Monday, 16 May 2011

Take One art exhibition drawing to close

Caption: The 'Take One' exhibition on show at Leeds Art Gallery has proved highly popular with visitors

This week is the last chance to see an exhibition of art works by young people in Leeds which has proved a big hit with visitors to Leeds Art Gallery.

The ‘Take One’ exhibition produced by primary school pupils from across the city has been on display in the Artspace section of the art gallery since mid-March and earned an extended stay due to it being very well received by the public.

The display of work from the group aged five to 11 will now end its run on show in the art gallery on The Headrow this Sunday (22 May).

The project came about when pupils from 18 schools working with 20 trainee teachers from Leeds Metropolitan University and eight qualified teachers looked at creating work inspired by objects from the Leeds Art Gallery and Artemis Schools collections.

With the pupils encouraged to think imaginatively, the diverse range of works chosen included a statue of Queen Anne and a pair of ice skates. The group also experimented with different materials, with the final results including performances, photography, collage, painting and sculpture.

Leeds Art Gallery education officer Amanda Phillips

“The Take One exhibition has been a fantastic success and the reaction to it has been so good we extended how long it would be on display for. The young people who took part all really enjoyed it and it was wonderful to see them express their creative side in this way.”

The Take One exhibition is the final stage of a collaborative process initiated by the National Gallery in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds Metropolitan University, Education Leeds’ Artforms and local schools. Leeds Art Gallery is one of only four other National Gallery Take One Picture regional partners.

Alongside the Take One exhibition, Leeds Art Gallery offers activities to engage young people and their carers. The gallery has recently introduced a range of gallery broadsheets to explore the gallery and help young people to make links between art, their own interests and everyday life. For more information on Leeds Art Gallery visit


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

Yorkshire artist’s gift to the city

Famous Yorkshire artist Ashley Jackson is to present an original painting to the city of Leeds tomorrow.

The popular Holmfirth-based artist, who is one of the country’s leading landscape watercolourists will present the painting as a thank you for the city's support over the years.

The painting is one of a collection which was on exhibition "Painting in the Open Air" at the Laing Gallery, Newcastle in 2008 when over 64,000 people visited the exhibition.

The painting, "Rain and Mist over Digley" was painted during day time depicting the power of the storm which has darkened the horizon in anticipation of the heavy down pour. The houses in the background appear to be the only place of shelter.

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

All media are invited to the presentation and hanging of the painting at the Town Hall on Tuesday 17 May 2011 at 4pm in the Albert Room.
Both Ashley Jackson and the Lord Mayor will be available for interview. Please call the press office on 0113 24 7 4450 to arrange attendance.

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

Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna said:

“It is a fantastic honour to receive this painting on behalf of the city from such an acclaimed artist.

“The city has real links with Ashley and we have enjoyed a number of his exhibitions over the years, so it is great to be able to hang a unique painting in a major landmark in Leeds where everyone can view it.”

Artist Ashley Jackson said:

"It is my great pleasure to present to the people of the City of Leeds an original painting as a thank you for the support I have been given over the years.

“Leeds is a Yorkshire city that is close to my heart, embracing my passion for the Yorkshire Moors and understanding the atmospheric skies that descend upon us without warning. We both share the culture, heritage and pride that makes Yorkshire unique.

“Leeds City Council have searched for an appropriate place for the painting to be viewed by every Leeds citizen who wishes to look at the painting bequest to them and have chosen the Albert Room, which holds weddings and events throughout the concert season. I hope that the painting will be a fantastic backdrop to many remunerable occasions."


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

New additions to Leeds’ Core Cycle Network

Leeds City Council is getting into gear to help residents beat rush hour traffic and stay fit with a hat-trick of new cycle routes opening during May and June.

New routes from Alwoodley and West Park will help commuters beat congested roads allowing them to ride directly into the city centre on specially designed cycle tracks.

The third route runs on Wyke Beck Way connecting Roundhay and Temple Newsam Parks to create a great new leisure and school commuter route, as well as making a link into the Aire Valley employment area.

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

All media are invited to the launch event of the Wyke Beck Way on Wednesday 18 May from 1.45pm at Wetherby Road opposite the Montessori School. There will a bike ride setting off involving pupils from Grangefield Primary and David Young Community Academy. Please call the press office on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.

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

The Wyke Beck Way forms part of charity Sustrans’ Connect2 project, and has received funding from the Big Lottery Fund. Sustrans, who work to enable people to make more of their everyday journeys by foot, bike and public transport, secured £50million from the Big Lottery Fund for Connect2, which is creating new walking and cycling links in communities right across the UK.

The new additions form the latest phase of a forward thinking plan by the council to create an extensive network of 17 routes forming the Leeds Core Cycle Network, which are planned to open over the next five years.

A route connecting Middleton, Belle Isle and Hunslet with the city centre has been attracting cyclists since last September.

Future routes will link Leeds city railway station to Cookridge, Scholes, Rothwell, Chapel Allerton, Bramley, Farnley, Garforth, South Morley and Cross Gates to Thorner. There will also be improvements to the A64 and spurs to East Middleton, Adel and North Morley.

On completion the project will have created 71 miles of cycle network with a view to increasing cycling in the city by an estimated 80 per cent.

Leeds City Council’s Richard Lewis elected member for development and regeneration said:
“Nearly 70 per cent of all our journeys are less than five miles with some on congested roads at peak times being just as quick or quicker to travel by bicycle.
“All of the cycle routes are being developed with safety in mind. The off-road routes will improve safety by ensuring that more cyclists have an alternative to cycling on busy arterial roads.

“With all this in mind what more reason do people living along these routes need to stay fit and beat the rush hour by getting on their bikes and using these innovative cycle routes?

“And the benefits don’t stop there; more cyclists mean less people using cars and that means lower Co2 emissions.”

The council has worked in partnership with the Wyke Beck Valley Community Forum and Sustrans to create a route on the Wyke Beck Way . This forms part of the charity’s Connect2 project that is developing cycle routes across the UK with contributions from the Big Lottery Fund. All three of the new routes have also received Links to School and Local Transport Plan funding from the Department for Transport allocated to LCC.

David Hall, Sustrans regional director for Yorkshire & The Humber, said:
“We’re delighted to see the completion of the Wyke Beck Way Connect2 project, which will provide an attractive off-road route for pedestrians and cyclists in North Leeds, linking schools and a number of local communities.
“It’ll make it so much easier for people of all ages to get around without having to use their car. We’re delighted to have been able to work on this project with Leeds City Council, and we look forward to working closely with them in the future to make more improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Paul Jones, Big Lottery Fund Head of Region for Yorkshire and The Humber, added:
“The new route is great news for all the local residents as it will play a vital role in making every day journeys healthier, safer and much more fun. People from across the UK voted for Sustrans to be awarded the £50 million Big Lottery grant, so it’s fantastic to see the real difference this funding makes locally.”
For more information about the routes, maps and frequently asked questions please visit The Sustrans website has a free on-line mapping service, helping people to discover how to make journeys on foot or by bike. Visit

Notes to editors:
There are five events taking place to launch the opening of the routes as they are completed. Media will be invited along to each of them. Details are as follows:
Wyke Beck Way Launch Event Wednesday 18 May
A school ride will involve Grangefield Primary and David Young Community Academy. 10 pupils from each school will cycle north through Wyke Beck Woods to Roundhay Park.

Friends of Wyke Beck Way and Temple Newsam will hold a social ride at 6.30pm starting at Roundhay Mansion and continuing to Temple Newsam and back including a talk from countryside ranger Phil Thorpe.

Alwoodley Launch Event Wednesday 25 May
Route starts with a ride into the Cycle Point in the city centre at 8am from King Lane park and ride. Introduction to the Bike Bus and including a safety check at the Cycle Point.

West Park Launch Event Wednesday 8 June
Ride into the Cycle Point at 8am from Lawnswood School on the A660. There will be
free parking and tune up at the Cycle Point.

Middleton Launch Event Thursday 23 June
Schools event riding from Middleton to the Cycle Point at 8am. There will be
free parking and tune up at the Cycle Point.

General event – Friday 24 June
Bikers Breakfast at Leeds train station and the Cycle Point plus free parking and tune up. All cyclists are welcome.

For more information on Sustrans or to request interviews, please contact
Matt Hemsley, Sustrans Press Office
Tel 0117 915 0123 / Email:

• Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Our work makes it possible for people to choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys, with better places and spaces to move through and live in. It’s time we all began making smarter travel choices. Make your move and support Sustrans today.

• Sustrans’ Connect2 is a UK-wide project that will transform local travel in communities, creating new bridges and crossings to overcome busy roads, rivers and railways, and linking these to networks of walking and cycling routes, making it easier for millions of people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys.

• Sustrans' Connect2 won £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks: The People's Millions as a result of a public vote televised on ITV1 in December 2007. This is the largest ever single lottery grant. Combined with match funding, the project is worth £142million.

• The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours: 07867 500 572
Full details of Big Lottery Fund projects and grant awards are available at:


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

Curtain raises on golden gates garden

Caption: The HESCO Garden (above) and the gold medal-winning HESCO Garden 2010 (top) can now be seen in their new permanent home in Roundhay Park

The garden which won a historic first-ever gold medal for the city of Leeds at the Chelsea Flower Show will this week be opened to visitors at Roundhay Park.

The HESCO Garden 2010 together with its predecessor from 2009 The HESCO Garden have been permanently relocated into the ‘Gardens of the World’ section of the park and will be officially opened at a ceremony hosted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor James McKenna at 2pm on Tuesday 17 May.

Both gardens were created by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service supported and fully sponsored by Leeds-based world-leading manufacturers of products used in civil engineering HESCO Bastion Limited, with the family of the late Jimi Heselden OBE special guests at the opening event.

The opening will also feature an appearance by BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Christine Walkden, who will be leading a guided tour of both gardens.

********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY*******************************
What: The opening of The HESCO Garden and The HESCO Garden 2010 in the 'Gardens of the World' section of Roundhay Park, 2pm on Tuesday 17 May.

Where: The ‘Gardens of the World’ section of Roundhay Park is off Mansion Lane, opposite the car park entrance to the Roundhay Fox pub, LS8 2EP.

Who: The Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr James McKenna will be joined by the family of HESCO Bastion owner the late Jimi Heselden OBE as guests of honour, along with BBC tv gardening presenter Christine Walkden.
************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY*****************************

The gardens have been positioned alongside each other and next to the 2008 ‘Largest Room in the House’ Chelsea war memorial garden meaning the public will now be able to see three award-winning Chelsea Flower Show gardens together for free in a way not seen anywhere else in the country.

Both The HESCO Garden in 2009 and The HESCO Garden 2010 proved major hits at the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The HESCO Garden from 2009, designed around the theme of retaining rainwater and reducing the effect of flash floods, matched Leeds City Council’s best-ever result at the show by winning a Silver Gilt Flora award.

This was improved on 12 months later as the team made history three times over with the stunning HESCO Garden 2010, which impressed all who saw its amazing 12-feet high central lock gates and mock canal.

The garden not only earned the team a first-ever gold medal at Chelsea, the success also represented the first time in the history of the prestigious event which dates back to 1862 that a local authority had won gold in the elite large outdoor show garden category, while the central lock gates were another first for Chelsea.

The opening of the gardens will also honour HESCO Bastion owner Jimi Heselden OBE, who tragically died in September last year.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor James McKenna said:

“It is going to be a tremendous honour to open these amazing award-winning Chelsea gardens which are going to attract thousands of visitors to Roundhay Park in the months and years to come.

“Winning the gold medal for the first time was a superb achievement which made the whole city really proud, and it is fantastic that the people of Leeds are now going to be able to come and see the garden along with the previous two for themselves.

“Both it and the 2009 garden will rightly be seen as ‘Jimi’s gardens’, and even though we are sad our friend Jimi Heselden cannot be with us to help celebrate, we are delighted his family have agreed to come along as guests of honour and we are really looking forward to it.”

HESCO Bastion Limited said:

“Jimi worked closely with Leeds City Council on the design, development and funding for the award-winning 2009 and 2010 RHS Chelsea Flower show garden entries. The ‘Gardens of the World’ which showcases these garden winners makes for a wonderful and fitting tribute to him.”

This year’s Chelsea showgarden contender, The HESCO Garden 2011, will be on display in London at the show next week.

The theme of the garden is to showcase the power of nature and water power in particular, with the centrepiece being a traditional mill as seen in Yorkshire during the industrial revolution and an eye-catching giant working water wheel attached measuring approximately three metres tall (over 10 feet) which will be pumping water around the garden.

For further information on The HESCO Garden 2011 visit or follow the garden on Twitter at

Notes to editors:

The ‘Gardens of the World’ section of Roundhay Park off Mansion Lane contains three unique garden areas. The initial walkway features The Monet Garden which is based on the gardens planted by the impressionist at Giverny in France providing an elegant burst of colour and energy.

Adjoining this is the Alhambra Garden, which is based on one of the world’s most famous gardens, the 13th century garden at Alhambra, Spain. The garden echoes the Patio de la Acequia, Patio de la Sultana and Mirador of Partal Gardens including fountains and formal hedged gardens.

These were joined in 2009 by ‘The Largest Room in the House’, Leeds City Council’s entry at the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show which won a Silver Gilt Flora award. The garden commorated the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War and is a recreation of the grounds of Talbot House in Poperinghe, Belgium which served as a rest house for UK troops heading to and from the horrors of the frontline trenches nearby.


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

Stars line up for Party as new ticket system is announced

Caption: Jessie J (top) and Jay Sean (above) will both be performing at Party in the Park

Jessie J, Jay Sean, Tinchy Stryder and Example will all be performing at Party in the Park in Leeds this year as details of a new streamlined ticket system were announced today.

The chart-topping stars are the first acts to be confirmed for the UK’s biggest free outdoor pop event organised by Leeds City Council and 96.3 Radio Aire which takes place at Temple Newsam on Sunday 31 July.

Due to the huge demand for tickets to the 70,000-capacity event each year, a new balloted ticket distribution system has been introduced for this year similar to those used for Glastonbury, Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympics.

Anyone wishing to attend the event will be able to register their interest online for a maximum of FOUR free tickets per household (not per person as in previous years) at from 8am on Tuesday 31 May 2011 until 10pm on Sunday 26 June. Following this date no further applications will be accepted.

Leeds residents (anyone living in a property where council tax is registered to be paid to Leeds City Council) will be given priority for the tickets, which will be selected at random with the successful applicants being informed by email by 10pm on Friday 1 July.

The named applicant can then pick up their tickets from the reception of 96.3 Radio Aire on Burley Road weekdays 8am to 6pm and Saturdays 10am to 2pm between Monday 4 July and Friday 29 July using proof of ID and their address.

Anyone without access to the internet can use the free computer facilities in all Leeds libraries and the Leeds Visitor Centre to make their application.

Tickets to Party in the Park can be secured outside of the ballot as anyone attending Aire on the Square on Millennium Square on Saturday 28 May with proof of Leeds residency will automatically be offered a place at Party.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie

“Every year Party in the Park is massively oversubscribed so this year we have looked carefully at how we can give everyone in Leeds a fair chance of getting tickets and this ballot system offers that.

“From the names already announced this year’s Party in the Park looks like being a fantastic show with lots more star names to add in the coming weeks so make sure you register for tickets to be there.”

96.3 Radio Aire station director Anthony Gay said:

"After seeing the success of online ticket draws for major in demand events like Glastonbury and the Olympics, it made sense to use this method as the fairest way to distribute Party in the Park tickets to the people of Leeds.

“Once again 96.3 Radio Aire is proud to be helping deliver Party in the Park to music fans in Leeds and this new online ticket draw ensures that everyone in the city has an equal and fair chance of attending."

Further details of the new ticketing system and full instructions of how to register including a useful frequently asked questions page is available at the new official Party in the Park webpage at

Anyone with any accessibility issues or general concerns relating to the ticketing system can also contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 395 0891 or by email


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

Leeds foster carers making a difference

Leeds urgently needs more foster carers to make a difference to a child’s life.

Leeds City Council is supporting the annual national campaign to raise awareness about the need for more foster carers.

Foster Care Fortnight (16 – 29 May) ‘Fostering: A Time To Care’ is organised by the Fostering Network and this year highlights the invaluable work foster carers do to help vulnerable children and young people in time of need.

Across the UK there is a shortage of foster carers and Leeds is no different. Foster carers are urgently needed for children and young people of all ages so Leeds has recently launched a major carer recruitment campaign ‘Do Something Amazing!’ featured on local radio and across a range of outdoor advertising to call for more people to come forward to find out how they can make a difference to the lives of looked after children in Leeds.

Leeds has many amazing foster carers – foster carers like Kathy (below) who has been a foster carer for 12 years and has supported many children with disabilities and learning difficulties and who is supporting the council’s campaign to recruit more foster carers.

