Thursday, 11 September 2014

New rowing courses set to make a splash at Leeds activity centre

Caption: L-R Dean Scott and Jackie Friend, coaches at the Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre.

New courses at a Leeds activity centre will give adventurous people a chance to stick their oar in and learn how to row.

The Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre (LSAC) in Yeadon will be offering rowing courses for the first time, starting with an open day this weekend.

Following that, the centre will be running taster sessions and courses on Fridays and Saturdays for the rest of this month.

The courses, which will follow British Rowing’s Learn to Row programme, are designed to teach anyone over the age of 11 how to follow in the footsteps of Mathew Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave.

The centre, based at Yeadon Tarn, has taken delivery of eight single row boats and all instructors on the courses will be British Rowing certified.

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

“These new rowing courses will give people with a sense of adventure a new, fun way to enjoy the stunning surroundings of Yeadon Tarn while staying fit and active.

“We’re incredibly lucky in Leeds that we have a resource like the Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre, where people can try out so many brilliant, outdoor sports and courses in what is a beautiful and unique setting.”

Rowing is the latest activity to be offered at LSAC, which also runs canoeing, sailing, kayaking, climbing, raft building and off-road biking sessions.

And in December, the centre unveiled a new indoor artificial caving system- the only one of its kind in the country.

Split over two levels, the indoor attraction allows people with and without disabilities to try their hand at caving in a safe environment.

The rowing open day will take place on Saturday September 13 and is open to families and individuals aged 11 and over.

One hour Taster sessions will be available from 9-12 costing £5 for adults and £3 for juniors. All sessions must be pre-booked.

Adult Learn to Row Course will take place September 12, 19 and 26 from 5.30pm-7.30pm and cost £70.

Junior Learn to Row Courses will take place Saturday, September 20, 27, and October 4 from 9.30-11.30 and also on September 29 and 30, 9.30am-12.30pm. Junior courses cost £45.

All courses must be pre-booked.

For more details, visit or telephone 0113 378 1271.


For media enquiries, please contact:

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

Leeds libraries add their support to 'Just Read' campaign

Sent on behalf of The Reading Agency

Leeds Library and Information Service has announced its support of Good Morning Britain’s ‘Just Read’ campaign, to encourage parents and carers to spend ten minutes reading with their children every day. The campaign will see Beeston library giving away 50 copies of bestselling book Diary of a Wimpy Kid to local children on Saturday 13th September.

Beeston library is one of 200 libraries across the UK taking part in the ‘Just Read’ giveaway which is supported by national charity The Reading Agency and children’s publisher Puffin.

The giveaway will highlight how vital libraries are for the nation’s literacy and that books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid can really help children on their reading journey. As well as the giveaway, children who visit the library between 12.30 – 2pm on 13th September will be able to enjoy special Diary of a Wimpy Kid themed activities. ‘Just Read’ looks to highlight how parents and carers can promote the simple but invaluable activity of reading to youngsters.

This exciting campaign follows a wonderful summer of reading at Leeds Libraries as thousands of children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge. This unique partnership between The Reading Agency and public libraries across the UK, saw MPs, libraries, schools and a host of well-known children’s authors including Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo, encourage children aged 4-11 to join the library and read for pleasure during the summer holidays. As The Reading Agency says: everything changes when we read.

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

"Leeds libraries undertake a range of events throughout the year to encourage and promote reading for young people, and we are delighted to provide our support to the ‘Just Read’ campaign.

"As part of the initiative, we will be providing a number of fun activities for both parents and youngsters to enjoy at Beeston Library on Saturday and giving away free copies of the popular children’s book ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’."

Notes to editors:

Beeston Library:
Address: Town Street
Leeds LS11 8PN
Tel: 0113 378 1849

JUST READ, Good Morning Britain, ITV, Monday 8th - Friday 12th September, 6-8.30am.

The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. It runs big programmes and partnerships across the whole library network. It is funded by the Arts Council. Visit for more information.

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

First phase of a major flood defence project completed

Caption: The Locks at Woodlesford

The first part of a major £50m flood defence project to help protect the city has been completed.

Phase one of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme has been designed to protect homes and businesses between Leeds Rail Station and downstream to Woodlesford from flooding from the River Aire and Hol Beck.

The first part of this phase is now complete and flood defences are in place at Woodlesford providing residents with protection against a 1 in 200 year flood event from the River Aire.

The works at Woodlesford were completed on time and within the £2million budget. This includes the construction of an embankment, flood walls and storage pond. The Woodlesford defences have in part, been constructed in response to a planning condition placed on the scheme ensuring flood risk is not increased downstream of the city centre.

Phase one continues with the main construction work in the city centre and Holbeck which is due to start later this year and be completed by the end of 2016. This scheme will see the replacement of the existing fixed weirs at Crown Point and Knostrop with moveable weirs that can be lowered in flood conditions to reduce river levels and the threat of river flooding.

The moveable weirs are to be the first installed in the UK although they are tried and tested in other countries.

An island at Knostrop Cut which separates the river from the canal will also be removed to allow the river and canal to merge. This will create additional flood storage to assist the flow of water to lower water levels in flood conditions. Low level flood defences in the city centre will also be constructed.

