Thursday, 13 December 2012

Take a festive walk on the wild side at Totally Tropical Christmas

Leeds City Council deputy executive member for the environment Cllr Jack Dunn (top image) and head animal keeper at Tropical World Steve Dickie (lower image) enjoyed a close encounter with a three-year-old Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor at the Roundhay visitor attraction today.

The visit was to promote the popular annual Totally Tropical Christmas, which takes place from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 December from 5-8pm each night.

For more information on Tropical World and its opening hours go to or call 0113 395 7400.


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

Beta FilmWorks awarded £15,000 for British Film Institute pilot


Beta FilmWorks has been awarded a grant of £15,000 to deliver a three-month pilot project for the British Film Institute.

Beta FilmWorks is a consortium of Leeds-based organisations made up of Access Moving Image, Leeds Young Film, NE Leeds City Learning Centre and is led by Reel Solutions.

The aim of the project is to identify and engage with talented young people between the ages of 16-19 across West, North and East Yorkshire and invite them to participate in a new, groundbreaking film learning programme.

The programme is structured to include access to film industry professionals, a ‘hands on’ look at film production, the opportunity to develop film critique skills, visits to independent cinemas and devising & delivering a session at the 14th Leeds Young Film Festival taking place at Easter 2013.

Participants on the programme will be working towards the Silver Arts Award and supported throughout by on-line learning and face to face modules.

During February the students will have a week of intensive training in Leeds to acquire skills in screenwriting and film production.

Beta FilmWorks are inviting an online application, the deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 19th December and the successful applicants will be informed on Friday 21st December in order to start in the New Year on Jan 12th. Our online application is now live and can be found at

This is a fantastic opportunity for young people with a desire to excel at film production in all of its spheres. Beta FilmWorks will identify several young people from this initial cohort who will go onto attend the BFI’s residential Talent Campus later in 2013.

Geraldine Walker speaking for Beta FilmWorks said: “We are very happy to have been selected to be one of the two pilots in Yorkshire and incredibly excited to be able to offer this opportunity to the region’s next generation of aspiring young filmmakers to help them on the next step of their careers”.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, executive member for leisure & skills, Leeds City Council said: “I’m delighted that Leeds has been chosen to host a regional academy for the BFI. We are home to an emerging film sector here in Leeds and initiatives like this will help to ensure a whole new generation of young people experience and get excited by film. I know we will work closely with the new Regional Film Academy to take this work to another level.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services, Leeds City Council said: “It is fantastic news that Leeds will be hosting one of the BFI Regional Academies and I am really excited about the creative opportunities it will bring for children and young people... This is a wonderful achievement as Leeds was facing some stiff competition, but I think that we will prove that the right choice has been made. Our ambition to become a Child Friendly City is supported by opportunities such as these were children and young people really are at the heart of what is being developed.”


For additional information contact:

Geraldine Walker Craig Lawson
E: E:
M: 07903 608191 M: 07946 350533

Leeds City Region LEP allocates first £2 million from the Growing Places Fund to Yorkshire Design Services


Photo caption: (left to right) Ben Rimmington, Leeds City Region LEP Director; Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council; Paul Ellison and Peter Connolly of Yorkshire Design Services on site looking at the plans

The Local Enterprise Partnership has today announced its first allocation of funding from the Growing Places Fund to Yorkshire Design Services Ltd, helping to bring back into use a contaminated area of land near Leeds city centre.

The £2m loan will be used to prepare the site for the development of a number of uses, including a £43m data centre. This has recently got planning permission and will be the largest independent facility of its kind outside London.

Neil McLean, Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP said:

“We are proud to invest the first £2 million of these funds in the regeneration of an important site that will help deliver first class digital infrastructure in the city region.”

“This is about the delivery of targeted investment that can help kick-start infrastructure development in the city region. The revolving character of the fund will ensure returns will keep on being reinvested to new projects, giving our businesses and economy more opportunities to grow.”

Paul Ellison, Operations Director of YDS said :

“We are delighted to be the first in the city region to receive a Growing Places Fund loan.”

“From purchase of the land in June, to receiving planning permission in November for a major infrastructure development, the pace of progress has been swift and the Leeds City Region LEP was quick to recognise the potential for growth that this loan will unlock. Our application was handled efficiently with a great deal of positive energy.”

It is anticipated that 48 jobs will be directly created and another 200 could result from the development of the whole site.

A further 4 loans have been offered to other city region businesses and other loans will be made available in the New Year.

Notes to editors:

Growing Places Fund

1. Growing Places Fund is a ‘revolving fund’, the returns on which are being reinvested locally by the LEP.

2. The funds offer businesses a cash injection for a wide range of infrastructure projects that are ready to go and can demonstrate job creation, carbon reduction and economic growth.

3. Loans are available to businesses of any size and available funds range from £250,000 to £5 million. The fund is not able to accept new applications after December 2012.

Leeds City Region Partnership

1. The Leeds City Region (LCR) Partnership brings together a group of 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council), its local enterprise partnership (LEP) and partners to support economic growth and a better quality of life for our communities.
2. To achieve this vision the Partnership is working to deliver a city region wide economic strategy, “The Plan”. The Plan’s objectives are to support business and enterprise, enable a skilled and flexible workforce, foster a low carbon, sustainable economy and create the infrastructure for growth.
3. To ensure effective delivery of these priorities the Partnership was one of the first to agree a ‘city deal’, securing Government support to deliver its flagship initiatives.
The Leeds City Region economy
1. The Leeds City Region is the largest city region economy and financial centre in the country outside London. With a £52billion economy representing 5% of England’s economy, over 100,000 businesses and a 3 million population, the city region continues to be at the forefront in driving the economy of the North and accelerating national economic prosperity.
2. For more information on the Leeds City Region Partnership please visit


For press/media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Region Partnership
Tel: 07891 278049

Statement regarding the progress towards financial close on the Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck PFI project

The proposed contractor and funders of the Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme have told the council that they are making good progress towards financial close and have expressed optimism that the process is on the way to completion early in the new year.

Councillor Peter Gruen (Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Support Services) said:

“The council is continuing to work closely with the relevant parties to get to a point where building works can commence on the Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck PFI. We are waiting for the contractor to finalise their funding and construction programmes for the scheme. All council approvals are in place and I would hope that a start can be made in the Spring, once the contractor has been formally appointed.

“The council is very much aware of the importance of the scheme to the communities concerned and will continue to do all it can to make sure work starts as soon as possible. Although I welcome the progress, we have been made promises before and the onus, however, is on the new company Sustainable Communities for Leeds and its funders to resolve these issues in a timely manner.

"For the communities in South Leeds, this is becoming a public test of confidence regarding whether the major banks have really turned the corner or not. This is a blue-chip scheme and the Leeds public will draw its own conclusions if there is continuing delay in investing in Leeds."

For media enquiries, please contact;
Leeds City Council press office on 0113 3950244

Shining a light on climate change

Councillor Roger Harington and Jenny Brierley talking to tenants of Hawthorn Mill about the Leeds Climate Change Strategy

Solar panels on the roof of Hawthorn Mill

Residents at a sheltered housing complex in Leeds are the latest people to benefit from the city’s plans to go green.

Solar panels on the roof of the Lower Wortley homes are generating electricity to power the communal areas of the Connect Housing-run complex.

Representing the Leeds Housing Forum on the city’s climate change partnership, Connect Housing knew that the renewable technology would help cut harmful carbon emissions while slashing electricity bills, therefore reducing service charges for 33 residents.

In a bid to cut their own emissions and save money, Connect Housing have also installed solar panels on the roof of their offices in Roundhay Road. The panels are tangible proof that members of Leeds’ climate change partnership are committed to turning the vision of a cleaner, greener city into a reality.

The partnership has recently published an updated version of its climate change strategy. The strategy explains what member organisations will do to stop harmful carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere and help Leeds adapt to conditions a changing climate will bring.

The revised strategy reflects new targets, priorities and the progress made since it was launched in July 2009. Action taken so far means that the city is ahead of schedule to meet carbon reduction targets.

Councillor Roger Harington, chair of the Leeds climate change partnership, said:
“The revised strategy isn’t just a document that sits on the shelf – it represents a wide range of projects being driven by businesses, community groups, voluntary organisations, universities and individuals across the city.
“Connect Housing, along with other partnership members, are proving what organisations can do to reduce their environmental impact and what they can do to help others do the same.
“It’s only with this kind of joint working that we’ll be able to tackle climate change effectively. While we’re pleased that emissions are reducing, we need to continue to improve to become a truly sustainable city.”

Jenny Brierley, chief executive of Connect Housing, said:
“Keeping utility bills down for tenants is a high priority for Connect, especially when household budgets are so stretched. Making homes more energy efficient, giving good energy saving advice and adding solar power all help to reduce the bills, as well as the carbon emissions. Tackling climate change and saving money at the same time wins all round.”

Harmful carbon dioxide emissions fell by 14.4% between 2005 and 2009 and if emissions continue to fall at the same rate, the city will be on track to cut emissions by 40% by 2020.

The ‘Leeds Climate Change Strategy: Making the change 2012 to 2015’ can be read at

Notes to editors:

Members of the Leeds climate change partnership are:
CO2 Sense
Environment Agency
Environment Forum VCFS
Federation of Small Businesses
Friends of the Earth
Groundwork Leeds
Leeds City College
Leeds City Council
Leeds Housing Forum
Leeds Initiative
Leeds Metropolitan University
Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
Local Government Yorkshire and Humber
NHS Leeds
Sustainable Resource Solutions Ltd
University of Leeds

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