Friday, 7 March 2014

Tomorrow’s top talent take on Leeds challenge

Leeds saw some of the best and brightest young local government officers tackle the Local Government Challenge this week in a competition which seeks out talented staff with the drive and determination to reach the top.

The 2014 challenge is taking place in a series of locations around the country and with Leeds being home to previous winner, Lana Fisher, all eyes were on the entrants this year to see who would come out on top. The challenge, which tests both individual and team-working skills, is a great career development opportunity and for the winners there is a prize of up to £10,000 from the Bruce-Lockhart scholarship.

With the Tour de France Grand Départ coming to Leeds in 2014, the contestants were faced with providing proposals on ten detailed ideas for how the council can get more women and girls cycling across the city including encouraging girls to cycle to school.

The two teams delivered a range of options and opportunities, and a team led by Coventry City Council corporate performance officer Si-Chun Lam, won with a plan for annual challenges involving mass cycling sessions throughout the city, where record-breaking numbers of people would pedal for victory.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills, was a competition judge. She said:

“It was great to see how the teams worked had to deliver innovative ways to build on the legacy of the Tour de France and help the population have a healthier lifestyle, as well as seeing the other benefits of cycling such as reduced congestion and pollution.”

Michael Coughlin, executive director at the Local Government Association, said:

“It is great to see the tremendous commitment, creativity, enthusiasm and energy the teams brought to the challenge. The ideas they came up were really imaginative, yet practical and could have cost thousands of pounds to develop any other way. The fact that they came up with them in such a short space of time is evidence of local government's great breadth of talent.”

Leader of the winning team, Si-Chun Lam, said:

“It was really good to have such good support from the people in Leeds. Not just staff but children and other members of the public demonstrated what a friendly and ambitious city Leeds is.

“The Tour de France is going to be a tremendous opportunity for Leeds to show these characteristics on a global stage.”


Notes for editors

The following 10 contestants have been chosen to participate in the Local Government Challenge 2014:
• Charlotte Breen- London Borough of Sutton
• Jade Taylor- Central Bedfordshire Council
• Michelle Scott- Leeds City Council
• Mahbub Anam- London Borough of Tower Hamlets
• Matthew Carney- Worcester City Council
• Victoria Jeffrey- Surrey County Council
• Graeme Kane- Mole Valley District Council
• Daniel Parry- Doncaster City Council
• Si-Chun Lam- Coventry City Council
• Fiona Price- Northampton City Council

The LGA is the national voice of local government. They work with councils to support, promote and improve local government.

Details of the 2013 challenge are available here:

Issued by:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team
Leeds City Council
4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 0772 227 5370
Tel: 0113 395 0393
Fax: 0113 247 4736

Cycling opportunities go up a gear for Leeds children

Children and young people across Leeds are being encouraged to get into the Tour de France spirit with a series of cycling themed events and challenges throughout the spring and summer term.

With the Grand Départ taking place in Leeds on 5 July, work has been underway to create a number of cycling-related projects and activities to encourage children and young people to enjoy and celebrate the spectacle of the biggest annual global sporting event when it comes to Yorkshire, as well as encouraging them to adopt long-term healthy lifestyles.

One of the biggest of these events is the Leeds Schools Cycle Challenge, which all primary schools and Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres (SILCs) have been encouraged to sign up to. Taking place at Temple Newsam Park on Tuesday 1 July, the event will bring together children from right across the city in the week leading up to the Grand Départ. There will be races suitable for all ages and abilities including a scooter race and an adapted cycle race.

Secondary school students will not miss out though – a Secondary School Games Cycling Competition has been organised to take place at Leeds West Academy and Rodillian Academy in May. Winners will qualify for the West Yorkshire Summer Games at Leeds Metropolitan University in July.

Cycling opportunities are also being made available at three of Leeds City Council’s education and activity centres. Lineham Farm, Herd Farm and the Lazer Activity Centre are all hosting a range of cycling experiences including an on-site cycle challenge, all terrain mountain bike rides, BMX challenges, races, cycle maintenance and safety workshops. Herd Farm is also offering residential cycling activity programmes for school groups, giving unique and inspirational cycling educational experiences in a safe and beautiful setting. Pupils will have the opportunity to take on cycling challenges at the centre and the surrounding area, including the Harewood estate.

Children and young people with disabilities can also make the most of the cycling opportunities on offer, with accessible cycling at Herd Farm and Lineham Farm, and adapted bike sessions at John Charles Centre for Sport.

Primary and secondary schools are also being invited to take part in the Leeds Schools Active Travel Project with the council’s travelwise team. Participating schools will take part in a number of activities over five weeks including Bikeability training, road safety training and walking and scooting weeks.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“There’s no excuse not to get on your bike this year! With all of these fantastic opportunities available, children and young people in Leeds are really going to get into the Tour de France spirit.

“Making Leeds a child friendly city is about putting children at the heart of everything we do. We couldn’t have such an important event happen in our city and not make sure children and young people are involved and able to share this fantastic experience, now and for many years to come thanks to the lasting legacy of the tour.”

Leeds Children’s Mayor, Charlotte Williams said:
“I think these are great opportunities for the children of Leeds to get involved in and hopefully we can create a city where cycling to work and school is normal.”

