Friday, 7 June 2013

Dr Terrorvision reminds children to get off the sofa and get active

Picture caption: Composer and actor Paul Dale Vickers working with pupils from Castleton Primary School to create the Dr Terrorvision musical.

An innovative musical is heading to schools across Leeds to encourage children to reduce the amount of time they spend watching TV and playing computer games and more time being active and playing out.

As part of a city-wide campaign Leeds City Council’s children and families public health team have specially commissioned a musical theatre production that will focus on encouraging families to set a limit on ‘screen time’ and enjoy being active. The musical will be premiered at Castleton Primary School next week, where it will be performed by Year 4 children to their families.

Dr Terrorvision is a humorous and touching musical specially written and composed by ‘All Things Considered’ theatre company with the children at Castleton. The musical will be reproduced with the other primary schools in the Armley area.

Media opportunity:
When: Wednesday 12 June at 2 pm
Where: Castleton Primary School, Green Lane, Armley
Reporters, photographers and broadcast media are welcome to attend the premiere of ‘Dr Terrorvision’. Interviews will be available with representatives from the school, Leeds public health and All Things Considered.
Please contact the press office on 0113 2474713 if you are planning to attend.
Emma Bramley, Director of All Things Considered said: “All Things Considered and Castleton Primary School have worked in partnership to devise and create a musical exploring the effects and consequences of too much screen time. Working with some highly talented Year Four children they have created a brand new, terrifying journey involving zombies, Terror World and Dr you'd better beware!”

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive board member responsible for public health, said: “This musical is a fun and entertaining way of getting a very important message across to families in Leeds. There are so many risks to being sedentary and spending a lot of time in front of a screen, be it a TV, PC, tablet or phone. It can affect children’s health and eating habits, their concentration and development, as well as exposing them to excessive advertising.

“We want families to act responsibly and look at how long their children are spending in front of a screen. By setting limits, parents can make sure their children are getting the opportunity to play outside, be creative and get healthy.”

Judith Nofolk, head teacher at Castleton primary school said: “We take the health and wellbeing of our children very seriously. We have been involved in the Armley Change4Life project since it began and have seen many benefits for our children and families through this. We were proud to be approached to develop this musical and feel it shows our commitment towards education the children and families in the benefits of healthy lifestyles.”

Throughout June posters and flyers will be going out to all schools in the city with the Change4Life “Up and About” message

From September all Leeds schools will be offered the scripts and soundtracks to stage the musical in their schools, funded by public health. The musical will be performed by children aged 7 – 11 years for their families and will help bring to life the information on the risks of TV and Screen time and the importance of being active in a fun and engaging way.

For more details or to book the musical email:

What is Screen Time?
Time spent watching TV or on mobile phones, games consoles, computers etc
How much do we watch?• The overall time spent in front of screens by 5 -16 year-olds in Britain was nearly six hours a day not including any school time
• The average 10-year-old has access to five different screens at home
What are the risks of sedentary behaviour and excessive screen time?
Excessive TV viewing can out children at risk of being overweight or obese
Unhealthy eating habits• TV viewing acts as a distraction resulting in a lack of awareness of actual food consumption, leading to over consumption and increased energy intake
Sedentary behaviour• Some evidence shows that high levels of sedentary behaviour are linked to obesity, independently of physical activity levels
Exposure to TV advertising• Television advertises mainly highly processed, energy dense products
• Overweight and obese children and those who watch high levels of TV are particularly susceptible to food promotion on TV
Summary of health risks of excessive screen time• Affects brain and language development in young children
• Encourages “mindless” eating
• Slows down metabolic rate
• Leads to sedentary habits
• Associated with obesity
Change4Life campaign suggests; “It can help to set a limit on how long we sit still in front of TV, computer or video games. Some families have found saying “2 hours max” of screen time each day helps make sure kids jump up and play or go outside once they have been sitting around for a while”.

