Monday, 4 November 2013

Be extraordinary – adopt a child in Leeds

Leeds City Council is looking for ordinary people to do something extraordinary for a child in Leeds – become adoptive parents.

People who are interested in finding out more about adopting a child in Leeds are being invited to attend a pop-up information stall at Trinity Leeds, next Saturday (9 November).

As part of Adoption Week 2013 Leeds City Council is gathering together all the information anyone might need about adopting a child, into a pop up stall at the customer service lounge at Trinity Leeds, which will be open between 10am and 4pm.

Anyone visiting the stall will also be able to speak to an expert from the council’s adoption team to find out more about adoption, hear from adoptive parents, and discover what outstanding support can be provided throughout the process.

Leeds City Council is the largest adoption service in the north, and is currently looking for permanent homes for around 130 children. These children come from a range of backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common - they are looking for a home with patience, understanding and loving kindness from someone they can trust.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“Adopting a child or children is a rewarding, challenging and unique experience and one that is open to all. What we want to underline is that anyone can adopt, there is often a misconception that only certain groups of people can apply. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What we need are people who have the commitment to make a real difference to a vulnerable child’s life.

“In Leeds we offer a unique and outstanding package of support to all adoptive parents so you would never be on your own if you choose to adopt with us.”

Potential adoptive parents who can understand and reflect the needs of a child from a black, Asian or mixed heritage background are particularly needed, as are those who could adopt a child with a disability, or a sibling group.

There’s no such thing as a typical adopter – the council has married and unmarried couples who adopt, single people and gay and lesbian couples. Some already have children of their own, some don’t – but all have the desire to bring joy to the lives of children who want a permanent home.

Adoption is an exciting, challenging lifelong commitment. By adopting through Leeds City Council adoptive parents are supported throughout the whole process by a highly experienced, dedicated adoption support team rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. There is a comprehensive programme of pre and post adoption training and support – from stay and play sessions to more in depth workshops and help from a range of other adopters, professionals and organisations in Leeds.

Leeds is exceeding the national average both in numbers of placements and in the recruitment of potential adopters. We have seen an increase in placements of 50% from 2009/10 to 2011/12 and a further increase of 35% to 2012/13 compared to the previous year.
To date Leeds has achieved an increase of 70% in approved adopters compared to the previous year.

Eric and Suzanne, adopters in Leeds.
“For us the decision was fairly easy because we wanted a child to reflect our background. We wanted a dual heritage child and now we’ve got an absolutely beautiful daughter who’s changed our lives forever and it’s been a wonderful experience.”

Visit now for more information or call the council’s dedicated adoption recruitment line on: 0113 395 2072.

Alan Wood, Deputy Chief Executive at BAAF, said:
“The UK has one of the most open, liberal and supportive set of criteria for those interested in adopting a child. Adopters come from every sector of society, from 21 years up, from every income level, ethnic group, religious persuasion and sexual orientation. Most adopters have overcome various challenges in their lives and have the evidence to show they have emerged more resilient, more insightful and more child centred. These are the qualities that count.”

National Adoption Week is organised by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) and aims to raise awareness of adoption and encourage potential parents to come forward. There are an estimated 4,000 children across the UK needing adoption every year, many of whom will have suffered trauma in their short lives.

For more information about National Adoption Week visit

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

School children in league with libraries for RLWC2013

School children from Garforth in Leeds received awards from local rugby league hero Jamie Jones-Buchanan at an event this afternoon to celebrate their work about Rugby League World Cup 2013 (RLWC2013).

The pupils from Strawberry Fields Primary and East Garforth Primary took part in a special project organised by Garforth Library to celebrate RLWC2013 coming to Leeds. The schools have been working in their classes to find out more about all the nations taking part in the tournament, and also attended the library for special RLWC library skills sessions.

