Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Museum dance stars ready for carnival finale

Caption: The Leeds museums and galleries staff in action at the Otley Carnival

Leeds City Museum staff who have transformed themselves into an award-winning dance troupe are preparing for their final public performance at the Leeds West Indian Carnival on Monday.

The team, led by curators Helen Langwick and Antonia Lovelace, created their own colourful troupe costumes with help from carnival costume designer Hughbon Condor to help promote the latest special exhibition at the museum off Millennium Square - ‘Dancing in the Street’ - which celebrates the best in festivals and street carnivals in Leeds.

The team is split into two troupes, with curator of exhibitions Helen dressed as the ‘Leeds His-tree’ with her colleagues and members of the local community as falling leaves behind her while a second troupe promoting the Leeds Discovery Centre is led by curator of anthropology Antonia flanked by historical characters.

The group achieved instant success on their first appearance at the Otley Carnival earlier this summer, winning first prize in the adult float category. This was followed by further appearances at the Bramley Carnival and Leeds Pride.

Now the team are looking to bow out in style with their finale performance at the famous Leeds West Indian Carnival which takes place on the streets of Chapeltown from 2:15pm on Bank Holiday Monday 29 August.

Helen and Antonia will also be appearing in costume at Leeds Town Hall on Friday night as part of the Carnival King and Queen event from 6:30pm.

Their costumes form part of the free exhibition which has already been seen by over 8,000 people at Leeds City Museum since opening last month.

The exhibition has been organised by Leeds City Council with funding from the Arts Council England and support from West Yorkshire Archive Service plus Otley and Bramley Carnivals, Leeds Pride and the West Indian Carnival to celebrate the creativity, diversity and vibrancy of Leeds’ carnivals and street festivals.

Visitors can discover all about the history, costumes and characters that bring these community events to life while there is also be a strong interactive element such as playing a steel pan or the chance to dress up in a virtual reality carnival outfit.

Displays of photos and programmes from festivals and carnivals down the years as well as archive film footage tell the story of the important role such events have had and continue to play in the strength of communities around the city.

Leeds City Museum curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick said:

“It has been great fun to create our carnival troupe and the reaction we have had at events has been brilliant and shows just how important carnivals and street parties are to celebrating communities and community spirit across the city.

“We cannot wait to join in the fun at the Leeds West Indian Carnival on Monday and see all the amazing floats and outfits which will be on display. Once that has finished though we will be hanging up our costumes for good so come along and gives us a cheer on the day or visit the exhibition to see all the amazing outfits up close.”

‘Dancing in the Street’ runs until Sunday 8 January 2012 in the ‘special exhibitions’ area of Leeds City Museum. Admission free.

Leeds City Museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am-5pm, Thursdays 10am-7pm and Saturdays and Sundays 11am-5pm. Admission is free.

For further information on Leeds City Museum, visit the website at


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

Breeze finale spectacular heads for Kirkstall Abbey

"Young people enjoying the massive choice of things to do at Breeze on Tour this summer."

Thousands of young people across the city have flocked to this year’s Breeze on Tour -Leeds City Council’s unique free summer events for under 19s.

The final stop for Breeze on Tour 2011 will be a two day event at Kirkstall Abbey this week on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 August. So far, approximately 11,000 young people have visited the 19 days of action packed fun during the Breeze tour of the city this year.

Media opportunity:
Members of the media are invited to attend the final Breeze on Tour at Kirkstall Abbey on Wednesday 24 or Thursday 25 August between 12 noon and 5pm.
If you wish to attend please contact the press office on 0113 2474713.

Leeds is the only city in the country to put on a tour of free events every week throughout the summer holidays, which consist of a massive variety of things to do including sport, music, entertainment and competitions. The idea behind Breeze on Tour is to keep kids active and give them the opportunity to take part in positive experiences all for free, which they wouldn’t normally be able to try.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive board member for learning, said:
“It is fantastic that thousands of young people have already enjoyed taking part in this year’s Breeze events.

“One of the great things about Breeze on Tour is that there’s something different on at each event, so even if you’ve attended one, there’ll still be loads of new things to try when the tour moves on to the next location.

