Monday, 23 September 2013

Tag rugby festival touches down in Leeds

From left to right: John Wilson (Moorend Marouders), John Southward and Hollie Wallbank (St John's School for the Deaf), Gabby Logan, Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Keith Senior and Ian Murgatroyd (Moorend Marouders) with Ronnie the Rhino in front

The largest dual code disability rugby event of its kind in the UK is taking place at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Tuesday, 24 September, 10am to 2pm.

The National Disability Tag Rugby Festival is an annual event organised by Leeds City Council in partnership with Leeds Rugby, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Rugby Football League (RFL). Officials from the RFL, RFU, Leeds Rugby and local clubs will referee and coach the teams.

Around 150 people of all ages and abilities representing 12 to 14 teams from across Leeds, Yorkshire and the rest of the country will be attempting to dummy pass their way to victory at the home of rugby in Leeds.

The event is a fun and informal competition aimed at ambulant players with a learning disability and/or moderate physical or sensory impairment. Teams comprise of seven players with up to three substitutes.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for leisure and skills said:"With Rugby League World Cup 2013 coming to Leeds in November, this is a great event to promote the sport and get more people involved in playing rugby no matter what their level of ability is.

"It is also a fantastic opportunity for people with disabilities to play on the main pitch at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, where reigning world champions New Zealand will play Papua New Guinea in six weeks’ time."

The BBC will be filming at the event for their ‘Get Inspired’ series, and will also be using footage featuring Gabby Logan for the launch of this year’s Sports Personality of the Year, which is being held at the First Direct Arena in Leeds this December.

Additional info

Tag Rugby uses a minimal contact version of rugby, excluding scrums, line-outs or tackling. Tackles are made by removing material tag attached to each player’s belt and the game requires a lot of skill.

Rugby League World Cup 2013 kicks off on Saturday October 26, 2013 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, with matches played in England, Wales, Ireland and France. The final on Saturday November 30, 2013 will be played at Old Trafford.

Two high profile games will be played at Headingley Carnegie Stadium; a group match between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea on Friday 8 November, and Quarter Final 3 on Friday 15 November. Tickets are available from the ticket office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and the Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Railway Station, the opening hours of which are Monday 10am - 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm, Sunday 10am - 4pm. For more information please visit the website, email, or telephone 0113 242 5242.

Tickets can also be purchased by visiting or by calling the 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office 07712) 214223

Refurbished Middleton Park given official opening

Caption: Middleton Park visitor centre has been officially opened.

A popular park in south Leeds has been given its official opening this month following a £2.2m refurbishment.

As part of the project funded by Leeds City Council, Wades Charity, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BLF), a new multi-purpose visitor centre forms the centre piece of a range of improvements that have been made to Middleton Park.

Included in the visitor centre is a café which overlooks the lake and public toilets, while adjacent to the attraction sits a new performance space able to host musical and artistic events.

Already the home to a range of community and educational activities, improvements have also been made to the parks entrances, gardens, footpaths and signage as part of the project, which received nearly £1.5m from the HLF and BLF’s Parks for People programme.

On hand to officially open the visitor centre was Leeds City Council leader Councillor Keith Wakefield, who was joined by local councillors and representatives of the HLF and community group the Friends of Middleton Park, who also worked closely on the improvement plan for the park.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

"It was fantastic to see the range of improvements that have been made to Middleton Park, and to be given the honour of opening the tremendous new visitor centre.

"The park has for many years played such an important part in the lives of so many people, and the introduction of the centre along with a new performance space promise to be great additions for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

"This is a great example of what can be achieved when local representatives, groups, organisations and charities in a local community come together to work closely on a project. They deserve great praise for all their efforts.

"A special thank you must also be made to the Friends of Middleton Park and the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund, whose support and funding through their Parks for People grant was absolutely critical to making this ambition at Middleton Park a reality."

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and The Humber said:

"Middleton Park is one of many that has benefitted from the Parks for People grant programme.

"The improvement works will ensure that the people of Leeds can continue to enjoy their much-loved parkland, which is so important to the wellbeing of the community, now and for generations to come."

Notes to editors:

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy.

Big Lottery Fund (BIG)

The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has been distributing grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. Website:

Parks for People Programme

The Parks for People programme uses Lottery funds to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks. The programme aims to improve the local environment and put parks firmly back at the heart of community life.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578


Revellers reminded to be on their guard to get home safely

Everyone visiting Leeds city centre at night are being reminded of a few simple checks to make sure they get home safely.

Leeds City Council is reminding people of the importance of making sure they get into a properly licenced taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle to avoid taking risks with their safety, by starting a safety-awareness campaign to coincide with Freshers week.

Posters and leaflets asking ‘Do you know who is taking you home tonight’ have been produced to make people more aware of the risks of getting into an unlicensed taxi or private hire vehicle. These will be distributed during Freshers Week, as well as being on display in pubs and clubs across the city.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood chair of the licensing committee said:
“With the influx of students returning to the city wanting to take advantage of the great nightlife here, we want to make sure their time in Leeds is as worry-free as possible.

“We are reminding people to keep their wits about them when choosing how to get home after a night out in Leeds as getting into an unlicensed taxi or private hire, is just like letting a complete stranger take you home – there are none of the safeguards that properly licensed drivers must adhere to.

“These guidelines are intended to help people make the right choices to get them home safely. By following a few simple steps you can avoid the potentially devastating result of getting in a car with the wrong person.”

To help revellers stay safe, Leeds City Council is asking them to remember a few simple facts:
• Taxis (officially called Hackney Carriages) can be hailed in the street. Most look like traditional black cabs, and all taxis have an illuminated ‘taxi’ sign on the roof.
• Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed in the street – they must be pre-booked with an operator, otherwise they are not insured and no record of the journey is kept.
• The driver must have an ID badge on display.
• The vehicle must have a Leeds City Council licence plate on the back.
• Cars cruising the street looking for customers are illegal and will be uninsured to take paying passengers.

The council is also offering some tips on staying safe:
• It is good practice to keep with you the number of a trusted licenced company with you.
• If possible book a taxi or private hire in advance and ask for the driver’s name, colour and make of car.
• Confirm the driver’s details when they arrive – is it the car you ordered?
• If you are ordering your car from a public place make sure no one overhears your name and address – anyone could pretend to be your taxi or private hire.
• It is always a good idea to share with a friend and sit in the back of the car.
• Text the licence number of the vehicle (displayed on the door) to someone at home in case you need to remember it after the journey.
• Be careful not to give any personal details to the driver if you chat to them.
• If you feel threatened ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car. If the driver refuses to stop call the police from your mobile and try to alert other drivers and pedestrians by waving and shouting out of the car.

Leeds City Council’s taxi and private hire licensing team are responsible for making sure that drivers, vehicles and operators meet the terms of their licence and that the trade in Leeds is operated in a professional manner. People can report any complaints or concerns about the taxi and private hire trade to the Taxi and Private Hire licensing section on 0113 3781570 or by emailing

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