Thursday, 29 May 2014

Community links helped by migrant volunteers

Leeds City Council held an event today (May 29) to acknowledge the achievements of a group of volunteers from different migrant backgrounds, who recently completed a 17-week course in helping others new to Leeds.

Twenty six men and women originating from fifteen different countries and collectively speaking 27 different languages took part in the Migrant Community Network Volunteers training programme.
They are the fifth group to have completed the training.

The training is delivered by an innovative partnership between many citywide organisations in the public and voluntary sectors.

It provides migrant volunteers with the skills to help newer migrants quickly adjust to life in Leeds by providing information on a range of essential services such as housing, employment, education, personal budgeting, health and wellbeing, social care, policing, domestic violence and hate crime.

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress were there to congratulate the volunteers and presented them with their certificates.

Councillor Ghulam Hussain, lead member for communities, who also attended, said:

"Leeds has a rich multi-cultural heritage with many new arrivals contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of Leeds.

"It is in the interest of the city that when they arrive we make it as easy as possible for them to establish links to the community and its services. The Migrant Access Project is a great way for those who have already made links in Leeds to help others.

"I would like to thank and congratulate the individuals who took part in this training programme and earned their certificates.

"At a time when funding is tight, these groups are finding innovative ways to continue to help people who really need it.

"The skills and knowledge that they have acquired will ensure that migrants can quickly adapt to life in Leeds."


Press release issued by:

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

Armed Forces Day to be celebrated in Leeds

Caption: A range of activities and events will be held in Leeds to celebrate Armed Forces Day on June 28.

The professionalism, courage and commitment of the British Armed Forces will be recognised next month as part of a special day of events set to be held in Leeds.

As part of national Armed Forces Day, Leeds will be holding its own celebrations on June 28 from 11am - 4 pm. The Lord Mayor is hosting this free event, which will include at 12 noon a parade past Victoria Gardens on the Headrow by representatives from each military service and music from the Rothwell Temperance Band. On Victoria Gardens a range of family-friendly activities including a Breeze Boot Camp and crafts will also be available, while children and young people can show their support for the Armed Forces by taking on the challenge of a climbing wall.

A number of displays from the Armed Forces will also be on show including a 24 tonnes Multiple Launch Rocket System, while there is also the chance to meet veterans of all ages and browse a range of charity and military linked stalls. A stunning Spitfire flyover is also set to take place at approximately 2.45pm, which promises to be one of the highlights of the day.

The city of Leeds has a historic link with the British Armed Forces, and in 2012 signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant strengthening this partnership. This covenant, this ensures that a wide range of support, help and guidance is available to in-service personnel, veterans and their families.

Groups and organisations involved in Armed Forces Day 2014 include the Royal British Legion, The Forgotten Heroes, Yorkshire Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association, 269 (West Riding) Battery Royal Artillery, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment; Gurkha Welfare Trust , Royal Engineers Association , Air Cadets, RAF Linton on Ouse, 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment, Royal Observer Corps Association, Yorkshire Army Cadet Force Leeds, Green Howards Yorkshire Branch, Fleet Air Armed Association, Yorkshire Branch, Royal Naval Association – Wetherby Branch and SSAFA Forces Help.

This event is supported by the Ministry of Defence and Leeds City Council media partner Heart Radio.

To keep up to date on Armed Forces Day, please see:

If you would like to contribute to the event, please contact Alex Hannant at

For more details regarding the British Armed Forces, please see the following websites: British Army: Royal Air Force: and Royal Navy:

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

"We are delighted to be holding an Armed Forces Day in Leeds on June 28, which will provide the people of our city with an opportunity to show their support and thank our serving men and women for their outstanding professionalism, courage and commitment.

"Leeds is extremely proud of its historic links with the military, and events such as this one sit aside our continued support for in-service personnel, veterans and their families in the city through the signing of the council’s Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012."

Councillor Graham Hyde, Leeds City Council’s chair of the armed forces member champion group said:

"An amazing amount of hard work has gone into the organisation of this year’s Armed Forces Day, and I would personally like to thank representatives of each service in the military, and a wide range of charities, groups and organisations for all of their assistance and help.

"On the day there will be a full parade including all military services, a number of family-friendly activities at Victoria Gardens, and in what promises to be something really spectacular, a flyover by a legendary Spitfire plane.”

David Marshall, Chairman of Leeds group, The Royal British Legion said:

"We are very pleased that the city has taken up the challenge and will be holding an Armed Forces Day on June 28 this year, especially when you consider the large amount of work involved in organising and running the forthcoming Grand Départ in Leeds. We are extremely appreciative.

"This promises to be a fantastic event, and we hope a lot of people will attend and join in the celebrations on the day."

Notes to editors:

Leeds Armed Forces Day is being supported by the Ministry of Defence.

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

Kirkstall Abbey markets celebrate third birthday

Caption: Kirkstall Abbey is the home to two popular markets.

Two popular markets in Leeds held in the beautiful surroundings of one of Britain's best preserved abbeys are preparing to celebrate their third birthday later this month.

Set in the picturesque 12th century Cistercian ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, the popular deli and crafts & collectables markets, which are held on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month from 12noon-3pm, provide visitors with a great day out along with high quality products supplied by local producers from March through to November.

Initially funded by Leeds City Council’s inner north west area committee and supported by local councillors, the aim was to provide visitors access to locally sourced produce and give people the chance to buy good quality food, plants and goods from local producers. It was hoped that by providing a venue and market infrastructure, the abbey would be encouraging innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

With the first 10 stalls bought using the funding and a further twelve provided by Leeds Markets, the market was able to expand from an early stage and has continued to grow from strength to strength since the first event was held on May 28 2011.

The first market had just 14 stalls but after attracting 1300 visitors in just three hours on its opening day, the signs were already there that here was an event that was going to be very popular. Within a few months the market had grown from 14 stalls to nearly 40 and had to relocate into the cloister of the abbey which is now its current home.

Due to popular demand and the success of the Saturday market, it was decided that a general market should be held the following Sunday with food stalls from the deli market along with crafts, collectables, art and fashion. After a two-month trial which again turned out to be very popular, it now has become a regular fixture at the abbey for the past 18 months and boasts as many stalls and visitors as the deli market.

The move into the cloisters of the abbey has not only provided space for more stalls but enabled tables and chairs to be set out for visitors to relax and enjoy the food that they purchased. The space has also allowed the markets to play host to a variety of entertainers each month with regular bands, singers and even magicians performing for the visitors and stallholders.

Now boasting up to 50 stalls and over 80,000 visitors since the beginning, both markets are regarded as a perfect place to visit to find high quality local produce, plants, handmade crafts, collectables, vintage treasures, jewellery, artwork and household items from across Yorkshire.

Looking ahead to the third anniversary, stall holders at the deli market have praised both the management and its location at Kirkstall Abbey.

Alley Oman from the stall 'Fayre by Alley' said:

“‘We started with a little table at the very first deli market and haven’t missed a market since. We have now opened our own shop in Kirkstall on the back of our popularity from Kirkstall deli market.”

Charley Downey from the stall 'Bimble' said:

"It’s got everything we’d consider to be important in a market – great regular customers, stunning venue, good access for customers and it’s exceptionally well-run. There’s something particularly special about being able to exhibit in such historic surroundings, and we hope to be involved for many years to come."

Jason Kelly from 'SticksArtStones' said:

"Kirkstall Abbey is such a beautiful location that captures the hearts of thousands of visitors who attend each year. It has to be one of the most idyllic locations for any trader."

For more information regarding stalls at this year’s market, please see:

The abbey continues to be a much loved visitor attraction in Leeds, and throughout the year is home to a variety of family fun events and activities. This includes the recent launch of the ‘Happy Abbey’ art project, which when completed, will see community and disabled groups from across the city decorate 20 hardboard monks before making their way to a new home at the abbey. For more information, please see:

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

"Having been involved in this project from the very start, I have seen at close quarters the amazing amount of hard work which went into making the markets at Kirkstall Abbey a reality. It has been really brilliant therefore to see the event become so popular with so many people over the last three years, and I would personally like to thank everyone who has contributed.

"With around 50 stalls offering a range of fantastic products and local produce there is certainly a lot to see, and where better to spend an afternoon than in the spectacular surroundings of a 12th century Cistercian ruin?

"The markets really are a great success story, and we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays in the future."

Mark Kilvington, market organiser and licence holder of Kirkstall Abbey Deli and Crafts & Collectables Market said:

"It’s fantastic to see the markets reach their third birthday and it’s a testament to all the stall holders and visitors who turn up at the end of every month, rain or shine, to make them such wonderful occasions."

Notes to editors:

The deli markets will be held on the following weekends in 2014:

May 31st & June 1st
June 28th & 29th
July 26th & 27th
August 30th & 31st
September 27th & 28th
October 25th & 26th
November 29th & 30th

Stalls which feature at this year’s markets can be found here:

Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete Cistercian monasteries in Britain. Founded in 1152 by Cistercian monks, Kirkstall was a religious centre in Yorkshire until 1539 when it was closed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Visitors can explore the abbey ruins to discover where the monks worked, lived and prayed over 800 years ago, from the majesty of the church to the peace of the cloisters.

The Visitor Centre is home to displays about the abbey, kid’s dressing up and a shop selling unique bespoke products. Entrance to Kirkstall Abbey is Free. There are regular events at the abbey throughout the year, including the Kirkstall Festival every July.

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

Sky Ride returns for Father’s Day special in Leeds

Caption: Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Cllr Lucinda Yeadon (centre) with centre left Heather Nelson chief executive of Black Health Initiative together with British Cycling ride leaders and members of City Riderz

Father’s Day will be extra special in Leeds next month as Sky Ride returns to the city centre bigger and better.

The free family-orientated mass participation bike ride will take place on Sunday 15 June, allowing riders to take to the same stretch of traffic-free road which the world’s finest cyclists will follow when the Tour de France Grand Départ begins from the exact same start point on The Headrow just three weeks later.

The inaugural Sky Ride in Leeds last year was a major success, attracting more than 8,500 people of all ages and abilities to get on bikes with many more lining the route to cheer them along.

The route of this year’s Sky Ride has been revealed today, with the 2014 event promising to be bigger and better including being promoted by Olympic track cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy with an exclusive video message which can be seen at

Among the new elements this year along the 6.5kilometre route around the city centre is a loop around the spectacular first direct arena, as well as the ‘sensory tunnel’ and a ‘tricks and tunes’ area which will create a real festival atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. A shorter route will also be available for young children and families, riders with adapted bikes and those new to cycling who are building their confidence levels.

To register for a free place at Sky Ride Leeds, visit The first thousand people to sign up will receive a limited-edition gift on the day. In addition, anyone who signs up will be entitled to a free expert bike check at Halfords.

The event is one of 14 to be held nationally and is part of a continuing partnership between Leeds City Council, British Cycling, Sky and West Yorkshire Metro which aims to encourage more people to get cycling.

Sky Ride ambassador and six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy said:

“We want more people to enjoy riding a bike – that’s why British Cycling and Sky have teamed up to bring you Sky Ride. We’ve made it easier than ever to get out on your bike and spend quality time with your family and friends.

“Sky Rides close big towns and cities for big bike events so you can ride safely on traffic-free streets, with a huge festival atmosphere and loads to do both on and off the bike. They are great fun and a great way to get on your bike.”

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

“Sky Ride was a fantastic day last year with thousands of people riding the streets of Leeds city centre in beautiful sunshine having a great time.

“This year promises to be even better, with the day falling on Father’s Day so it would be great to see even more families coming along and taking part. The event also offers the once-in-a-lifetime chance to say you rode a part of the route of the Tour de France three weeks before the best riders in the world come to the city for the incredible Grand Départ, so sign up now for what will be another wonderfully exciting day.”

Among those taking part this year will be Chapeltown-based cycling group Black Health Initiative, made up mainly of fathers and sons who arrange regular cycle events and rides in the city.

Chief executive of Black Health Initiative Heather Nelson said:

“Sky Rides give communities an opportunity to part take in a city-based activity. BHI’s City Riderz started two years ago as an activity that fathers were able to do with their children on Father’s Day as an alternative to non-physical activities, encouraging health and wellbeing.

“The Riderz are ecstatic that their group which is made up from individuals from diverse backgrounds and often feel excluded are included not only in this particular city ride but one that is connected to the Tour de France via part of the route. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience which can be shared by the family.”

In addition to the mass-participation Sky Ride event, a series of 50 free, fun, guided Sky Ride Local bike rides will take place around Leeds this summer tailored for beginners to experienced cyclists, while there will also be women-only rides on offer through British Cycling’s national Breeze programme.

For more information on Sky Ride and to register for Sky Ride Leeds go to

For more information on the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ for Leeds, visit or sign up for email alerts at

Notes to editors:
For more information
Images: Please go to the goskyride image library on Flickr to view and download rights-free images. Please don’t forget to credit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Leeds PR Contact Details

Roger Boyde
Senior communications officer
Leeds City Council

British Cycling
Courtney Perks, Marketing and Communications team
0161 274 2000

Sky Ride
Sky Rides are big, celebratory events which take over a town or city centre so thousands of cyclists can ride together on a traffic-free route. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how old your bike is, or how fast you ride.

Sky Ride Local
With Sky Ride Local we’ve done all the planning for you. We’ve found the best routes, trained up Ride Leaders to guide and support you, and picked some cracking places to visit along the way.

British Cycling’s Breeze programme is the biggest initiative ever to get more women into riding bikes for fun. Our amazing Breeze champions are trained to organise friendly, social bike rides up and down the country and inspire local women to get involved.

About British Cycling
British Cycling is the national governing body for cycling as recognised by the UCI – the international federation for the sport. Based in Manchester at the National Cycling Centre, British Cycling works across all levels and six disciplines of the sport (BMX, Mountain Bike, Cyclo-Cross, Road, Track and Cycle Speedway), from providing the support and encouragement people need to get riding their bikes for the first time, to being home to the hugely successful Great Britain Cycling Team. Continued success at the highest level is inspiring a boom in participation across the nation.

There have never been more opportunities to ride a bike, be it for fun or sport, and British Cycling is at the heart of this growth. British Cycling also works hard to represent cyclists’ interests at all levels, including campaigning on important issues including road safety. As a membership organisation, British Cycling provides a suite of benefits and support to its members who currently number over 89,000. All membership revenue is invested back into cycling. British Cycling was named Governing Body of the Year at the 2013 Sports Industry Awards. For more information, visit

West Yorkshire Metro
West Yorkshire Metro is now part of the new West Yorkshire Combined Authority. For more information go to


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,