Thursday, 6 September 2012

Comment by Lord Mayor of Leeds on Paralympic gold medal success by Hannah Cockroft

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle has made the following comment on the success of Hannah Cockroft of the Leeds City Athletics Club, who has won the women's 200 metre T34 race in the London 2012 Paralympic Games to secure a second gold medal at the Games.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle said:

“Huge congratulations to Hannah for making it a superb golden double at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and another Paralympic record. Hannah has emerged as one of the real stars of the Games with her bubbly personality, infectious laughter and stunning performances which have been admired by everyone watching. She is a real credit to herself, her family, her friends and coaches so we are delighted for her and we are very proud to say she trains here in Leeds.”

Hannah Cockroft trains at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds.


Slice of Christmas comes early as Leeds gets into panto spirit

Caption: The cast of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' at Temple Newsam's Home Farm (left to right): Jez Edwards, Daisy the pantomime cow, Allan Jay, Janine Pardo, Barry North and Marshall Lancaster

A sprinkling of Christmas spirit came early to Leeds this week with the launch of The Carriageworks festive pantomime.

The cast of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ made an appearance at Temple Newsam’s Home Farm to officially launch this year’s show which features ‘Ashes to Ashes’ star Marshall Lancaster and former CBBC presenter Jez Edwards who will be returning to The Carriageworks for the Paul Holman Associates production for a fourth consecutive year.

At the rare-breeds farm, the cast were given the chance to meet a real-life cow in the shape of ‘Fleur’, a 17-year-old Vaynol who is a star in her own right as one of only 25 of her breed to be found anywhere in the world.

Marshall Lancaster will be taking on the role of panto villain Fleshcreep in the show, following on from roles in the hugely successful television police series ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ as well as ‘Casualty’ and ‘Doctor Who’.

The 37-year-old from Macclesfield, who will be performing in Leeds for the first time in the show, said:

“I’ve not really been here before so I’m really looking forward to it. My first impressions are that it is a nice city to walk around with impressive architecture, so I’m hoping to get out and about while I’m here to see it and sample some of the restaurants and bars.

“I’ve not had a proper look round The Carriageworks yet but from speaking to people it is an intimate venue with the audience really close to the stage so that will be interesting. I’ve met the rest of the cast and everyone seems nice so it looks like we will have a good time so I’m looking forward to coming back for the rehearsals and getting into it.”

Returning to Leeds for a fourth consecutive Christmas pantomime at The Carriageworks is former CBBC presenter Jez Edwards, who said:

“I love Leeds, it’s a great city, I just hope people don’t get bored of me coming back for a fourth year.

“It’s the people here that make it so great. The whole vibe here at Christmas is lovely, with a real Christmas spirit generated with the German Market being outside [on Millennium Square]. My only disappointment last year was that there was no snow!

“My role this year is Simple Simon – so if anything I’m playing an even thicker character. I just hope I’m not getting typecast!

“This is going to be a great show, working with really nice people so the challenge is to do it to the same standard or even better than last year so I can’t wait for another Christmas in Leeds.”

Also appearing in the show produced by London-based pantomime experts Paul Holman Associates (PHA) at the Leeds City Council-managed theatre off Millennium Square will be Allan Jay (as Jack), Barry North (Dame Trott) and Janine Pardo (Princess Amelia).

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

“We are delighted to welcome Paul Holman and his team back to The Carriageworks for another year as they always put on a wonderful show to really get people of all ages into the Christmas spirit.

“We are very pleased to welcome Marshall Lancaster to Leeds and it is great to see Jez Edwards back again – he can’t seem to stay away which is a measure of how fantastic the city is especially at Christmas.”

Tickets are now available for ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, which runs from Friday 30 November to Saturday 5 January 2013 at The Carriageworks theatre in Leeds, online at or by calling the box office on 0113 224 3801.


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

Leeds City Council and Leeds Building Society launch first-time buyer initiative

Caption: Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Keith Wakefield (right) and Chief Executive of Leeds Building Society Peter Hill (left) launching the scheme in Leeds


Leeds City Council has teamed up with Leeds Building Society to help more first-time buyers in the city onto the housing ladder. They have this week jointly launched the “A helping hand” initiative which will make even more much needed 95% mortgages available to residents within the Leeds area who can afford the mortgage repayments but are currently unable to provide a large deposit.

This is possible through a combination of the local authority placing funds with the UK’s 5th largest building society as security and Leeds Building Society providing a very competitive mortgage that requires only a 5% deposit.

Peter Hill, Chief Executive of Leeds Building Society, said:

“We have operated in the city since 1875 and are a major employer in the region. Therefore, Leeds and its residents are very important to the Society and I am delighted that we are working in partnership with the city council for the benefit of people in Leeds. As well as the obvious synergies, we also share the same ambition. We aim to be Britain’s most successful building society and the council’s ambition is to make Leeds the best city in the UK.

“We have offered mortgages throughout the economic downturn and continue to increase lending, particularly to first-time buyers, through our shared ownership, shared equity and guarantor mortgages. In the first half of this year, new loans rose to £769m, which represents double our market share. Over a quarter of these mortgages have helped almost 2,500 first-time buyers purchase their first home.

“We support the local communities around our branches and we have a national presence, so we know that other local authorities will follow Leeds City Council and form a similar partnership with us in the near future.”

The new 95% mortgage is a 5-Year Fixed Rate at only 5.49%, with discounted fees and a free valuation, providing security at an affordable rate. Normal lending criteria will apply, so only those first-time-buyers who can comfortably afford to make repayments will benefit. The city made a deposit into a ring-fenced, interest bearing account with the Society and will only incur any costs if the mortgage lender suffers any loss.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“We are delighted to be announcing this exciting and innovative new partnership with the Leeds Building Society to help local first-time buyers secure their first homes.

“Everyone knows how difficult it is for young people to finance a large deposit to buy their first house. This scheme will help first-time buyers get on the first rung of the property ladder by reducing this lump sum to more manageable levels. It will hopefully make a real difference to people’s lives and also provide a boost to the Leeds housing economy.”

For more information, customers can call into their local branch or call the Society’s mortgage hotline, on 08450 540 994, where qualified mortgage advisors are available seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.


Notes to Editors

Local Authority Mortgage Scheme Key Features

5-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

· 5.49% fixed up to and including 30 November 2017

· Available up to 95% loan to value

· No Higher Lending charge

· Free standard valuation up to £335

· No Completion Fee

· 10% capital repayments allowed each year without incurring an early repayment charge

· £199 Booking Fee

· Maximum loan of £152,000

· Tapered early repayment charges of 5% of the amount redeemed in years 1 and 2, 4% in year 3, 3% in year 4 and 2% in year 5.

The helping hand 95% mortgage is available to first-time buyers only in the Metropolitan boundary of Leeds and includes some areas with a Bradford and Wakefield postcode.

Leeds Building Society has assets of £10bn (as at 30 June 2012) and 67 branches throughout the UK, Gibraltar and Ireland. The Society has operated from the centre of Leeds since 1886.

For media queries contact:

Gary Brook
Head of Corporate Communication
Leeds Building Society
Tel: 0113 225 7606
Mob: 07866 455111

Countdown begins to end of free insulation scheme

The clock is now ticking for anyone who has yet to contact Wrap Up Leeds for their free insulation.

The council-backed scheme offering free cavity wall and loft insulation comes to end on 26 October.

With only a matter of weeks to spare, people who own their own home or rent privately that would like to benefit from reduced fuel bills and a warmer home are being encouraged to contact the Wrap Up Leeds team.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:

“Time is beginning to run out for anyone who has yet to take advantage of the scheme.

“With up to £300 a year off your energy bills and the potential to help Leeds become a cleaner, greener city you’ve got nothing to lose by giving the team a call.”

Councillor David Blackburn, chair of the council’s cross-party environment and climate change working group said:

“This is an inclusive scheme as the only criteria that people need to meet are that they own or rent their home privately and that their home is capable of having insulation fitted.

“Insulation is one of the most effective ways we can permanently move people out of fuel poverty and cut emissions across the city.

“If you haven’t already been in touch to find out if you could benefit, I’d urge you to do so before it’s too late.”

Anyone in any doubt about the benefits of free insulation or the scheme should be reassured by the experience of Wrap Up Leeds’ 5000th customer, Janet Crisp.

Energy conscious Janet had free loft insulation installed in her Beeston home and she is expected to save around £175 a year on her fuel bills.

Having read about the scheme in her local paper, Janet was sceptical at first.

Janet said:

“I don’t really believe in free things; there is always a catch with offers like that but I thought I would give this scheme a go. This is the first time I’ve ever taken advantage of a free offer so I was amazed when it really did turn out to be completely free!”

Janet’s loft insulation was installed by Dyson Energy Services, one of only three approved contractors working on the scheme and having never been in her loft herself, she was more than happy with their work.

Janet continued:

“They were very helpful. Apparently there was an old fire place up there and a few boxes full of Christmas decorations which the men from Dyson’s kindly removed for me. They really were a very nice team and they made sure they cleared up after themselves. I couldn’t have been happier with their level of service.”

“Everyone was very helpful right from the first conversation I had on the phone through to completion. The whole Wrap Up Leeds team was spot on.

“Seeing the council logo on their advert, certainly reassured me that it wasn’t a con by some ‘fly by night’ operation.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this service to a friend. This service is great and if you live alone you can be assured that you will be getting a friendly, professional service walking through your door.”

People can also still benefit from the refer a friend offer. If you refer a friend or family member to Wrap Up Leeds and they go on to have cavity wall or loft insulation installed, you’ll receive a £20 high street shopping voucher.

Community groups and schools can also benefit from the same refer a friend scheme.

Call 0800 052 0071 to find out how to get your free insulation.

The 0800 number is free from most landline providers, but may not be free from mobile networks. If you would prefer, please call Wrap Up Leeds on 01484 351 779.

Or contact Wrap Up Leeds on or apply online at

About Wrap Up Leeds

  • Wrap Up Leeds is available to all homeowners and privately renting tenants (where landlord’s permission has been granted) in the Leeds City Council area only.

  • Free cavity wall insulation, loft insulation (where less than 60mm of loft insulation currently exists) and loft ‘top up’s’ (where more than 60mm but less than 160mm of loft insulation currently exists) are available under the scheme.

  • A free, technical survey of the property will confirm that the work will definitely be free and much larger properties or those that need extensive scaffolding may be asked to pay a contribution towards the work.

  • Savings of £1,653,750 on energy bills is estimated to be saved from Wrap Up Leeds which is based on installing cavity wall insulation in 6,000 homes, laying insulation in over 3,000 empty lofts and ‘topping up’ a further 5,850 lofts.

  • The ‘refer a friend’ offer applies to individuals, schools and community groups. Anyone can refer a friend regardless of whether they have had insulation installed themselves. £20 high street shopping vouchers will be given to the referrer. The vouchers will only be honoured if the friend’s property is insulated with at least one measure under the Wrap up Leeds scheme. The referral must be made before the application is processed. The referrer’s name, address and telephone number, must be provided with the referral. The referral must be made by returning the card or giving details over the phone.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577