Today’s event was a celebration of the work that the children have produced, much of which is on display in Garforth Library. In addition, Jamie Jones-Buchanan awarded prizes to the children and talked to them about his life, reading and rugby. Popular children’s author Tom Palmer was also there to entertain the 100-strong audience of youngsters with his rugby reading game. As the author of the children's rugby story, Scrum!, Tom has been working on the Try Reading initiative with local libraries to promote literacy in the build-up to RLWC2013.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for leisure and skills said:
"Leeds Library Service has done a tremendous amount of work around RLWC2013, engaging with fans of the sport both young and old, to encourage them to pick up a book and get reading.

"Jamie Jones-Buchanan is an inspirational local figure, and has been a terrific ambassador for the region’s Try Reading scheme, so I'm delighted that he was able to attend this event to recognise the work that this group of children has produced to celebrate Leeds’ role in this global sporting event.

"We have also been really lucky to have had Tom Palmer take part in many events in the city promoting reading and rugby league to young children, and encouraging them and their families into their local libraries.

"Leeds is tremendously proud to be a host city for RLWC2013, and with only four days to go until we host our first game at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the timing of this celebration couldn’t be better!”

Jamie Jones-Buchanan said:
"If RLWC2013 has encouraged more young people to think about reading and using their local library, then I think that's a fantastic result! When I was young I used to see people reading, usually girls, and wish that I could read like them. Now I read with my three sons as often as I can. It’s important to make time for reading – it’s like food for the soul. My life is more rounded now because of reading.”

Tom Palmer said:
“RLWC2013 has been a fantastic focus to encourage children to improve their reading and writing skills, and the work produced by these children is of a really high standard.”


Additional info
The Try Reading project is funded with an award from the National Lottery supported £6 million Grants for the Arts libraries fund. It is among the first projects to have received an award through this fund and it recognises the positive connections that can be made between sport and the arts. For further information about Try Reading visit or

Tickets for the RLWC2013 games on 8 and 15 November are available from the ticket office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and the Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Railway Station. People buying tickets for both games can benefit from the Leeds Double Match offer, which means that 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.

Leeds Visitor Centre is open 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

Olympic star and The Vamps to light up Leeds

Caption: British band The Vamps who are set to light up Leeds

Up-and-coming British band The Vamps are set to entertain the crowds at the Leeds light switch on next week.

Alongside the band, special guest of honour, home-grown Olympic boxing sensation Nicola Adams will be on hand to start the official countdown to light up the city.

The Vamps, who launched themselves into the public spotlight via posting their music videos on YouTube, have shot to stardom through the social media platform and have recently just completed a tour with McFly. The four piece - singer Bradley Will Simpson, guitarist James McVey, drummer Tristan Evans and bassist Connor Ball are excited to be performing a couple of their most popular tracks including Wild Heart and Can we Dance.

Nicola is Great Britain’s most decorated female boxer. She qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games by winning her third World Championship Silver Medal. She faced the same opponent, China’s Ren Cancan, in the Olympic Final, and this time won the first ever Olympic Women’s Boxing Gold Medal. Nicola works hard as a role model in the city and one of her main aims is to help increase participation in sport. One of the ways she is doing this is backing the council’s ‘Let’s Get Active’ programme to encourage people who do not do any physical activity to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity, once a week.

Held on Thursday November 7 from around 6.45pm, an estimated crowd of 15,000 are once again set to gather for the celebrations at Victoria Gardens as the city begins its countdown to Christmas.

Organised by Leeds City Council and Real Radio, with support from partners the Yorkshire Evening Post, other guests confirmed to appear include up and coming boy band - Rubylux, young guitar vocalist Kirsty White - the winner of Leeds City Council’s annual Breeze Has Talent competition and of course the ever popular Santa’s Show time along with special guests. Stars from the city’s local sporting heritage will also be appearing including the Leeds United Manager Brian McDermott together with Captain Rudi Austin and teammate Jason Pearce.

Representatives from Leeds Rhinos and the Rugby League World Cup will also be in attendance as anticipation builds for the big kick-off for the group game between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea at Leeds Headingly Stadium on Friday 8 November at 8pm.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:
“It is great to have the Vamps and Nicola Adams attending the Light switch on this year, and will really help the 30th year of the celebrations go off with a bang.

“We have a fantastic line up for the night, and I think the crowds in Victoria Gardens are going to help make the night a fantastic start to the festive celebrations.”

