Thursday, 12 June 2014

Last chance to sign up for Leeds talent competition

Picture caption: The Breeze has Talent auditions at Trinity Leeds in 2013 and Kirsty White who became last year's overall winner.

Talented young people are being urged to enter the popular Breeze has Talent competition by signing up for auditions taking place this weekend.

Leeds City Council is searching for talented youngsters to audition for Breeze has Talent 2014, in partnership with Trinity Leeds. This year the hunt is on for young people aged 8 to 19 who are gifted musicians, singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, jugglers – in fact anything which will entertain the crowds.

Auditions are taking place this Sunday 15 June at Trinity Leeds shopping centre, where an expert panel of judges will select the top acts from the audition day to go forward to compete in the heats during Breeze on Tour 2014. The judges will be scoring all acts for originality, stage presence and technique and the chosen acts from the heats will to go forward to the Breeze has Talent 2014 final later in the year.

People can apply for an audition slot at

This is the seventh annual Breeze Has Talent competition and previous finalists have gone on to perform professionally both locally and across the country. The overall winner of the competition will join the stars on stage at the Leeds Christmas Lights Switch on as well as receiving a prize tailored to help them progress with their performing career.

All those who take part will be offered further performing opportunities through Breeze and the heats of this year’s competition will take place at this summer’s Breeze on Tour events which will take place as follows:
Temple Newsam Park 30 and 31 July
Roundhay Park 6 and 7 August
Kirkstall Abbey 13 and 14 August

Breeze has Talent is open to all young people living within the Leeds Metropolitan boundaries and aged between 8 and 19. This includes any young people who have taken part in previous Breeze has Talent competitions.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive board member responsible for learning said:

“There are so many talented young people in Leeds we don’t want anyone to miss out on this fantastic opportunity.

“The standard of competition has been very high over the past few years and it is always really encouraging to see our young people demonstrating what they can do.

“As a child friendly city we will continue to support and nurture that talent and will be doing all we can to help every young person across the city to fulfil their potential.”

The aim of Breeze has Talent is to offer young performers the chance to develop skills and confidence by taking part in a friendly competition that is fun but also challenging. Although Leeds City Council cannot offer cash prizes it can offer other means of support to help young people develop their performing career. For example the council could help young people buy the things to help them achieve their performing ambitions, like instruments and equipment, access to music and vocal coaches, and help with publicity and websites.

(If an act has some members living outside Leeds, the application would be accepted providing at least half the members are from within the Leeds area.)

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

Hopes for roaring success at Elland Road park-and-ride

Photo caption - (left to right) Councillor James Lewis, Councillor Richard Lewis and Bob Dorr

Motorists are being encouraged to leave their cars behind and help bypass city centre congestion as Leeds opens it first large-scale park-and-ride.

The eagerly awaited 800-space facility on Elland Road is expected to score with commuters when it opens its gates at 7am on Monday 23 June.

It has been fast-tracked so that visitors to the Tour de France Grand Départ will be able to use the facility on race day – Saturday 5 July.

Commuters can stay connected while on the move thanks to a modern low-emission fleet of WiFi enabled buses serving the route.

The fleet will provide a 10-minute shuttle service into the city centre providing a bus every 10 minutes from 7am – 7pm Monday to Saturday, apart from Saturday Match Days when Leeds United are playing at home.

Users can find all the information they need about payments, timetables, match days, special offers and discounts at

Electric car drivers can also make use of five electric-car charging points.

The park-and-ride is a partnership between Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and First Bus.

Leeds City Council executive board member for the economy and development Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“It is so simple to park up and jump on a bus as well as good value. We hope motorists will take this opportunity to leave their cars safely behind and enjoy a stress free journey into the city.

“Elland Road park-and-ride is set to remove hundreds of cars from Leeds city centre. We are committed to reducing congestion and pollution which this project will certainly help. It is just part of our upcoming plans to offer Leeds commuters more efficient and cheaper travel options.”

Journeys will be easily accessible and frequent with two payment options for travel from the Elland Road site. Regular return tickets start from £2.70 with off-peak returns after 1pm, concessions and Saturday journeys costing £2.

Passengers will also be able to use self-service ticketing machines to top up smartcard tickets and take advantage of discounts and special offers. Similar to MCard, the new system will make travelling across the city more cost effective by offering a range of deals.

Bob Dorr, Business Manager for First bus in Leeds, said:

“We look forward to welcoming customers on board who can enjoy free wi-fi and a relaxing journey right into the heart of the city.”

A bus priority lane from Junction 3 of the M621 means buses accessing the site need not queue in traffic.

Councillor James Lewis, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee chair, said:

“Park and ride into Leeds proves attractive to many drivers at many train stations where there is a quick and comfortable service into the city centre so people don't have to spend time driving round looking for a parking space.

“Along with the planned new site in the Aire Valley we want to expand the availability and hopefully encourage more people not to drive into the city. By helping to reduce congestion this facility will benefit businesses and the local economy and it is opening just in time to help out in the build up to and during the Tour de France.”

Another larger 1000-space park-and-ride has been proposed for the Aire Valley Leeds enterprise zone. Located close to the East Leeds Link Road the park-and-ride would be accessed by Bell Wood roundabout. It is hoped it will be ready for operation by late 2015.


Notes to editor:

Bus route and frequency
Buses run every 10 minutes, from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, apart from Saturday Match Days when Leeds United are playing at home.

Towards Leeds
Elland Road Park & Ride - Meadow Road / Sweet Street - Great Wilson Street - Boar Lane

Towards Elland Road
Boar Lane - Great Wilson Street - Elland Road Park & Ride.

Tickets and fares
You get 10% discount when you add five or more tickets to your Park & Ride SmartCard.
Remember to keep hold of your SmartCard so you can top up your journeys at the kiosk on site.
Family-friendly ticketing - up to three children can travel free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult.
Unaccompanied children, up to the age of 16, pay half fare and will need to show a Young Person's PhotoCard.

Available from the Elland Road ticket kiosk:

• Day return: £3 (or save 10% when buying five or more tickets)
• 5 adult day returns: £13.50
• 10 adult day returns: £27
• 20 adult day returns: £54

Available on the bus:

• Day return: £3
• Seven day ticket: £13
• Off-peak day return (after 1pm): £2
• Senior / Disabled day return: £2 after 9.30am or £3 before 9.30am.
• £2 all day Saturday (apart from Match Days).
• You will need to show a Concessionary Pass.


• Well-lit bus shelters with real-time information screens
• 24 hour ticketing machines
• Disabled parking spaces
• Electric vehicle spaces, with free charging points
• Staffed security cabin, 7am-7pm
• Toilets
• Cycle stands

For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel: 0113 247 5472
Mob: 07891274102

Council gives support to World Cup domestic violence campaign

Leeds City Council is supporting a campaign by West Yorkshire Police to tackle and provide support to victims of domestic violence during the football World Cup, following a rise in the number of cases reported before and after games during previous major tournaments.

During the 2010 World Cup there was a 22.5% increase (an additional 179 incidents) reported in Leeds between the dates of England games and the comparable days of the previous month. This was mirrored during the 2012 European Championships as despite an overall reduction in the number of reports compared to 2010, there was still an increase in cases when England played.

A key element of this year’s campaign during the World Cup will focus on raising public awareness of services available to help victims and potential perpetrators, whilst also setting out the ramifications to anyone with a history of domestic violence if they are thinking of again engaging in this type of act. This will be undertaken by partners through the distribution of posters and information leaflets, use of internet sites, media releases, Facebook and Twitter.

With England’s opening group game against Italy kicking-off at 11pm (14 June), 8pm against Uruguay (19 June) and 5pm v Costa Rica (24 June), potential negative consequences of binge drinking before, during and after each match will also be clearly spelt out. Research has shown that alcohol abuse can contribute to increased levels of domestic violence.

This work will sit aside a tough zero tolerance policy by West Yorkshire Police, who will be delivering a range of initiatives through the month-long operation that will include dedicated patrols in and around town centres and extra resources being made available to respond to domestic violence incidents. The police have also given an undertaking to use the full powers at their disposal, including the effective use of new Domestic Violence Protection Orders that allow a court to ban a perpetrator from a residence with immediate effect and prevent them returning for up to 28 days.

In any emergency, please ring West Yorkshire Police on 999, or for further help and advice call 101.

Provided by the Safer Leeds Partnership, there is also a 24 hours a day Leeds Domestic Violence Service (LDVS) phone line that offers confidential support and advice from trained staff for all victims of abuse aged 16 or older. The Leeds Domestic Violence Service can be contacted on: (0113) 2460401.

Councillor Mick Coulson, Leeds City Council’s lead member for community safety said:

"Tackling domestic violence remains a key priority for Safer Leeds, and as part of our work we are supporting this campaign by West Yorkshire Police which is aiming to significantly reduce the number of cases we have seen during previous major international football tournaments.

"This will be done by raising public awareness, and also setting out clearly to a would-be perpetrator or anyone with a history of domestic violence, the tough action that will be taken by the police if they abuse a partner or family member.

"The vast majority of people who drink do not become violent or abusive, but we want to deal with the times when it may be a factor in domestic violence cases. We will also be highlighting once again the range of services available in Leeds to victims, where they can be guaranteed support by fully trained staff that will always listen, never judge and offer the very best practical advice and support."

Geoff Dodd, assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire Police said:

"The simple message will be that if you offend, you will be arrested and prosecuted. We have new powers available such as Domestic Violence Protection Orders and additional resources; we are determined to use them to protect victims, prevent offences and prosecute offenders."

Notes to editors:

Services offered by the Safer Leeds Partnership include the following:

Callers can be guaranteed ringing the 24 hours a day Leeds Domestic Violence Service (LDVS) phone line that they will be listened to and treated with dignity and respect and can be offered access to further services depending on their needs. This could include being provided with a number to call for additional help or being signposted for face to face support. Depending on personal circumstances, a place in a refuge may also be offered but at no time will pressure be put on any caller to leave their partner or home if they are unsure or do not want to.
For further help and advice, there are also the following national numbers to call:

Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247 (for women)
Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327 (for men)
Jewish Women’s Aid 0808 801 0500 (for Jewish women)
Broken Rainbow 0300 999 5428 (LGBT on the keypad – for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people)

A number of drop in-sessions ware held three times a week at venues in the city centre. Funded by the NHS and delivered by Leeds Women Aid, a wide range of advice, support and signposting to specialist services is available. For more details, please ring LDVS: 0113 246 0401 or 07776 228196.

The Safer Leeds Partnership is also responsible for overseeing enquiries which are made as part of new legislation entitled ‘Clare’s Law’, which enables people to ask police if their partner has a history of domestic violence. The partnership uses a multi-agency approach to respond to women and/or their relatives who enquire about the past domestic violence offences if they are concerned the person may cause harm to a partner.

Six Clare’s Law applications have, to date, been discussed since February 2014 by the partnership, and as part of this work, a pro-active approach has been taken to inform partners about previous offences as well as offering support. Details and further information around Clare’s Law can be requested at the following email address: or by telephone: 0113 2414180.

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

Team Sky rising star Ian Boswell races in for Sky Ride Leeds

Caption: Team Sky's Ian Boswell will be attending Sky Ride Leeds this weekend (credit Team Sky if image used)

One of the rising stars of Team Sky Ian Boswell will be joining Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell in attending Sky Ride Leeds this weekend.

The 23-year-old American, who recently helped Sir Bradley Wiggins win the Tour of California, will be lining up with British Cycling star and double world champion Joanna along with thousands of people on The Headrow taking to traffic-free streets in Leeds city centre from 10am-3pm on Sunday for a free family-orientated mass participation bike ride.

Oregon-born Boswell is in his second season with Team Sky riding alongside British Tour de France winners Sir Bradley and Chris Froome after joining in 2012. He marked himself out as a future champion after finishing second in the under-23 category of the 2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege race before also impressing at the Tours of Utah and l’Avenir.

In his first year with Team Sky in 2013 he helped them to victories at Paris-Nice and the Tour of Norway before starting this season strongly in his homeland alongside Sir Bradley.

In attending Sky Ride in Leeds on Sunday, he will get to join thousands of others in experiencing the exact same start point and initial stretch of road to be used for the Tour de France Grand Départ next month.

Team Sky rider Ian Boswell said:

“With only weeks until the Tour de France Grand Départ takes place in Leeds, there’s never been a better time to be inspired to get out on your bike. I am looking forward to attending Sky Ride Leeds and it will be great to see everyone on their bikes cycling in exactly the same spot that will see Team Sky line up for stage one. It’s going to be a great day and I can’t wait to see everyone out there on their bikes.”

Sky Ride Leeds 2014 will take riders on a 6.5-kilometre loop around the city centre with a shorter route available for young children and families, riders with adapted bikes and those new to cycling who are building their confidence levels.

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

“We are really excited to have Ian Boswell from Team Sky coming to join Joanna Rowsell and thousands of people for Sky Ride Leeds.

“The event is shaping up to be another fantastic day so come along and be part of it – you will even be able to say you rode part of the Tour de France route, and on Father’s Day too to make it even more special.”

Among the new elements this year are a special ‘loud zone tunnel’, additional supporting activities at Woodhouse Moor and a sprint zone, enabling riders to race head-to-head and emulate British sprint star Mark Cavendish.

Places at Sky Ride Leeds can be booked by registering at Anyone who signs up will be entitled to a free expert bike check at Halfords.

Sky Ride Leeds is one of 14 big bike events 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.

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 sign up 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,

Leeds pupils’ awarded for literary talent

Pupils who have been taking part in a creative writing competition will be awarded for their poetic and literary efforts at a civic ceremony next week.

Hundreds of children from primary schools across the city submitted entries into the Arooj creative writing competition, with 35 pupils being short listed as potential winners. The winner in each category will be announced next Tuesday 17 June, at a special ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.

The competition which is in its fourth year is organised by Leeds City Council’s Closing the Gap team, is part of a project which aims to increase attainment in pupils of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage and is open to all primary aged pupils in Leeds. The aim of the Arooj project is to work closely with the 12 primary schools with the largest populations of these pupils to help to close the gap in attainment.

Media opportunity
When: Tuesday 17 June at 3pm
Where: Banqueting Suite, Leeds Civic Hall, Portland Crescent, LS1 1UR
The winners of the creative writing competition will be awarded their prizes by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, councillors and senior managers from Leeds children’s services.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor David Congreve will present the awards to winners and highly commended pupils in each category. The winners will receive a book and a special notebook to encourage their writing talents, highly commended entries will all receive a book.

Entertainment will be provided by pupils from Arooj schools and will range from Indian dance to dhol drumming, singing, recorders, rapping and break-dancing! Khadijah Ibrahim, a renowned Leeds author who has worked with the pupils during the year will recite poetry which the audience will be encouraged to participate in. This year the children will also be hosting and running the event themselves.

Councillor Jane Dowson, deputy executive board member responsible for learning said:
“Well done to everyone who entered the competition. A lot of hard work has gone into creating these poems and they are a credit to the pupils, schools and project leaders.”

“We want all children in Leeds to perform to the best of their ability. Projects like this make education fun, interesting and relevant for pupils whose attainment and attendance may be low, and encourages them to look at their own heritage and community as a source of creativity.”

Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage pupils are the largest ethnic minority group in Leeds comprising 6% of the total school population. Attainment levels for these pupils is below their peers both in Leeds and nationally, however the gap in attainment has narrowed in recent years due to the hard work of the schools involved in the Arooj collaborative.

The Closing the Gap team have developed a creative curriculum project with a focus on Muslim heritage, which has had a dramatic impact in terms of engagement and motivation of pupils and parents as well as increasing attainment and attendance.

The team has also been developing school to school support between the 12 schools involved in the project so that they can benefit from each other’s expertise.

