Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Leisure centre throws open its doors to young people in west Leeds.

Young people in west Leeds now have a great place to go every Saturday night, thanks to a new youth project launched at Armley leisure centre.

Leeds City Council’s Out of School Activities Team has secured the new centre solely for the use of the Saturday Night Project between 6pm and 9pm. The project is aimed at young people aged between 8 and 18 years and members will benefit from all the facilities the brand new building has to offer.

Activities include: team sports, games, badminton, table tennis, boxercise, arts and music production, swimming and a safe space to chill and meet new friends. The senior group will also have access to the gym facilities with a qualified coach to sign them up to the bodyline card giving advise on fitness programmes and healthy living. The club runs over two sessions: juniors (8-13 years) 6-7.30pm and seniors (12-18 years) 7.30-9pm.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Young people need interesting and safe places to go to which are local to them, meet their needs and interests, and provided at a time when otherwise they would have little to do.

“Having exclusive use of the leisure centre will give these young people the opportunity to make the best use these facilities in a safe and supported environment, which they may not usually be able to access.”

The project offers positive activities to young people at a time when anti-social behaviour in the area is at its highest, and has been organised in partnership with the council’s sports and recreation service and community safety and West Yorkshire Police.

Young people from across the city are welcome to attend. People who are interested in joining can just turn up on the night, or find out more by visiting breezeleeds.org. Membership is £1 per week.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Time running out to see Damien Hirst exhibition in Leeds

Caption: Only days remain to see the Damien Hirst exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery (If image used credit of 'Away from the Flock, 1994' © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2011 MUST be used in full)

Anyone wishing to see the works by Damien Hirst on display at Leeds Art Gallery now has less than two weeks to do so before the exhibition comes to an end.

The exhibition showcasing Hirst’s work for the first time ever in any depth in the city where he grew up has so far attracted over 130,000 people since opening in July, making it one of the most popular exhibitions ever held at the gallery on The Headrow.

The free exhibition of works by the world-famous artist is organised by Leeds City Council as part of the national programme of ARTIST ROOMS on tour with the Art Fund with additional sponsorship support from Leeds-based legal firm Walker Morris.

And the exhibition concludes with several significant events to encourage people of all ages to take the chance to see the display before it closes on Sunday 30 October.

At 6:30pm on Wednesday 19 October the man behind the idea of ARTIST ROOMS, Anthony d’Offay, will be at Leeds Art Gallery as guest of honour at a public discussion session with Richard Calvocoressi, Director of the Henry Moore Foundation.

The free event will see Anthony d’Offay discussing how ARTIST ROOMS developed to comprise over 1,000 works of art by 34 leading artists, now held jointly for the nation by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate.

Gallery talks and tours will be taking place each Thursday while the final day of the exhibition, Sunday 30 October, sees two major events taking place. From 1:30pm-5pm, as part of the build-up to the ‘Día de los Muertos’, the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ festival, the gallery will be hosting a range of family activities in keeping with Hirst’s fascination with the subject.

The first major survey of the work of Damien Hirst will go on display at Tate Modern in 2012, part of the London Festival 2012, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. The curator of that exhibition, Ann Gallagher, will be in Leeds from 2pm to give an insight into the artist’s work as the Leeds exhibition draws to a close.

The Leeds exhibition showcases Hirst’s work throughout his career and includes items from the London restaurant he co-owned, Pharmacy, exhibited as a gallery display for free for the first time anywhere in the world.

The works on display reflect the development of Hirst’s career from his student days which began at Leeds College of Art and Design to his later works after he had established himself as one of the world’s highest-profile artists.

Alongside the iconic ‘Away from the Flock’, one of Hirst’s signature pieces of animals suspended in formaldehyde which shot him to international prominence in the early 1990s, the exhibition also features a large cabinet piece ‘Trinity – Pharmacology, Physiology, Pathology’ (2000), ‘Monument to the Living and the Dead’ (2006), the large butterfly painting ‘Mantra’ (2008) and a spot painting from 1994.

Hirst himself and his studio played a major part in the planning of the exhibition, which is part of the national ARTIST ROOMS programme which sees collections of modern and contemporary art held by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland going on display around the country.

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

“The Damien Hirst ARTIST ROOMS exhibition has been a phenomenal success and if anyone has not yet been to see it make sure you do. We are thrilled to have Anthony d’Offay coming to Leeds to offer his thoughts on Hirst which will be fascinating to hear. It has been wonderful to have this exhibition on display for free for the people of Leeds to enjoy, and we’d like to thank Walker Morris for their generous support as sponsors which helped make it possible.”

Walker Morris partner Debbie Jackson said:

“At Walker Morris our approach has always been about using the power of art to stimulate creativity and innovation. We believe creativity is important whether applied to the business of law or to art. It has also always been about supporting art at all levels, spreading its enjoyment, participation and appreciation to the widest numbers of people. We are delighted that the exhibition will be able to leave a lasting legacy of art appreciation within the city.”

ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation by collector Anthony d’Offay in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. ARTIST ROOMS On Tour is an inspired partnership with the Art Fund - the fundraising charity for works of art, making available the ARTIST ROOMS collection of international contemporary art to galleries throughout the UK.

This forms part of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour with The Art Fund, which is devised to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people.

The Damien Hirst ARTIST ROOMS exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery runs until Sunday 30 October and is open Monday and Tuesday 10am - 5pm, Wednesday 12pm - 5pm, Thursday - Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 1pm - 5pm. Admission is free.

To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour visit www.artfund.org/artistrooms. To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection visit www.tate.org.uk/artistrooms and www.nationalgalleries.org/artistrooms

For more information on Leeds Art Gallery visit the website at www.leeds.gov.uk/artgallery

Notes to editors:

The Art Fund is the UK’s national fundraising charity for works of art. It believes that everyone should have access to great art and that by bringing together the contributions of all its members and supporters, it can play a part in enriching the range, quality and understanding of art for all to experience. The Art Fund campaigns, fundraises and gives money to help museums and galleries buy and show art, and also promotes its enjoyment through events and a membership scheme. Recent grant highlights include leading the £3.3 million campaign to save the Staffordshire Hoard, and helping to buy a new commission, Antony Gormley’s 6 Times, for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The Art Fund does not receive government funding; its’ members and supporters make this work possible. For more information, contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel: 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Volunteering continues to thrive in Leeds

The recent focus on volunteering in Leeds is really paying off, with more and more residents making enquiries and signing up to get involved in volunteering activities that support their local communities.

In addition to this, the contribution made to promoting volunteering by the city’s champion for volunteering, Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, and the council’s international relations team has also been recognised with both being nominated for ‘Making a Difference’ awards by Local Government Yorkshire and Humber.

Back in October 2009, all the political parties of Leeds City Council agreed to designate 2010 as the Leeds Year of Volunteering. The aims of this were to:
 celebrate and promote volunteering;
 increase community engagement through volunteering;
 create more volunteers and volunteering opportunities; and
 deliver a quality volunteering experience.

During 2010, the number of people putting themselves forward to volunteer in Leeds rose by over 200%, and because of this success, the council, Voluntary Action Leeds and other key partners decided to continue the good work by supporting the 2011 European Year of Volunteering.

To further build on this, the council’s international relations team secured EU funding to help establish links between voluntary organisations in Leeds and from its five European partner cities. They are Brno (Czech Republic), Brasov (Romania), Dortmund and Siegen (Germany) and Lille (France). The purpose of this project was to share information and best practice, undertake mutual learning, look at shared challenges, analyse key themes and explore the potential for further cooperation on an international level.

The project brought together a range of organisations in Leeds and the partner cities to compare what works well in different volunteering settings. There is now a sustainable network in place which will continue to share experiences and good practice to further develop volunteering in the respective cities.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, champion for volunteering in Leeds said:
“I am delighted that the work that has been done to encourage more volunteering in Leeds has been recognised by Local Government Yorkshire and Humber.

“The 2010 Leeds Year of Volunteering was an initiative that the whole of Leeds council backed, and for very good reason.

“Not only is volunteering a really positive experience for the people who take part, it gives them a real sense of belonging to the communities that they live and work in. It also makes a massive contribution to the city’s economy, and with the number of volunteers doubling as a result of this initiative, the value of volunteering in Leeds during 2010 was almost £87million.

“The focus on volunteering over the past two years has also helped the council to develop better working relationships with the voluntary sector and other key partners in the city, including the business sector. Both years have been a real joint effort for the benefit of the people of Leeds.”

The work of Volunteer Centre Leeds has been a key factor in the success of the volunteering focus in the city, and it continues to play an essential role. The centre carried out 780 face-to-face interviews between April and September this year, an increase of over 56% on the same period last year. It has also been noted by Youthbase that Leeds is one of the five busiest volunteer centres outside of London. This is particularly impressive as the other four centres (Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield) all have higher staffing levels than Leeds.

During the last six months Volunteer Centre Leeds has run three training programmes linked to the volunteering toolkit and kitemark. These reached fourteen organisations that are now on track to developing in-house volunteering programmes.

The centre has also made links with Leeds University with a structured introduction to volunteering for overseas students. This will introduce those new to Leeds to ways in which they can be more involved in their local communities.


Additional info

The Making a Difference Awards recognise the contribution of individuals (both elected members and staff) as well as initiatives carried by councils, police, fire and national park authorities in the region that have made a difference to local communities.

In December 2010, Leeds hosted 26 delegates from its European partner cities Brno (Czech Republic), Brasov (Romania), Dortmund and Siegen (Germany) and Lille (France).

They were individually matched with over thirty voluntary and community organisations in Leeds. Tailored meetings enabled them to learn from each other’s volunteering programmes and form new international connections.

Meaningful and targeted exchange continued during a high profile conference attended by around 150 representatives of organisations involved in volunteering, national government and The European Commission.

The project generated learning and a shared understanding of good practice in supporting, enabling and promoting quality volunteering, addressing social and other barriers to volunteering, increasing the number of people who volunteer and successful approaches to improve the capacity of voluntary organisations to train and manage their volunteers.

At a time when the voluntary sector is facing many challenges in the UK and across Europe, participants reported gaining fresh insight into ways of tackling them. There is now ongoing cooperation between a number of the organisations involved.

Further detail about this project and a copy of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 – Leeds Conference report are available from: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Advice_and_benefits/Tourism_and_travel/Town_twinning/Volunteering_in_Europe.aspx

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds joining in with chance to make a Big Splash

Caption: Mascot Trunx the elephant and the Big Splash are coming to Leeds

People of all ages in Leeds will be given the chance to take the plunge after the city signed up to be part of the country’s biggest-ever swimming campaign.

Special swimming offers will be available over the coming weeks and months at 15 Leeds City Council-managed pools as part of the national Big Splash programme to inspire people to swim in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Organised by British Swimming and the BBC, the campaign features a range of offers and challenges such as family swimming, learn to swim lessons, improving swimming technique and training to achieve set targets.

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All media are invited to attend a photocall to launch the Big Splash in Leeds at Morley Leisure Centre at 12 noon on Wednesday 19 October (tomorrow).
Leeds City Council deputy executive member for leisure Cllr Jack Dunn will be joined by campaign mascot Trunx the elephant at a family swimming session.Morley Leisure Centre is located off Queensway in Morley, LS27 9JP.
************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY*****************************

Details of the Big Splash offers in Leeds will be announced shortly and also on the website at www.bigsplash.co.uk, and as a taster special family swimming sessions will be available in Leeds next week to coincide with National Parenting Week.

Family swims for two adults and two children aged five to 16 will be available for £5 during half-term from Monday 24 to Sunday 30 October at pools around the city. For more information on these sessions go to www.leeds.gov.uk/swimming.

The national Big Splash website (www.bigsplash.co.uk) also offers a range of informatioon and tips, the chance to set virtual challenges and check progress as well the option to become part of the Big Splash online community.

The campaign is being given high-profile backing by the BBC and is being supported by numerous big-name sports stars and celebrities.

One of those is double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington, who said:

“Swimming is my life but just getting in the pool a couple of times a week is a really great way of getting active and staying healthy. I’m right behind anything that encourages people to take the plunge and swim more often.”

Leeds City Council deputy executive member for leisure Councillor Jack Dunn added:

“We are delighted to be taking part in the Big Splash campaign in Leeds. As a council we have had to make some difficult decisions on swimming provision in recent times, but our commitment to encouraging people of all ages to lead active and healthy lives never changed. By taking part in this fantastic campaign, we hope as many families and people of all ages take the chance to go swimming for free and really enjoy it.”

For more information on the Big Splash, visit the website at www.bigsplash.co.uk


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council,Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk