Monday, 28 March 2011

Independent travel ceremony to mark young people’s successes

Around 50 young people with learning difficulties or special transport needs will soon be using public transport to get to and from school and college after completing a programme which prepares them to travel around the city on their own.

Independent travel training gives young people, who usually rely on their families or taxis provided by the council to take them to school or college, the skills, knowledge and confidence to use public transport.

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Media are invited to the independent travel training ceremony at 12.15pm on Tuesday, 29 March at The Carriageworks on Millennium Square. Certificates will be presented to around 50 young people who have completed the training this academic year by Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services. Please call 0113 395 1578 or email to confirm attendance.

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The training has been carried out by Leeds City Council and around 50 young people will attend a ceremony at The Carriageworks on Millennium Square on Tuesday (29 March) to receive their certificates from Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services, from 12.15.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“These young people have shown they are capable of being more independent and are willing and able to travel to and from school without relying on other people. This extra responsibility will help with the all round development of their life skills and each and every one should be proud of their achievements.

“The training is thorough and only young people who are capable and confident enough to take this step are given the opportunity to do so. This is a great programme to encourage development and responsibility and, together with their families and friends, we will continue to provide support and assistance whenever necessary.”

One young person who will receive their certificate on Tuesday is 18 year old Neil Patel who is studying ICT at Leeds College of Technology. Although Neil had never used public transport before, he was keen to be able to and took part in the training after discussing his travel needs with the independent travel team.

Neil uses an electric wheelchair and has to use buses that are fully accessible. After completing the independent travel training and having the best route to and from his bus stops mapped out for him, he is now able to travel from his home in Pudsey into the city centre using the purple FTR buses which run from Pudsey bus station.

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

Leeds gets ready to love Latino!

Caption: Instructor Julia Lawson (top) will lead the biggest-ever Zumba class held in Leeds and (above) the event logo

Leeds is set to go Latino crazy this summer after it was announced that a major new event is to be held in the city.

On Sunday 29 May, Millennium Square in Leeds city centre will be transformed into the UK’s biggest outdoor Latino party celebrating all elements of Latin music, dance, colour, style and culture.

Organised by Leeds City Council, ‘Leeds Loves Latino’ with support from the Yorkshire Evening Post, Park Plaza Hotel and Viva Cuba will run from 2pm-10:30pm and will feature a mix of live music, DJs and dance - including the biggest-ever Zumba class seen in Leeds.

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Media are invited to attend the launch of Leeds Loves Latino on Millennium Square at 10:30am on Tuesday 29 March. The launch will feature music and samba dancers in full costume plus instructor Julia Lawson will be hosting a mini Zumba class with dancers to give a flavour of the event.
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The musical performances will be led by the UK’s best-known salsa band Salsa Celtica, while Glastonbury regulars Latin Dub Sound System will be bringing their range of electro-Latino beats.

Cuban funk band Wara and samba rock group Afrosamba complete the line-up of live bands, while leading salsa and samba DJs Silvao, Fabio Bahia and Lubi will be playing the finest in Brazilian samba and Latino music.

A variety of dance styles will also be on show, with Basement Jaxx collaborators MC Magico and the Meuve Dancers bringing the spirit of Colombia, while the UK’s premier female Latina dance company Element Dance and urban Latin dancer Ella Mesma will also be on hand.

Leeds City Council deputy executive member for leisure Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:

“Leeds Loves Latino is going to be like no event we’ve ever had on Millennium Square and we are delighted to be bringing something new and exciting to the city. It is going to be a fantastic day of dance, sensational sounds and vibrant colour and I’m sure people of all ages who join in the fun will have a really great time.”

Artist programmer and performer Lubi Jovanovic (DJ Lubi) said:

"The Leeds Loves Latino festival will be the biggest Latin music and dance event ever held in the city and I am honoured to be working with Leeds City Council on this project. I never envisaged that one day we would be celebrating Latino music, dance and culture in a huge open-air festival in such a perfect space as Millennium Square."

One of the highlights of the day promises to be the biggest-ever Zumba class held in Leeds, as the dance and fitness craze comes to the city centre with leading instructor Julia Lawson putting those attending through their paces on the square.

Zumba instructor Julia Lawson said:

“Zumba has taken the UK fitness industry by storm over the last few years and is now huge all over the world. I love the energy and the vibrance of the class, the Latin rhythms really get people moving and smiling. I can’t wait to lead the class on such a large scale on Millennium Square. That many people doing Zumba? It’s going to be amazing!”

Advance tickets for Leeds Loves Latino are now available priced £11 or £9 concessions at and can also be booked through the City Centre Box Office on 0113 224 3801, Leeds Visitor Centre and Viva Cuba on Kirkstall Road.

For more information on the event, visit


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

Council gives low paid workers a boost up the property ladder

Low paid workers in Gipton and Seacroft are being given an opportunity to take part in a new ‘Rent to Mortgage’ scheme to help save a deposit for their own home.

With the recession making mortgages hard to come by for more and more people a revolutionary new scheme, developed by Leeds City Council, will see 10 brand new two and three bedroom homes in east Leeds be more accessible for low earning Leeds residents.

Eligible applicants will be offered an attractive rent level and a tenancy of up to five years in which to save up a deposit for a mortgage for all, or a part, of the cost of their home.

The homes, on Bellway Homes’ Oaktrees development in Gipton and Parkside in Seacroft, have energy efficient gas central heating, fitted kitchens and master en suite bathrooms.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
“Low paid working families will be able to see real rewards for their hard work with a boost up the property ladder. I’m very pleased to introduce this brand new scheme for Leeds, the result of groundbreaking partnership work to create sustainable neighbourhood change.

“As well as benefiting the families who take advantage of the scheme, the whole of Gipton and Seacroft will benefit from an improvement in housing choice, quality and opportunity.”

Leeds City Council’s East Leeds Regeneration Team has developed the scheme alongside East North East Homes Leeds, who will manage the new tenure type on behalf of Leeds City Council.

Angelena Fixter, chairman of East North East Homes Leeds said:
“In these challenging economic times, we’re hoping to open doors to home ownership for people on modest incomes. I’m delighted that this scheme will help give people a hand up on to the property ladder while also adding to the area’s community mix.

“The scheme, together with information on who can, and how to, apply, will be advertised in the near future.”

To be eligible for this new scheme you have to be employed within Leeds and not earning more then £60,000 a year as a joint income with a partner.

For further information about how to apply for the rent to mortgage scheme please contact Louise Almond at East North East Homes Leeds on 0113 247 6380.

Notes to editors:
East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL)
East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) that manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

East Leeds Regeneration is …
• Working with the community and partners to improve neighbourhoods
• Investing now and for the future
• Improving quality of life and choices for local people

For further information on east Leeds regeneration please call 0113 2143487 or email

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713