Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Everyone for tennis ?

Caption: Wheelchair tennis (top image) and visually-impaired tennis (above) will be available to try at the Tennis Centre on Saturday

Anyone inspired by the feast of tennis shown at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games or Andy Murray’s history-making success at the recent US Open should head to the John Charles Centre for Sport this weekend to have a go themselves.

Running from 11:30am to 1:30pm on Saturday 29th September, the Tennis Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport will be playing host to a free tennis taster session open to people of all ages and abilities.

Organised by Leeds City Council and the Leeds Disability Sport Youth Panel, the session is open to all but with a particular focus on wheelchair tennis – as seen at the London 2012 Paralympic Games – and visually-impaired tennis, the newest version of the sport.

The session will cater for people of all abilities from complete beginners upwards, with qualified coaches on hand and all equipment provided. The session offers the ideal chance for disabled children, young people and adults to play, with tennis wheelchairs and specialist equipment available for those with a visual impairment.

The John Charles Centre for Sport runs all types of tennis weekly at the Tennis Centre including wheelchair tennis and visually-impaired tennis sessions, one of the only places in the country to do so.

Leeds City Council disability sports officer Ross Bibby said:

“London 2012 as a whole was absolutely amazing and in particular the success of the Paralympics was brilliant to see and showcased disability sport on a scale never seen before. It would be fantastic to see lots of people and families inspired by the Olympics, Paralympics and also Andy Murray’s win in the US Open coming along and having a go at tennis as it is a wonderful sport and a great way of keeping fit.”

For more information on disability sport in Leeds visit or call Leeds City Council’s disability sports officer Ross Bibby on 0113 395 0159 or by e-mailing

Notes to editors:

Britain’s Andy Murray was one of the stars of the sporting summer, winning gold and silver medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games before ending the 76-year wait for a British player to win a men’s singles grand slam title with victory in the US Open in New York earlier this month. He also finished runner-up at this year’s Wimbledon.

The Leeds Disability Sport Youth Panel is one of six disability sport projects in Leeds to be awarded a London 2012 Inspire Mark which recognises innovative and exceptional programmes and activities around the country that are directly inspired by London 2012.


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

City of Leeds Olympic diving stars taking the plunge Down Under as road to Rio begins

Caption: Homegrown Leeds Olympians Alicia Blagg (left) and Hannah Starling (right) will return to competitive action in Australia (image courtesy of City of Leeds Diving Club)

Three of the young City of Leeds divers who competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games return to action next month as they take part in the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Australia.

The trio of Alicia Blagg, Hannah Starling and Jack Laugher are three of seven City of Leeds divers who will be representing Team GB and Jamaica in the event which takes place from October 8-13 in Adelaide.

For the Olympic trio, the event marks the beginning of their road to Rio 2016 after the experience of taking on the world’s best in London. In Adelaide they will be competing in their own age groups, with Alicia (aged 15), Hannah (17) and Jack (17) looking to impress again at international level in the event open to divers aged 18 and under.

Alicia from Woodlesford, who was the youngest member of the Team GB diving squad in London, will be competing individually in the 1 metre and 3m springboard competitions and will team up with Hannah, from Alwoodley, in the 3m synchronised springboard event.

Hannah will also be competing in the 3m individual event while Harrogate diver Jack, who trains along with his clubmates at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds, will be competing individually in the 1m and 3m competitions.

Jack will also be joining forces with Team GB superstar Tom Daley, who secured Britain’s first individual Olympic diving medal in 52 years with bronze in London, in the 3m synchronised springboard contest.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

All media are invited to attend a training session of the City of Leeds divers at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport from 4pm-5pm on Thursday 27 September (tomorrow). The divers who will be competing in Adelaide will be available for interview at the session along with members of the coaching staff.
The John Charles Centre for Sport is located off Middleton Grove, LS11 5DJ.
******************** Media opportunity ********************

The event will also showcase the next wave of young City of Leeds talent looking to emerge on the world stage.

