Friday, 28 March 2014

Disabled young people get ready for annual aqua festival

Caption: Swimmer Danielle Bailey, 15, who took part in last year's event, receives her 2014 Leeds Sports Award from Jane Tesseyman of award sponsor Est Display Ltd. Picture by

Disabled youngsters from across Leeds will be making a splash next week at the annual Leeds Disability Aqua Festival.

Young people aged 11 to 19 from schools and learning centres across the city will be at the John Charles Centre for Sport on Monday for this year’s event.

Swimmers will get the chance to take part in activities, races and games, while talent spotters from the centre’s world class coaching team will also be on hand in a bid to pick out potential stars of the future.

Organised by Leeds City Council and the Leeds School Sport Partnership, the festival is now in its fifth year.

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

“The Leeds Disability Aqua Festival is always a really exciting and fun day for everyone involved and gives young people of different ages and abilities the chance to get together and enjoy the fabulous facilities at the John Charles Centre.

“It also gives our top team of coaches the chance to run an expert eye over some talented young swimmers who could then go on to be part of club, regional and national squads.”

In previous years, the talent spotting session has seen young people assessed by instructors at the centre, as well as the regional disability swimming officer for the Amateur Swimming Association.

Those who are picked out by the coaches will be signposted to a range of chances to progress with club, regional and national squads.

Councillor Jane Dowson, the council’s deputy executive member for children’s services will be attending Monday’s event.

She added: “I’m really looking forward to Monday’s event and I’m sure the children who attend will really enjoy themselves too.

“The Disability Aqua Festival is a great example of Leeds being a child friendly and inclusive city for all our youngsters no matter what their age or ability.”

Past participants in the festival have included Danielle Bailey, 15, a pupil at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley.

Danielle ranks among the best swimmers in the world in a number of disciplines and was awarded Young Disability Sportsperson of the Year at the recent Leeds Sports Awards.

Those taking part in Monday’s event will also be given Leeds School Games medals.

For further information on disability sport opportunities in Leeds please contact Ross Bibby on 0113 395 0159 or email


For more details, contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

Over 1750 years’ service to Leeds children honoured at awards ceremony

Picutre caption: Pat Mulligan, dinnertime supervisor at Bracken Edge Primary receives her gift for 34 years service from Cllr Judith Blake and Nigel Richardson.

Staff who educate, care for and work on behalf of children and young people in Leeds have been recognised for their dedication at a special awards ceremony this week.

Long Service Awards were presented to over 70 members of staff who have worked within education and children’s services in the city for 25 years and over, at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall, yesterday. These dedicated staff have clocked up a total of more than 1750 years’ service between them.

All staff received an engraved clock and a certificate to recognise their contribution to improving the lives of children and young people in Leeds. Presenting the awards were Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services, Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services and deputy director Paul Brennan.

Amongst those receiving their awards was 78 year old Pat Mulligan, a dinnertime supervisor at Bracken Edge Primary School, who has clocked up an amazing 34 years working at schools in Leeds.

Julie Harkness, head teacher at Bracken Edge Primary School said:
“Pat has been at Bracken Edge for over 20 years but Mrs Mulligan didn’t even begin working here until she was sixty and has 34 years of experience working in schools in Leeds! She has a heart the size of the school itself, combined with patience that any saint would be hard pressed to match. She is also THE listening ear and potentially damp shoulder for anyone to offload their worries into or weep upon. In short, she is the perfect combination of caring but no-nonsense Grandma that everyone should have watching over them and out for them at all times. We value and love her enormously!”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“These talented and hard-working colleagues have made, and continue to make, a real difference to the children and young people of Leeds. It is always fantastic to meet such dedicated people and a pleasure to present them with these well-deserved awards. We are well on our way to becoming a child friendly city and simply could not do this without such exceptional people”

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

Leeds Young Film Festival 2014 welcomes CBBC stars

Picture caption: CBBC's Katie Thistleton and Ben Shires who will be hosting BAFTA Children's: Behind the Scenes at the Leeds Young Film Festival.

Leeds Young Film Festival 2014 is almost here! The festival begins on Tuesday and celebrates cinema for viewers of all ages with a fantastic selection of films, workshops, activities and events. It opens with a Special Preview screening of Rio 2 in 3D at Vue in The Light on Tuesday 1 April and will include many fantastic guest appearances over Easter - including Leeds’s own Ben Shires from CBBC’s Officially Amazing!, CBBC presenter Katie Thistleton, and the creative teams behind Moshi Monsters and Horrid Henry.

This year’s festival includes BAFTA Children's: Behind the Scenes, hosted by Ben Shires and Katie Thistleton. Behind the Scenes is a showcase of BAFTA nominated and award-winning television, games and websites and will feature a fun mix of live demonstrations, behind-the-scenes films and interviews.

Visitors will have the chance to will go behind-the-scenes with events dedicated to some of their favourite characters, including Moshi Monsters and Horrid Henry. The creative teams behind both will be visiting Hyde Park Picture House on Tuesday 8 April to show how they are created. There will be plenty of fun activities at both events too.

Families won’t want to miss out on the massive weekend at Hyde Park Picture House, featuring days dedicated to Scooby Doo on Saturday 5 April and the whole Toy Story trilogy on Sunday 6 April. Market Wraps will be providing healthy Street Food snack packs people can bring into the cinema. Disney at Everyman features a week of favourites including Frozen, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, Aladdin and The Rescuers at the magnificent Everyman Leeds cinema in the heart of Trinity Leeds.

There’s plenty of excellent cinema for older viewers to enjoy in the Teenage Kicks 15+, Documentary and Best of Leeds International Film Festival sections. There will be a special preview screening of Haunter (on 5 April) , the highly anticipated new film by Vincenzo Natali, director of Cube and Splice - a wonderfully dark and sinister thriller in which a teenage girl appears to be reliving the same day over and over.

Leeds Young Film Festival Director Debbie Maturi said:
“Every year Leeds Young Film Festival gets bigger and better, with an amazing range of films from all over the world – and LYFF 2014 is no exception. It’s the best place to bring the whole family this Easter with events and activities from films you know and love and some that you won’t get the chance to see anywhere else. There’s a host of workshops and masterclasses for you to get creative and learn more about cinema and with film tickets just £2.50 for under 19s, it is fantastic value too.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for leisure and skills at Leeds City Council said:
“This year’s Leeds Young Film Festival once again has a brilliant line-up of films for people to enjoy. There is something for everyone and I hope we will see more people than ever come out and join in.

“As an added bonus, young people are going to get the chance to learn more about how the film industry itself works by taking part in some really interesting workshops and masterclasses.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“The Leeds Young Film Festival is a fantastic example of the events in the city which are moving us closer to achieving our child-friendly ambitions. It’s great to see that many of the city’s cinemas are part of the festival which will offer a huge choice and some top names aimed specifically at young people.”

Tickets are just £2.50 for under 19s and £5.00 for adults – and it’s only £10.00 per person for a VIP Screening Pass for the whole festival Tickets are on sale through and also through City Centre Box Office on 0113 224 3801, in person at The Carriageworks and from Hyde Park Picture House(excludes Opening Gala in 3D, Workshops and Special Events).

To view the full festival programme online and to purchase tickets, please visit

Notes to editors:
Leeds Young Film Festival is presented by MediaFish and Leeds City Council. MediaFish is a cooperative of young people aged 14 - 19 from Leeds that are facilitated by Leeds Young Film. MediaFish are involved in the organisation, programme and marketing of the Leeds Young Film Festival and provide a variety of film screenings, workshops and masterclasses for all ages year round.

For enquiries please contact:
Nick Jones, Communications Manager / 0113 247 8398 /

Help at hand to stamp out fuel poverty

On Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, Leeds City Council is offering practical solutions to help people keep their homes warm.

An estimated 11% Leeds households find it difficult to heat their homes for a reasonable cost.

Having already insulated thousands of lofts and cavity walls in previous schemes, hundreds more are benefitting with the council’s Wrap Up Leeds ECO.

Home owners and private tenants in receipt of an income related benefit who are pensioners, have a disability, or live with a child or young person in full time education, may be eligible for a free Wrap Up Leeds ECO heating upgrade and insulation.

Across the city Wrap Up Leeds ECO has already assisted 398 households. Replacement boilers have been installed in 346 homes and 56 have been insulated.

Residents who have an old or inefficient heating system or homes that haven’t had loft or cavity wall insulation installed, should contact Wrap Up Leeds ECO on 0113 395 0757 or visit

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

"Just because spring is in the air, doesn’t mean we should forget about keeping warm. Now is the ideal time to prepare for next winter as many of our projects run all year round.

"People might not recognise the term ‘fuel poverty’, they just know they’re having trouble paying their heating bills. We’re throwing our weight behind Fuel Poverty Awareness Day as we know there are many more people who would benefit significantly from warmer and cheaper to heat homes."

As well as Wrap Up Leeds ECO, other organisations in Leeds are on hand to help.

The Warm Homes Service run by Care & Repair Leeds can help homeowners with heating repairs and installation where a resident suffers from a cold related illness. The Warm Homes Service can be contacted on 0113 391 8336 or email

The Green Doctor service, run by Groundwork Leeds is providing face-to-face energy efficiency advice to elderly and residents on low incomes in their own homes, as well as small scale efficiency measures. To arrange a Green Doctor visit contact 0113 238 0601 or

The Citizens Advice Bureau provides help to all to resolve their problems with debt, benefits, employment, housing, discrimination and many more issues. They can also provide advice on fuel bills and fuel debts. Contact 0113 223 4400/0113 262 9479 or visit or

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


Male voice choir ready to raise roof at Leeds Civic Hall

Caption: The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Thomas Murray and the Lady Mayoress Edna Murray, are delighted to welcome the Steeton Male Voice Choir to Leeds Civic Hall on 12 April.

A popular male voice choir is all set to light up Leeds Civic Hall next month as part of a special performance in aid of the Lord Mayor’s Charity LOFFTY Appeal.

Held on Saturday 12 April from 7.30pm, the Steeton Male Voice Choir, who were the acclaimed winners of the Choirs Rock event in 2013, will be raising the roof in the illustrious surroundings of the Banquet Hall.

Refreshments and a cash bar will also be available, in what promises to be a night to remember. To book tickets please ring: (0113) 2474194 or email:

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Thomas Murray said:

"We are really looking forward to welcoming the Steeton Male Voice Choir to Leeds Civic hall’s Banquet Hall next month, in what promises to be a fantastic night of entertainment.

"In aid of our Charity LOFFTY Appeal, this is a great opportunity to not only have a great time listening to a brilliant choir in the beautiful Banquet Hall but also to support a very worthy cause.

"Tickets for the concert are now on sale, and we would ask people to book as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment."

Notes to editors:

The key aim of the LOFFTY project, which stands for ‘Leeds Offers Fun For The Young’, is to raise funds that will provide additional fun activities for kids in the city during and after school, at weekends and throughout the school holidays.

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

Time running out to buy a Mother’s Day gift at Redhall

Caption: Staff Lynne Rogers and Lee Cawood (left, crouching), in Redhall’s plant nursery.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, a wide range of beautiful plants and gifts are now available at Leeds City Council’s Redhall plant nursery.

Based in north Leeds, Redhall produces over three million plants per year, which add a sea of colour to the city’s parks, roundabouts, flower beds, school grounds and many other locations across the city that support 'Leeds In Bloom'.

A variety of fantastic plants can be purchased at the Redhall shop as part of the countdown to Mother’s Day on Sunday, along with other presents including compost, containers, shrubs, hanging baskets, bird food and feeders and tools.

Redhall is open seven days a week at the following times: 9.00am to 3.00pm.

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

"There are a fantastic variety of plants available at Redhall, and I would urge anyone seeking inspiration for Mother’s Day to pay us a visit and see what we have to offer.

"We produce over three million plants in our nursery per year, and with other brilliant gifts also available at Redhall, this is a great chance to purchase a really lovely Mother’s Day present."

Notes to editors:

Red Hall Plant Nursery
Red Hall Estate
Red Hall Lane
LS17 8NB

All methods of payment are now accepted.

Please contact: 0113 237 5210.

Opening times:

Open seven days a week from 9.00am to 3.00pm.

Redhall is open on the following bank holidays: Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring bank holiday and August bank holiday, and is closed on Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Leeds has a thriving in bloom network with over 50 groups in communities across the city that contributes to over 1300 floral displays. Last year, as part of Yorkshire in Bloom, Leeds was named as the winner of the ‘Large City’ category, and was also awarded The Yorkshire Rose Chairman’s award which recognises a community that has made outstanding efforts to promote all aspects of the different ‘In Bloom’ campaigns.

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