Monday, 19 May 2014

The Lord Mayor and the chocolate workshops

Young Willy Wonkas’ are in for a choc-tastic event at Kirkgate Market this weekend.

Organised by the Lord Mayor’s charity – LOFFTY – as part of the Love Your Local Market campaign, children have the opportunity to take part in free chocolate making workshops.

During the fun half-hour workshops, children will learn about the history of chocolate and how it’s made.

The experts from the Ministry of Chocolate will then give children the chance to put what they’ve learned into practice and help them make their own tasty chocolate treat.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Thomas Murray, said:

“Like Roald Dahl’s Charlie Bucket, we hope that the workshops will fire children’s imaginations and teach them about the origins of chocolate.

“We’re delighted that the workshops are being hosted at Kirkgate Market during Love Your Local Market fortnight and I’m looking forward to joining in the fun. Bringing young people into the market could help inspire the next generation of shoppers.

“Although the building lacks its own great glass elevator, there are a range of other delights and characters that shouldn’t be missed.”

The workshops are suitable for children aged five to 11.

The workshops are running at 10am, 11am, 1pm (when the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Thomas Murray will be joining in the fun), 2pm and 3pm in the Kirkgate Market suite in the indoor market and. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The events are free, but booking is required at

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


Hundreds of young people to celebrate sport in Leeds with the Queen's Baton Relay

Caption: L-R Batonbearers Laura Beardsmore, Ali Jawad, Nile Wilson and Norman Stephens outside Leeds Civic Hall.

Commonwealth Games England have today announced that hundreds of local young people will be getting involved in a series of exciting events when Leeds welcomes the Queen’s Baton Relay on June 12.

Children and local athletes will participate in organised events at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the John Charles Centre for Sport and finally a civic celebration when the baton arrives next month.

Throughout the day the baton will be visit a number of events, organised by Leeds City Council, where it will be carried by local community heroes nominated for their contributions to sports, coaching, education and the community in Leeds.

The Queen's Baton will begin its activity-packed day at Headingley Carnegie Stadium at 9.30am, where it will be welcomed by pupils from high schools across Leeds.

They will get the chance to take part in football, rugby and cricket talent identification sessions in a bid to spot the next generation of young sports stars.

At the Headingley event The Queen's Baton will be carried by Laura Beardsmore, who was selected as a baton bearer because of her achievements in Aikido.

As the first person to retain the Women’s Individual Randori at the World Aikido Championships in Japan, Laura is one of the world’s foremost female martial artists.

The Queen's Baton Relay will then travel to the John Charles Centre for Sport where it will be carried by Nile Wilson, a member of Leeds Gymnastics Club.

Nile claimed four medals at the European Youth Olympics and a further six medals at the World School Games in Rio.

Along with Nile there will be a further three baton bearers at the event.

Sophie Taylor will be representing Leeds Swimming Training Scheme and City of Leeds Swimming Club.

Sophie continued to make waves in the pool with some outstanding performances. Winning three bronze medals at the British Senior Championships, she also broke the British junior record in the 100m breaststroke.

But the best was yet to come. In winning a silver medal at the World Youth Championships in Dubai, she set a new British senior record – elevating her to 13th in the world in the process.

Also carrying the baton will be Ali Jawad, who has been nominated for his extraordinary talent in the sport of Paralympic Weightlifting.

Ali won Gold at the Asian World Championships; lifting an astonishing 185.5kg - three times his own body weight. This was also a new European and World record, and saw him ranked number one in the world.

Charlotte Sansome, who has done some phenomenal work developing hockey in Leeds, will also be carrying the baton.

Charlotte is Leeds University Hockey Club’s first ever community secretary – a position that has seen her transform the club’s relationship with the local area.

As well as hugely increasing the levels of charitable fundraising by university sports clubs, she has also established links with local primary schools, offering hockey taster sessions and organising a schools tournament.

The event at the John Charles Centre will also see around 1,300 children from 80 schools trying their hand at a number of Commonwealth sports.

The baton will finish its trip to Leeds with a special celebration of the city’s athletes, coaches and volunteers at Leeds Civic Hall.

The prestigious evening event will recognise the important contribution that members of Leeds’ sporting community have made to the city.

Norman Stephens, who for 35 years has given people throughout Yorkshire the opportunity to experience sailing via his Sail Free charity, will carry the baton to the event.

With a particular focus on children and adults with disabilities, his tireless work at Otley Sailing Club has been recognised nationally with the Royal Yachting Association making the club a centre of excellence for their Sailability initiative.

Norman currently runs an extensive programme of events, bringing the thrill of sailing to as many people as possible.

Kelly Holmes, president of Commonwealth Games England, said:

“I’m encouraging everyone in Leeds to get involved when the Queen’s Baton Relay comes Leeds. Leeds will be hosting an incredible celebration of sport on June 12 and everyone can join in.

"If you can be there then please go and give sport a go, cheer your inspirational baton bearers and be part of the Team England send-off to Glasgow.”

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

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming the Queen’s Baton to Leeds and I’m sure it will be a really exciting and memorable day.

“Not only does it give us a chance to play our part in the Commonwealth Games, it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for hundreds of local young people to get involved and have some fun, trying their hand at some of the sports they’ll be able to watch once the Games get underway.

“The visit also means we can celebrate the accomplishments of some of our sports stars who play such an important role in making Leeds such a proud sporting city.”

Before visiting Leeds, the Queen's Baton will have visited 68 of the 70 Commonwealth nations and will be en route to its final journey through Scotland to the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The XX Commonwealth Games takes place in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3. Commonwealth Games England is sending a 400-strong team to compete across the 17 sports.


Notes to Editors

- Media accreditation will be required to ensure access to all of the day’s media opportunities. To register for media accreditation please email Mobile: 07825171810

- Also email or call Ben Hurley with interview or other requests in advance of the day.

-Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of the Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. We are affiliated to the Commonwealth Games Federation and work closely with the various sports’ National Governing Bodies (NGBs), funding partners such as Sport England, our commercial sponsors and Organising Committees. Our purpose is to help develop athletes and their sports, and to achieve success at Games-time.

- The Queen’s Baton Relay in England is funded by Sport England and the National Lottery.

For more details, please contact:

Ben Hurley
Tel: 07825171810

Ten-time cheat found guilty of abusing disabled parking scheme

A persistent cheat has been found guilty of blatantly ignoring the rules for blue badge parking.

Between August and December 2013, Wesley Oddy of Chadwick Street, Leeds was caught using a blue badge without the badge holder being present on 10 occasions.

In some cases, civil enforcement officers found Oddy’s car in different locations on the same day still illegally displaying the badge even though he’d already received a penalty notice for using the badge to get out of paying parking fees earlier in the day.

On each occasion officers were able to show that Oddy was parking his car and using the badge without the badge holder being present.

His actions resulted in the issuing authority revoking the blue badge.

All attempts by Oddy to appeal the fines he’d accumulated were rejected.

Last week magistrates fined Oddy £600 and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and costs of £1,694.36.

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

“This is a clear cut case of determined abuse of the system designed to make life easier for those who genuinely need it. This individual’s actions have left the badge holder high and dry as the issuing authority had no other choice than to revoke the badge.

“Such disregard for the law can’t and won’t be tolerated in Leeds.

“We’ll continue to pursue those individuals who flout the rules and disadvantage others in the process.”

People could have their Blue Badges revoked or renewal refused if they or others persistently abuse them.

They also face a maximum £1,000 fine if prosecuted and found guilty of abusing the system.

See and for more information.


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

Older people going for gold at neighbourhood network’s Zumba classes

Caption: Alan Gluck (centre) enjoys the weekly Zumba Gold class at Wetherby in Support of the Elderly.

A Leeds pensioner has got back into the rhythm after getting hooked on weekly Zumba classes at his local village hall.

Alan Gluck, 69, has mobility problems but is now able to walk to and from the popular Zumba Gold classes run by Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE), one of Leeds City Council’s city-wide neighbourhood networks.

Alan, who has lived in Boston Spa his whole life, started attending the exercise classes a year ago and now never misses a session.

He said: “I was invited to the Zumba classes by a friend last year and ever since then I come every week.
“It’s good exercise that helps me keep my weight down and I walk here from home every week now.

“There’s usually about 20 of us who come along and most weeks I’m the only man- but they do look after me!”

The Zumba Gold classes are specially adapted for older people, and feature low-impact exercise set to Latin music.

With the new confidence he has gained from the exercise classes, Alan has also got involved with a singing group and a poetry group, developing a love for the works of Dylan Thomas.

The retired electricals worker said the range of activities available at his local neighbourhood network were perfect for older people looking to socialise.

He said: “When I was younger, I used to enjoy going to the local pub. But now there are only a couple of pubs left in the village and they’re a long way from my house.

“The Zumba and the other groups are an alternative to that now I’m older and it’s a really good way to meet new people.”

WiSE is one of 37 neighbourhood networks that work with more than 21,900 older people across the city.

Supported by the council’s adult social care team, the community based organisations are aimed at enabling older people to live independently and get involved within their own communities.

Lillian Allen, who co-ordinates the activities at WiSE, said the networks make a massive difference in tackling social isolation.

She said: “I’ve seen a huge difference in the people who attend, their confidence grows and they get involved in spin-off groups, meeting new people and making new friends.

“We don’t just do the things you might traditionally expect older people to do- we’re always trying new things they can get involved with.

“But at the heart of it all is giving those who come along a chance to get together and there really is no substitute for sitting and having a chat and a cup of tea with someone and sharing experiences. Our new Wise Owl Café for the community has provided the perfect environment for new friendships and interests to flourish too.”

Leeds’ neighbourhood networks recently won national praise in a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, who singled them out as an example of good practice in providing care and support for older people and recommended the approaxch be replicated nationally.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“Our neighbourhood networks across Leeds are full of inspiring stories of people like Alan, who haven’t let age hold them back and as a consequence, they’ve had a whole new world of experiences and opportunities opened up to them by these fantastic organisations.

“Neighbourhood networks are all about putting services back at the heart of our communities- giving local people the choice and control over what they want and providing them with a strong but friendly support network that’s close to home.

“By doing that, not only are we boosting their health and wellbeing, we’re enabling thousands of older residents to socialise and live independently while playing an active role in the places where they live.”

To find out more about WiSE, visit, telephone 01937 588 994 or email

To find out about your local Neighbourhood Network, visit


Fore more details, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937