Lydia Rosethall aged 13 from Garforth and Matty Lee aged 14 from Moortown will be taking part in their biggest competitions to date, with both having qualified through their performances at the European Junior Diving Championships held in Graz in Austria in July. Matty became the first-ever junior European champion from Leeds in winning the 3m competition in the boys 14-15 age group, while Lydia came fourth in the same event for girls.

Another City of Leeds diver representing Great Britain in Australia will be 16-year-old Scot Grace Reid, who divides her time between Leeds and her native Edinburgh and will be taking part in the 1m individual competition.

Aside from the Team GB internationals, young City of Leeds diver Yona Knight-Wisdom will make history in Adelaide as he becomes the first-ever Jamaican to compete in the FINA World Junior Diving Championships.

The 17-year-old from Chapel Allerton, who qualifies to represent Jamaica through his father, will be competing in the 1m and 3m individual categories.

Echoing the full senior Team GB squad which competed in London, City of Leeds divers make up half of the 12-strong Great Britain squad heading Down Under demonstrating the continued strength of Leeds City Council’s Diving Training Scheme, which oversees the City of Leeds squad, headed by senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans.

Diving coach Edwin Jongejans said:

“The group are all really looking forward to competing in Adelaide and for Alicia, Hannah and Jack it will be interesting to see how they return to competition and show what they have learned from taking part in the Olympics.

“For Lydia, Matty and Grace this is another important step in their development as divers while for Yona it will be a very proud moment as he becomes the first Jamaican diver to ever compete in the event so we are looking forward to sharing that with him.”

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s Leeds Diving Training Scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.

For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at, Edwin Jongejans at or call 0113 395 7363.


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

Have your say on primary school expansions

People across the city are being asked to share their views on the expansion of four primary schools in Leeds.

A public consultation is currently underway to discover people’s views on proposals to expand Little London, Tranmere Park, Rufford Park and Sharp Lane primary schools.

The proposed expansions are part of a city-wide programme which is necessary to meet the increased demand for primary-age places caused by a rising birth rate and an increase in the number of families moving into certain areas of the city. Through this programme the council has already approved 830 new reception places since 2009.

The latest proposals under consideration are:
• The expansion of Little London Primary School from 210 pupils to 630 pupils (30 admission limit to 90);
• The expansion of Tranmere Park Primary School, Guiseley, from 315 pupils to 420 pupils (45 admission limit to 60) ;
• The expansion of Rufford Park Primary School, Yeadon, from 210 pupils to 315 pupils (30 admission limit to 45) and;
• The expansion of Sharp Lane Primary School, Middleton, from 420 pupils to 630 pupils ( 60 admission limit to 90).

People interested in hearing more about the Sharp Lane proposals are invited to a public meeting on Thursday 27 September at 6pm at the school, where they will be able to view the consultation documents and ask questions about the proposals.

Local authorities have to provide a school place for every child in the city with no child having to make an unreasonable journey to get there.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services at Leeds City Council, said:
“The increased demand for primary school places means we have to reassess the size of certain schools to ensure there will be places available to every child.

“Before making these decisions we are asking for the views of the public to gauge opinion as well as consulting with head teachers and governors at the schools involved. These expansions will ensure that children in these areas of Leeds will have the best possible start to their learning.”

The formal consultation period ends on Friday 19 October and all views will be noted and considered as part of the formal process. The council’s executive board will make the final decision as to whether to proceed with the proposals. If they get the go ahead the changes will take place in September 2014.

There is a public consultation document on each proposal which is available to download from or hard copies can be requested from Capacity Planning and Sufficiency Team, 10th Floor West, Merrion House, 110 Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8DT or e-mail

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

Better lives in Leeds through active ageing

This week is International Active Ageing Week 2012 (23 to 29 September), and Leeds City Council is keen to promote the benefits of keeping minds and bodies active in later years to local residents.

People are living for longer, and the number of over 85s living in Leeds has increased by almost 20% since 2001 and will rise by another 40% in the next 20 years*. This is something we want to celebrate but it also has a direct effect on the health needs and service requirements of the city going forward.

Older people in Leeds can access a range of services and resources to help them continue to live healthy, independent and fulfilling lives for as long as possible. The council works in partnership with public health, NHS organisations, third sector organisations and wider stakeholders to promote positive outcomes for older people in the city.

Active ageing is all about preventing illness and encouraging people to enjoy recreation and social interaction through sport and physical activity. In later years it is also about people being able to maintain mobility, independent living and a good quality of life.

Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our ageing society, but it is thought that leading a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce people's risk of developing the condition in later life. For people with Dementia, remaining physically and mentally active can have a significant impact on a person's well-being providing a welcome distraction from the stresses of the illness, helping them to focus on more positive and fun aspects of life.

Leeds City Council has a range of services that promote active ageing and help people to continue to play an active role in society and live as healthy and fulfilling lives as possible.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for adult social care said:
“The population of the UK is getting older, and the population in Leeds is ageing along with it! So we need to be prepared, and make sure that we have support in place to help older people to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

“Active ageing is about preventing illness and enjoying recreation and social activities with friends and family. Regular exercise is really beneficial in helping people to maintain mobility, independent living and therefore their quality of life.

“In Leeds our aim is to help make better lives for people, and I strongly believe that if we can help and encourage people to stay active as they get older, the better their lives will be.”

Neighbourhood Network Schemes provide a wide range of support and activities for older people across Leeds. The first scheme started in 1985, and now there are over 40 schemes supporting over 25,000 people each year.

The schemes are funded by Leeds City Council, the NHS and they also fundraise in other ways. They are managed by local people who decide what they want from their scheme, and are run with a lot of help from volunteers – around 100,000 hours each year! Their work includes giving advice and information, help around the home, healthy living activities, leisure and recreation, help with transport and general support.

For more information about how to find a neighbourhood network near you please visit

Hilda’s story “They call me the ‘drama queen’ at my local drama group!”
Hilda , 85, loves to keep active and has been acting up at the Heydays drama club based at West Yorkshire Playhouse for more than 15 years. The group is for people who are over 55, and members put on performances and do other creative work, such as painting, singing, arts and crafts and writing.
When describing her busy schedule Hilda said:
“I’m only really in the house one day a week. I love the drama group - everyone is so friendly and enthusiastic. They’re very popular too.”
Hilda also attends Halton Moor and Osmondthorpe Project for elders (HOPE) once a week, which is one of the city's neighbourhood networks. She added:
“I do think that Leeds is a wonderful place to be if you’re an older person. And HOPE are great; they really go out of their way for you.”

2012 is the European Year of Active Ageing, which aims to raise awareness of the issues facing the ageing population and to improve opportunities for active ageing. A conference called Ageing Well in Leeds is being held on Tuesday 9 October at Leeds City Museum, 9.30am to 12.30pm. This event brings together practitioners/professionals and older citizens of Leeds to ensure the effective development of the ageing well programme. This aims to improve services for older people in Leeds, and promote a more positive attitude towards ageing, seeing it as a positive experience and emphasising the contribution that older people make to society.

Additional info
A range of activities to support active ageing are available at Leeds City Council leisure centres across the city. For information and advice please visit

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
* Leeds
Population by age
Population aged 65 and over, projected to 2030
2012 2015 2020 2025 2030
People aged 65-69 33,500 36,400 32,700 36,300 40,800
People aged 70-74 26,200 27,300 33,300 30,100 33,600
People aged 75-79 23,100 23,600 24,100 29,600 26,900
People aged 80-84 16,800 17,400 18,900 19,700 24,600
People aged 85-89 10,300 10,700 12,000 13,500 14,500
People aged 90 and over 6,700 7,400 8,800 10,800 13,400
Total population 65+ 116,600 122,800 129,800 140,000 153,800

Figures may not sum due to rounding