Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sign of the times goes on show at Abbey House Museum

Caption: The golden balls which will go on display at Abbey House Museum (top image) and a photo of the former Zermansky's Pawnbrokers on North Street

Historic memorabilia from one of the longest-running businesses in Leeds city centre will go on display at Abbey House Museum this weekend.

Zermansky’s Pawnbrokers was a fixture on North Street in Leeds from the 1920s to its closure in 1981, run as a family business by Mark Zermansky before being taken over by his son Cyril after he died in 1964.

The pawnbroking element of the business ended in 1974 when the Consumer Credit Act increased the regulations and paperwork in the industry, and Zermansky’s went on to close seven years later.

Now the family of the late Cyril and Pearl Manning have donated several items from the business to be added to the Victorian recreation streets at the Leeds City Council-managed visitor attraction in Kirkstall, including the pawnbroker’s sign and three golden balls which hung off it.

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Media are invited to attend a ceremony to mark the items from Zermansky's Pawnbrokers going on display at Abbey House Museum at 4pm on Sunday 25 November. Members of the Zermansky family will be attending the event. Abbey House Museum is located off Abbey Walk in Kirkstall, LS5 3EH.
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As well as the sign, the family have also donated a range of other personal and business items relating to the Zermansky family to be put in display, such as the original weighing scales from the shop.

Leeds City Council curator of Leeds history/social history Kitty Ross said:

“We are delighted to accept and put these fantastic items on display at Abbey House Museum. Original memorabilia like this from a family business which spanned more than 50 years offers a real insight into the financial and retail history of the city, and we are very grateful to the Zermansky family for donating them to us.”

For more information visit


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

How would YouChoose to save £40m ?

Caption: The YouChoose budget simulator is already proving popular

People in Leeds are taking the chance to show off their budgeting and decision-making skills in order to help the city council save £40m next year.

Launched last month, the YouChoose challenge has already seen more than 1,000 people take on the simulated role of Leeds City Council budget-setter for the financial year 2013-14, with the aim of hitting the target of a £40m saving while continuing to provide essential services.

The online budget simulator challenge is free for anyone to try by going to, with the aim being to find out directly what residents feel are priorities and helping to give an insight into how council resources are currently used.

Anyone who would prefer to complete a paper version of the challenge can do so at any council-managed library or one-stop centre in the city.

The council has already realised savings of approximately £145m over the last two years, with a further £40m saving identified as being needed for next year.

Everyone who takes part before Monday 24 January 2013 will have their views considered as part of the citywide consultation process which is currently underway and will be taken into account by senior councillors when the budget is finalised in February.

The challenge has received a promising initial response from residents of all ages across the city, and the council is now calling on as many more people as possible to try YouChoose and have their say.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“We are very pleased with the initial response of the YouChoose challenge, but we would really like to hear from as many people as possible to let us know how they think we should spend money in the city.

“The challenge is by no means easy, with the decisions getting harder and harder each year with another £40m of savings needed coming on top of the £145m reductions already achieved. That is why it is vital we hear as many views as we can to help us shape a budget which focuses on what people want as well as need.”

For more information on the council budget and ways to have your say visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Green light for Sovereign Street green space

Plans to create a new public green space in Leeds city centre at Sovereign Street have today been approved.

Leeds City Council’s city plans panel gave the green light to the project to provide a new, contemporary landscaped area on land currently housing a temporary car park.

They also agreed proposals for a neighbouring new four-storey office development with basement parking and landscaping for global consultancy firm KPMG on the Sovereign Street site.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for development and the economy, said:
“It’s excellent news that the plans panel has given its seal of approval to the council’s ambitious plans for the Sovereign Street green space.

“This eye-catching, modern park space will be a lovely place for people to relax and enjoy some time away from the city centre bustle. It is also a real focal point for the area, re-introducing the site to full permanent use and encouraging investors such as KPMG to locate there.

“We are opening it up to be a fantastic green space for the public and business community and boosting investment in the process.”

Notes to editors:
The Leeds City Council-owned Sovereign Street site has housed a temporary pay and display car park since plans were scrapped for the Criterion Place development.
Part of the site will be home to the new Leeds headquarters of KPMG- the first major office development in the city centre for over five years.
The new public area fits the council’s ambition to extend the city centre southwards and address its shortage of quality green space. It is also intended to be the forerunner of the City Centre Park south of the River Aire and should help reinvigorate the city’s development market. The new £2.5 million green space will be a catalyst for further development of the area and a full design and cost report will be brought back to the council’s executive board early next year.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335

Businesswomen will inspire girls to succeed at networking event

A conference aimed at helping to raise the aspirations of girls in Leeds will take place at Leeds Town Hall next week.

Organised by the Connecting Enterprising Women project and supported by Leeds City Council the ‘Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures’ conference will take place at Leeds Town Hall, on Monday 26 November between 1pm and 5pm. The networking event is an opportunity for women from all sectors to meet and be inspired, share skills and knowledge, and network with a diverse range of women.

This event will also offer unique mentoring opportunities for 50 girls from the Leeds East Academy who will be able to meet with professional women and receive help and guidance on their future career aspirations.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Any opportunity to help young people meet with aspirational people who can offer help and advice, and encourage them to think about their own future prospects is one not to be missed.

“One of our aims in making Leeds a Child Friendly City is to encourage young people to raise their aspirations and celebrate their achievements.”

Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures will promote and to celebrate women’s achievements, network, inspire and promote business entrepreneurship for developing entrepreneurial girls in Leeds.

Connecting Enterprising Women is a networking forum working with women who are keen to network and connect to other women in the region. The aim is to support all women, whether working from grass roots levels, first stage planning, or at senior levels to innovative and support women in the Yorkshire region.

Opportunities are available for organisations who wish to have a trade stand at the event. They can visit for further information Or contact Ruth Dass at Trade stands cost £50 for business stands and £25 charity and community stands.

For further information and to book a place people should also visit

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

Burglary rates drop in south Leeds

Homes in south Leeds have seen a 39% reduction in burglaries compared with the same period last year.

As part of a campaign to work with residents and make them feel safe in their homes, Aire Valley Homes has worked with West Yorkshire Police on a number of crime awareness days and a programme of investing in home security.

Using crime statistics and local knowledge, a number of areas in south Leeds were identified as high risk. Local estates were visited by Aire Valley Homes’ officers and PCSOs to talk to residents about their concerns.

A programme of home security investment is already well underway in south Leeds with new door locks, window locks, additional lighting and alarms being installed at council properties.

Alongside this, locals have flagged up a number of issues they feel could improve the area further including additional CCTV cameras for multi-storey flats and dusk till dawn street lighting in Hunslet.

Patricia Jackson, chair of the Hunslet Tenants and Residents Association said:

“I should like to express my thanks, on behalf of our members, for the interest in our security and safety which has been a hallmark in our dealings with both Aire Valley Homes and the Police and Holbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team. The good advice received from both organisations and the gift to our members of security devices has helped us all to feel secure in our homes.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:
“Partnership working between Aire Valley Homes and West Yorkshire Police to tackle burglary rates has been an excellent investment. The reduction rate of burglaries is testament to the hard work and commitment of the two organisations and I am pleased residents are noticing a real effect. “

Simon Costigan, chief executive of Aire Valley Homes, said:

“Working with the police and local residents in this way has shown our visibility in these high risk areas. The crime reduction days have made residents feel more secure as we are listening to their concerns and offering valuable advice. Their views are being taken on board to make our communities safer places to live.”

Inspector Paul Ackerman, Holbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team, commented:
 “The 39% reduction in burglaries is fantastic news. We will continue to listen to residents' concerns and work with Aire Valley Homes to drive burglary down even further and make south Leeds an even safer place to live and work.”

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

Fairy Jobmother unveils new work and skills scheme

This week will see the unveiling of a new scheme that will help people gain the access and skills into paid employment in the housing sector in Leeds.

The Fairy Jobmother, Hayley Taylor, who has taken on the challenge of getting the unemployed of Britain back into work in a series on Channel 4, will be on hand to dispense job seeking advice and guidance to people in west Leeds as she opens West North West Works, the new sector based work academy launched by West North West Homes Leeds.

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Fairy Jobsmother Hayley Taylor and Councillor Peter Gruen will officially unveil West North West Works on Friday 23 November at 12pm at the Fairfield Community Centre. There will be an opportunity to meet job seekers involved in the project find out how people can access this new service.

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The work academy has already taken on seven Leeds people who are currently unemployed, to offer them an insight into the world of housing and hopefully set them off on a successful career path within business.

Cathy Clelland, chair of West North West Homes Leeds, said:

“Local people are feeling the squeeze in the economy. By setting up this work academy we hope to give people access to work and training, and bring on talented individuals from the communities we serve.
“The scheme has already set up successful placements in estate caretaking and business administration, and I look forward to seeing many more people go through the various schemes.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:

“The new work academy offers people a real opportunity to get to grips with the housing sector and gain experience whilst on the job and training.
“Many of the people gaining placements will go on to secure permanent jobs in the housing sector. This is a practical addition to the many initiatives that are ongoing to try and reduce unemployment in the city.”

Notes to editors:
Under the West North West Works banner, the scheme is designed to provide a combination of training, work experience, with a guaranteed job interview at the end to people from the local communities in Leeds.

West North West Works has coordinated placement opportunities with the other housing organisations and Leeds City Council to maximise the experience, and worked with Leeds City College to provide support in completing job applications and customer service skills.

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

Leeds pledges support to White Ribbon Day 2012

Leeds is once again showing support for the White Ribbon campaign against domestic violence.

The White Ribbon Campaign is an international campaign by men to end violence against women. It recognises that most men are not violent towards women and encourages all men to show their support.

To launch the 16 days of action in Leeds there will be a White Ribbon Walk on Thursday 22 November which will start at the White Ribbon Tree in Park Square at 12pm and take in a brief city tour before giving out a number of leaflets and white ribbon badges at the central bus station.

A number of children’s centres across the city are also getting involved as will be encouraging the children to some creative work around the need for good relationships and wrapping trees in white ribbon to show their support for the campaign.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“This campaign highlights that violence against women is unacceptable and encourages men to show their support to end it. It is something I fully support and I encourage all men across the city to do the same.

“Leeds was the first city in England to achieve White Ribbon status in November 2010 and have been keen supporters of the cause since then.”

Violence against women is defined as ‘any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women and children including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life’.

To raise awareness of the campaign there will be a number of initiatives taking place in Leeds as well as appeals to businesses, clubs, networks and public sector organisations to raise support for the campaign.

For more information on what is happening in Leeds or to get involved contact the domestic violence team at Leeds City Council on 0113 395 2140 or email

For more information about the national White Ribbon campaign and to pledge your support visit

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