Friday, 28 June 2013

Statement re Armed Forces Day in Leeds

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:
“Leeds City Council very much supports Armed Forces Day and it has been decided that the Lord Mayor of Leeds will host a small civic event for ex-servicemen and women on Saturday to demonstrate the city’s support for, and say thank you to members of the armed forces.

“Although last week’s parade by the Rifles Regiment was our main event to mark Armed Forces Day, we have listened to popular opinion and have decided to hold a further event this weekend.

“The Armed Forces Day flag has also been proudly flying over the Civic Hall all week.

“We are already looking at hosting a formal event for next year’s Armed Forces Day, especially to mark the centenary of the start of World War I. We hope interested parties will join us in planning for this event.”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Tom Murray said:
“Last week’s Freedom Parade by the Rifles Regiment in Leeds, was a very successful event which was thoroughly enjoyed by all those who took part. Leeds folk warmly welcomed and applauded the Rifles.

“I am proud of the role played by our service men and woman and I am pleased to be hosting an extra event tomorrow to say thank you to these very brave individuals.”

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

Writer Matthew Bellwood inspires young readers in Leeds

Caption: Leeds writer Matthew Bellwood with pupils from Ingram Road Primary School

A group of schoolchildren in Leeds enjoyed a storytelling session with a difference recently when they were joined by local writer Matthew Bellwood.

Pupils from Ingram Road Primary School took part in the session, which saw the popular Leeds writer read from his story ‘The Odyssey Part 1 (Odysseus and the Cyclops)’ during one of Leeds City Council’s regular mobile library visits to the school in Holbeck.

Matthew’s visit coincided with the council-managed ‘Breezereads Bookfest’, which featured a series of events aimed at encouraging children and young people to take up and improve their reading skills.

Leeds writer Matthew Bellwood said:

“I remember how excited I used to be as a little boy when I knew the mobile library would be coming - it meant that there would be new authors to discover and new stories to read. And these days there is so much more choice, plus fun activities and access to the internet.

“I really enjoyed visiting the children and family mobile library and it was great telling the story of ‘The Cyclops’ to the children. They listened beautifully and were keen to ask questions and find out more about Greek myths and legends. I had a lovely morning and I hope that they did too.”

The children and family mobile is one of six operated by the council’s library and information service which were accessed by more than over 6,500 people last year – a rise of over 10 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The mobile fleet, which also contains three community mobiles stocking books for people of all ages and two older people vehicles with stock aimed at older people, visit a total of more than 200 locations across the city every week.

Taking a modern library service including public internet access to the heart of communities in Leeds, the fleet currently travels 82,750 miles each year – which is the equivalent of three-and-a-half times around the world or a third of the distance to the moon.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Lucinda Yeadon said:

“We are very grateful to Matthew Bellwood for giving up his time to take part in the reading session. It was great for the young people to get to meet such an esteemed local writer and hopefully it will inspire them to continue to develop their reading.

“The mobile library fleet in Leeds offers an invaluable service, taking not just books but a wide a wide range of services including internet access to people’s doorsteps. For anyone who has not seen what a modern mobile library has to offer it is well worth a visit and I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.”

The Leeds library service is a supporter of child friendly Leeds, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future.

For more information on the mobile library service in Leeds including routes and timings, visit

Notes to editors:

Further detail on the mobile library fleet run by Leeds library and information service:

Community mobiles

Provide a weekly service, following a regular timetable and carry around 2,500 items of stock, for both adults and children, plus public internet access.

Children and family mobile

Designed especially for young children and their families, with 1500 items specially selected to appeal to children: board and picture books, popular stories and resources to help with homework. Parents and carers can choose from a selection of novels and information books, and access the internet. There's also a cosy seating area for storytelling and a pull-out awning outside the vehicle.

Mobile for older people

Two small vehicles with 1000 items of stock make fortnightly visits to our older borrowers and stop close to residential homes and sheltered housing complexes, making access easier for anyone with limited mobility. For more information

For more information on the child friendly Leeds initiative go to

For more information on Matthew Bellwood, visit his website at


For media enquiries please contact:

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

Leeds takes up the British energy challenge

Picture caption: "Councllor Mark Dobson, Professor Andy Gouldson, Proffessor David MacKay and Mark Lynas with the 2050 calculato (background).

Residents, businesses, academics, environmental groups and local authorities have been debating how to keep the lights on in Leeds today.

Where energy comes from, how its generated, how much we use and its overall impact on the environment were all up for discussion at the British Energy Challenge.

Being hosted by Leeds City Council and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the event explored the options for powering Leeds and Leeds City Region today and in the future.

Respected climate change author and campaigner Mark Lynas chaired the interactive event alongside DECC’s chief scientific adviser, Professor David MacKay.

To make the discussion real and to highlight the scale of the challenge, the session used DECC’s interactive my2050 calculator.

The my2050 calculator demonstrates the options to generate energy, meet energy demand from residents and businesses and how these decisions affect people’s everyday lives and the implications for tackling climate change.

Anyone can use the my2050 calculator at

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:“We know that many people are grappling with the day to day issues of how to pay for rising fuel bills. The event gives us a unique opportunity to discuss practical solutions that contribute to the wider challenge of how we can make and use energy efficiently.

“The topics up for debate are complex and have significant implications for our economy, the bills we pay and the environment we live in. However, we’re keen to tackle the issues head on to ensure that Leeds can benefit from locally generated, affordable and low carbon power.”

Professor David Mackay, DECC’s chief scientific adviser, said:“The beauty of the 2050 calculator is that it allows people to better understand the scale of the energy challenges we face, and to make their own decisions about how to power the country in a low carbon and efficient way.

“Decarbonising the energy system is one of the most important challenges facing the UK today – and it can’t be achieved without the support of local communities and businesses. This event is a great way to raise the profile of energy in the public domain”.

Professor Andy Gouldson, University of Leeds, said:"It is clear that energy bills are becoming ever more significant, not only for the people and businesses in Leeds, but also for the local economy where over £5 billion a year is spent on energy. But it is also clear that those bills - and associated carbon footprints - can be cut significantly through investments that make sense socially, economically and environmentally.

"This event played a major role in stimulating the interest and investment that are needed to help Leeds move towards a low carbon, energy efficient economy."

The event in Leeds is one of eight roadshows taking place to allow communities and businesses to discuss how the country is powered.


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

New partnership to make more homes energy efficient

Leeds City Council has entered into a new partnership with three companies to help make even more Leeds homes energy efficient.

The council will be working with Keepmoat, Willmott Dixon and SSE to offer Leeds residents free or heavily discounted energy efficient upgrades from July.

Having already gone through a robust tendering process, residents will have peace of mind that all three companies have been vetted and have the council’s seal of approval.

The new arrangement will see the council and its partners maximise funding from the energy company obligation (ECO) to offer free boiler upgrades and free loft and cavity wall insulation to people on certain benefits, as well as free or significantly discounted improvements like external wall insulation for those in hard to treat homes.

Starting in July, the scheme will be in place until a city region-wide Green Deal offer launches in 2014.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“We’ve been able to help a lot of people cut their fuel bills and reduce emissions across the city already. This new partnership will allow us to continue to support residents who need that extra bit of help to cope with spiralling fuel bills.

“This is a great opportunity to help those most at risk from fuel poverty and tackle hard to treat properties on behalf of our residents.”

Nigel Banks, Keepmoat group sustainability director, said:

“We are looking forward to continuing our work providing warmer homes with lower running costs to people across Leeds.

“The health, lifestyle and economic benefits of warmer homes, particularly for those most in need, are tremendous and we will work closely with local communities to provide an inclusive service.

“Under the new ECO funding, we are now able help people who may have been told they did not qualify for previous insulation schemes and to offer free or heavily discounted insulation to hard to treat cavity wall, system build and solid wall homes.”

Charles Farley, SSE national development director, said:

"We are delighted to work with Leeds City Council to deliver a wide range of energy efficiency measures to homes and communities. SSE has installed cavity wall, solid wall and loft insulation measures, heating and boiler replacements across the country and we want to help the residents of Leeds reduce wasted energy and make their homes warmer. We look forward to making peoples’ homes more energy efficient through this exciting project and will provide a complete service from our local Leeds office."

Rob Lambe, managing director, Willmott Dixon Energy Services, said:

"Willmott Dixon is delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds City Council to create warmer homes and reduce the fuel bills of local residents.”

The partnership follows on from the success of Wrap Up Leeds and Wrap Up Leeds+. These projects saw over 10,000 free cavity wall and loft insulation measures installed in homes and interest free loans and grants were offered to help people who couldn’t benefit from standard green home improvements like cavity wall or loft insulation. Both previous projects were made possible by funding provided by the energy companies and the government.

To find out more or register your interest please contact the council on 0113 395 0757 or

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