Thursday, 24 October 2013

Taking a stand against high-cost lenders

A National conference in Leeds tomorrow will see the launch of a major campaign to tackle the high cost lending industry in the city and announce initiatives to build capacity for alternative, more affordable financial services and more support for those in need of money and debt advice.

A campaign film will be shown at the conference which will illustrate the dangers of borrowing from high-cost lenders and will feature well known sporting personalities from the city.

Initiatives being announced at the conference, organised by Leeds City Council, include:

• A major citywide awareness raising initiative to highlight the dangers of high cost lenders and to promote more affordable alternatives.

• A complete review of money advice services in the city, developing a more coordinated and integrated service, delivered in areas of greatest need in the city.

• Building the capacity of Leeds City Credit Union to expand its services and offer banking and credit facilities to those who previously had to rely on high cost lenders.

• challenge the marketing strategies of some of the more prominent payday lenders by declaring a high cost lender free zone by the three major professional sporting clubs in the city; Leeds United, Leeds Rugby, and Yorkshire County Cricket.

• The Student Unions at both the city's major universities will announce the banning of all advertising of high cost lenders within their facilities.

Whilst initiatives have been developed in many parts of the country, this is the first time that a major city has decided to mount a concerted and coordinated campaign to tackle high cost lenders.

The conference will be chaired by the leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Keith Wakefield who said;
"At the conference we will see the announcement of many initiatives which we have been developing throughout this year, but we see this as just the beginning. The council will be calling on all our public, private and voluntary sector partners to join together to combat what has become a major scourge in the big cities of the United Kingdom.

“Over 220 delegates will be attending the conference, including representatives from over 35 cities across the country. Many cities are looking to take initiatives in the way that we are doing here in Leeds and we hope that delegates to the conference will take away with them the enthusiasm to duplicate some of these initiatives.

“We hope that this will become a nationwide campaign to stop the activities of predatory lenders. Leeds has been at the forefront of financial inclusion work for over a decade and we hope that we can help to inspire a revolution in this area of work across the country.”

Notes to Editors
The film can be viewed

The film include the following sporting representatives:

Peter Lorrimer, Leeds United Legend, former player

Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Leeds Rhinos Player

Andy Dawson, Commercial Director, Yorkshire County Cricket Club

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

Spooky goings on at Leeds museum and gallery sites

Caption: The Halloween Spooktacular, is just one of the events set to be held during half term.

Museum and gallery sites across Leeds are set to celebrate Halloween in style during half term next week, as they host a number of family friendly spooky events.

Youngsters of all ages will have the chance to take part and enjoy a packed programme of fun activities at venues including Leeds Industrial Museum, Temple Newsam House, Lotherton Hall, Leeds City Museum and Kirkstall Abbey.

Highlights will include a Barry the Dragon Halloween Party on Wednesday 30 October offering a day of games, crafts and activities ideal for younger visitors at Abbey House Museum, and a spooky Halloween tour around the mill at Leeds Industrial Museum on both Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 October. A tour of all the scary bits at Leeds City Museum will also be on offer on Thursday 31 October.

Historic Kirkstall Abbey will be the home of a spooky Scarecrow Hunt from the 29 October from 10am-3pm, while on Saturday 26 October two tours suitable for children aged 7+ will be available that will reveal the ghostly, ghastly secrets of Temple Newsam House. There will also be the opportunity as part of The Halloween Spooktacular on Thursday 31 October to trick or treat through the darkened house and farm if you dare.

The Leeds Discovery Centre, which is home to thousands of different artefacts, will also open its doors and allow visitors to tour the store by torchlight on Wednesday 30 October, while Lotherton Hall will be holding a Make a Mini Scarecrow event on Tuesday 29 October.

For those not looking for a scary Halloween day out, a range of other great events throughout half term week will be available to keep children entertained. These will include at Thwaite Mills on Tuesday 29 October an Autumn Nature Hunt and various painting and drawing events at Leeds Art Gallery.

Appearing at the gallery on Saturday 26 October is Big Up a View for Big Draw, where families will be able to come together and make an enormous drawing inspired by the places where you live.

