Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Find out Leeds’ hidden secrets on Heritage Open Days

Caption: The stunning Picture Gallery at Temple Newsam House will be one of the highlights for visitors to see on Heritage Open Days

Venues across Leeds will be opening their doors and revealing their hidden secrets for free this week as part of the annual Heritage Open Days.

Events and activities will be taking place at almost 20 Leeds City Council-managed facilities or areas as part of the national celebration of England’s architecture, culture and heritage which takes place from 8-11 September.

Organised by English Heritage, Heritage Open Days sees venues across the country offer free access often to areas usually unseen by the general public. In Leeds the list of venues taking part this year ranges from stately homes like Lotherton Hall and Temple Newsam, to the historic Kirkgate Market and Kirkstall Abbey, museums, Leeds Art Gallery and the most famous building in the city - Leeds Town Hall – which will again be running the ever-popular tours of the clocktower for a spectacular aerial view of the city.

The great outdoors is also well catered for, with guided walks of Roundhay Park as well as the chance to hear the fascinating stories of the tales to be found within the historic Beckett Street and Lawnswood Cemeteries among many others.

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

“We are very pleased to once again be taking part in the Heritage Open Days this year. There is such a great variety of venues and activities going on in Leeds that there really be something to suit all tastes and for all ages to enjoy.

“Heritage Open Days offers the perfect opportunity to go and see the real story behind some of our most famous venues and you are almost certain to find out some things you never knew about our city and its history. We look forward to seeing lots of people making the most of that chance by taking part again this year.”

English Heritage Planning Director for Yorkshire and The Humber Trevor Mitchell said:

“Heritage Open Days is a unique event and Leeds is a unique historic city. For four days the council and many others open their doors and everyone is free to explore their local heritage. This is only possible through the efforts of owners and volunteers. It is the enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers that are the lifeblood of our country’s heritage.”

For more information on Heritage Open Days, visit the website at

Notes to editors:

Heritage Open Days is England’s contribution to European Heritage Days, taking place across 50 countries. Other events in the UK are Doors Open Days in Scotland (; Open Doors Days in Wales (; European Heritage Days in Northern Ireland (; Open House London (


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

Enrol at a Leeds music centre – and improve your brain power

"Youngsters at Leeds music centres proving you're never too young to enjoy making music."

Now is a great time to enrol in a new music class - and with nine music centres across the city there is something suitable for all ages and abilities.

And with studies in Canada and America both showing a clear link between learning an instrument and improved performance in mathematics, literacy and forming good relationships*, Leeds City Council’s Artforms is encouraging more parents and children to consider taking up an instrument, start singing lessons or maybe join a band.

Proving you are never too young to develop a love for music East Leeds music centre is starting a new 'Mini Music Makers' programme this month, which offers tuition to children aged 4 to 7 in singing, recorder, guitar and drumming.

Alex Wibrew, head of East Leeds music centre says:
“Here in Leeds we have a world class music programme that has been rated as outstanding. It brings huge benefits to the children of the city. We regularly see children grow in self belief and confidence through music. That transfers into other areas, such school or home.”

The Mini Music Maker classes will cost £2 a session and £1 for people in receipt of benefits. The East Leeds music centre is based at the new Leeds East Academy (formerly Parklands Girls High school) on Saturday mornings.

Leeds City Council’s Artforms runs nine music centres across the city which cater for all ages and abilities - other new classes starting at the east Leeds centre this September include:

Junkbeatz a junk percussion class for all ages which will cost £3 (£1 if in receipt of benefits).

ZUMBA – the latest dance and get-fit craze, which will be £3 a week.

For more information about Mini Music Makers or other new classes at East Leeds Music Centre contact Alex Wibrew, on 07813918133.

Leeds City Council's music centres offer something for all the family: high quality teaching at affordable prices, with concessions for under 18’s, over 60s and people on benefits.

In a relaxed setting, students of all ages can learn an instrument, play in a band or an orchestra, or sing. Enrolment for all music centres starts this month.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“Musical training is great fun, an opportunity to make friends and it helps improve your overall mood and well-being. Why not enrol at one of our music centres to find out if you have musical talents you never even knew of, re-discover those you thought you'd lost, or finally learn the instrument you always wanted to!”

Enrolment for the following music centres will take place on Saturday 10 September:
North Leeds Music Centre (Carr Manor High School)
South Leeds Music Centre (Cockburn School)
Boston Spa Music Centre (Boston Spa School)
Rothwell Music Centre (Royds High School)
Arts Live (Garforth Academy)

Enrolment at these centres takes place today (Wednesday 7 September):
South Leeds Music Centre (Bruntcliffe High School)
West Leeds Music Centre (Pudsey Grangefield School)

Enrolment at these centres takes place tomorrow (Thursday 8 September)
West Leeds Music Centre (City of Leeds High School)
Guiseley Music Centre (Guiseley School)

Enrolment at the following centres has already taken place, but places are still available.
Horsforth Music Centre (Horsforth School)
Rothwell Music Centre (Rodillian School)
East Leeds Music Centre (Leeds East Academy)

For full information about all the classes, times and locations for each music centre please visit or contact Artforms on 0113 230 4074.


• Research by Nina Kraus, a professor at Northwestern University in America suggested that connections between brain cells are established during musical training that can aid in other forms of communication, such as speech, reading and understanding a foreign language.

Research by Professor Laurel Trainor of McMaster University in Canada showed that music lessons can improve memory and learning ability in young children by encouraging different patterns of brain development.

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

New £130,000 playground for Roundhay Park

Caption: Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Cllr Adam Ogilvie (left) joins Julia Wilson and David Binns of the Friends of Roundhay Park at the current playground in the park

A new playground for children and young people up to the age of 13 including those with disabilities is to be built in Roundhay Park.

Work is expected to begin on the new £130,000 playground before Christmas with a scheduled opening of Spring 2012.

The project is being carried out by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service with funding support of £60,000 from the Government’s Aiming High For Disabled Children programme.

The location of the new playground was determined following extensive consultation carried out on behalf of parks and countryside by the Friends of Roundhay Park.

Over 450 interviews, including 30 with families of disabled children, were carried out with visitors at different times and at various locations around the park. The most popular location for the new playground, chosen by over half of those questioned, was near to the existing skatepark on Soldiers Field. Nearly two-thirds of 7-13-year-olds who took part in the survey also selected this site as their preferred choice.

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

“This fantastic new playground is going to be a great addition to the facilities at Roundhay Park for young people and families to make use of.

“We would like to very much like to thank the Friends of Roundhay Park for all their support and hard work in carrying out the consultation and we look forward to seeing the new playground built and open.”

Access to the new playground will be from the car park at the former tram stop nearby, with new disabled car parking spaces being allocated to accommodate the expected demand.

Chairperson of the Friends of Roundhay Park Julia Wilson said:

“The skateboard park location was the most popular choice with park visitors because it is close to bus stops, and can also be easily expanded in the future when more funding becomes available for play provision at Roundhay Park.

“It will provide us with a much-needed second playground, in addition to the one we have at Lakeside.”

For more information on Roundhay Park, go to and enter Roundhay Park in the search box.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, senior communications officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email: