Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Whizz-kids enjoy chance to get creative in a night at the museum

Caption: The central Leeds Arena area of Leeds City Museum played host to the overnight event

The echoes of the past were replaced by the sound of tapping keyboards at Leeds City Museum this weekend as a special overnight event took place.

Beginning at 10am on Saturday and going through to 2pm on Sunday, almost 200 people of all ages took part in a unique challenge which saw people interested in computer programming, software design, graphic design and application development come together and see what they could create in 28 hours at the museum off Millennium Square.

The largest event of its kind to be held in the north of England, the overnight session was free for anyone aged 14 and over to attend and saw professional programmers and developers working side by side with young people to design and create new digital applications.

At the end of the event, a panel of judges assessed the creations and presented prizes. The overall winners were 13-year-old Harry Merckel and 15-year-old Lewis Hallam, who together with adult developers Adam James and Charles Reynolds created a Breeze mobile event application to notify subscribers via text of events in their area, broken down by age and activity type. For their efforts the pair both won a Raspberry Pi, accessories and Amazon vouchers.

Events like this are gaining in popularity all over the world, especially so in America where they have been inspired by the computer companies based in ‘Silicon Valley’ in California.

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

“This is the first time young people in Leeds have been able to take part in an event of this type and it was fantastic to see so many people there. Hosting it overnight at Leeds City Museum gave it a really unique feel and the enthusiasm and talent of those attending was really impressive to see.”

The ‘LeedsHack’ was supported by Leeds museums and galleries, Breeze, Breeze International Youth Festival and Leeds Inspired, and was organised by Leeds Hack’s Dom Hodgson.

For more information please visit


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

Wheel of golden fortune comes home to Roundhay Park in Leeds

Caption: The HESCO Garden 2011 claimed a second successive gold medal for Leeds at the Chelsea Flower Show

The show garden which secured back-to-back gold medals for Leeds at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will this week be unveiled in its new permanent home of Roundhay Park.

The HESCO Garden 2011 will be officially opened in the ‘Gardens of the World’ specialist gardens section of Roundhay Park at 11am on Thursday 2 August in an installation ceremony attended by Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield.

The garden has been positioned alongside the three previous Leeds City Council entries at Chelsea, and is next to its immediate predecessor The HESCO Garden 2010 which made history by becoming the first local authority-produced garden ever to win a gold medal in the elite large outdoor show garden category at the world-famous celebration of horticulture and gardening excellence which dates back to 1862.

The HESCO Garden 2011 was the third Chelsea entry produced by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside service supported and sponsored by Leeds-based world-leading manufacturers of products used in civil engineering HESCO Bastion Limited.

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All press are invited to attend the opening of The HESCO Garden 2011 at Roundhay Park in Leeds at 11am on Thursday 2 August. The garden is located in the 'Gardens of the World' section of the park, off Mansion Lane opposite Tropical World, LS8 1DF.
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The theme of the garden was to showcase the power of nature and water power in particular, and the role it played in the industrial past and also as a clean and renewable energy resource in the present and for the future.

The centrepiece of the garden is a traditional mill as seen in Yorkshire during the industrial revolution, with an eye-catching giant working water wheel attached measuring three metres tall (just under 10 feet) which pumps water around the garden which contains rockwork, trees and water-loving ferns and plants to complete its natural look and feel.

At Chelsea the garden drew thousands of visitors, including HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and numerous celebrities, and was given extensive coverage by the world’s media.

The relocation of the garden to Roundhay Park has been funded by HESCO Bastion Ltd and the Caird Bardon Community Programme, with a key role being played by the Friends of Roundhay Park.

The HESCO Garden 2011 was the third Chelsea entry sponsored by HESCO Bastion Limited, whose owner Jimi Heselden OBE tragically died in September 2010.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“It is fantastic to be able to open this wonderful gold medal-winning garden in Roundhay Park for everyone to be able to come and enjoy. It is another stunning design and together with the previous three Chelsea gardens which are now on display all together it really does make this area of the park an outstanding visitor attraction in its own right.

“Everyone who worked on this garden and in fact all of our Chelsea gardens can be very proud as they really have helped take Leeds to a global audience. This day is, of course, tinged with sadness as our friend Jimi Heselden cannot be with us. He remains hugely missed, but we hope these incredible gardens act as a legacy to his memory for generations to come.”

HESCO Bastion Limited said:

"HESCO are delighted to see this fantastic garden going on permanent display in Leeds. Working with the Leeds City Council team on three gardens for Chelsea was a real pleasure and to see their creativity, hard work and determination deliver stunning designs which achieved such fantastic success was a delight.

“As a Leeds company we are very proud to be continuing the city’s engineering tradition for innovation and design and showcasing Leeds talent to the world, and these wonderful gardens show that perfectly and will act as a fitting tribute to the late Jimi Heselden OBE.”

Notes to editors:

Of the nine Chelsea gardens produced by Leeds City Council, seven can now be visited by the public at sites in the city, including four in the ‘Gardens of the World’ section of Roundhay Park.

The ‘Gardens of the World’ section of Roundhay Park off Mansion Lane contains three unique garden areas. The initial walkway features The Monet Garden which is based on the gardens planted by the impressionist at Giverny in France providing an elegant burst of colour and energy.

Adjoining this is the Alhambra Garden, which is based on one of the world’s most famous gardens, the 13th century garden at Alhambra, Spain. The garden echoes the Patio de la Acequia, Patio de la Sultana and Mirador of Partal Gardens including fountains and formal hedged gardens.

These were joined in 2009 by ‘The Largest Room in the House’, Leeds City Council’s entry at the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show which won a silver gilt flora award. The garden commemorated the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War and is a recreation of the grounds of Talbot House in Poperinghe, Belgium which served as a rest house for UK troops heading to and from the horrors of the frontline trenches nearby.

In 2011 it was joined by The HESCO Garden from 2009 and The HESCO Garden 2010. The HESCO Garden was designed around the theme of retaining rainwater and reducing the effect of flash floods, and matched Leeds City Council’s best-ever result at Chelsea by winning a silver gilt flora award.

This was improved on 12 months later as the team made history by winning gold with the HESCO Garden 2010, complete with amazing 12-feet high central lock gates and mock canal.

Other Chelsea Flower Show gardens in Leeds can be seen at Canal Gardens outside Tropical World in Roundhay, Millennium Square and the White Rose Shopping Centre.

Caird Bardon Community Programme:

All waste that goes to landfill is subject to Landfill Tax. A percentage of this levy can be used to fund environmental and community projects through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF). The Caird Bardon Community Programme was, therefore, established in 2007, enabling Caird Bardon Limited to work in partnership with GrantScape, who manage and administer the grant programme on their behalf.

The Caird Bardon Community Programme supports projects delivering significant environmental benefits and providing new and better community amenities. To be eligible for a grant, projects must be located in Leeds Metropolitan District Wards.

The Programme has approximately £600,000 available per annum, and there are two rounds each year. Funds are available for Main Grants of between £5,000 and £60,000, and Flagship Grants of up to £100,000.

For full details about the Caird Bardon Community Programme, please see:

For further details about Caird Bardon Limited, please see:


Liz Payne
Grant Manager, Caird Bardon Community Programme
Tel: 01282 603842


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

Time to start planning for September 2013 school admissions

It may be the start of the summer holidays but families with children starting secondary school in September 2013 can start applying for their child’s school place online from today, Wednesday 1 August.

Parents and carers with children who will start secondary school in 2013 can apply securely online at from Wednesday until 31 October 2012. Offers will be made on 1 March 2013. If parents and carers do not want to apply online, application forms are also available from their current school (during term time) and should be completed listing five schools in order of preference.

Primary school applications for September 2013 will open online from 1 November and close at a later date of 15 January 2013. Offers will be made on 16 April 2013. If parents and carers do not want to apply online, application forms will also be available from primary schools (during term time) and should be completed listing five schools in order of preference.

The vast majority of parents and carers are expected to take advantage of the secure, safe online admissions applications, which any parent or carer with access to an email account can use. An acknowledgment email will be sent which forms proof of receipt. It’s vital that families list up to five preferred schools they wish their children to attend to make sure as many children can attend their preferred school as possible. Parents are also strongly advised to include their nearest school to maximise their chances of getting a local place.

To help parents and carers make the right decision, Leeds City Council has helped provide the Choice Advice Service - a confidential service which provides impartial advice, guidance and information to families applying for secondary school places for their children. It has lots of useful information about secondary schools in Leeds, including OfSTED reports, league tables, transport and uniform information, and admission policies. They provide impartial advice about all aspects of the admissions process for secondary schools.

To use the service, phone 0113 3950596, email or visit

Councillor Judith Blake executive board member responsible for children’s services, said:
“Deciding which school is best for your child is an important decision and, with so many good schools in Leeds, is not an easy one to make. A lot of work has gone into making the admissions process as straight forward as possible and the online form is quick and easy to fill in. Of course, there are still traditional forms available - and assistance if needed - to ensure every child and young person has the best chance of attending their preferred school.”

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