Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Young people welcome South African dignitaries to celebration of Nelson Mandela

Caption: Nelson Mandela pictured at the opening of Millennium Square in Leeds in 2001.

Local primary school pupils will join dignitaries from Leeds and South Africa for a vibrant celebration of the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Tomorrow’s (Wednesday, June 4) special event will see young people welcome three representatives of the South African High Commission to Leeds Civic Hall as the city marks 20 years since the end of apartheid.

Minister Counsellor Dumisani Ntuli, Counsellor Bilateral Allan Wright and First Secretary Carol Mabuza will travel to Leeds for the event, where they will be entertained by readings and performances by local youngsters and community groups.

The colourful celebration is aimed at ensuring young people have the chance to learn about Mandela’s visit to Leeds, which saw him receive the Freedom of the City in 2001.

Pupils from Bramley Primary school will perform their special Mandela song and poets from the Hamara Centre will give a reading.

The celebration, which begins at 4.30pm, will also include the screening of a film about the impact Mandela had on Leeds, a reading from children from Wykebeck Primary School and a performance by Leeds Southern African Residents’ Association’s United Harmonies choir.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mandela, who officially opened Millennium Square when he visited Leeds, died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg on December 5 at the age of 95.

His death provoked a city-wide outpouring of grief, and a commemorative service was held at Leeds Minster.

Following the service, it was it was agreed that a wider community celebration of his life should take place this spring to coincide with 20 years of freedom.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“This week’s celebration will be a poignant opportunity for the city to recognise the immense contribution Nelson Mandela made over the years to democracy, justice and freedom.

“And by involving so many of our talented young people and giving them a chance to perform and express themselves, it will also ensure the impact this remarkable man made is remembered by future generations.

“Leeds people continue to hold Mandela in their hearts and the city has a special connection with him.

"Many people still have fond memories of the day thousands gathered for the official opening of Millennium Square on what was a momentous day and it is important that young people are given the chance to carry on that legacy.

Current South African High Commisioner Obed Mlaba was the Mayor of Durban in 1998 and signed the memorandum of understanding that made Leeds and Durban partner cities.

Cllr Wakefield added: “We are honoured to welcome three representatives of His Excellency Obed Mlaba.

“Their presence will give the people of Leeds an opportunity to reflect upon the truly remarkable transformation of South African society since 1994 and will also reaffirm the bonds our city has forged with the people of Durban.”

Leeds City Council and the South African High Commission have already held a series of celebrations, including a week long Celebrate Mandela festival which featured events and stories by community groups and organisations.

The South African High Commission will also be holding its own freedom celebration at South Africa House on June 11, which will ask Leeds anti-apartheid activists and schools to join.


For more details, please contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk

Proposal of new war memorial in Bramley supported by area committee

Caption: A proposed design of a new war memorial in Bramley Park.

Plans for a new war memorial and peace garden in a west Leeds community have moved a step closer.

Currently Bramley does not have a war memorial, and working closely with partners including local sponsors and the Friends of Bramley War Memorial, the inner west area committee have now also agreed to provide £10k towards the project.

As part of their research, the Friends of Bramley War Memorial have identified 270 individuals from the areas of Bramley, Rodley and Stanningley who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for their country, and their names will be inscribed on the new tribute. Set to be unveiled at Bramley Park later this year, a peace garden will also be opened, which will provide people with the opportunity to quietly reflect and remember those people who served.

Anyone wishing to nominate a family member or friend to be included on the war memorial who lost their life in combat or as a result of their injuries whilst in combat, are asked to contact the Friends of Bramley War Memorial at: bramleywm@aol.com

Councillor Caroline Gruen, chair of the inner west area committee said:

"It’s unthinkable that a community like Bramley doesn’t have a war memorial, and I am pleased that the area committee along with many other local sponsors and the Friends of Bramley War Memorial are helping to put this right.

"I’d urge anyone with family history in the Bramley, Rodley and Stanningley area to visit their local library to find out more about their own links to the country’s military past so we can ensure their sacrifice is both honoured and never forgotten."

Notes to editors:

10 Area committees across the city, play a vital role setting out detailed improvement plans for the areas they represent, and decide through a monitored service level agreement, where both street cleansing and environmental action should be targeted.

The management and budgets of community centres are also undertaken, while funding is also provided to agencies, groups and organisations which support a range of important projects that are being delivered in communities through their wellbeing fund.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Learning Disability Week charity trek supports African enterprise

Caption: Members of the walking group get ready for their charity trek.

A dedicated group of people with learning disabilities will put their best foot forward later this month to help a community farm in Africa.

The group of more than 60 walkers, all from Leeds, will take on the 10k trek on June 17, hoping to raise cash to improve the lives of people living almost 6,000 miles away.

The walk has been organised during Learning Disability Week and will support the charity Africa’s Gift, which works to improve the lives of people in Lesotho and build relationships between different communities.

The team of adults, who use Leeds City Council’s learning disability service, have already been hard at work in the gym, training to improve their fitness ahead of the walk.

Along with their support workers, they will take the picturesque, circular route from Burnsall to Linton, which will see the group crossing meadows, getting up close with local wildlife and enjoying Linton’s waterfalls.

The walk has been organised by council support workers Cath Marchant and Mark Pollard.

Cath said: “Adults with a learning disability are often the recipients of support or charitable donations from their local community.

“We wanted to try and reverse this, and give some of the people we work with the chance to show their support for another community.”

Funds raised by the group will be used to buy specialist tunnels for villagers to farm and grow vegetables which they can then sell at local markets.

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

“We often hear about the wonderful support that adults with learning disabilities receive from people in their local communities.

“But this is an inspiring example of the contribution a group of big-hearted and determined people with learning disabilities are making to someone else’s community, going the extra mile for a really good cause.”

Learning Disability Week takes place from June 16-20 and is a week of national campaigning aimed at raising awareness of learning disabilities.

To find out about activities in Leeds, www.through-the-maze.org.uk

To sponsor the team, visit www.charitycheckout.co.uk/1149830/farm and write ‘LD sponsored walk’ when donating.


For more details, please contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk