Monday, 13 June 2011

High praise for parents who can Speakeasy about sex

Picture caption: "Cllr Jane Dowson meets one of the parents who took part in the Speakeasy course at Cross Flatts primary school, after the celebration event"

Picture caption: "Tammy Donachie, Yvonne Jeffery and Mags Grinnell who took the Speakeasy course at Richmond Hill primary school."

Parents from Leeds who’ve taken part in a course to help them talk openly about growing up, sex and relationships with their children have been recognised for their commitment at a special celebration event.

Studies have shown that, on average, young people who talk openly with their parents and peers not only wait longer before having sex than those who don’t, but they also have the confidence to make informed decisions about lifestyles, relationships and sexual health.

The FPA Speakeasy course is a nationally recognised programme designed to help parents develop confidence in discussing growing up, sex and relationships with their children.

The Leeds Teenage Pregnancy & Parenthood Partnership has been running Speakeasy courses since 2007 in the areas of the city where teenage conceptions are highest, with the aim of reducing these rates. So far around 120 parents have completed the course.

Parents who have taken part in a Speakeasy course in Leeds this year were invited to a celebration event at the Yorkshire Dance Centre on Friday 10 June, to recognise their commitment to taking responsible action to help their children make the right choices. Each parent received a certificate of achievement from Councillor Jane Dowson, Leeds City Council’s deputy executive board member responsible for learning.

The celebration event was an opportunity for parents and carers to share their experiences and describe how the course has impacted on their family. One parent who has four boys commented that the course had made it easier for her to know how to speak to them about what is going to happen to them and to help them understand their responsibilities.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive board member responsible for learning, who presented the parents with their certificates said:
“Talking about sex and relationships with your child is often dreaded by parents, many of whom avoid what is often an awkward and uncomfortable conversation.

“The Speakeasy course helps parents tackle the subject with their children in an open and honest way. A lot of the course is about giving them the confidence to talk to their children so that they can make fully informed decisions and feel confident making those decisions.

“It was really good to meet these parents and I am sure they will use the information gained through this course to guide their children into make informed choices.”

Speakeasy is a group-based course which lasts for eight weeks (one two hour session per week). It is designed to be fun and relaxed, in an atmosphere where parents can learn together from their own experiences. The course was developed by the national sexual health charity FPA.

For more information on the Speakeasy courses and those interested in taking part can contact, or visit

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

JLS to join the Party

Caption: Chart-toppers JLS will perform at Party in the Park in Leeds

Popular British boyband JLS are the latest big-name artists to be announced for this year's Party in the Park.

The multi-award winning quartet will grace the stage at Temple Newsam Park for the second time, and join already announced chart-topping acts The Wanted, Jessie J, Example, Jay Sean and Tinchy Stryder.

In the past two years, the boys have won four MOBOs, two BRIT Awards and completed a sell-out arena tour across the UK. Their first two singles 'Beat Again' and 'Everybody in Love' both went to number one on the UK Singles Chart and now they are now getting ready to release their new album later this year and their current single 'Makes Me Wanna' is set to be another massive hit.

Party in the Park - the UK’s biggest free pop party - is organised by Leeds City Council and 96.3 Radio Aire and will take place on Sunday 31 July. Due to the overwhelming demand for tickets to the 70,000-capacity event in previous years, a new balloted ticket distribution system has been introduced this year, similar to those used for Glastonbury, Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympics to ensure everyone has a fair and equal chance of obtaining tickets.

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

Leeds residents will receive priority on all 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.

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

“It’s great to see yet another big name added to the list for this year's Party in the Park which is shaping up to be one of the most exciting events yet. Thousands have already registered for the ticket draw and we would encourage anyone who would like to attend to register their details as soon as possible before the deadline date."

96.3 Radio Aire station director Anthony Gay said:

“In the last few years JLS have proved themselves as one of the most talented and loved acts in the UK. It’s fantastic to have them at this year’s Party in the Park and I know the guys are looking forward to putting on a special show for the people of Leeds.”

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 website

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

Notes to editors:
A Leeds resident is someone who lives in a property registered for Council Tax with Leeds City Council - it is not determined by postcode.


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

Leeds school children take to the driving seat

Leeds school children will be taking to the driving seat next week as part of a practical road safety lesson.

Pupils from Leeds Primary schools will be attending a ‘Safety Rangers’ event at Gipton Fire Station, where they will be presented with a ‘reaction tester’ which tests their knowledge of car braking distances and reaction speeds.

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All media are invited to Gipton Fire Station on Wednesday 15 June at 11am to see the children taking part in the road safety lesson and trying out the reaction tester. Please call the press office on 0113 247 4450 to arrange attendance.

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Children are asked to estimate where a vehicle travelling at 30mph would stop if the driver had to perform an emergency stop to try and avoid hitting a pedestrian.

The reaction tester is linked to a stationary vehicle, in which children can test their own reactions and demonstrate how quickly they can ‘react’ and stop the vehicle.

The youngsters are then shown the distance the car would actually have travelled before stopping, which usually comes as a shock, both to pupils and staff, and enhances their understanding of how important it is to give their full attention to the road.

Becky Prosser, road safety manager for Leeds City Council, said;

“Children often have a limited understanding of thinking and stopping distances and their estimations are invariably far less than the real distance that a car needs to stop. This simulation gives them the opportunity to develop their awareness in both a visual and practical way.

“Even the most experienced drivers would be unable to stop the car in less than 23 meters, this is without them having to contend with distractions and difficult road or weather conditions. The equipment is designed to help pupils realise this and emphasise the messages given by the road safety team that as pedestrians or car passengers, they can influence their own safety.”

The Road Safety team will be using the equipment at the multi agency Safety Rangers Events, organised by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and running at four different fire stations across the city this summer.

‘Safety Rangers’ events, co-ordinated by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have now been running in Leeds for a number of years and offer scenarios facilitated by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, West Yorkshire Police and various other agencies relating to various aspects of safety for Year 5 & 6 pupils.

Notes to editors:
Safety Rangers is organised by Safety Central of the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service


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