Kathy Louca, a Leeds foster carer said:
“I would encourage anyone thinking about fostering to go for it. It’s not always easy but it is definitely worth it. You are really making a difference in the child’s life and the rewards you get totally outweigh the challenges.”

Kathy, a single carer, works with other foster cares providing a range of specialist services for children with a learning or physical disability - more foster carers are needed for these services as well as carers who are needed across a wide range of other fostering types, including shorter term support for young children and longer, planned permanent support for the over 10’s.

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer – they can be single, married, divorced, employed, unemployed, with or without children of their own. People from diverse backgrounds and all ethnic origins are needed to help children benefit from living with families who share their own culture, language and religion.

The council’s fostering service provides a comprehensive range of training and support for it’s foster carers , including weekly fees and allowances.

Councillor Judith Blake executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“It is important to remember we are not looking for superheroes; we just want to hear from people who think they may have the time, patience and commitment to help some of the city’s most vulnerable youngsters.

“Foster carers in Leeds make a invaluable contribution to supporting looked after Leeds children and this campaign is a great opportunity to encourage more people to join them. Together we can help transform the lives of children and young people in the city.”

Those interested in finding out more about fostering can register their interest online by visiting or contact 0113 2474747 for advice and an information pack.

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

Equality excellence for Leeds

Leeds City Council is one of the best local authorities in the country for managing, promoting and celebrating diversity.

That’s according to a panel of experts who have awarded the council ‘excellent’ status against the equality framework for local government.

‘Excellent’ is the highest possible rating.

Leeds is the largest authority to be awarded the status, which has only been achieved by a handful of other local councils.

The expert panel of assessors – from Local Government Improvement and Development and other local authorities– spent several days in the city this week as part of the validation process.

A number of areas were assessed, including how well the council understands and engages with local communities and its residents. Customer satisfaction was also considered and so was the diversity of the authority’s workforce.

Leeds was praised for its passionate staff and their commitment to delivering high quality public services. Leadership was also praised and the assessors concluded that the council’s approach to the equality agenda was ‘inspirational’ and ‘innovative’.

The council was commended for its Equalities Assembly and the Migrant Access Project, which supports new migrants arriving in the city.

They also cited the Leeds Disability Sport Youth Panel. It is made up of young people between 16-25 from different backgrounds, with or without a disability who meet regularly throughout the year to help develop and promote sport in the city.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“This is a fantastic success for the council and one that we’ve worked hard to achieve.

“The feedback from the assessors was very encouraging and I’m pleased the hard work and commitment to achieve excellent status has paid off.

“I’m delighted that our priorities of protecting front line services and ensuring local jobs for local people were picked out as particular highlights.”

“Despite our success, we recognise that there is still room for us to improve even further.

“For instance, I want to make sure the council’s workforce – at all levels – better represents the make-up of Leeds.”

Notes to editors:

The Equality Framework for Local Government helps focus equality within the public sector, helping staff, communities and partners to participate in a fairer society.

The Equalities Assembly is a corporate involvement forum for equality communities across Leeds.


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

East Leeds community centre transformed by locals

A community centre has been given a much needed revamp and is reopening to local residents next week.

The Haselwood Hub, a Portakabin in east Leeds, had seen better days, but has been revamped by Michelangelo’s Mates, The Garden Gang and East North East Homes Leeds, who manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council.

An event will be held on Wednesday 18 May between 12.30 and 5pm to celebrate the re-launch of the Hub and show people the new improved facilities.

The old unit at Haselwood Drive was unattractive and under-used by local residents and groups. The newly refurbished building now houses local community groups and is used for people to attend a wide range of courses from the educational – ESOL, health advice, budget planning - to the recreational - painting, gardening and DIY skills.

People from all the groups who currently use the Hub will be marking the occasion with activities for all the family.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:

This event will be a celebration of bringing the old building back to life and showing the local residents the much improved facilities.
“I look forward to seeing local residents helping us to celebrate the official opening of the Hub – it is fantastic to see it up and running again, as it is a real community resource.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for the local community to find out what groups they can get involved with or find out about using the Hub for their own clubs.”

Notes to editors:
The Youth Services minibus will be on site featuring on-board games stations. An allotment is due to be created by the Garden Gang for use as an outdoor classroom by children from Ebor Gardens Primary School and a group from Year 6 will visit the Hub during the afternoon to see the site.

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.


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