage 2 pupils aged 7-11 at over 200 primary schools across the city are learning about the role of water power and nature in Leeds both in the past and for the future which reflects the central theme of ‘The HESCO Garden 2011’ which will be on display at the world-famous show in London from 24-28 May.

The pupils are also taking part in a competition to produce a postcard design which will be used to promote the show garden at Chelsea, with the pupil who designs the winning entry being given free tickets and transport for themselves, a parent and their teacher to visit the show.

Following on from the historic gold medal triumph of The HESCO Garden 2010, the 2011 challenger 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 over three metres tall (approximately 10 feet) which will be pumping water around the garden.

The role of the wheel it is to celebrate not only the pivotal part 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 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 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 City Council executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake said:

“An important part of our Chelsea project each year is the educational aspect of encouraging young people in Leeds to find out more about the importance of nature and the environment around them and why it needs to be nurtured.

“This year’s garden is another stunning design and hopefully the pupils will enjoy learning about the project and how important water power was in the industrial past of Leeds and could be again now and for the future.”

Partner and garden sponsor HESCO Bastion Limited said:

"HESCO Bastion has an international reputation for engineering excellence and innovation, so we were pleased to be asked by Leeds City Council's parks and countryside service to be sponsor for the third year running, with a show garden which focuses on the engineering developments of the past, and the present, all of which contribute to the vibrancy of Leeds.

“With the launch of the postcard competition, the garden’s message of the importance of engineering through the harnessing of natural resources is being communicated in an innovative and fun way to the schoolchildren of Leeds. HESCO are proud to be part of such a fantastic programme and wish all those taking part the best of luck and look forward to seeing some creative entries.”

As well as the winning pupil being rewarded, every pupil in the class from which the winning design is produced will receive a special environment-themed goody bag. The winning school will also receive £200 of plants grown by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service and a day of curriculum-linked environmental activities led by the council’s parks and countryside rangers.

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 with sponsorship support from Green Leeds Limited.

For further information on The HESCO Garden 2011 visit www.leedsatchelsea.com or follow the garden as it develops on Twitter at twitter.com/leedsatchelsea.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Annual challenge sees schools plan for healthier communities



Pictured are children from Ashfield Primary School with Stan Kenyon and Councillor Judith Blake.

Pupils and staff from schools across Leeds gathered at Leeds Civic Hall last week to receive their awards for completing the Stan Kenyon Challenge 2011.

The Stan Kenyon Challenge is the longest running Leeds City Council corporate social responsibility project, which is now in its sixteenth year. It has a different theme every year and this year focused on healthier communities. Children and young people were asked to become planners and design a community that all ages and abilities would be able to live in.

As part of their planning they were asked to consider the layout of the buildings, what open space there would be and how it would be used, what kind of public transport there would be and how people will be encouraged to walk or cycle.

Each participating school submitted a project which a panel of judges assessed taking into account the age group of the pupils, the quality of their presentations and the practicality of their proposals.

This year’s overall winner was Ashfield Primary School. The school challenged pupils to think about what people would want in an ideal community and they interviewed local people of all ages and pupils took questionnaires home to discuss with their families. The children worked in teams to design their ideal community and used recycled materials for much of the construction.

The best high school project was won by the Broomfield SILC. The pupils considered what could be done to improve the quality of life for people living there. They researched the area looking at public transport options, the post office, churches, fitness centres and talked to local people to gather their views.

The best primary school award went to Corpus Christi Primary School. The school linked the challenge into their geography classes, looking at what makes a sustainable community and how to promote an environmentally friendly place with a strong focus on recycling. Children went out into the local community to examine land use. They identified areas that could be improved and developed new ideas for recreation and exercise.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services, said:
“Children are never too young to understand their surroundings and the Stan Kenyon Challenge is designed to raise their awareness on many different issues. There were some excellent entries this year and it’s a credit to the young people, their schools and their families that they have shown such enthusiasm to take part. Congratulations to the three winning schools – they should be very proud of their achievements.”

The Stan Kenyon Challenge is named after a former director of planning to mark the contribution he made to the city up until his retirement 1995 after over thirty years of service.

It seeks to raise pupils’ awareness of the everyday environment around them and each year children are asked to investigate a topic relevant to their local area, exploring real issues they may be able to influence. The challenge is designed to be fun as well as educational, helping schools to deliver many of the objectives set out in the National Curriculum in real life situations.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Landlord hit with record fine

A landlord has been hit with a record fine and costs totalling almost £25,000 after ignoring numerous warnings to licence his properties.

Mr Martin Horsfall failed to get Selective Licences for four of his properties in Cross Green and East End Park, which would ensure safety standards are adhered to and tenant’s antisocial behaviour dealt with.