Dixie and Gayle, Real Radio Breakfast Presenters said:

“We are so excited to have the Vamps at the Leeds Lights Switch On. They’re sure to set a few hearts on fire! Along with Gabriella Cilmi, Same Difference and now Nicola Adams, the show really does have something for everyone”

The Leeds Light switch-on forms part of the council’s wider festive programme ‘Winter WonderLeeds’ which will provide a number of events and activities across the city centre including the 12th annual Christkindelmarkt on Millennium Square.

Notes to editors:

Tickets are now available for the pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty’ which runs from Friday 6 December 2013 to Saturday 11 January 2014 at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds. Book online at or call the box office on 0113 224 3801.

The Leeds Christkindelmarkt German Christmas market will open from Friday 8 November. For more information, call Leeds City Council’s Events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit

Leeds Lights Switch-On and Christkindelmarkt form part of the city’s wider festive activity programme ‘Winter WonderLeeds’ which focuses on the best in Leeds Christmas markets and events including the ‘Made in Yorkshire Festive Fayre’ Crafts Market on Victoria Gardens and a new 17 day Christmas festival on Briggate, running from Friday 6 to Sunday 22 December. Brand new for 2013, Winter WonderLeeds on Briggate will feature a giant marquee housing 20 stalls showcasing food, drink, crafts and festive goods celebrating the very best of Leeds; whilst an events space will provide arts, culture and entertainment for all ages. For further information visit

In addition to the various market offerings, a Festive Family Funfair will also be taking place on Cookridge Street (between the Headrow and St Anne’s street) every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 22 November to 15 December 2013. Open from 11am to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 11am to 6pm on Sundays, the fairground and will feature the popular dodgems, flying chairs, convoy, cups and saucers rides amongst others together with a traditional candy floss and refreshment stall.

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

Film Festival’s opening night sells out in record time

Film fans in Leeds have broken box office records ahead of this week’s Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF27).

With just two days to go until the 27th annual festival gets underway, organisers have announced that this year has seen the fastest opening gala sellout in the event’s history.

The highly-anticipated gala on Wednesday (Nov 6) features two 3D showings of sci-fi blockbuster Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, ahead of its official release on Nov 8.

Both showings at the Everyman cinema in the Trinity Leeds centre have now sold out. But with demand for festival tickets at an all-time high, festival bosses have announced a new late addition to the programme.

Acclaimed thriller All is Lost, starring Robert Redford has been added to the line-up and will be screened in Leeds Town Hall's Victoria Hall on Thursday, November 21 at 6.30pm.

The film tells the story of one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea and is written and directed by Academy Award nominee J.C Chandor.

Chris Fell, Film Festival Director said:

“We can't wait to launch the Film Festival with Gravity on November 6 at the Leeds Everyman.

“The anticipation in Leeds for the film and for the festival itself is very high. We are also delighted to bring to the city an exclusive screening of All is Lost, another hugely-acclaimed American film that is part of a brilliant finale for the Film Festival on November 21 at Leeds Town Hall.”

All is Lost will take its place alongside some of the most acclaimed films of the year and some much-loved classics as part of this year’s programme.

These include a screening of Stephen Spielberg’s epic thriller Jaws at Leeds Town Hall on November 15 at 6pm.

The town hall will also host iconic horror The Exorcist and 2001: A Space Odyssey, which returns after proving a huge hit with crowds last year.

Budding filmmakers will also have the opportunity to showcase their work, as over 80 short films by new talent will be judged by a five member international jury in the Short Film City category.

Held from November 6 to November 21, more than 130 feature films, over 130 short films and 261 screenings and events will be held as part of LIFF27.

Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure said:

“The Leeds International Film Festival is a real landmark occasion for the city and seems to get better every year.

“As the birthplace of film, it’s fitting that Leeds has such a well-established and popular celebration- and this year’s festival programme really does have something for everyone. I’m sure film fans will love having such an exciting and varied selection from all over the world to choose from.”

For more details on listings of all feature films and events, please see: /


For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578