Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sports Minister visits Leeds to sample Le Tour build-up


Caption: Helen Grant MP pictured centre left (holding Grand Départ cycling jersey) with Benton Park School pupils and right of the Minister Sir Rodney Walker (chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd), Peter Dodd (Commercial Director of Welcome to Yorkshire) and Bob Howden (President of British Cycling). Left of the Minister are Cllr Judith Blake (Deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for children’s services) and John Mills (British Cycling Coaching, Education and Development Director)

Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant MP paid a visit to Leeds today to see how the city is preparing for and being inspired by hosting the start of this year’s Tour de France.

The Minister made a trip to Benton Park School in Rawdon to find out how the pupils are getting involved with all aspects of cycling with just three months to go before the Grand Départ begins in the city.

Also in attendance were guests including chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd Sir Rodney Walker, President of British Cycling Bob Howden, Leeds City Council deputy leader and executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake, Welcome to Yorkshire Commercial Director Peter Dodd and Yorkshire Regional Director for Sustrans Paul Osborne to give an update on how the city and region is gearing up for the world’s largest annual sporting event.

At the school, the Minister watched as pupils took part in a session on their bikes as part of Go-Ride, British Cycling's development programme for young people.

Working with British Cycling Go-Ride Coach Chris Young, Benton Park now has bike lessons as part of its PE programme and also has a weekly bike club attended by approximately 30 pupils.

The school is also part of the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme (Access to Education), promoting sustainable travel and road safety to encourage more pupils to ride to and from school. This is being delivered as a joint partnership between Sustrans and Leeds City Council. Through the project the school has received new bike parking, a fleet of pool bikes, help from a Sustrans Schools Officer, and financial contributions to a new pedestrian crossing outside the school that became operational this week.

Such has been the success of the programme that Benton Park has one of the highest rates of pupils riding to school in the city, with just seven out of more than 250 pupils in Year 7 now being taken to school by car.

Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant MP said:

“It was great to be in Yorkshire to get an update on how plans are progressing for the Grand Depart. It’s going to be a fantastic event that will showcase Yorkshire to the world, boosting local tourism and encouraging more people to get on their bikes and take up the sport. The children at Benton Park were certainly enjoying their ‘Go Ride’ session with British Cycling and that is something that is being replicated at schools right across the country, as excitement builds ahead of Le Tour.”

Chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd Sir Rodney Walker said:

“We were delighted to welcome the Minister today, to see for herself the effect the Tour de France is already having to inspire a future generation of cyclists. Our team is working hard to make this the best Grand Départ ever seen and create an economic and social benefit far beyond July. With less than 100 days to go, we are on track to deliver the biggest free sporting event ever seen in Britain - made possible with the support and financial backing of the Government of which the Minister is a part.”

Deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake said:

“I am pleased that the Minister was able to visit Leeds today, sampling the excitement and enthusiasm there is for cycling and the Tour de France which is rising by the day all over the Yorkshire region. It is especially important for our young people like those at Benton Park School to be getting involved in cycling as we are committed to ensuring there is a lasting legacy from this amazing event.”

President of British Cycling Bob Howden said:

“British Cycling has established a superb record of delivery when it comes to ensuring there is a participation legacy from major sport events. Through our Sky Ride, Go-Ride and Breeze programmes and facility development, we are working hard to provide thousands of opportunities for people of all ages to get on their bikes. The Tour de France is a massive focus for all cyclists and we are committed to maintaining the momentum that this unique event brings with sustainable benefits for cycling and communities.”

Benton Park School Head of Design and Technology Jonathan Farnaby said:

“The cycling programme here has made a real impact since we decided to try and make it part of the mainsteam curriculum here a couple of years ago and we are grateful to our partners for all their support. The pupils really took to it across all types of cycling, and the success of British cyclists at London 2012 and Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish at the Tour de France has helped it to become even more fashionable with the pupils. They are hugely excited at the chance to see their cycling heroes in action in Leeds and we can’t wait for July to get here.”

For more information on the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire, and stage three from Cambridge to London, visit

Notes to editors:
1. In 2014, the Tour de France returns to the UK for three stages. The Yorkshire Grand Départ comprises two stages - Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield - before the Tour moves south for a third stage from Cambridge to London.
- Saturday 5th July - Stage One: Leeds - Harrogate: 190km (118 miles)
- Sunday 6th July - Stage Two: York - Sheffield: 200km (125 miles)
- Monday 7th July - Stage Three: Cambridge - London 170km (106 miles)

2. TdFHUB2014 Ltd is a not-for-profit company set up by UK Sport to co-ordinate the Government’s budget and the delivery of the Tour de France Grand Départ in the UK. It is based in Leeds and will be dissolved after the Tour.
TdFHUB2014 Ltd’s board includes representation from Yorkshire and Cambridge local authorities, British Cycling, Transport for London and UK Sport. The board is chaired by Sir Rodney Walker, the former chair of UK Sport, and is joint vice-chaired by Councillor Keith Wakefield, the Leader of Leeds City Council, and Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

3. As previously announced there are three separate budgets to support planning for the three English stages of the Tour, which total £27m. The budgets are held by local authorities, TdFHUB2014 Ltd and Transport for London. TdFHUB2014 Ltd manages the £10 million of Government support.

4. The Tour de France Grand Départ will form part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series, an ambitious programme to bring up to 70 world class sporting events to the UK by 2019 to help build on the outstanding success of London 2012.

Sustrans is a leading UK charity working with communities, policy-makers and partner organisations so that people can choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper ways to travel. For more information visit

For further media queries contact:
Roger Boyde TdFHUB2014 Ltd

Jam-packed family fun at Leeds Museums and Galleries this Easter

Caption: There is a feast of family fun on offer over the Easter holidays at Leeds Museums and Galleries. Credit: © Leeds Museums and Galleries

With the Easter holidays just around the corner, Leeds Museums and Galleries have a packed programme of fun activities to keep all the family entertained.

The fun begins on Saturday 5 April, with an ‘Easter Eggstravaganza’ at Temple Newsam House. Visitors will have the chance to search for clues in the famous house and popular Home Farm as part of an Easter egg challenge, with everyone taking part receiving a small treat. Held throughout the Easter holidays, this is also a great chance to visit the new born lambs at Home Farm.

The magic of spring will be celebrated as part of a special festival held at Thwaite Mills on Sunday 20 April from 11:30am-3:30pm. Hosting a spring market, boat rides, children’s crafts, face painting and a bouncy castle; this is a lovely and relaxing opportunity to enjoy the delights of the season while meeting the Easter Bunny and taking part in a fun trail as you explore the beautiful island where Thwaite Mills is located.

Budding fashion designers can also join the team at Leeds Industrial Museum on April 9 and April 10 from 1pm-3pm to make waistcoats and design t-shirts in anticipation of the soon to open new tailoring gallery.

A specially themed Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, will be lighting up historic Lotherton Hall on Wednesday April 16 from 12pm-2pm. Attendees are invited to bring along a picnic and join this famous character and his friends for what promises to be a very strange and fun afternoon tea! With face painting, games and activities for all the family this is set to be a great day out.

For those people with a passion for art, to coincide with the display of a special creative project involving ten schools from Leeds, Leeds Art Gallery present ‘ArtSpace: Look into your world’ from Monday April 7 – Sunday April 20. This will provide young people with the chance to be creative and share something about the world in which they live. Leeds Art Gallery’s artist in residence will also be on hand to answer questions about art.

The mysteries of science and inventions developed in Yorkshire will form part of a ‘Silly Science: Yorkshire Inventions’ event at Abbey House Museum on Wednesday 9 April, which will be held in two sessions from 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm; participants can get hands-on and find out more about Yorkshire’s great inventors.

Home to a wealth of collections from around the world, the team at Leeds Discovery Centre are responsible for caring for Leeds’ historic objects. A ‘Chemistry at the Museum’ event on Saturday April 26 from 10am-12pm will provide insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes to protect the collections.

The famous surroundings of Kirkstall Abbey will be the home on Thursday 10 April and Thursday 17 April as guests are invited to ‘Turn Yorkshire Yellow’ by planting some sunflower seeds and making a mini cyclist scarecrow and some clay animals to keep your plants safe in the garden.

The ‘Annual Egg Roll’ is also back by popular demand at Leeds City Museum on Saturday 19 April from 11am -12.15pm. Bring your own egg to decorate and see how far it rolls!

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

"Keeping the family entertained during the holidays can sometimes be a difficult task, but I am delighted to say that help is hand at Leeds Museum and Galleries, who will be hosting a variety of fantastic activities and events!

"As part of a packed programme there is a chance to take part in Easter egg hunts, science experiments and art projects, and also enjoy the delights of a spring festival.

"There really is something for everyone, and we are really looking forward to welcoming people of all ages to our museum and gallery sites during the Easter holidays."

Notes to editors:

For more information on events and admission, please visit:

Details on events highlighted in press release:

Thwaite Mills
• Spring Festival
Sun 20 Apr 11: 30am – 3:30pm
FREE EVENT (museum admission charge applies)

Leeds Discovery Centre
• Chemistry at the Museum
Sat 26 Apr 10am - 12pm

Abbey House Museum
• Silly Science: Yorkshire Inventions
Weds 9 & Weds 16 Apr 10am - 12pm & 2pm - 4pm
FREE EVENT (museum admission charge applies)

Kirkstall Abbey
• Turn Yorkshire Yellow
Thurs 10 & Thurs 17 Apr 2pm - 3pm

Leeds City Museum
• Annual Egg Roll
Sat 19 Apr 11am - 12.15pm

Lotherton Hall
• Mad Hatter's Tea Party
Weds 16 Apr 12pm - 2pm
FREE EVENTS (estate admission charge applies)

Temple Newsam House
• Easter Eggstravaganza!
Sat 5, Sun 6, Tues 8 - Sun 13, Tues 15 - Mon 21 Apr during opening hours
FREE EVENT (usual museum entry charges apply)

Leeds Industrial Museum
• All sewn up!
Weds 9 & Thurs 10 Apr 1pm - 3pm
FREE EVENT (usual museum entry charges apply)

Leeds Art Gallery
• Artspace: Look into your world
Mon 7 - Sun 20 Apr during opening hours

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

Smart Swaps winners leave the biscuit

[photo] Richmond Hill Primary School pupil five-year-old Tarragon Wager makes her pledge

An ambitious initiative to see Leeds people swap unhealthy food and drink for healthier alternatives has seen record uptake this year, as individuals and organisations pledged to leave out the biscuits and snack on something less sweet.

With over 6,250 swaps pledged, thousands of people have added their support to the campaign. The numbers signing up are significantly higher than other surrounding and comparable districts and Leeds City Council Public Health team believes it can help children live healthier long term lives.

Emma Strachan, Health Improvement Specialist (Food) with Leeds City Council Public Health team, said:

“The campaign has been encouraging families to get swapping to reduce the amount of fat and sugar we eat. One of the easiest ways to feel good is to make some simple swaps to what we eat and do. You can still join us in swapping together and making it fun! It’s easy to get involved.”

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds and Health and Wellbeing Board said:

“It is great to see so many families and children getting involved in Smart Swaps. We know that a healthy diet can make a huge difference to people’s lives and getting a good start with good food and drink early in life can play an important part in our commitment to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing.”

Julie Peters, a teacher from Richmond Hill Primary School said:

“Children have been coming into school who have had breakfast instead of nothing before school as a result of the campaign. All the kids love the swapping and have lots of ideas about what they can do to make a smart swap.”

Tarragon Wager, a pupil at Richmond Hill Primary School aged five, pledged to make a swap ‘from doughnuts and spicy sweets to more fruit and vegetables’.

As part of the campaign, both individual and organisational prizes for encouraging swaps were awarded. Individual prizes included a family pass to Home Farm at Temple Newsam and a family swim pass.


Notes for editors
The team prize winners are:
• Leeds Rugby Foundation Smart Swaps assembly plus special extra prizes - Whingate Primary School
• PE start up pack - Victoria Primary School
• Summer school sports pack – Five Lane’s Primary School
• After School Play pack – Richmond Hill Primary School
• £100 voucher for Red Hall Nurseries – Kerr Mackie Primary School
• Ministry of Food Cooking Taster session for up 10 children – Colton Primary School
• Ministry of Food Taster Session up to 8 adults – Asha Neighbourhood Project
• Cooking starter kit – Moortown Children’s Centre
• £50 shopping Voucher – Inside Out Group – Health For All

More information about the Smart Swaps challenge in Leeds is available at:

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 224 3602
Fax: 0113 247 4736