Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Discover more about how the brain works at Leeds City Museum

Caption: The different facets of the human brain will be investigated at an event held at Leeds City Museum.

The fascinating workings of the human brain can be discovered at a ‘Healthy Brains at Leeds: Demystifying Dementia’ event at Leeds City Museum.

Taking place on 6 & 7 September from 11am, visitors will have the chance to speak to experts from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds about their work to tackle the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease. Both adults and children will be able don a lab coat and gloves to try out some of the research techniques used at the University of Leeds.

Dr Dave Lewis, head of the engaging with dementia project said:

"People may not realise how much research into Alzheimer’s Disease takes place at the University of Leeds. This event is an opportunity for the public to discover a bit more about our work and also the challenges that lie ahead.

"There will also be some fun activities to help explain how the brain works and some top tips on how to keep it healthy. On top of this, the Leeds Alzheimer’s Society will be joining us with their wealth of experience and expertise on what it is like living with, or caring for someone with, dementia."

There will also be the opportunity to learn about the changes in the brain as the disease progresses and how to reduce your own chances of developing the illness.

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

"Having more events in the city which help to tackle challenging issues really fits in with our ambition to be an age-friendly city, so it’s fantastic that the museum will be hosting this event.

"Not only will this be a fascinating look at the mechanics of dementia, it will also help to raise awareness of the condition and help more people relate to how profoundly it can affect people’s lives.

"It’s only by demystifying dementia and equipping people of all ages with the information and knowledge they need to understand it that we can truly hope to make Leeds a place where those with dementia and their carers can feel confident, safe and happy."

Also present over the two days will be representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society who will explain what it is like to live or care with someone with dementia, and provide information on how you could make a difference as a ‘Dementia friend’. With a children’s trail also available, and the chance to have your say on the priorities for future research and the impact of dementia for the future, via a ‘Thought Wall’, this event provides an excellent opportunity to discover more about Dementia, which currently effects over 800,000 in the UK.

Jessica Smith, Alzheimer's Society research communications officer said:

"Dementia is finally getting the attention it deserves in the media and by politicians as, with an ageing population, we are going to see more people developing the condition. Alzheimer’s Society is delighted to be funding researchers to share our knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease with the public in Leeds, and talk about ways that we may be able to reduce our risk.

"The Alzheimer’s Society funds research around the UK into the underlying causes of dementia, the search for new treatments, better care for people affected, and ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia."

For updated event information and more about dementia research at the University of Leeds, please see:

Notes to editors:

The “Healthy Brains at Leeds: Demystifying Dementia” event is being run by a team from the University of Leeds, Faculty of Biological Sciences as part of the “Engaging with Dementia” project, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society. Researchers at the University of Leeds work on many different aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease, from trying to unravel what goes wrong during the development of the disease to identifying targets that may lead to treatments in the future. The “Healthy Brains at Leeds” is an opportunity for our researchers to share their insights with the public and discuss the challenges that still lie ahead. There is more information on the project and the team of researcher involved on our project website at: Leeds City Museum – Entrance is free

Admission free
Monday closed (except bank holiday Mondays 11am-5pm),
Tues, Wed and Fri 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-7pm, Sat and Sun
Millennium Square, Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 8BH
Tel: 0113 2243732. Email:

For more information regarding the Alzheimer’s Society, please see:
Discover more about the research of the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds at

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

Learners set to go wild for new community courses

Caption: L-R Chloe O'Reilly, Alan Hewitt, Tom Cheeseman and Edward Hewitt with some of the animals at Morley Exotic Animal Rescue.

A NEW £2m programme of community courses is set to send learners in Leeds animal crackers.

Morley Exotic Animal Rescue, which cares for a huge variety of unusual creatures, is one of 30 new training providers chosen to deliver Leeds City Council’s community learning programme over the next three years.

They will be running courses at their Wakefield Road base, which is home to meerkats, snakes, spiders and racoons, after successfully applying for a share of £2,035,488 from the council.

Founder Alan Hewitt said: “We get all sorts of animals that we rescue- from tarantulas to skunks and giant snakes and these new courses will give people a chance to learn how to care for them.

“This is a real opportunity for people who want to learn how to rehabilitate exotic animals as there are so few places in the region that specialise in them like we do.

“We’re really excited about the new courses and we’ll also be welcoming learners into a brand new facility when the courses start too.”

The courses at Morley are being funded as part of the council’s community learning framework for 2014-17, using money from the Skills Funding Agency.

The programme is designed give adults aged over 19 years the chance pick up new skills that can help them into further education or jobs.

Around 8,000 learners are expected to be supported by the programme this year alone, with courses particularly aimed at people living in disadvantaged areas of the city.

Other learning providers who will be delivering courses include East Street Arts, who help develop local artists through a variety of activities held in professional studios.

Their courses include printmaking, photography, textiles, painting, drawing and collage.

Elaine Barrow, project manager with the East Street Arts community learning programme, said:

“These community learning courses allow us to give local people a place where they can pick up new skills and express themselves.

“They’re a fantastic opportunity to work with expert tutors and explore what creative courses have to offer, giving those who might not otherwise get the chance a way of connecting with the local community and communicating their thoughts and ideas in a safe and supportive environment.

“Securing this funding makes a real difference, helping us to carry on opening up creative opportunities to those living in Leeds and allowing them to find talents they might never have known they had.”

Organisations who applied to the council to be community learning providers were assessed based on their experience, resources and the demand in the area for the types of courses they would be offering.

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

“We’ve chosen a really exciting and varied range of local organisations to deliver our community learning programme and we hope they’ll give people across Leeds the chance to pick up some important new skills and get involved with something they feel passionate about.

“Community learning gives thousands of people the chance to reengage with education and offers them a pathway into more formal courses as well as opening up a whole new world of job opportunities.

“So not only can those taking part learn something new, they could also start on the road to a completely new career and go on to accomplish things they never thought they could do.”

To find out more about the community learning programme, visit, contact the Community Learning Team on 0113 224 3759 or email


For media enquiries, please contact:
Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937