Aim of the Musical: To create a short piece of musical theatre for primary age school children to perform for their families with the intention of:
o Raising the issue of TV/screen time and its effects on children’s health and wellbeing
o Raising the issue of the importance of physical activity and free play for children’s health and wellbeing
o Encouraging behaviour change in families around limiting TV/screen time and encouraging children to be active

All Things Considered:

Paul Dale Vickers trained as an actor graduating from Bretton Hall in 1995.. Most significantly Paul played the lead role of Jean Valjean in the west end musical production of Les Misérables. We have found that children love the fact they are working with someone who has worked professionally in the field as it provides them with a positive role model. Paul is also a freelance composer of music for theatre, a notable collaboration is with the pioneering British artists ‘Lone Twin’. Paul has led master classes in musical theatre performance for and on behalf of Cameron Mackintosh Ltd and is able to take children though the process of developing their confidence in singing as well as writing and composing music. He has a PGCE in post compulsory education and an MA in Contemporary Theatre Practice.

Emma Bramley has worked for over fifteen years within schools and communities developing drama for learning projects. She has devised numerous, high quality performances with children and understands fully the challenges of this type of work. Her work is both humorous and factual making sure there is a good balance to engage both participants and audiences. She is currently involved in working with Lancashire Police, The Children’s Society and Banardo’s to create a piece of theatre exploring issues around exploitation of children.

In addition to her theatre work Emma works extensively in schools and universities training teachers in creative approaches to learning. She works extensively with schools training staff, offering one to one planning support as well as professional mentoring. She has been commissioned to create resource packs for Imaginative Inquiry and for Child Action North West. She is also a fully qualified teacher and writes articles for Teaching Drama on how to facilitate drama lessons effectively.

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

Council looks to extend pedestrianised hours for city centre

Caption; Briggate, Leeds city centre

Leeds City Council is looking at extending the hours that the core shopping area of Leeds city centre is pedestrianised.

Currently vehicles are not allowed on areas such as Briggate, Lands Lane and Commercial Street between 10.30am and 4.30pm. The new proposals being developed suggest that these hours could be extended to 10.30am – 8pm, seven days a week.

The council have started the formal consultation with affected businesses, and this process will end in mid-July.

The city centre has recently seen an increase in footfall, particularly later in the day, and there is a general trend towards evening shopping. The council is keen to make sure that the city centre provides an attractive environment for shoppers and other visitors, and the removal of vehicles in the early evening is a key part of this.

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

“It is important for Leeds city centre to provide a high-quality shopping and leisure experience for customers, particularly with the challenges posed by online and out-of-town retailing.

“Many stores in Leeds are open until 8pm and we believe that letting vehicles onto our main shopping streets at 4.30pm is simply too early.

“We feel that extending the hours during which the central retail core is pedestrianised is essential in making the area even more attractive for shoppers.

“We originally consulted businesses on the basis of extending the hours to 10am – 6pm, but some of those businesses told us they wanted to continue receiving deliveries in the morning. We therefore decided to alter the hours to 10.30am – 8pm in order to find a balance that all businesses could work with”

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

Children in care are stars for the night at special awards ceremony

Picture caption: One Leeds youngster enjoying being a VIP for the day at the STARS awards for looked after children.

Children in care from across Leeds have been treated like stars for the night at a prom style awards ceremony.

The STARS awards were organised by Leeds City Council to celebrate and recognise the many achievements of children and young people in care.

In order to make sure all children and young people got the chance to attend an event which was suitable for their age, two were held – a party for younger children at Leeds Museum and a more sophisticated ‘prom’ style event for young people at Leeds Met University.

To make the events extra special and relevant, young people who themselves are either in care, or recent care leavers, were closely involved in planning and organising both parties. The young people were involved right from the start decided on all aspects of the awards, including the name, ‘STARS’ which stands for ‘Sharing Talent and Recognising Success’, as well as food, entertainment, decorations and prizes.

All children and young people who are being looked after by Leeds City Council, either in foster care, or residential homes were invited to attend and were given the opportunity to walk down the red carpet, enjoy live entertainment and celebrate their own and each other’s successes.

Around 190 children and young people were nominated for a wide range of achievements. With nominations received from a wide variety of people who work with or look after the children including carers, social workers, teachers, nurses, personal advisors and youth offending staff.

Children and young people were nominated for a wide range of reasons including: involvement in Leeds Children’s Promise Book, improvement in educational attainment and attendance; involvement in 5-a-side football clubs; becoming an independent traveller (planning journeys to and from home, learning about road safety etc.); improved behaviour and relationship with carers, and; commitment to out of school activities.