As well as sporting events, Leeds City Council and its partners have also arranged a series of cycling-orientated cultural and arts based events including:
• Le Grand Départ animation competition - a special category for Leeds schools as part of the Animation14 competition.
• A design a flowerbed competition with a Tour de France theme – closing date is 31 March.
• A film competition for primary and secondary pupils being run by Sustrans
• French theatre and partnership day at City of Leeds School on 16 June.
• Music festival – three days of music 23 to 25 June, organised by Leeds City Council’s music and arts service Artforms.
• Be Inspired by Yorkshire – Le Tour de France Arts Award Programme 2014 – Cape UK is recruiting 20 schools to be involved in a partnership with arts and cultural organisations based around the Grand Départ.
• Lignuastars – a two-day residential at Leeds University, aimed at year 12 pupils who are interested in studying foreign languages.

Information about the Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds is available at and people can follow us on Twitter @CyclingLeeds

Contact details for each event / activity or competition:
• Le Grand Départ animation competition further information and competition rules can be found at
• Cape UK Le Tour De France Arts Awards Programme –
• Bonjour! Film your tour -
• Design a flowerbed competition – Richard Gill on 0113 2375301
• Herd Farm – 0113 3930012
• Lineham Farm – 0113 2300959
• John Charles Centre for Sport – 0113 395000
• Armley Lazer Centre – 0113 3367414
• Linguastars –
• French theatre and partnerships day –
• Music Festival – Leeds Artforms

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

Council in bid for new HS2 college

Council leaders want to bring a new college to Leeds that will train the next generation of world-class engineers for the construction of High Speed 2 (HS2).

Central Government has today begun searching for the best city to base the college and Leeds is hoping to put itself at the forefront.

The college will deliver specialised training and qualifications needed to construct high speed rail, which will not only benefit HS2 but other future infrastructure projects in the region.

The first new incorporated further education college in over 20 years, it will offer technical training ensuring HS2 can be built by skilled British workers including; rail engineering, environmental skills and construction.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“Bringing the college here would build on expertise already in the region creating up to 2000 new apprenticeships and an incredible lasting legacy of engineering. This would clearly benefit future engineering projects in our region making it a hotbed for talent and investment.

“The sheer length of the project means we can offer people a rewarding career in engineering, whilst the multiplicity of skills required means we will be equipping a new generation with experience at the cutting edge of technology.

“HS2 is about far more than just a railway line. We need a new north-south railway first and foremost, but it will also bring jobs, growth and regeneration to Leeds and the region."

The college will serve as a national centre building relationships with a network of affiliated facilities, including existing colleges, private training providers, HE institutions and major supply networks.

The city region had almost 200,000 students starting in higher and further education in 2011.

It also has a strong industrial rail heritage with York playing a key role and Leeds station serving around 100,000 passengers a day.

Furthermore, the region is increasing its reputation for creativity with the digital and analytical industry soon to be bolstered by the Open Data Institute that will encourage open data culture boosting both the economy and environment.

Selecting a location for the main site will be the first important step in its creation. The main requirements for the location include:

• links with employers and other providers in the rail industry
• ease of access for learners
• how the location can help rebalance the economic geography of the country
• size and availability of a suitable site
• affordability and value for money

A final decision on the preferred location is expected in June 2014, and the college is expected to open in 2017.

Notes to editor
The Department for Business, Skills and Innovation’s consultation asking where the HS2 college should be placed can be found at


For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 4450

Short films of young Leeds filmmakers premiered

Caption: (L-R) - Saphena Holden, Hassan Abdullahi and Mandlenkosi Maposa, with Cllr Lucinda Yeadon (front) at the premiere of their short films.

The work of three young Leeds filmmakers has been showcased this week at a city cinema.

This follows a series of workshops delivered by Studio 12 and Leeds City Council as part of the ‘Writing Leeds’ project, which provided 15 young people between the age of 15-30, many of which were first time writers, with the chance to learn more about the craft of filmmaking and pen their own short films which reflected their sense of place, aspiration and belonging growing up in Leeds

After a lot of deliberation three young writers, Saphena Holden (18), Mandlenkosi Maposa (26) and Hassan Abdullahi (24) were selected to see their films premiered on the big screen at the Everyman Cinema in Trinity Leeds, who also on the night took part in a special Q&A with the audience.

Produced to industry standard by specialist movie production company Left Eye Blind and shot on RED cinema cameras, the three films will now go forward to media outlets, broadcast channels and festival distribution.

For more information regarding the project, please see: or and click into Writing Britain. The trailer can be viewed at:

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

"It was fantastic to be in attendance at the premiere of these short films by three of our city’s young filmmakers, and the quality and standard of each production was really superb.

"We are always delighted to support projects such as this one delivered by Studio 12, which provide our young people with the opportunity to not only harness their creative talents but also learn new skills.

"We would also like to give a big thank you to Left Eye Blind for producing each of the short films, which I hope will encourage other budding young filmmakers and writers across the city to get involved and want to showcase their work."

Notes to editors:

Writing Leeds is an extension project to the ‘Writing Britain’ film delivered in 2012, which was commissioned by the British Library.

Studio12 is an exemplary digital media initiative that is delivered through Leeds library service. Studio12 invests in the creative talents of young people living in Leeds. It strives to provide young people with a creative process to educate, engage and include young people in producing new work.,

For more information on Studio 12, please contact: Jamie Hutchison, Studio12, Central Library, Calverley St, Leeds, LS1 3AB.

Left Eye Blind is a production company based in Leeds. We create cinematic film for Music, Television and the Commercial Industry. Working across the world we continue to build upon our award winning productions with an ever growing slate of feature films.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.

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