“Families in Leeds are very lucky to have such exciting free events to attend, so I’d urge anyone who’s never been to a Breeze on Tour to head to Kirkstall Abbey to see what they are missing.”

Every year is different with 2011 being just as exciting as the rest. Those who have visited this year’s events will have shared the great atmosphere at Cross Flatts Park where Breeze attractions were enhanced by Hamara’s new mobile football stadium. Cross Flatts also saw the launch of the newly refurbished Breeze trucks whose livery was designed by young people from Leeds. Crowds also flocked to enjoy Play Day at Breeze On Tour at Temple Newsam where some lucky families were served doughnuts by Claire Richards of the pop group Steps

When Breeze on Tour visited Scott Hall playing fields those attending had the real treat of being entertained by artists from CLAMP (Con¬cept, Lyrics, Appear¬ance, Music, Performance) - a course established earlier this year by organiser Justin Bravo in partnership with Future Arts. Also, 10 Jam - a project to inspire young people who wish to have a career in music gave a fantastic showcase of young artists they are supporting.

Around 3,000 young people plus their parents attended 2 great days of arts and sporting activities when Breeze on Tour visited Armley Park last week.

The grand finale at Kirkstall Abbey will see the final heats of Breeze Has Talent on Thursday afternoon as well as the finals of the Urban Sprint Challenge and the ‘Take it easy’ board game finals with Imagination gaming.

Breeze on Tour began in 2004 and has run every year since then offering young people opportunities to taste new activities and develop skills. Several young people have even had their first experience of employment with the programme. The Breeze casual staff team has members who performed on stage there or made their first visit at the age of 12/13.

For more information on CLAMP visit

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

Roundhay families celebrate new children’s centre

Families in Roundhay are being invited to discover what’s on offer at their local children’s centre when it officially opens later this week.

The Roundhay children’s centre, which is based at Gledhow primary school, is holding an opening event on Thursday 25 August from 11am. Families are welcome to come along and meet the children’s centre team, and take part in activities including messy play, story-telling, Music Bugs, face painting and parachute games.

Media opportunity:
Members of the media are welcome to come along to the opening event to meet with families and children’s centre staff for interviews and photographs.
When: Thursday 25 August from 11am (official opening and speech at 11.30am)
Where: Roundhay children’s centre, Gledhow primary school, entrance on Brackenwood Drive, LS8 1QA.

The children’s centre, which has been open to the community since May 2010 and has already engaged with around 540 families from the local area and beyond, will be officially opened by Leeds City Council’s director of children’s services, Nigel Richardson and Councillor Kamila Maqsood, the council’s lead member for children’s services

Roundhay Children’s Centre offers services to support families from the moment a child is conceived to the age of 5 including outreach work, training courses and groups.

Cllr Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services, said:
“Children’s centres are at the heart of what we are trying to achieve in Leeds. They provide an opportunity for families to access the vital services to help them develop and succeed.

“It is tremendous what is on offer at the new Roundhay centre. It is already proving to be a hub for the local community helping parents provide the very best start in life for their children.”

Wendy Wooler, Roundhay children’s centre services co-ordinator, said:
“I am very proud of what we have achieved since we opened, which is thanks to the dedicated team we have here, and am looking forward to meeting more families to show them all the fantastic services we have to offer.

“Our Family Outreach Workers have worked very hard in a relatively short space of time to engage with families in the community which has led to there already being 483 individual families registered with the centre.”

Family Outreach Workers offer individual support to families with children five years old or under, who either self-refer or are referred through agencies such as health, social care or private providers. There is also an opt-in door step information sharing and support service for local parents. Support offered can include parenting support, housing support, debt management and coping with domestic violence.

Parents can also attend the centre to take courses such as paediatric first aid, ESOL, infant massage and parenting courses., as well as joining group sessions at each of the centre’s linked schools (Kerr Mackie and Roundhay St John's primary schools) including; stay & play, Music Bugs and messy play. Leafield Clinic also holds a weekly well-baby clinic from the centre every Thursday morning.

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