The young people on the planning panel decided they wanted each prize to be a special ‘money can’t buy’ gift, which were picked especially for each winner.

The Young Person’s Super Star winner for Community Involvement went to a young man who demonstrated real community spirit and kindness through helping out his elderly neighbours; clearing the snow from their paths, weeding their garden and helping them out with household chores. The young people’s panel (made up of young people from the event planning group, the ‘Have a Voice’ council and a representative from the Leeds Youth Council) chose him to win this super star award as he demonstrated real kindness and empathy with his neighbours. The panel hoped that winning this award would show that kindness does have rewards, and encourage him to continue to try hard and achieve his goals.

His individual prize was a private ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Home Farm at Temple Newsam where he will be able to take care of some of the animals as he really enjoys caring for animals.

The Children’s Super Star winner for the category of Arts and Creativity was a young girl who was inspired by a school trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to get in touch with the artist, who then visited her school to meet her and her class and look at their sculptures they had designed.
Her special prize for this award was a VIP day at Leeds Art Gallery where she will be able to go behind the scenes and explore the art in ways others don’t!

All award winners received a £10 gift voucher. Other Super Stars won: behind the scenes tour of Leeds Arena; family ticket to see Jack and the Beanstalk at the City Varieties; gig tickets for gig of their choice at Leeds Met University and Leeds University, and; Leeds Festival Tickets.

Mel Clarke, is 22, and was in care from the age of 4. Mel was on the judging panel for the STARS event. She said:
“I've been in care myself, and believe it's actually helped my future. I think it's important to recognise children and young people in care because I believe the majority of people in care believe it's their fault, they feel different and don't like everybody knowing. Making sure that they are recognised not just for being different for being in care, but also for their personal achievements helps boost their confidence and self-esteem, and everybody deserves that.

“It's important that looked after people were involved with the planning because we have an idea as to what children in care would want, and not want. We've been through the experience ourselves and being able to use to that to benefit others and make something so special like the STARS awards happen is an excellent way to be involved.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said: “We owe it to the children and young people we look after to give them the recognition for their successes and achievements that they deserve.

“As part of our pledge to be a child friendly city we want to give young people a voice, and this is great example of how it works in practice. The young people who helped to organise these events did a wonderful job and should be very proud.

“The STARS awards were a great opportunity for the young people to celebrate each other’s achievements as well as giving them a great excuse to have fun and party!”

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

Young advisers needed to help make Leeds a child friendly city

Children and young people who want to get involved in making Leeds a more child friendly city are being invited to a special, free event next week to find out what opportunities are available to them.

On Saturday 15 June children and young people from across the city can come along to the Young Advisors event at Leeds City Museum on Millennium Square in the city centre. Children, young people and families can ‘drop in’ anytime between 1pm and 4pm.

There will be lots of stalls offering different opportunities to get involved in, and lots of cool projects that will give children and young people the chance to learn new skills, make new friends, have fun and make a positive difference to their city.

Some examples of things people can sign up for on the day include:
• Joining the planning team for the first ever Child Friendly Leeds awards this November;
• Join our “CBBC Crew” to help with running a two day programme at the start of the summer holidays when Children’s BBC will be filming live from Millennium Square;
• Get involved with Leeds Youth Council, Leeds Children’s Mayor and UK Youth Parliament;
• Become an official Child Friendly Leeds young advisor and get your Young Advisors badge and stickers;
• Helping out with the Breeze programme;
• Joining area activity steering groups, or the Leeds DJ School Steering Group;
• Getting involved with a young bloggers project, and;
• Becoming a young music leader.

There will also be fun activities and freebies to take away as well as the opportunity to check out the exhibits in Leeds City Museum.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“The only way we can make Leeds truly child friendly is by listening to the children and young people who live here and acting on what they say.

“Becoming Young Advisors is a great way to get involved in some really exciting opportunities which are happening across Leeds. People who sign up will be able to learn new skills and be ‘where the action is’.”

Leeds City Council is looking to recruit 8 to 19 year olds (or up to 25 with additional needs) to be on the child friendly Leeds young advisors group.

To find out more please email: or visit

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