Monday, 8 August 2011

Secure your place at fabulous Fantasia

Caption: Classical Fantasia is set in the magnificent grounds of Kirkstall Abbey

Tickets to this year’s magical Classical Fantasia at Kirkstall Abbey are now on sale.

The open-air classical music performance in the grounds of the 12th century abbey is one of the most eagerly-awaited events of the year in Leeds due to its fantasy-inspired music, stunning fireworks and breathtaking setting which together make for a special and unique spectacle.

This year’s performance takes place on Saturday 3 September with gates opening from 6pm and the main performance starting from approximately 8pm.

Organised by Leeds City Council, Classical Fantasia is now in its 16th year and will feature music provided by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia accompanied by the now famous spectacular illumination of the abbey ruins and electrifying fireworks.

Tickets are priced at £9.50 for LEEDSCard and Breezecard holders, £8.50 for LEEDSCard Extra holders and £12 for general admission (all prices inclusive of VAT) and are available on a strictly first-come first-served basis.

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

“Classical Fantasia is one of the great events of the year in Leeds, with fantastic music, the amazing fireworks and the majestic setting of Kirkstall Abbey making for a very special evening of entertainment.

“At £9.50 for LEEDSCard holders, that is excellent value-for-money to enjoy one of the highlights of the year in Leeds. The atmosphere at this weekend’s Opera in the Park was fantastic and we look forward to everyone enjoying another great night out at Classical Fantasia.”

Tickets can be purchased online at, or in person or by calling the City Centre Box Office at The Carriageworks off Millennium Square (0113 224 3801) or Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Rail Station (0113 242 5242). A limited number of tickets will also be available to purchase in person at Abbey House Museum.

For the latest information on the event including travel details visit Anyone requiring further information can also contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 396 0891 or by email at

Notes to editors:

A booking/transaction fee will apply to bookings made online or by telephone.


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

Leeds’ meals at home manager wins prestigious national award

From left to right: Mark Lewis (editor of The Caterer), Toby Wand (Fresh RM), Derek Johnson (Leeds City Council) and actor James Nesbitt

Leeds City Council’s community meals service received a boost last month when its principal catering manager was presented with an award in London.

Derek Johnson, who is also chair of the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), won the Public Sector Caterer Award at the annual Caterer and Hotelkeeper Awards, which is the industry’s equivalent to the Oscars.

The award recognises people with a long and successful career in public sector catering, and the hospitality industry in general. Derek has championed public sector catering both at home and abroad throughout his professional career, and as past chair of Healthcare Caterers International (HCI).

The judging panel paid tribute to Derek's ‘determination always to improve the service he gives to his customers’. They also were impressed at the time and commitment he devotes to the industry outside of his day job. This includes his development of the Care Cook of the Year competition, co-ordination of National Meals on Wheels Week, commitment to developing best practice guidance for the care catering industry, and being one of the driving forces behind the 'No one should go hungry campaign'.

On receiving his award Derek said:
“I am absolutely delighted to win this top industry award. To achieve the recognition of my peers against such formidable competition is wonderful, and hopefully reflects the work we (the NACC) are doing to raise the profile of the care sector. When I look at the list of winners I feel so proud and humble to be in such prestigious company”

Speaking about the latest NACC initiative which was referred to in the citation given on the presentation of the award, Derek added:
”Our 'No one should go hungry' campaign can really deliver excellent results in terms of improving the quality and well being of the most vulnerable in society, whilst easing the pressure on public sector purse strings.”

Councillor Geoff Driver, deputy executive board member with responsibility for adult health and social care said:
“Hot, tasty, nourishing food is a vitally important part of achieving and maintaining a healthy and happy old age.

“We are really proud of our meals at home service, which is part of our ongoing commitment to improving standards of care for people in Leeds. I'm delighted that Derek’s dedication to improving our service, and public sector catering in general has been recognised with this award."

Additional info

The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) is a progressive organisation representing professionals providing catering to the care industry. They are recognised by local authorities, independent providers, the charitable sector and government departments as a prime source of information and opinion on all aspects of catering within the care sector and whose primary aim is to improve standards.

The NACC’s ‘No one should go hungry’ campaign is an ongoing campaign to raise the profile of malnutrition in the care sector, and demonstrate the benefits to all of good nutrition. Improved quality of life for those at risk, less demands on their carers, health and social
care services.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Councillors really dig volunteering

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon weeding a flower bed at Middleton Park

Leeds' councillors rolled up their sleeves on Friday (5 August) to show their commitment to volunteering in the city.

Led by Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, the council's champion for volunteering, elected members joined forces with staff volunteers from Leeds Initiative and Leeds City Council at Middleton Park to complete tasks such as cutting back overhanging branches, clearing paths of overgrown vegetation, weeding the flower beds, fence painting and planting.

Organised by the Leeds Ahead social enterprise, the day formed part of their 'Green Space Action' project, which aims to improve and enhance local, inner-city green spaces and parks. These are areas used by local people, visitors and workers, and are at the heart of local communities. The extra support provided by volunteers helps to make sure that they are well-maintained so that they provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone who uses them.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, champion for volunteering in Leeds said:
“We really have had a fantastic day today. The weather stayed fine and it was just great to get outside, roll our sleeves up and get our hands dirty doing something that will benefit the many people that use Middleton Park.

“There are all kinds of different volunteering opportunities available around Leeds, and I would encourage anyone who’s thinking about trying something a little bit different to have a go.

“Leeds City Council is committed to engaging as many citizens, neighbourhoods and communities in volunteering as possible for the greater good of the city.”

Middleton Park is situated 4 miles from the city centre in south Leeds and covers 630 acres, including 200 acres of ancient woodland. The park also has grasslands, a golf course and other recreational areas.

Additional info

Leeds Ahead is a social enterprise. It provides businesses and employers with a single, easy point of access to a wide range of community-focused projects across the city.

2011 is the European Year of Volunteering. Its objectives are to:
• Work towards an enabling and facilitating environment for volunteering in the EU;
• Empower volunteer organisations and improve the quality of volunteering;
• Reward and recognise volunteering activities; and
• Raise awareness of the value and importance of volunteering.

The “spotlight” theme months in Leeds during 2011 are as follows
1. January and February - poverty and homelessness theme led by LATCH housing association
2. March and April - young people and children theme led by Learning Partnerships
3. May and June - environment theme led by Groundwork
4. July and August – sport theme with Sports Leeds
5. September and October – culture theme led by Space 2
6. November and December theme – health theme led by Healthy Living Network Leeds

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578