Monday, 6 June 2011

All aboard for national Bookstart week

This week sees the start of National Bookstart Week and Middleton Railway will provide the backdrop for the main event in Leeds.

Free special events will run throughout the week in local libraries across Leeds around the national theme of ‘All Aboard'.

The central library will be running craft activities and songs and rhymes on Thursday, with the event at Middleton railway encouraging families and children to use libraries. There will be freebies, fancy dress, stories, action rhymes and songs and children will also have the option to ride the diesel train for free.

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All media are invited to the event at Middleton Railway to see the children in fancy dress and enjoying the free activities. The event will run from 10.30am on Wednesday 8 June. Please call the press office on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.
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Fiona Titterington, Leeds City Council’s children’s service manager for libraries said :
“Bookstart week gives an excellent opportunity for local Leeds families to take part in the numerous free activities that are taking place across the city. Bookstart week is a fantastic celebration, bringing books and reading together with young children and their families.

"The Bookstart national programme gifts books to babies and children throughout the year, developing a love of reading, and use of imagination, by children at the youngest possible age.”

The events are organised by Leeds City Council’s library service in partnership with the early years section of the council.

For more information about the events visit

To book to attend the Middleton Railway event call 0113 2476016 or e mail

The annual celebration of Bookstart, National Bookstart Day has for the first time been extended to a whole week, from Monday 6 to Sunday 12 June 2011. More than 5,000 transport and journey-themed events, storytelling, singing and rhyming sessions will be taking place across the country in libraries, children’s centres and bookshops.

Bookstart aims to help every child in the England, Wales and Northern Ireland to develop a lifelong love of books, offering millions of families the chance to discover the joy of sharing stories, books and rhymes together.

This year, a free specially commissioned All Aboard! booklet illustrated by Jess Stockham and published by Child’s Play (International) Ltd., will be gifted to families at events.

More information on the Bookstart scheme can be found via the website

Notes to editors:

About Bookstart

Bookstart is run by Booktrust, an independent national charity that encourages people of all ages and cultures to engage with books.

Bookstart is the national free books programme that encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible. We want every child in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to develop a lifelong love of books. Bookstart is a public and private partnership and is generously sponsored by children’s book publishers, Central funding is provided through the devolved administration in Wales, the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Department for Education in England. Working through local authorities and primary care trusts, Bookstart gives the gift of free books to babies, preschoolers and toddlers along with guidance materials for parents and carers. Bookstart also aims to foster a love of books through a range of fun activities. Parents wishing to receive a pack should speak to their health visitor or early years professional.


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

Empty homes revamped for local people

Newly refurbished properties are set to provide new homes to local people across Leeds.

Almost 50 empty homes have been refurbished and will be re-let to local people in Leeds as part of an initiative to re-use empty properties across the city.

Leeds City Council has been working with the three ALMOs, which manage the housing stock for the council, to make sure empty houses are brought back into use.

In just three years, 46 council owned houses that were previously leased out to other housing associations have been refurbished to the decent homes standards and are now being rented out to people from the Leeds Homes Register.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, housing and regeneration, said:

“This has been a very effective scheme, and has really helped us reduce the amount of overcrowding in some areas.

“We have been working hard so that families can move into houses that better meet their needs than any where else in the city. This is another great example of how a council service is working towards the benefits of local people in the city."

He added:

“The average cost of refurbishment has been around £15,000 per house, which has been met from the council’s major repairs allowance, and I am pleased that this work is continuing.

“Further council owned empty houses are being assessed for refurbishment in the coming year."


Notes to Editors:

Leeds City Council own approximately 58,000 houses, the majority of which are on traditional council estates across the city which are managed by Aire Valley Homes, East North East Homes, West North West Homes and Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation respectively.

Approximately 350 other houses which are owned by the Council and located across the city are leased out to Housing Associations who provide supported housing for some of the most vulnerable residents in the city.


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