Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Bigger and better Breeze International Youth Festival unveiled

Caption: Images from last year's Breeze International Youth Festival event on Briggate (courtesy of Jonathan Turner)
The Breeze International Youth Festival returns to Leeds next week with an ambitious new programme.

Now in its 16th year, the biggest arts festival for young people in West Yorkshire sees 25 events and activities taking place at locations across the city centre over 12 days from Wednesday 25 May to Sunday 5 June.

Organised by Leeds City Council’s arts and regeneration team in partnership with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Phoenix Dance and Leeds Grand Theatre, the festival showcases new work developed by young people for young people including workshops, exhibitions and performances.

For the first time this year a team of young people called the Breeze Festival Management Team have been involved in programming events, event management and marketing. The group meet regularly since being formed in March and have played a key role in shaping the make-up of the festival.

As well as showcasing local excellence, the festival also supports and celebrates international work with two highlights being world-class violinist Tcha Limberger playing Hungarian Dance music and international musician Girishh Gopalakrishnan leading a workshop and performance at Leeds Grand Theatre.

The festival begins on Wednesday 25 May with the premiere of ‘Where’s Your Mama Gone’ at The Carriageworks, followed by a director’s talk after the performance.

BIYF Live! On Briggate returns on Saturday May 28 with a free concert featuring live music and dance. The open-air show offers the chance to see some of the best new talent in Leeds today, including AMP Awards winners the Gonzos and the DAZL Boys who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

BIYF Live! Moves to The Carriageworks on Saturday 4 June for an evening of dance performances and two short films from the Seacroft Film Factory. Tickets are £3 available from The Carriageworks with Breezecard holders gaining free admission.

Both BIYF Live! events will be supported by the Infozone, a one-stop shop for the arts where young people can talk to people and performers to find out more about year-round activities and events they can get involved in in Leeds.

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

“The Breeze International Youth Festival gets bigger and better every year and with such an exciting and varied programme on offer we look forward to seeing lots of people attending and enjoying the great young talent to be found in Leeds.”

For the full programme of festival events and activities, many of which are free with others including discounts for Breezecard holders, and also details of how to book tickets visit the website at

Notes to editors:

• Other photographs available on request. Please contact Ann Wishart
• Press reviewers and photographers are welcome to attend the festival. If you would like to cover the festival, please contact Ann Wishart in advance to arrange appropriate access.
• To help festival goers plan their weekend, Leeds City Council have produced a full colour brochure, containing information about all the projects, a full schedule of events, a map and venue, discounts and booking information. A downloadable programme are available at
• Leeds City Council’s arts and regeneration team create opportunities for people to take part in the cultural life of their city, leading the way in regeneration through the arts.


For media enquiries please contact:
Ann Wishart,
Leeds City Council arts & regeneration unit,
Tel: 0113 247 8049, Email:

Historic building advice for residents in Armley

Events showing people how to maintain historic buildings will be running in Armley for the next six months.

Owners and occupiers of historic buildings are invited to attend a series of free heritage events which will teach people how to effectively maintain their buildings and save money in the process.

The events have been set up under the Armley Townscape Heritage Initiative grant scheme, and will be jointly funded by Leeds City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Architects, surveyors and contractors along with residents and owners of historic buildings are being encouraged to attend the events which explain the benefits of carrying out appropriate repair and restoration works to historic buildings.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development and regeneration said:
“These events will give people an excellent insight into how to restore and maintain historic properties.

“It is important that as a city we ensure that history is kept alive and maintained for future generations to enjoy.”

The events are scheduled to run from June through to October 2011 and will be held in various buildings in Armley.

The next event is on 6 June at Armley One Stop Centre and will focus on the need for old buildings to breathe.

Details of further events and contact details can be found on the Armley Townscape Heritage webpage -

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

Bid approval puts Leeds trolleybus scheme back on the right road

A major new public transport scheme for Leeds has taken another step forward today, after senior councillors approved the ‘best and final’ bid to be submitted to the government.

At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board, members agreed the details of the final bid for the proposed trolleybus scheme, known as New Generation Transport (NGT) could be submitted to the Department of Transport.

Leeds City Council has been working in partnership with Metro to develop the high quality trolleybus system which will help support the growth of Leeds economy and improve the local environment.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member responsible for development said:
“After the proposal was stalled last year as part of the government’s comprehensive spending review, we now have to submit our bid to hopefully get the scheme moving forward again.

“We estimate that the trolleybus scheme could generate around 4,000 jobs in Leeds and the wider city region, as well as around 1,000 jobs during the construction, so it’s really important we get the nod from the DfT.

“The NGT trolleybus network’s ability to tackle congestion and reduce the city’s carbon footprint will speed Leeds’ recovery from recession. It will boost its economy and enhance the region’s ability to compete on the national and international stage.

“It is so important we get this bid to the government sooner rather than later to prevent costs going up even more. I think the people of Leeds have waited long enough to get this scheme off the ground so we will continue our work to press the government on the urgent need to deliver this scheme.”

Leeds NGT bid will be submitted in the summer in the hope of an earlier decision which would reduce the delay in progressing the scheme and the increased costs that would incur.

If the scheme gets the go ahead services would be operated by state-of-the-art, fully accessible trolleybus vehicles which are powered from overhead wires. This would give the network the sense of permanence associated with a tram system while at the same time reducing climate change emissions and avoiding future reliance on fossil fuels. Other benefits of these vehicles include high performance, low noise, air quality benefits and low maintenance costs. The scheme comprises a North route from Holt Park to the city centre and a South route serving Hunslet and Stourton, with Park & Ride sites at Stourton and Bodington.

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

Leeds adult learners celebrated

This week sees the 20th anniversary of national Adult Learners Week and Leeds is getting involved with the celebrations.

There are almost 8000 adults engaged in informal learning across Leeds, and in order to recognise and celebrate their achievements, Leeds City Council is holding its annual Awards Ceremony at the Civic Hall.

The event is being held on Friday 20 May from 4 – 6pm. It will include a performance by learners from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and a dvd including students work from the Leeds College of Art.

Adult Learners Week provides an opportunity for adult learners or those thinking about becoming new learners to celebrate their achievements and encourage others to take part.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for jobs and skills said;

“This administration has made Jobs & Skills one of its top priorities and we are working hard with our partners to increase learning opportunities for young people and others searching for work. It essential that we provide people with every possible opportunity to improve their employability in these challenging times.

Adult Learners’ Week is a great opportunity to highlight the wide range of training opportunities on offer in Leeds. It also gives us a chance to celebrate the achievements of those individuals who make the most of these opportunities, and recognise the work of the host of organisations who work so hard to improve the life chances of others.”

To raise awareness and promote adult learning, Leeds City Council has a range of activities taking place at Stanhope Community Centre, Thorpe including IT sessions and growing for beginners including creative planting sessions with Groundwork Leeds.

There will also be IT sessions along with other activities at a Super Saturday event and during the following week at Manor Field Hall, Middleton.

Adult Learning open days are also taking place at the children’s centres in Meanwood, Gipton and Richmond Hill.

For further information about adult learning visit

Leeds City Council is working in conjunction with the Skills Funding Agency to encourage and support adult learning in Leeds.


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

City celebrates as Olympic Flame gets set to shine on Leeds

Caption: Celebrating the announcement at Leeds City Museum are Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Cllr Adam Ogilvie (centre in top photo) with Leeds-based athletes Rebecca Gallantree (left), Alex Wright (sitting behind Rebecca) and Natasha Perdue (right), along with pupils from Gledhow Primary School, St Peter and Paul School in Yeadon and Raynville Primary School of Bramley

One of the most famous symbols in the world is to pay Leeds a visit next year as it has today been announced the Olympic Flame will be coming to the city.

On Sunday 24 June 2012, the iconic symbol of the Olympic Games will be arriving in Leeds and stay overnight as it makes its way around the country before heading to London for the start of the world’s biggest sporting event in the capital in July.

To welcome the flame and to celebrate its stay in Leeds, a major evening celebration event is to be held in the city giving thousands of people the chance to see the flame arrive and light a cauldron as a finale to the event.

Discussions are currently ongoing around the location and programme of the event, which will be managed by the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and partners Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung and will feature top entertainment as well as showcasing local Leeds talent.

Organisers LOCOG today unveiled the first details of the Olympic Torch Relay, which will begin at Land’s End in Cornwall on the morning of May 19 2012 after the flame arrives in the UK from Greece the previous day.

The flame will then embark on a 70-day tour of the UK, travelling 8,000 miles 12 hours a day with 66 overnight stops around the country en route to London on July 27 2012 where it will light the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium to officially declare the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Local people will also have the chance to be nominated to carry the flame on its journey as LOCOG, Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung will all be running public nomination campaigns to select 8,000 people to become torchbearers. There will be a focus on young people for the role as half of the torchbearers are expected to be between the ages of 12 and 24 years of age.

Reacting to the news that the flame will be visiting and staying overnight in Leeds, Leeds City Council executive member for Leeds Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“This is wonderful news for the city and is sure to go down in the history books for future generations to read about – the day the Olympic Flame came to Leeds. The flame is one of the most iconic symbols in the world, not just in sport, inspiring people to achieve and try their best to realise their potential.

“The evening event is going to be a great public celebration for thousands of people to enjoy as well as showcasing Leeds talent, while the fact local people will also get the chance to be nominated to carry the flame during its journey in and out of Leeds is hugely exciting as it will provide a memory never to be forgotten. We cannot wait to give the flame a great Leeds welcome, it is going to be a fantastic day for everyone to be part of and enjoy with immense pride.”

City of Leeds and Great Britain diver Rebecca Gallantree, who competed at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, said:

"I am thrilled that the people of Leeds will have the opportunity to see the Olympic Flame first hand and attend the evening celebration event, which promises to be a real treat. I've experienced the inspiring impact that the Olympic Flame can have on athletes myself and I'm looking forward to seeing the people of Leeds being equally inspired by it."

The first of the public nominations campaigns to carry the flame began today as LOCOG launched its ‘Moment to Shine’ to find 2,012 inspirational people who have great stories of personal achievement and/or contribution to their local community.
The nomination portal at is now running and will be open for six weeks until 11.59pm on Wednesday 29 June 2011. Judging panels will be set up in each nation and region of the UK to select the torchbearers for each area.

The nominations campaigns run by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung will be launched next month.

Chair of LOCOG Sebastian Coe said:

“We are thrilled that Leeds City Council has agreed to host the Olympic Flame on its journey right across the UK. The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across Leeds, celebrating the culture and heritage of the area and showcasing the very best of the city. We have no doubt that the welcome Leeds will provide will demonstrate how the spirit of the Olympic Games is reaching out across the UK and excitement builds as the start of the 2012 Games draws closer.”

Over 130 schools in Leeds are already engaged in Olympics project ‘Spirit Alive’, which gives pupils the chance to lead, manage and deliver a mini-Olympic experience in their schools.

Further details about the route the Olympic Torch Relay will take will be announced later in the year.

For more information on Leeds and its work towards the London 2012 Olympic Games, visit

Notes to editors:

The ‘Spirit Alive’ project began four years ago in Leeds to give school pupils a chance to lead, manage and deliver a mini-olympic experience in their schools. Over 130 schools are involved with the aim to have 250 schools ( representing 100,000 pupils) involved by 2012.

As well as being a competitive sporting event ‘Spirit Alive’ has opening and closing ceremonies, often involving music and dance, and an external audience who need to be looked after – just like the real thing. Pupils develop work related skills such as planning, organising, financing, marketing and communicating.In preparation for the event pupils benefit from cross curricular research and learning ‘Spirit Alive’ will provide a legacy from the 2012 Games in the form of an enhanced education and work related skills experience for our young people.

Coca-Cola has a proud heritage of involvement in Olympic Torch Relays. Coca-Cola has supported ten Olympic Torch Relays and the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will be the company's eighth as a Presenting Partner. Coca-Cola's ambition for the London 2012 Torch Relay is to intensify excitement and anticipation for the 2012 Olympic Games by shining a light on the best of British youth and encouraging people to get involved in their local communities.

As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB will be taking the spirit and inspiration of the Olympic Flame right to the heart of communities across the UK. As part of Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland will be the National Presenting Partner in Scotland. We will bring the Relay closer to our customers through our branches on practically every high street and our activities in the community, National School Sport Week and Local Heroes. Customers can be the first to hear about exclusive offers, including how they can have the chance to carry the Olympic Flame, through our customer-exclusive programme, Trackside. Find out more at

Samsung looks forward to recommencing its Presenting Partnership of the Olympic Torch Relay by providing citizens from the UK and around the world the opportunity to share the dynamic experiences of the London Olympic Games. For Athens 2004, under the theme of “Share the Experience,” Samsung was one of two Presenting Partners of the first ever global Olympic Torch Relay. For Torino 2006, Samsung provided a once-in-a-lifetime chance to run with the Olympic Flame to more than 1,900 people around the world in Italy. And as one of three Presenting Partners of the Beijing 2008 OTR, 1,500 Samsung torchbearers carried the flame for the International Torch Relay. For the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay in particular, Samsung aims to leverage its role as a Presenting Partner to highlight its passion for youth and the future and encourage participants to join together in creating a memorable and inspirational journey.


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

Council acquires land at Elland Road for regeneration plans

Leeds City Council has today announced that it has successfully acquired seven acres of land at Elland Road, Beeston as part of its plan to develop and regenerate the area.

The acquisition of the land at the rear of the football stadium is the culmination of a long-held ambition to develop in total over 16 hectares (40 acres) of land around the Leeds United football ground which is currently a match-day car park.

The council believes that investment in the site, which includes land close to the M621 and the Leeds to London mainline, has significant potential to regenerate the surrounding communities of Beeston and Holbeck.

In 2007 the council developed a Masterplan for the area to guide future development and encourage the area’s regeneration.

The council now owns all the land bounded by the M621 motorway, Elland Road, Lowfields Road and the railway line, with the exception of the football stadium.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member with responsibility for city development, said:

“This area of land is a landmark site for Leeds and it is great that after working for nearly 25 years to acquire it, we have successfully completed the task.

“The acquisition will give the council greater control to deliver the comprehensive redevelopment of land around Elland Road football stadium and it complements Leeds United’s existing East Stand redevelopment proposals.

“We will continue to keep the public informed about the progress of our plans for Elland Road to achieve our ambition to make the site an important contributor to the regeneration of the local community and the Leeds economy.”

The council has already implemented parts of the Elland Road Masterplan having sold the former greyhound stadium on Elland Road. West Yorkshire Police Authority purchased the land for the development of their proposed new Divisional Headquarters.

The seven acres of land acquired by Leeds City Council is adjacent to Leeds United Football Stadium on Lowfields Road to the rear of the North Stand between the football stadium and the M621 motorway. Initially the land is likely to be used for additional match day car parking prior to improvement work.

Leeds United is currently implementing improvements to the East Stand following their refurbishment of the existing conference facility on Lowfields Road .


For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602

New Lord Mayor elect of Leeds announced

A new Lord Mayor elect of Leeds has been announced for 2011/12.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Reverend Alan Taylor will be taking over the role from Councillor Jim McKenna later this month when his term comes to an end.

Alan will be the 118th Mayor of the city, and he is looking forward to taking up the new role.

He said:

“It is a fantastic honour and one which I am very much looking forward to taking up.”

“The role of Lord Mayor is an important civic role and one which any councillor would be proud to take.”

Councillor Taylor was born in Leeds and attended Hunslet Carr School until leaving to work at Yorkshire Imperial Metals – formerly Yorkshire Copper Works. He continued clerical work joining the GPO staff.

He was ordained at Liverpool Cathedral in 1969, working in Walton, Toxteth and Wavertree, where he combined his parish work alongside working as Race Relations Advisor to the then Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard. In between parishes he became a monk at the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield. He returned to Leeds in 1983 to become Vicar of St Aidan’s, Harehills where he is still serving - he is the longest serving vicar of a parish in the diocese. All his Ministry has been in the inner city and as a result he is passionate about issues relating to inner city life.

Councillor Taylor has always had an interest in local issues and decided to stand for Council. He was elected in 1999 to represent the former Harehills ward and was re-elected to serve the present Gipton and Harehills ward in 2004 and 2008.

Alan enjoys walking and bird watching in his time off, and says “it’s a way of recharging his batteries”.
He also enjoys going to the theatre and enjoying every facet of the Arts.

Councillor Taylor will be accompanied by friends and colleagues as Lady Mayoress/Consort during his time in office.

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

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my term as Lord Mayor . 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 Alan the best of success when he takes up the post later this month, and I am sure he will do an excellent job”

Councillor Jim McKenna and Councillor Andrea McKenna made history when they became Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress last year as they are the first pairing to both be councillors at the authority.

Notes to editors:

Councillor Alan Taylor will be installed as the Lord Mayor at Leeds City Council’s Annual General Meeting on 26 May this year.


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