Featuring as part of the programme at Leeds City Museum is also a ‘We love Stories Day’, which delivered in partnership by Leeds Grammar School and the Ilkley Literature Festival on November 1, will focus on the work of famed children’s author and illustrator Anthony Browne as part of his current ‘Through the Magic Mirror’ exhibition.

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

"I am delighted to say that this half term there will be a wide range of fantastic events available at our museums and gallery sites for children of all ages to enjoy.

"As part of the programme, this will include a number of Halloween related activities, which promise to be not only great fun but also on occasions a little spooky!

"With some of the events needing to be booked, we would ask anyone interested in attending to reserve their places as soon as possible."

Notes to editors:

For more information on events and admission, please visit:

Details on events highlighted in press release:

Abbey House:
Barry the Dragon’s Halloween Party – Wednesday 30th October, 10.00am – 12.00pm & 2.00pm – 4.00pm
A day of fun spooky games, crafts and activities with our friendly dragon Barry. Ideal for younger visitors. FREE EVENT (museum admission charge applies)

Leeds City Museum:
Halloween Special – Thursday 31st October, 10.00am to 7.00pm
Spooky Halloween themed day for families, featuring crafts, stories and tours of the scary bits in the museum. Why not come dressed for the occasion? FREE EVENT and FREE ENTRY TO MUSEUM

We Love Stories: Fri 1 November, 11.00am to 3.00pm
Free family fun day to explore stories and bring books to life! Step through the magic mirror to meet Anthony Browne’s book characters, enjoy storytelling and illustrating, crafts, face painting and competitions. The event run in partnership with The Grammar School at Leeds and Ilkley Literature Festival.

Kirkstall Abbey:
Spooky Scarecrow Hunt – Tues 29th, Weds 30th and Thurs 31st October, 10.00am – 3.00pm
Find all of our spooky scarecrows hidden around the abbey. You might even recognise some of them! FREE EVENT

Temple Newsam House:
Gruesome Newsam – Saturday 26th October, 11.00am & 2.00pm
All the grisly, ghastly and ghostly secrets of Temple Newsam will be revealed in this guided tour of the house. Suitable for children aged 7+. Booking required Tel: 0113 3367460. FREE EVENT (house admission charge applies)

The Halloween Spooktacular – Thursday 31st October, 5pm – 8pm.
Trick or treat through the darkened house and farm if you dare. Adult £6.30, child £4, family ticket £20 (includes two adults and up to three children). Booking required Tel: 0113 3367460.

Leeds Discovery Centre:
Museum Monsters – Wednesday 30th October, 10.00am – 12.00pm
Experience our store by torchlight (bring your own) and then investigate the wonderful world of big teeth, toxins, tarantulas and all nature's ways of protecting against these things. Booking is required, please call 0113 378 2100. FREE EVENT and FREE ENTRY TO MUSEUM

Lotherton Hall:
Make a Mini Scarecrow – Tuesday 29th October, 11.00am – 3.00pm
Inspired by the scarecrows at Lotherton Hall. Make a mini one to take home. FREE EVENT (estate admission charge applies)

Leeds Art Gallery:
Big Up a View for Big Draw – Saturday 26th October, 10.00am – 4.00pm
Enjoy working with other families as we make an enormous drawing amongst the Gallery's artworks inspired by the place where you live. FREE EVENT and FREE ENTRY TO GALLERY

Landskip Printing in Artspace – Mon 28th October – 1st November, 11.00am – 4.00pm
Work alongside an artist as we make prints about the natural things, big and small, that we can find around us.

Artspace: Art and Life – 18th October – 9th February
Imaginative activities for people of all ages to enjoy inspired by our newest exhibition Art and Life: 1920 – 1931. Have fun experimenting with different materials and what you can do with them. Open during usual gallery opening hours. FREE EVENT and FREE ENTRY TO GALLERY

Thwaite Mills:
Autumn Nature Hunt – Tuesday 29th October, 1.00pm – 3.00pm
Plants and animals alike put on a final show before the cold winter months so it's a great time to join us as we head outside to enjoy nature's seasonal sights. FREE EVENT (museum admission charge applies)

Leeds Industrial Museum:
Spooky Halloween Tour - Weds 30th & Thurs 31st October, 3.30pm – 4.15pm (under 12’s) & 6.30pm – 7.30pm (over 12’s). Booking required contact 0113 2677861. FREE EVENT (museum admission charge applies).


For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Approval granted for essential Woodhouse Tunnel works

Essential strengthening work on Woodhouse Tunnel in Leeds is set to begin next month after funding approval was confirmed today.

The work can now go ahead after the Department for Transport formally approved funding of £16.34million for the project, which is part of a wider £24.96m maintenance scheme of improvements to the Leeds Inner Ring Road (A58M).

The Department for Transport funding is supported by £8.616m provided by Leeds City Council, the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan Fund, The University of Leeds and Leeds NHS Trust.

The work is needed to address deterioration of the tunnel caused by more than 40 years of wear and tear which if unresolved would result in the Inner Ring Road needing to be closed within five years for safety reasons. Some critical repairs were carried out on the tunnel roof in the summer of 2011, but the remaining essential maintenance works are now required.

The project is expected to last approximately two years, with the majority of the works being carried out at night from 7pm-6am Sunday to Thursday during which times the tunnel will be fully closed.

Work on the tunnel roof will also be taking place which will mean some weekend closures or contra-flows in place for affected and associated roads from 7pm on Friday to 6am on Monday. A traffic management strategy will be in place to minimise disruption to motorists and the weekend closures will be notified in advance. Further information and updates will also be published on the scheme webpage at

Work will be suspended completely when the Tour de France comes to the city in July 2014, and the council is also working with the first direct arena to minimise any impact on events held at the venue.

Woodhouse Tunnel is the largest structure included in the essential maintenance scheme, which has already seen strengthening work carried out successfully on Lovell Park Bridge and New York Flyover.

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

"The Leeds Inner Ring Road is the most important road in the city in terms of keeping Leeds moving, so it is absolutely essential that any risk to its future is addressed.

"With more than 80,000 vehicles travelling through Woodhouse Tunnel every day, it is inevitable that it has suffered wear and tear in the 40 years since it was built and this scheme will mean it can continue to be used in a safe condition.

“We do appreciate there will be some disruption to traffic while the work is carried out but we will be doing everything we can to keep this to a minimum and we would ask drivers and commuters to be understanding that this project is necessary for the long-term benefit of the city.”


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

Guiseley roadabout roadworks to be carried out

Work will be carried out to improve the road surface at the White Cross Roundabout in Guiseley next week.

Leeds City Council’s highways team will carry out road resurfacing work to replace the worn-out surface on the roundabout where Otley Road and Bradford Road meet.

Works begins on Monday 28 October and is expected to be completed by the end of Sunday 3 November. The work has been timed to coincide with school half-term week with the aim of minimising disruption.

Phased road closures will be in place on the A65 Otley Road and A6038 Bradford Road from 9:30am-3:30pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am-5:30pm on Saturday and Sunday to allow the work to be carried out. The closures and diversions will be signed on site.

All businesses will be open as usual and pedestrian access will not be affected.

Affected bus services will be noticed at stops and will include route numbers 33, 33A and 653 - more details are available from Metroline on 0113 245 7676.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said:

“We are keen to get this work done to improve the road surface on the White Cross Roundabout with a minimum of disruption during half-term week. We would ask road users to please bear with us while the roadworks take place and apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused.”


For media enquiries please contact:

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

Tackling food poverty together

Food bank providers across the city came together earlier this week, to discuss ways they can continue to meet demand and tackle food poverty in the city.

The seminar, which was facilitated by Leeds City Council, brought together food banks from across the city, all of which are voluntary or faith-based organisations who rely heavily on donations from members of the public and businesses.

Chris Fields from St Georges Crypt said:
“Demand for help with food is increasing at the moment so the main aim of the seminar was to see if we could work together as a network of providers to not just help meet the demand but also to see how we could work with others, including the council, to reduce demand in the future.”

Councillor John Hardy, lead member responsible for food banks, who organised the seminar said:
“Poverty is such a far reaching issue it is not something we can tackle alone.

“Food banks are often the first point of contact for people who are living in poverty so it is vital they are able to offer a wrap-around support and signpost people to the right places for support and advice.

“We organised this seminar to bring all the local providers together to look at how we can all work together to ensure people who are facing food poverty get the help and support they need.”

Poverty is one of the major challenges facing Leeds in current times – a challenge which the council is tackling head on. Leeds City Council is putting together a major strategy which aims to tackle all the issues surrounding poverty and financial hardship.

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

Businesses encouraged to be there for RLWC2013 in Leeds

Local businesses are being urged to support the next global sporting event when it arrives in Leeds next month.

Rugby League World Cup 2013 (RLWC2013) kicks off at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff this weekend (26 October). The tournament is only the eighth world cup event ever to be held in this country – and it arrives in Leeds in three weeks’ time with two high profile games being played at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on 8 and 15 November.

In total RLWC2013 is expected to bring economic benefits to the UK of between £30m – £50m. Around 500,000 people will attend the games, which will be broadcast in over 120 countries attracting around 20million viewers worldwide. As one of the host cities, this provides a major tourism opportunity for Leeds.

The leisure and hospitality business sector is already seeing benefits. Hotel deals worth over £250k have already been achieved as a result of teams staying in the city during RLWC2013 and the Festival of World Cups in July. This will increase as local and international fans of rugby league arrive to watch the matches in November. Local hotels, bars and restaurants are being encouraged to offer deals, discounts and special promotions for visiting fans to help create a buzz and awareness of the games being played in Leeds. To have offers listed at no cost on the Visit Leeds website, which is the main visitor information site for the city, businesses can send their details to

There are other ways for businesses to get involved in RLWC2013. The Day to Remember scheme is an opportunity for organisations to contribute to their corporate social responsibility policy. Through joining the scheme, companies can donate money to give groups who would not normally be able to attend – nominated charities, local community projects, local schools or families from deprived areas – access to rugby and to world class sport here in Leeds. In return businesses will get some great PR opportunities and brand awareness linked to the tournament. For more information visit or email

Companies can support the matches in Leeds by organising for groups of staff to attend. Organisations that buy more than 50 tickets qualify for 50% discount, which means the cost of 50 staff attending a game would be only £375.

There are also corporate hospitality packages available to suit all budgets, so companies can give their staff the chance to rub shoulders with rugby league legends past and present. For more information visit

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for leisure and skills said:
“We are immensely proud to be a host city for this major tournament, which offers fantastic tourism opportunities for Leeds whilst putting us firmly on the world map for hosting sporting events.

“I want to really urge the local business community to get behind it to make the Leeds offer a fantastic one for every person that visits as part of this tournament. With other games being played around the region, we have the potential to benefit from those as well as the two matches being played in Leeds; it really is a fantastic opportunity."

Gary Hetherington, chief executive of Leeds Rugby said:
“We recently hosted a dinner to help raise the profile of Rugby League World Cup 2013 within the business community in Leeds and we were delighted with the response.

“We are fortunate at the Rhinos to have the backing of a large number of fantastic partners who regularly enjoy our great hospitality on Friday nights at Headingley Carnegie. The New Zealand v Papua New Guinea game has really captured the public’s imagination and with Sonny Bill Williams set to play for the World Champions, it will be one of the must see events of the year in Leeds.”

Reigning world champions New Zealand take on Papua New Guinea on Friday 8 November, and are also basing themselves in Leeds for most of the tournament. The tournament’s first quarter final game will also be played at Headingley on Friday 15 November.

Additional info
A fantastic incentive is on offer when buying tickets for the games in Leeds. When a ticket to one of the games is purchased, a ticket for the second game is then available to buy at half price. Ticket prices start at just £10 (£5 concessions) for group games and quarter-finals.

Tickets are available from the ticket office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and the Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Railway Station, the opening hours of which are Monday 10am - 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm, Sunday 10am - 4pm. For more information please visit the website, email, or telephone 0113 242 5242.

Tickets can also be purchased by visiting or by calling the 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (07712) 214223