Thursday, 10 November 2011

German market celebrates 10 years of Leeds Christmas cheer

Caption: The Christkindelmarkt celebrates its 10th anniversary in Leeds this year

The ever-popular German Christmas Market returns to Millennium Square this week celebrating 10 years of bringing a continental-style festive atmosphere to the heart of Leeds.

Opening on Friday 11 November (tomorrow), the Christkindelmarkt sees over 40 traders from across Germany creating a scenic winter village of traditional wooden chalet stalls which represents one of the biggest and best established traditional Christmas markets in the UK.

******************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**************************
Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Reverend Alan Taylor will be officially opening the Christkindelmarkt on Millennium Square at 12 noon on Friday 11 November. All media are welcome to attend.
******************MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**************************

Organised by Leeds City Council in partnership with Frankfurt City Council and supported by media partners Real Radio and the Yorkshire Evening Post , visitors can enjoy a large variety of traditional German delicacies such as gluhwein, bratwurst sausages, snitzels, soups and goulash, stollen, gingerbread, roasted nuts and candied fruits.

New stalls for 2011 include a revamped 'Kuh Stall' with cosy covered seating around a real log fire, a traditional German garden gnome stall, a new coffee and cake house and a stall selling German-style French fries with specialist sauces.

Open daily until Sunday 18 December, the Christkindelmarkt offers a unique festive shopping experience with something for everyone including handcrafted seasonal gift ideas, toys, jewellery, Christmas cards and unique festive decorations.

The hugely popular Frankfurter-Scheune forms the market’s vibrant centrepiece . Hand-crafted inside and out, the festive meeting hall is the perfect place to take a break from Christmas shopping and catch up with friends over a hot drink and food from the specialist food menu including traditional roasts and a wide selection of cakes and desserts. Regular live entertainment by an authentic German show band also takes place from 7pm every evening.

Aside from the market there is also a selection of family funfair rides from the traditional carousel to dodgems. The market and funfair opens daily from 10.30am to 9:30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 7:30pm on Sundays. The ‘Frankfurter Scheune', Kuh Stall and selected stalls are open late until 10:30pm with last orders called at 10:15pm.

Due to arrangements for Remembrance Sunday on 13 November, the market will not open on that day until 12 noon.

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

“The Christkindelmarkt has firmly established itself as one of the must-see and do festive events of the year in Leeds and we are delighted it is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

“We look forward to seeing people of all ages enjoying the magical sights and sounds it has to offer and really getting into the Christmas spirit.”

Managing Director of Real Radio Yorkshire Steve South said:

“Real Radio is delighted, once again, to be part of the Leeds German Christmas Market. This is always a wonderful and atmospheric event in the run-up to Christmas. It’s a great opportunity for people to buy some truly unique Christmas gifts or simply stroll around and enjoy a relaxing time with friends and family.”

For more information, call Leeds City Council’s Events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit For further information of what is on and an essential guide on where to travel, shop, play and stay in Leeds during the festive season, visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472,

Celebrating the work of volunteers

An event took place last week to celebrate the fantastic contribution made by a whole host of people who volunteer in the field of poverty and homelessness.

The ceremony at St George's Crypt in the city centre took place as part of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering in Leeds, and was a great opportunity to thank long term volunteers for their work to help the homeless or those in poverty in the city.

The focus on poverty and homelessness throughout this year has been led by four of the many volunteer organisations in Leeds who provide services for the homeless – St Georges Crypt, Urban Sprawl, Unity in Poverty Action and Big Issue in the North, supported by Leeds City Council. The aim of the campaign has been to raise people’s awareness about what the many local based organisations in Leeds that support the homeless and tackle poverty do, and to encourage existing and new volunteers to help.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, champion for volunteering in Leeds said:
“There is an army of unsung heroes, who give their time and skills for free to help vulnerable people and support communities in our city, and their efforts often go unnoticed.

“We think that all volunteers are special, which is why for the past two years we have worked in partnership with Voluntary Action Leeds and other third sector organisations to celebrate and promote the good that they do and the contribution that they make to our city.

“I hope that the work of these volunteers will motivate others to get involved.”

The chief executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan, was the guest speaker at the event. He said:
“Volunteering has been a big focus for Leeds during 2010 and 2011, and we have had a lot of success with getting more people involved as a result of this.

“Volunteers don’t do what they do because they want to be thanked and receive a pat on the back. The reason that they volunteer is that they just want to do their bit and help people that might be going through bad times, or charitable organisations that need help to provide a service.

“The people recognised at the event last week have consistently given their time to help the homeless or those in poverty for free for a number of years, and it is right for their commitment and community spirit to be acknowledged in this way.

“There are some really wonderful stories about the work that these volunteers do, and I was delighted to be at the event to hear them.”

A total of 21 individuals from seven organisations were recognised, plus the whole volunteering teams at Canopy and Leeds Summat.

Case studies
Alex Joiner and Annie Ocsko – Kidz Klub Leeds

Kidz Klub Leeds was launched in March 2000 to meet the need of a generation of inner city children growing up in areas of high deprivation with a lack of positive role models or aspirations for the future. It operates in areas where drug use, truancy and petty crime are the norm and poverty is a reality. The work of Kidz Klub covers the whole of inner city Leeds with a range of activities to challenge poverty in all its forms, and promote the welfare of children and families.

Their first volunteer to be recognised was Alex Joiner. Alex was part of the founding Kidz Klub Leeds team, 11 years and 8 months ago. Apart from a short break a few years ago, Alex has remained an amazing figure of faithful service to the work he believes so much in. Alex has for many years set the standard for other volunteers, keen to make sure Kidz Klub delivers the best for children who often have the least.
Throughout this time Alex has been part of the Kidz Klub’s home visiting programme, visiting children in his Richmond Hill patch week in week out during term time, and being part of the city (or Saturday morning) weekly Kidz Klub sessions. Alex has always shown steely determination to see his ‘visiting round’ completed, and completed well, come rain, snow, ice and shine.
Alex is just like another staff member: a wise head you can count on, with fresh ideas; connecting families dealing with a loss with different churches, struggling single parents with avenues of real support, and being there for children who have little to rely on. Alex is a man of genuine faith who truly believes what he says, and says what he means.

The second Kidz Klub volunteer to be recognised was Annie Ocsko. Annie was part of the founding team that launched Kidz Klub Leeds 11 years and 8 months ago. Over that period of time she has conducted her ‘visiting round’, visiting inner city children at home every week during term time and been part of the city (or Saturday morning) Kidz Klub team, delivering weekly term time Saturday morning sessions.
Annie is a rock: ultra-reliable and someone that her fellow workers, the children and their families can count on. Annie always tries to bring everything she’s got, and will speak her mind about what she sees around her, through a strong sense of right and wrong and wanting the best for those who have the least. Annie is warm, and a good friend, someone who a fellow volunteer said was, “simply an amazing woman.”
In all conditions Annie has made sure that if she can, she will be there for Kidz Klub and for the children. Annie loves her ‘visiting round’, and makes sure that it gets done week in week out whatever the weather conditions. Anne has shown incredible commitment over the years, and because of her the lives of many children in Leeds have been changed.

RETAS - Adwan Adwan, N’sira Camara and Mamadou Bah
RETAS is a small voluntary organisation; Refugee Education Training and Advisory Service, based at Roundhay Road, Harehills. Its aim is to assist clients, refugees and asylum seekers, to reach their full potential in settling down in Leeds and surrounding areas.

The first volunteer recognised is Adwan from the Bajuni islands of Somalia. He manages the receptionist role every Tuesday. This role requires tact, patience, politeness and careful attention to detail. Adwan has all of these and more. Above all he is utterly relliable, and if he cant’t make it in always gives plenty of warning. Not only does Adwan volunteer with RETAS, he also gives his time as a volunteer with a number of other organisations; such as City of Sanctuary and Advocacy Support. He always engages with new initiatives with enthusiaism and clear purpose; to help others.
Adwan has endured much hardship in his life and has a deteriorating disability. This is someone who could sit at home all day on his benefits and let life pass him by. He doesn’t - he is very involved with his community, local organisations and life in general.

The second volunteer is N'Sira Camara from Guinea. She came to the UK completely on her own as a young girl. She has been a volunteer with RETAS for over a year. She is utterly reliable and responsible in all the various roles she has held with RETAS.
Her natural elegance enables N,Siara to make everyone feel most welcome and immediately comfortable. These qualities along with an opportunity RETAS introduced her to some months ago has now led to N'Sira gaining fulltime employment with a very reputable retail chain of shops in the UK.
The third volunteer recognised is Mamadou Bah. Another name for Mamadou would be Mr RETAS. As a long waiting asylum seeker from Guinea (he had to wait seven years) he has played many roles at RETAS. He has assisted as a security officer at many events, carried out his receptionist role with great skill and is a keen football player with the RETAS football team. Mamadou is very personable, warm and friendly. He loves new challenges and is now a fulltime student at Bradford University studying economics and international relations.


Additional info

The poverty and homelessness theme during 2011 was sponsored by HW Martins, the council’s contractor for green wheeled bins in Leeds. The company has a factory in Beeston and offers support to events in the local community.

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

Communal recycling shows way to a greener city

CGS: Cllr Mark Dobson (centre) with Julie Lockwood and John Hanson of Sanctuary Housing

The biggest communal recycling project in the city is helping people on an estate in west Leeds to keep their area cleaner and greener.

People living on the Holtdales in Cookridge are now able to join the city’s recycling boom after the council, in partnership with West North West Homes and Sanctuary Housing, provided 23 communal recycling sites across the estate.

Most Leeds residents now have a regular kerbside recycling collection, with Leeds City Council on a drive to recycle 50% of the city’s waste by 2020. Good progress is being made towards achieving this, with 34% of waste recycled last year compared to just 19.5% in 2004/5.

However, the council recognises that one uniform approach for providing recycling to residents cannot be applied city-wide. Because of the type of properties and the layout of the Holtdale estate council it was necessary to work with the local community to identify the best solution for the area. The new communal system provides the most suitable type of facility for people across the estate.

Cllr Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environmental services, said:
“As a city we are determined to increase the amount of rubbish we recycle. But to do that we need to provide the right facilities and encourage people to make use of them.

“This project is an excellent example of how we can work together with our partners to make that happen and drive up recycling rates across Leeds.”

John Hanson, regional director for Sanctuary Housing, said :
"Communal recycling is an efficient way to save energy and help limit our impact on the environment. We are delighted to be supporting the council's efforts in keeping the community clean and green through this recycling initiative."

For media enquiries, please contact:
Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 2243937