Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Leeds city leader responds to DCLG devolution plans

Following publication of the Department for Communities and Local Government Committee report looking at the case for devolution for local government, Leeds City Council have broadly welcomed the direction of the report.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“The success of the Tour de France this weekend demonstrates what local authorities can do when they have the freedom, resources and support to work together. Having delivered the world’s biggest annual sporting event in the north of England, nobody should be in doubt that we have the talent, skills and confidence to deliver more for our citizens if we are given the freedom and resources to do so.
“The DCLG Committee’s report recognises that the arguments for fiscal devolution and chance for more empowered local governance are not only being made more loudly, but also that those arguments are reasonable.
“In Leeds we have a strong record on economic growth – even during tough times - and bold aspirations in the financial, legal and medtech sectors, as well as a strong digital sector and an array of local expertise in other industrial areas.
"What we really want to see is the support from Whitehall for fair investment in infrastructure which will mean that the North can deliver on our potential. We know that we can work with other local authorities and areas to deliver better results for our citizens, and as we have said for a long time, we want the freedom to build on this.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Philip Morcom
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel: 0113 224 3602

Information ahead of industrial action on July 10, 2014

Information about possible disruption to council-run services is being provided to people in Leeds ahead of a national day of industrial action tomorrow (July 10).

While it is hoped that disruption to essential services will be kept to a minimum, it is anticipated that some Leeds City Council-run services could be closed or severely disrupted.

Continuity plans to try to minimise the impact of the strike on critical services for our most vulnerable residents have been put in place and information will be provided through a regularly-updated page on the Leeds City Council website.

Bulky waste collections scheduled for Thursday will also not operate, and people with a collection arranged are asked to call 0113 222 4406 to book an alternative date.

Regular updates about services affected by the industrial action, including any school closures, can be found at:

Parents are also advised to check with their child’s school in advance to find out if they will be affected.


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

Our Big Gig event set to be held at Leeds Central Library

Caption: Leeds Central Library will be hosting the 'Our Big Gig' event this Sunday.

A celebration of live music is once again set to take over a popular Leeds library this week more famed for its peace and tranquil atmosphere.

In what promises to be an event not to be missed, a range of activities as part of ‘Our Big Gig’, are set to be held at Leeds Central Library on Sunday 13 July 2014 from 1pm -5pm.

On offer will include demonstrations, hands-on workshops from professional musicians, and live bands including Alt-Indie-Punk favourites The Michael Ainsley Band. Multi-instrumentalist Tim Moon will also be on hand to provide tips for novice Ukulele players and demonstrate weird and wonderful musical instruments from around the globe.

Youngsters will also have the chance to sign up for the city’s Summer Reading Challenge at the event which is launched this Saturday, take part in story times and craft events, and also enter the ‘Mythical Maze’.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"We are extremely delighted to welcome back the ‘Our Big Gig’ event to Leeds Central Library, which last year was a tremendous success.

"This is a brilliant opportunity for people of all abilities to learn from the experts, and once again we will be showcasing the talents of a number of really talented local artists.

"It is not every day that we allow music events to take over one of our libraries, but we are more than happy to make an exception for ‘Our Big Gig’ which is a great way for young people to embrace their passion for music.

"We will also be launching our Summer Reading Challenge this weekend, and we hope lots of youngsters take the opportunity to sign up at the central library when visiting the Our Big Gig event."

Notes to editors:

Our Big Gig is an annual event that brings communities together to celebrate their local musical talents and get more people involved in music making.

The summer event will run from 11th to the 13th July 2014

For more information, please see:

Our Big Gig EXTRA

Our Big Gig EXTRA offers longer term community music making opportunities to specific communities.

In 2013, projects ran in Bristol, Leicester, Knowsley, Blackburn with Darwen, Birmingham, Bradford, Luton, Middlesbrough, and the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Westminster.

For information about Our Big Gig in the Library contact:

Leeds Music & Performing Arts Library
Gilly Margrave -

For general enquiries about Our Big Gig and Superact, contact:

Nick Roberts at or 0117 2140366 / 07966224375/wesbite:

For information about the Summer Reading Challenge, please see:

The Summer Reading Challenge is for children aged 4-12 years, this year’s theme is Mythical Maze. Children visit the library three times and borrow and library books/audio on completion of reviews they receive rewards from the library. The challenge is to encourage children to keep reading over the summer,

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

City plan to commemorate centenary of First World War set to be discussed

Caption: First World War medal and prayer book, moving excerpts marked with petals. ©Leeds Museums & Galleries, photography by Sara Porter.

A proposed programme of commemorations in Leeds to mark the centenary of the First World War between 1914 and 1918 are set to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

Included as part of a report tabled to Leeds City Council’s executive board meeting on Wednesday 16 July, councillors will have the opportunity to consider how the council with partners in the city, plans to both remember and provide a lasting legacy from the commemorations for people of all ages and generations.

This work will be undertaken by the council and its partner organisations, which including the University of Leeds and regional and local museums, are set to provide a diverse range of events, activities, exhibitions and education programmes. As part of this project, the council is aiming to encourage residents, schools, the universities, colleges and communities across Leeds to become involved and take part. This will sit beside larger key dates of the conflict that will be recognised in both national and city commemorations. These will include the 4th August 2014 - the start of the war; the first day of the Battle of the Somme - 1st July 2016; and Armistice Day 11th November 2018. Details of how the 4th August is set to be observed in Leeds this year will be provided at a later date.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

"The legacy of the First World War had a profound effect in so many different ways, and it is only right that here in Leeds we pay our own tributes to those people who served their country at home and abroad and made the ultimate sacrifice during the conflict.

"With partners we have put together a programme of activities, events and exhibitions that we hope will offer a compelling insight into the very real impact it had not on just on an international and national level, but also in Leeds and on its people."

By the end of the war, 82,000 men had been recruited from Leeds to fight, with almost 10,000 people killed. It is said that on the first Battle of the Somme in France in 1916 that every street in Leeds had lost one man from the Leeds Pals. Leeds women also played a vitally important part in the war effort, and by the spring of 1915, over 10,000 had joined up to do benevolent work, with thousands also employed at munition factories, including Barnbow in Crossgates. In total, Leeds raised over £4,600,000 towards the contribution to the war, which is equivalent to about £350m at today’s values.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"A key aim of our commemoration programme is to really engage with people of all ages and generations in our communities on the many facets of the First World War both at home and abroad.

"Some aspects of the conflict are more well-known than others, and this is a chance through our work to highlight a range of areas that despite having a lower profile were just as vital. The role of women for example and the thousands who did benevolent work in the city and worked in our munitions factories was extremely important and this is just one of the aspects that we really want to focus on."

Notes to editors:

To read the report set to be discussed at the executive board, please see:

Involved in the council’s individual programme are Leeds Museums and Galleries, who will be leading on exhibitions and events, and the library and information service covering a range of themes. These include hospitals, industries, the armed forces, literature, war and peace, the warfront, the role of women, the home front and how the war affected young people and their families. These teams will be joined in the planning by children’s services, arts development and the art team. The council has also being working closely with the University of Leeds through its Legacies of War programme featuring major research projects, is examining a range of historical, cultural and social legacies.

For more information on the global commemoration of the First World War Centenary, please see the Imperial War Museums website at: or the University of Leeds:

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