Thursday, 13 February 2014

Young volunteers awarded for their citizenship

Picture caption: Cllr Judith Blake (centre) with some of the NCS participants.

Young people from across Leeds have been awarded for their part in a national citizenship scheme at a glitzy ceremony.

The group of 16 and 17 year olds attended the awards ceremony at the Met hotel where they received certificates for completing the National Citizen Awards programme from Cllr Blake, the deputy leader of Leeds City Council.

As part of this voluntarily attended scheme, staffed by Leeds City Council’s youth service, the young people worked over the autumn leading on delivering a variety of well-deserved local community projects, including organising a Mental Health Awareness event, running a football tournament for 50 young people in Kippax, organising a health and fitness sessions for young people, and sharing experiences through discussions with older people in care homes in Rothwell. Their hard work amounted to around £16,000 worth of time devoted to community projects.

Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for children’s services said:
“These young people are setting an excellent example to us all and demonstrating that hard work really does pay off. Communities across the city have benefited enormously from the commitment these young people have shown.

“It was great to have the opportunity to meet with the youngsters and hear about their projects and how successful they all were. Hearing them describe taking part in the scheme as a ‘life changing experience’ was fantastic.

“By taking part in this scheme the young people have taken on some big challenges, but have come away with new skills and experiences, which will undoubtedly help them in their future careers.”

At the event, the young people were also joined by councillors, parents and BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration.

A total of 221 young people completed the scheme this year with a 176 young people graduating at a Town Hall event, just before Christmas for the summer programme, and 45 more at this month’s ceremony.

As part of the programme the young people challenged themselves in a huge variety of ways, for example, by meeting new people from different areas of Leeds and making new friends; for some going away on their own for the first time; developing and improving communication skills; learning a variety of new practical and life skills; and building self-confidence.

One participant, Catherine Jackson said: ‘the NCS project has been a life changing experience’. ‘We all worked together to encourage them to look past their fears and enjoy themselves’.

Rosie Fields, another NCS volunteer said: ‘We have all become more confident. We’ve done things that we would never have dreamed of doing in the past’.

The participants also developed a range of other skills for life including: project planning; leadership; negotiation skills; marketing; and meeting visitors such as councillors and representatives from community organisations.

All the young people went away on a residential experience either at Herd Farm or Lineham Farm. A range of activities were undertaken included team and personal challenges such as archery, assault course, giant swing, high ropes, BMX-ing, and night walk. Plans and roles for NCS social action planning started to take place.

The NCS is a nationwide initiative, funded by central government, offering residential experiences and leading on local social action projects to engage young people aged 16-17 to build their confidence, improve teamwork and develop other skills to enable them to work together successfully.

The council’s youth service is now recruiting 16-17 year olds for the summer and autumn NCS groups.

Young people should apply by calling 0800 027 9111 and quoting Leeds City Council as their local provider, or visit the website: or like the Facebook page: NCS.

The cost of the programme is currently £35 per young person. Bursaries are available and each young person will be considered for eligibility at the time of sign up.

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

New Bruce McLean exhibition set to open at Leeds Art Gallery

Caption: Bruce McLean, The generation game of sculpture, a cuddly toy, a I’ve said that, 2010. Oil, acrylic and charcoal on canvas Courtesy of the artist and Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

A new exhibition showcasing the work of sculptor Bruce McLean, one of the most important artists of his generation, will open at Leeds Art Gallery this Friday, 14 February 2014, until 11 May 2014.

The exhibition ‘Bruce McLean: Another condition of Sculpture’ features works that have never been exhibited together before including paintings, drawings, ceramics, film and photography made by McLean over the past 50 years.

A new body of paintings in which McLean carries forward his frank and open dialogue with sculptures and sculptors of the past will also be shown.

Accompanying the exhibition will be the first public showing of a new live performance ‘The Changing Room’, by McLean, which will be held in the Tiled Hall at the Art Gallery on May 8 2014.

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

"I am really looking forward to the opening of this new exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery, which will provide an interesting and insightful look into the diverse work of Bruce McLean."

Notes to editors:

Bruce McLean (born 1944, Glasgow) lives and works in London. He is represented by Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin.

The Exhibition and new live performance is supported by The Elephant Trust, The Henry Moore Foundation and Arts Council England.

The exhibition has been curated in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery and firstsite, Colchester.

The Changing Room Thursday 8 May Premier performance of a new ‘Opera'.

Performance and live action have been pivotal to Bruce McLean’s art from the 1970s onwards. To accompany McLean’s exhibition ‘Another condition of sculpture’ [14 February – 11 May 2014] the artist presents a new live work – a chamber opera - realised in collaboration with Sam Belinfante and Lawrence Preece, in the dramatic setting of the Tiled Hall, once the Gallery’s sculpture court
Two performances only: at 7pm and 9pm (each lasting 1 hour)
Full price tickets: £12; £8 cons
Limited Capacity: call 0113 395 7116 to book.

Leeds Art Gallery
The Headrow
West Yorkshire
0113 247 8256
Free admission

Opening Times:
Monday & Tuesday 10am – 5pm
Wednesday 12pm – 5pm
Thursday to Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm
Closed on Bank Holidays

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

Sporting legacy in Leeds continues as Rugby World Cup 2015 comes to town

Leeds is quickly establishing itself as a leading destination for global sporting events.

The city has been selected alongside 10 other locations to be a host city for one of the biggest and high profile sporting events in the world - Rugby World Cup 2015, with two games to be held at Elland Road.

A report which will be presented to Leeds City Council’s executive board this week (Friday 14 February) will recommend that officers explore how to maximise the potential benefits of hosting this global tournament in the city and continue the legacy after the event.

In September 2015, fans from many different nations will be staying in the city and up to 80,000 spectators attending the games. The opportunity to bring a fanzone to the city will also be taken advantage of as well as a cultural programme of activities. Alongside these events there will the opportunity for people to volunteer locally in Leeds and we will be working closely with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to grow the game of rugby within the city.

In the last two years, Leeds has hosted an Olympic team and the torch relay in 2012, the Rugby League World Cup and BBC Sports Personality in 2013 and this year will host the world’s largest annual sporting event, the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. Hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 will build on this sporting heritage and continue to raise the profile of the city both nationally and internationally.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for leisure and skills said:

“It is fantastic to have another major global sporting event coming to Leeds, and bringing new tourists and plenty of economic benefits to our city.

“To be the only location in Yorkshire to have host city rights is a real honour and one which we want to take forward and ensure we make the most of the tournament for the full time it is here. We have also just been confirmed as on the shortlist for team bases – so we may have one or more teams staying in the city during the tournament as well.

“We want to continue the momentum from the Tour de France and ensure the buzz in the city is taking through into 2015 on the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015.”

Tickets for the tournament will go on sale later this year and to keep updated with the latest information about Rugby World Cup 2015 fans can join The Front Row at

Notes to editors:

Leeds is hosting two games at Elland Road –Italy will be playing against Canada on Saturday 26 September at 2:30pm and Scotland playing the Americas 2 (Uruguay are to play the USA in March 2014 to decide who qualifies) on Sunday 27 September at 2:30pm.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office

Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius set to light up Leeds Town Hall

It promises to be an evening never to forget this Saturday, 15 February, as the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus joins forces with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to perform Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius at Leeds Town Hall.

Considered one of his finest choral works, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius is a piece for voices and orchestra in two parts set to the text of John Henry Newman’s poem. It is the journey of a man's soul through death and was composed for the 1900 Birmingham Music Festival where its first performance took place in Birmingham Town Hall.

Conducted by David Hill, Leeds Philharmonic Chorus will be joined by a stellar line-up, which includes the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, St Peter’s Singers, organist Darius Battiwalla, soprano Jennifer Johnston, tenor Andrew Kennedy, and winner of the 2013 Kathleen Ferrier Award, baritone Gareth John.

Tickets for Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius are priced £10 - £31.50 and are available from the Box Office on 0113 224 3801 or book online at

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

"The musical programme at Leeds Town Hall continues to be of the highest quality, and this performance by the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, promises to be one of the best concerts yet.

"This really is an event not to be missed, and as always, we would ask people to book their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment."

Notes to editors:

Leeds Philharmonic Chorus has over 100 singing members regularly performing at Leeds Town Hall. In recent years the chorus has recorded works such as Stanford’s Stabat Mater and Te Deum for Chandos, Walton’s Gloria and Belshazzar’s Feast for Naxos and The Messiah for CMI Records. As well as performing concerts in Leeds Town Hall, the chorus has performed in many other prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the Liszt Academy (Budapest) and Stephansdom (Vienna).

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra remains at the forefront of the UK orchestral music scene, continuing to serve communities across the South and South West, and extending its influence across the whole of the UK and internationally with regular festival appearances, an extensive catalogue of recordings and live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. It is one of the most dynamic and innovative symphony orchestras in the UK today.

For further information please contact:

Alison Stockwell
Music Officer
Arts Planning Team
Leeds International Concert Season

Tel. 0113 247 8336
Fax. 0113 247 8334
Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AD
Follow us @LeedsConcerts

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

Bridgewater Place junction reopened

Following high winds yesterday evening, the Bridgewater Place junction in Leeds city centre has now reopened to vehicles and pedestrians with all diversions being removed. Signs warning of high winds will remain in place at the junction until approximately 4am.

Conditions will continue to be monitored and reviewed. Any further updates regarding the Bridgewater Place junction will be provided on Leeds City Council’s website at and through the council's press office Twitter feed @LeedsCC_News

For further updates on traffic conditions in the city, please also see on Twitter @LeedsTravelInfo