Thursday, 28 February 2013

Olympic divers join the ranks of Child Friendly Leeds ambassadors

Picutre caption: "Alicia Blagg (left) and Hannah Starling (far right) are joined by new recruits from the City of Leeds Diving Talent ID Squad, Joe Stocking (9), Oliver Capitano (8),  Ruby Burnett(8) and Eleanor Monnelly (9) and Cllr Judith Blake (centre).

Two Olympic divers from Leeds will be role models for a generation of children after agreeing to be Child Friendly Leeds ambassadors.

City of Leeds divers Alicia Blagg, 16, from Woodlesford and Hannah Starling, 17, from Alwoodley will both be ambassadors to help Leeds become a Child Friendly City.

Alicia, who was the youngest member of the Team GB diving squad in London said:
“I’m really pleased that I’ve been asked to do it. I’m really proud that I’m going to be an ambassador and be able to promote Leeds and help make it bigger and better.

“Leeds is great for kids because there are so many different sports to try and different opportunities and clubs to take part in. It’s probably the best city to get involved in sports in.”

Team mate Hannah added:
“There is always loads to do in Leeds for kids. When I was younger we always used Harewood House, and the city centre, and there’s always lots to do in Millennium Square.

“It’s amazing to be an ambassador for Child Friendly Leeds. I was really chuffed to be asked because Leeds is my home town. Having grown up doing sport, myself, I think it’s great to be asked to help the rest of the community get together and try something new.”

Child friendly Leeds ambassadors inspire others to make Leeds a better place for children and young people. Children’s Commissioner Maggie Atkinson, a champion for children across the whole of the UK, is also a child friendly Leeds ambassador. There is also a steady stream of ambassadors coming forward from Leeds schools, colleges and organisations such as the NHS and West Yorkshire Probation Service.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said: “It is great to have Alicia and Hannah on-board – they are true role models for our children and young people. But you don’t have to be famous to be Child Friendly Leeds ambassador, you just have to be proud of our city and willing to help us make it a better place for our children.”

Businesses and organisations across the city are also being asked to make a child friendly Leeds pledge, and say what they’re going to do to make Leeds the best city for children. This could include building stronger links with local schools, arranging for staff to become mentors to young people in care, helping to promote and support foster care across their workforce and looking at how they can change their services to make them more child friendly.

Since the campaign started last summer, one hundred ambassadors have already signed up, and 134 organisations have made child friendly Leeds pledges. To find out more, please see:, and follow the campaign on twitter @child_Leeds

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council’s 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:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Leeds gets new powers to control street pedlars

Leeds City Council has been awarded extra powers to control trading in the street after a new act has been passed in Parliament.

In early February a private act, promoted by the council, was passed through parliament and has now received royal assent and will be known as the Leeds City Council Act 2013.

These new powers will allow the council to designate specific areas where greater controls apply to street ‘pedlars’, the size of their trolleys and the numbers of them.

Before the act was brought in, the number of ‘pedlars’ could not be controlled, and they could congregate in busy areas of the city centre and cause problems.

At the moment a street trader with a static stall must have a consent issued by the council. This allows the council to consider whether the location is suitable and safe and that the trader is reputable.

A pedlar does not need a council licence. Instead they should have a certificate which is issued by the police after minimal checks and can be used anywhere in England and Wales.

Traditionally a pedlar walked around selling goods which they carried. Increasingly the modern pedlar uses a large, unwieldy and often unsafe stall which they barely move. The distinction between trader and pedlar has become blurred.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy said:

“Before the bill was passed, the numbers of pedlars in the city centre could not be controlled at all and they were congregating in large numbers in busy crowded streets and at major street events.

“With the Leeds Arena opening and the Tour de France coming soon to the city these additional powers will be vital and will help to ensure a vibrant retail high street.

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


Motorists warned of two temporary road closures in Leeds

Motorists who are travelling through Leeds during the night over the next few weeks are being warned to plan ahead, with two road closures in the city.

The A65 Commercial Road, Kirkstall, between Savins Mill Way and Bridge Road is closed from now until Monday 4 March 2013 overnight only between 9pm and 5.30am (Monday – Friday only).

Boar Lane, in the city centre between Park Row and Briggate will also be closed overnight from Monday 4 March 2013 to Friday 15 March 2013, between the hours of 9pm and 5.30am (Not including Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights).

Diversions for motorists will be signposted.

Both closures have been planned to enable Leeds City Council road maintenance teams to replace a worn out road surface.

The Boar Lane scheme will impact on bus routes through the city centre, access to the railway station and several hotels and businesses. All, however, have been contacted and are included in the planning of the works to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.

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

Temporary closure of Clay Pit Lane for rescheduled works

Clay Pit Lane in Leeds city centre is to be temporarily closed to traffic for improvement works.

Plans to resurface the carriageway were put on hold earlier this month but will now go ahead next week.

As well as resurfacing, crossing facilities for pedestrians will be upgraded too.

On Monday 4 March, there will be single lane closures on the carriageway bringing traffic into the city centre between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

On Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 March the carriageway bringing traffic into the city centre will be closed completely from 7pm and 7am on both days.

The carriageway taking traffic out of the city centre will be closed entirely from 7am on Thursday 7 March through to 9pm on Friday 8 March.

Only the section of Clay Pit Lane in the immediate vicinity of the Leeds Arena will closured with diversions in place and signposted.

The work is the final phase of road closures on Clay Pit Lane as part of a wider improvement programme in preparation for the opening of the Leeds Arena.

Leeds City Council apologises for any inconvenience this causes.


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