The categories for the Arooj creative writing competition are:
KS1 (5-7 year olds) Short Story, Poetry, Calligraphy
Lower KS2: (8 – 9 year olds) Short Story, Poetry, Calligraphy
Upper KS2: (10-11year olds) Short Story, Poetry, Calligraphy

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

New charter tackling hate crime launched in Leeds

Caption: (Front) - West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, Leeds City Council’s lead member for community safety Cllr Mick Coulson, Brooke Taylor and Leeds City Council deputy leader Cllr Peter Gruen.
Back: (right) - Chief Superintendent of West Yorkshire Police, Paul Money.

Work to tackle hate crime in communities across the city has been further underpinned this week by the signing of a new 'Leeds Challenges Hate' charter.

Devised and supported by the Safer Leeds Community Safety Partnership, the aim of the charter forms part of a revised hate crime strategy document that sets out the city’s approach to tackling the problem head-on. Three key objectives form part of the strategy. These include;

• Increase awareness and understanding of what constitutes a hate crime through training and publicity

•Increase reporting of hate incidents by building victims confidence

• Decreased number of repeat victims

Councillor Peter Gruen, deputy leader of Leeds City Council said:

"The Safer Leeds Partnership is working extremely hard to tackle, reduce and encourage the reporting of hate incidents and crimes across the city.

"Work already undertaken over the last 12 months has already seen reports of hate incidents increase from 1540 in 2012/13 to 1603 in 2013/14 whilst hate crimes have fallen over the same period from 747 to 735. This positive move shows that people are more confident about reporting hate incidents and knowing that the case will be pursued.

"The revised hate crime strategy aims to continue this trend of increased confidence to report matched by a reduction in incidents deemed to be serious or criminal over the coming years.

"I have every confidence that Councillor Mark Dobson, by joining the Safer Leeds Partnership, will be able to continue this record of success."

Councillor Mick Coulson, Leeds City Council’s lead member for community safety said:

"Hate crime is something that nobody should have to put up with or tolerate, and as part of the ‘Leeds Challenges Hate’ charter that I signed this week, we are making a commitment and sending out a strong message that it will not be tolerated in any form."

Present at the signing of the charter which formed part of a special event held at Leeds Civic Hall this week focusing specifically on hate crime, included Leeds City Council deputy leader Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Cleaner, Stronger and Safer Communities Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s lead member for community safety Councillor Mick Coulson, Chief Superintendent of West Yorkshire Police Paul Money and West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

Following the civic hall event, which featured a speech by Rose Simkins of Stop Hate UK and a young person’s perspective of hate crime by Brooke Taylor of Westerton Primary School, participants then attended the opening of a new hate incident reporting centre at Compton One Stop Joint Centre in Harehills.

Providing somewhere where people can find out a range of information and receive advice by trained staff, the new reporting centre form part of a commitment by partners to provide somewhere in communities across the city that will make the reporting of hate crime both easier and quicker.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"Responses to my ‘Listening to you First’ survey in 2012/13 showed that those who felt threatened or had been attacked were more likely to be female, disabled, gay/ lesbian, Muslim or from an ethnic minority background.

"This is why ‘Tackling Hate Crime’ remains one of the key priorities in my refreshed Police and Crime Plan and I have made some personal commitments on this issue.

"I am really pleased to see partners working together taking some very positive steps forward with the hate crime agenda as hate crime has a significant impact on feelings of safety – and on people’s lives.

"A joint response, with a strong partnership framework will help us to ensure we have the best overall chance of educating communities – sharing a zero tolerance message and supporting communities when hate crime or incidents occur to ensure communities are safer and feel safer."

For a copy of the revised hate crime strategy, please visit

To report a hate crime incident visit or call: 101; 999 in an emergency; Stop Hate UK 24 hours 08001381625 or visit any council OSC/ Housing Leeds office. Full list of reporting centres available on website.

Notes to editors:

Following the council’s annual meeting on Monday 10 June, Councillor Mark Dobson will assume the role of Leeds City Council’s executive member for Safer Leeds.

Hate crime is an incident which is motivated by hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, disability, sexual identity or gender.

Hate Incident Reporting Centres in Leeds are locations where victims of a hate incident may choose to report an incident and have control over the nature of the report, the type of investigation and support they need. A list of the Hate Reporting Centres in Leeds can be found at the following:

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