He did not attend Leeds Magistrates on Friday 18 March but was found guilty in his absence and fined £5,000 for failing to licence each property plus a victim surcharge of £15. Leeds City Council was also awarded costs of £4677.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:

“To date £20,000 is the biggest fine handed out to a landlord for failing to apply for a Selective Licence. It would have cost the equivalent of just £2 per week, per house or £525 for five years per house to obtain the licences.

“This is a further example of Leeds City Council’s determination to pursue and prosecute landlords who fail to licence their properties. The size of this fine indicates just how seriously we take this issue.

“The Selective Licensing system is there to protect the interests of both tenants and landlords. Where landlords don’t fulfil this responsibility we will take action.”

Leeds City Council’s solicitor explained Mr Horsfall had been given numerous opportunities and warnings dating back from October 2009 – when Selective Licensing came into force – to licence his properties and has still failed to do so.

The court heard the Selective Licensing team had gone to great lengths to engage with Mr Horsfall about licensing his properties, but he had refused to accept any previous contact.

The area of Cross Green and East End Park was chosen for Selective Licensing in a bid to lower the number of empty private rented properties by encouraging landlords to invest in their houses.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact: Dan Johnson, communications officer, tel: 0113 2478285, email: daniel.johnson1@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds museum moves closer to major national award


Caption: Abbey House Museum in Leeds could be named the most family-friendly museum in Britain

Abbey House Museum in Leeds has moved a step closer to being named the best museum for families to visit in Britain.

The museum in Kirkstall which is renowned for its recreation of Victorian streets and shops has made the final six in the prestigious Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award – the only national museum award in Britain judged by families themselves.

Both Abbey House Museum and Leeds City Museum made the longlist of the top 20 family museum attractions around the country, with Leeds City Council which manages both sites being the only organisation to have more than one entry on the list.

A panel of museum experts led by Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Jenny Abramsky has now reduced the contenders down to the final six, with Abbey House Museum joining Corinium Museum in Cirencester, London’s Horniman Museum, Kilmartin House in Argyll, Mansfield Museum and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent on the shortlist to decide the winner.

Each finalist will shortly receive a secret visit by families who will be judging their experience with the overall winner announced in early-April.

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

“We are fantastically proud to be the only organisation to have two of our fantastic museums in the top 20 for this national award and we are all really excited that Abbey House Museum has made the final shortlist.

“To win this award would be a superb achievement and a wonderful reflection on the efforts of our staff so we are all now waiting nervously for the result.”

The Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award is run by Kids in Museums, a visitor-led charity working with museums to make them family-friendly.

For more information about the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award or Kids in Museums visit kidsinmuseums.org.uk/awards.

To find out more about Abbey House Museum, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/abbeyhouse/ or call 0113 230 5492. For more information on Leeds City Museum visit www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum/ or call 0113 224 3732.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Green power as new station fuels hopes for the future

Leeds City Council is taking a further step forward in pioneering green methods for collecting waste by becoming the first local authority to have its own biomethane fuel station.

Although a handful of local councils are trialling temporary fuel pumps for the green gas, Leeds is the first in the UK to have its own permanent biomethane station. Its opening is taking place during this week’s national Climate Week.

It will provide fuel storage and easier re-filling facilities for the two refuse trucks running on gas- which currently rely on regular fuel deliveries- and open up opportunities to expand this use in the future.

This could mean many more council vehicles eventually converting to the green fuel and also potentially allow other organisations in the city to share the facilities.

********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY*******
Thursday March 24, 1pm, Knowsthorpe Way depot, Cross Green, Leeds LS9 OSW: Opening of the biomethane fuel station at refuse collection headquarters. There will be opportunities for interviews with officers involved in the project and with Cllr Tom Murray, executive member for environmental services, as well as a chance to photograph/film the green refuse trucks being re-fuelled.

One of the trucks, which collects recycling, runs solely on biomethane, a natural gas produced during the breakdown of organic materials such as food waste, manure or agricultural waste. The other can use a mixture of biomethane and diesel at the same time.

Since the two gas-powered refuse trucks were introduced nine months ago to the frontline refuse collection fleet they have achieved big reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, with the dedicated biomethane vehicle notching up an impressive 60% reduction.

Cllr Tom Murray, Leeds City Council executive member for environmental services, said:
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Leeds to be at the forefront of green technology in our region while also realising real savings in the cost of running essential vehicles. I’m also delighted that this is taking place during Climate Week to demonstrate our commitment to wider green issues.

“Having this permanent biomethane fuel station in Leeds opens up all kinds of possibilities for future green improvements in how we and other organisations in the city operate our fleet.”

The majority of funding for the new £150,000 fuelling station has come from Cenex, (Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies) under the Department for Transport Alternative Fuels Infrastructure grant programme as well as the Local Transport Fund. Leeds City Council has also contributed to the cost.


For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS