Thursday, 17 May 2012

Adult learners are flourishing in Leeds

Adult learning week is in full swing and people in Leeds are taking full advantage of the opportunities available.

Over 5,300 adult learners are already enrolled on a community learning course in Leeds, and have accessed over 1,100 courses. Out of all the courses that have been enrolled on, 84% of people have been successful in completing their courses.

Leeds City Council has recently received further funding from the Skills Funding Agency, which will allow for a number of new sub contracts to go out to a wide range of learning providers across the city for the next year.

There are a range of courses that learners can access, including health and well being, pottery, playing with language, computer courses, fashion and design and art classes among others.

Sharon Benson, 59, from Stanningley in Leeds, is one example of how community learner opportunities can offer adults confidence and extra skills to help them move forward in life.

Sharon was a shy and timid person who decided to attend confidence building and self esteem courses at Swarthmore Education Centre. Sharon has learnt so much from these classes, she is more confident and no longer suffers from a bad stutter. She has learnt so much from the opportunities she has taken that she has recently gone back to these classes to inspire others with similar problems, and is also undertaking training to become a coach on the McGuire programme to help people with stutters.

Sharon said:

“I used to want to just sit in a corner and not speak to anyone because I was so ashamed of my stutter.

“The confidence building courses were such a massive help to me and really pushed me in the right direction.

“I am now studying for my Maths and English qualifications at Leeds City College with a view to eventually going on to university. I have also just taken an IT course with Learn Direct which was a great help.

“I know now, that with help from a number of courses and people along the way, that nothing is unobtainable.

Sharon has now completed nine different course and interest groups since finding her voice, and has proved to be a great role model for others struggling with a similar problem

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for jobs and skills said:

“Adult learning across the city is a real priority for the council, and it is excellent that we have been able to secure funding for the next year.

“There are so many examples of adults who are accessing learning opportunities with a wide range of the city’s providers, and Sharon is an excellent example of how taking these opportunities can really benefit you. She has made such huge progress in a short period of time, and really is a good role model for what taking a chance can do for you.

“There are so many reasons to access learning in the city, whether it be for personal fulfilment, civic participation or community development, there are many options to choose from.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Leeds market launches global food festival

Caption: The authentic zulu dancers performing in the market

Caption: Councillor Gerry Harper, Leeds City Council markets champion with the zulu dancers

Kirkgate Market is flinging open its doors to celebrate the wonderful array of international food it has to offer in the many market halls over the next three months.

As part of the Leeds Gold celebrations across the city, The Global Food Market has launched at Leeds Kirkgate Market this week.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Reverend Alan Taylor launched the initiative earlier in the week with the help of an authentic zulu dance group who performed throughout the market halls.

Global Food Markets, which is being run in partnership with Shelf Life ltd who run The Source, will explore the cuisine of six different cultures in the market over the next three months – Southern African, Chinese, Russian, Australian, Canadian and Dutch.

Perceptions of food from different cultures will be challenged as different food from the various countries are presented at The Source in a series of foodie events.

The first event – from 16 to 19 May, will see an introduction to Southern African food with demos and tastings of both the exotic and the familiar. The international themes then continue with Australian, Russian, Chinese, Canadian and Dutch cuisines being explored.

As well as the focus on the international food on offer, the best of British will also be on show on Saturday 26 May when renowned Yorkshire chef Brian Turner will make an appearance at The Source as part of Leeds Loves Food - meeting market goers and signing copies of his new book.

As part of the programme, Leeds’ school groups have been signing up to take tours around the market and discover more about the origins, traditions and practicalities of the Global Food Markets on offer. To date over 900 students have signed up.

The Global Food Market celebrations also include a leaflet which offers money-off vouchers and details of how to get free parking for an hour when you spend over £20 in the market. The leaflets are available at the market information centre, The Source,and many other locations across Leeds.

Councillor Gerry Harper, Leeds City Council markets champion said:

“The market offers such a huge array of different foods, and it is fantastic that we are utilising and finding out more about what it can offer.

“When we think of getting a takeaway, we do not usually sample the delights and specialities of each specific culture.

“Not only can the market offer a great array of food, but also the advice to go with it.

“There are already a number of school groups booked in to have tours around the market, and I would encourage anyone who wants to try something a little bit different to pop down to the market to source a meal with a difference.”

For more information and updates on the Global Food Market please visit or follow @leedsmarkets.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450