Monday, 28 May 2012

Countdown to Diamond Jubilee weekend has commenced

Events to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year have already started to take place in Leeds, with plenty more yet to come.

The main activities will be focused around the extended bank holiday weekend, which gives families and friends a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate what could be a once in a lifetime occasion for most.

The people of Leeds are already embracing Diamond Jubilee fever with over 76 applications for residential road closures for street parties having been received by the council. This is in comparison to just 11 for last year’s Royal Wedding, so it promises to be a memorable weekend for the city.

As well as celebrating in local communities, there are lots of free events taking place in the city centre for people to enjoy and get involved in.

Breeze International Youth Festival will get the party started on Saturday 2 June when young people stage a lively performance in Briggate, with bunting and city banners adding to the atmosphere.

On Sunday, take a stroll down to Kirkgate Market where the halls will be draped with traditional bunting and flags. Outside at the farmer’s market from 9am to 2pm there will be a range of fairground rides and free face painting for children,

In partnership with Leeds City Council, Seven Jazz have arranged the Big Band Boogie event on Briggate on Sunday, 3 June from 11am until 4pm. Five local big bands will get people in the mood to celebrate with music ranging from calypso to jazz rock on the stage throughout the day. There will be a range of other street entertainment including dancers and balloon artists.

People wanting to take part in the Big Jubilee Lunch on Sunday can head to Millennium Square where coverage of national Big Lunch events will be shown on the big screen between 11am to 2pm, followed by a live relay of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant between 2pm to 5pm. One of the main highlights of the celebrations, the Thames Pageant promises to be one of the most spectacular nautical events ever seen in London with more than 1000 boats sailing down the Thames in celebration of the Queen's 60 year reign. People are encouraged to bring their own picnics and collapsible seating to watch this spectacular event outdoors. A number of picnic tables will be available on a first-come-first-served basis, and the surrounding restaurants on Millennium Square will also have outdoor cafe seating and serve drinks and food outside as usual (weather permitting!).

National events including the Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace (7.30pm) and the lighting of the National Beacon (10.30pm) by Her Majesty on bank holiday Monday, and the St Paul’s Cathedral service and procession (10.30am) on bank holiday Tuesday will also be shown on the big screen on Millennium Square for people to enjoy.

All eyes will be on Otley Chevin on Monday night, with a special beacon lighting event taking place at Surprise View on York Gate. Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Ann Castle, will light the Otley beacon at 10.30pm, to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen lighting the first of the national beacons in London. People are encouraged to come along with their Union Jack flags to support the event from 9pm on 4 June. The military band of the Otley and Yeadon Army Cadet Corps will provide music until after the beacon is lit. Parking is free and available at normal Chevin car parks. People in Otley town centre will be able to see the Otley beacon, which will remain lit for 30 minutes.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“The Diamond Jubilee is shaping up to be a fantastic celebration for the whole country, and I am delighted with what we have planned to mark the event in Leeds.

“I know that lots of residents will be celebrating with their friends, families, neighbours and their local communities, but I hope that the events we have planned will inspire them to come into the city centre as well. This is a great chance for young and old alike to come together to enjoy the city and appreciate the talent that we have in Leeds”


Additional info

Motorists in the city are asked to be patience if they come across any road closures for street parties over the bank holiday weekend.

For more information about these events and others visit the council’s website and search for Diamond Jubilee or follow this link

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

Winning trio to see flower power come to life

Caption: The winners and runners-up from this year's Leeds in Bloom design a flowerbed competition - top image Jasmine Elliott (left) and Emily Barrett (right) both of Middleton St Mary's C of E Primary School

Lower image front row (left-to-right): Emily O'Reilly, Jasmin Elliott, Emily Barrett, Emma Wilkinson, Jaskaran Sashni, back row Laura Hulley with Alderman Frank Robinson (left) and Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Ann Castle (right)

Three budding young garden designers will see their ideas come to life in Leeds this summer after winning the Leeds in Bloom 2012 design a flowerbed competition.

Nine-year-old Emily Barrett (Middleton St Mary’s Church of England Primary School), eight-year-old Jaskaran Sahni (Lawns Park Primary School) and seven-year-old Emma Wilkinson (Kippax Greenfields Primary School) will have their designs made into flowerbeds at Park Square and York Street in the city centre after triumphing in the competition organised by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service in association with Leeds Floral Initiative and Evans Property Group Leeds.

The annual competition is open to all children in Leeds aged four to 14 and this year attracted over 2000 entries from schools and groups across the city.

The winning trio were guests of honour at an awards ceremony held at Temple Newsam last week where the certificates and prizes were presented by the chairman of Leeds in Bloom Alderman Frank Robinson, and the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle.

Runners-up were Laura Hulley (14) of Benton Park School, Jasmin Elliot (10) of Middleton St. Mary’s Church of England Primary School and Emily O’Reilly (10) of St. Patrick’s Catholic Primary School.

Leeds Horticultural and Floral Initiative Officer Richard Gill said:

“This year’s competition was a great success. Each year the quality of the artwork is a credit to all the children who enter, and it’s always difficult to choose the final three.”

For more information on Leeds in Bloom and the Leeds Floral Initiative visit and search for ‘Leeds in Bloom’.


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

Breeze International Youth Festival game for a laugh

Caption: The Breeze International Youth Festival returns this week

A night of comedy is on the menu as the Breeze International Youth Festival returns to Leeds this week featuring a brand new event.

Now in its 17th year, the biggest arts festival for young people in West Yorkshire sees a range of events and activities taking place at locations across the city centre over 12 days from Wednesday 30 May to Sunday 10 June.

Organised by Leeds City Council’s arts development team working with organisations such as the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Phoenix Dance and Leeds Grand Theatre, the festival showcases new work developed by young people for young people including workshops, exhibitions and performances.

New for this year is an under-19s comedy night to be held at Leeds Town Hall on Friday 1 June. With comedy nights often being held in bars making them difficult for young people to access, this event has been specifically designed with that in mind offering the chance to see some cutting-edge stand-up in a different environment. For any budding comedians there will be a workshop before the show where young people will get a chance to learn stand-up skills and try them out.

This year’s festival programme has again been co-ordinated by the Breeze Festival Management Team, a group of young people who meet regularly to look at all aspects of event management and marketing.

Returning favourites include BIYF Live! on Briggate on the June 2 with an open-air stage and live music, dance and art activities. The management team attended the Amp Awards at the O2 Academy and along with overall winners Aftermath, they have chosen Apathetic Excuse as the ‘Breeze Choice’ band to perform at the event. On the evening of Saturday 9 June the attention switches to The Carriageworks, with performances of music and dance by young people from Rodillian School, Dazl (recently seen on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire) and Ascendance Rep.

Activities and workshops will be taking place every day during the festival covering music, dance, art, theatre, film and comedy, with the majority free or discounted for those with a Breezecard.

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

“The Breeze International Youth Festival is one of the highlight events of the year for young people in Leeds and provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate the young talent we have in the city as well as offering the chance to try new things. This year’s festival is sure to be another fun event.”

For the full programme of festival events and activities, and also details of how to book tickets, visit the website at

Notes to editors:

Breeze International Youth Festival is run by Leeds City Council’s arts development team. The Arts Development team create opportunities for people to take part in the cultural life of their city, leading the way through the arts.

• Event photographs are available on request. Please contact Mo Rowlands
• Press reviewers and photographers are welcome to attend the festival. If you would like to cover the festival, please contact Mo Rowlands in advance to arrange appropriate access.
• To help festivalgoers plan their week, Leeds City Council has produced a full colour brochure, containing information about all the projects, a full schedule of events, a map and venue, discounts and booking information. A downloadable programme are available at


For media enquiries please contact
Mo Rowlands , Leeds City Council arts development team, 0113 2476419

Cyclists encouraged to take a wider view for safety

CGS:Road safety staff talk to commuting cyclists on Woodhouse Moor
(black plastic indicates the driver's blind spot)

CGS: Cyclist Michael Oxley (right) gets a free bike safety check with Dr Bike

Cyclists got the chance to see the road from a truck driver’s point of view as part of a new road safety campaign which started today.

The building supplies company CEMEX provided a truck for the event on Woodhouse Moor to help cyclists understand why drivers sometimes do not see them approaching.

More people than ever are cycling in the city, which helps keep them fit and is also good for the environment. But though road injuries in general have fallen to their lowest level since records began, injuries to cyclists are on the increase.

Cyclists now account for nine per cent of the overall casualty total - up from seven per cent in 2008.

Last year 255 cyclists were injured on the roads in Leeds. A total of 45 of them were seriously injured and one person was killed.

The increases have involved adult cyclists. Most of them (85 %) happen on weekdays during morning and evening commutes. The A660 has the highest casualty rates in the city.

The most common cause of collisions is where a motorist signals to allow another driver to turn right in front of them into a side road. The turning vehicle collides with a pedal cyclist who is travelling up the inside of the traffic.

The road safety event marked the start of a road safety campaign to encourage cycling and reduce casualties on the A660 - with information about how and where to get more cycle training and free bike checks by a bike doctor. A series of placards will shortly be erected along the A660 and will remind drivers and cyclists to be aware of each other at all times.

A spokesman for Leeds City Council’s Road Safety Unit said:
“While collisions between cyclists and large goods vehicles are rare the consequences tend to be very severe. By offering cyclists the chance to appreciate the limited view from the cab of a large vehicle we’re hoping to reduce the incidents where cyclists and lorries come into conflict.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy and development said:

“ It’s really good news that more people are cycling in Leeds. Cycling is a great way to keep fit and reduce congestion on the roads. But, as with every form of transport, it’s important to observe the highway code and be aware of other road users.

“We’ve created a number of dedicated cycle paths across the city to help people cycle safely and confidently and there are cycling lanes along most of the major routes into and out of the city. But in traffic it’s vital that cyclists and drivers show awareness and consideration for each if we are to reduce the number of cycle casualties in the city.”

Notes to editors

In 2004, 571 cyclists were commuting to the city centre during the morning peak time. This has increased steadily and consistently to 728 in 2007,1064 in 2009 and 1237 in 2011

Between 1 January 2006 and 8 September 2011 there were 80 collisions involving a pedal cyclist on the A660 between Victoria Road and Glen Road. A total of 57 collisions were right turn conflicts and 20 were left turn conflicts. There were 3 emerging conflicts.

The A660 has the highest cycle casualty collision rate in Leeds. This is partly due to the fact that it is not only a main road into the district, but also because both the Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of Leeds are situated along this route.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Annie Goodyear, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937