Once completed the scheme will provide the city centre and over 3,000 homes and 500 businesses, with protection against a one in 75 year flood event from the River Aire and Hol Beck.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme is being funded by Leeds City Council, the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (Defra), the Environment Agency and the Department for Business Industry and Skills (BIS).

The project is being delivered by Leeds City Council working closely with the Environment Agency and other partners. The construction of the scheme at Woodlesford was carried out by BAM Nuttall.

Leeds City Council executive member for transport and the economy Councillor Richard Lewis said:“This flood alleviation scheme is a high priority for the city and I’m pleased to see that the defence works in Woodlesford are in place on time and within budget, paving the way for major works starting in the city centre.

“Our aim is to provide the residents and businesses in the area with a level of protection and reassurance they have never had before.”

Note to editors:
Phase one of the Flood Alleviation Scheme comprises of the defence works at Woodlesford and in the city centre. The aspiration for the scheme is to also include phase two, which extends the 1 in 75 scheme upstream towards Kirkstall, and phase three would see the level of protection of the whole scheme raised to a one in 200 year standard of protection. The construction of the additional phases is subject to further funding being secured.


For media enquiries please contact:
Laura Ferris
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Leeds next generation of politicians make their mark in nationwide ballot

Picture caption: "The Leeds members of the UK Youth Parliament and deputies."

The young people who represent Leeds in the UK Youth Parliament are currently taking part in the annual Make Your Mark ballot, the largest consultation of young people in the country.

Leeds UK Youth Parliament members Minhaz Abedin, Shamim Miah and Nicole Sabau are taking part in the ballot which runs until 10th October, in which young people across the country are being asked what issues matter most to them. The results of the ballot will determine what is debated by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) in their annual House of Commons sitting on 14 November.

Voting takes places both online and through ballot papers issues in schools and youth centres and any young person in the city aged 11-18 is encouraged to cast their vote and have their say.

Ten topics will be available to choose from on the Make Your Mark ballot paper, with the five topics with the most votes going on to be discussed by MYP’s in their November debate, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP and broadcast live on BBC Parliament.

Some of the topics that young people are being asked to choose from this year include;

• Giving young people a greater voice in their communities
• A minimum living wage of £7.65/hour for everyone
• Bringing back exam re-sits in Maths and English
• Better work experience opportunities
• Young people being directly involved in making laws

Last year, over 478,000 young people took part in the ballot, making it the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK. This year, Members of Youth Parliament have set themselves a target of getting 1,000,000 young people to take part across the UK.

11-18 year olds in Leeds have until Friday 10th October to log on and cast their vote by visiting:

Councillor Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said:
“Empowering children and young people to have their say about issues that affect them is one of our child friendly Leeds ambitions. We are fortunate to have three passionate members of youth parliament here in Leeds and I would like to encourage all young people in the city to follow their example and exercise their right to have a say and to take part in this year’s Make Your Mark youth ballot”


Notes to Editors

1. For interviews, photographs or comment please contact Thomas Hannan, Communications Officer at the British Youth Council, on or phone 0207 250 8376
2. The UK Youth Parliament gives young people a voice on issues that matter to them.
3. The UK Youth Parliament is an initiative run by charity The British Youth Council
4. Over 600 young representatives are Members of the UK Youth Parliament. They work to ensure that the voices of young people are heard at a national, regional and local level.
5. For further details on the UK Youth Parliament please refer to

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

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to take centre stage at Carriageworks Theatre this Christmas

Caption: The cast of this year’s Leeds Carriageworks Christmas pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. (L-R-) Adam Daye (Dame Dolly Dumpling), Jonathan Ansell (Prince Charming), Lisa Kelsey (Snow White), Jez Edwards (Muddles) and Brigid Lowry (Wicked Queen).

A magical pantomime production of a classic fairy tale is all set to light up Leeds Carriageworks Theatre this Christmas.

In what promises to be an event not to be missed, the cast of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' gathered at the popular theatre to try on their outfits for the first time and speak about their excitement of performing in the city and in front of the traditionally boisterous Leeds crowd.

Starring in this year’s show, which will run from Friday 5 December 2014 - Saturday 10 January 2015, includes English tenor Jonathan Ansell, who shot to fame as a member of pop-opera boy band G4 in the first series of the popular TV show 'X Factor' and firm favourite Jez Edwards.

Also featuring in the line-up, which has been hand-picked by producer Paul Holman Associates, are Lisa Kelsey, Brigid Lowry and Adam Daye.

Assuming the role of 'Prince Charming' is Jonathan, who revealed that he cannot wait to perform in the city where he now lives. He said: "Leeds has all the elements of a great city and the people are really friendly. I feel like an honorary Yorkshireman having lived in Leeds for a while now, and I am really looking forward to performing at the Carriageworks which is a really wonderful location."

Taking to the stage as ‘Muddles’ once again this year is Jez, who will be making a record-breaking sixth consecutive appearance in the Carriageworks Theatre pantomime.

"If you come to the Carriageworks to watch our show you can be guaranteed of what I would call a traditional action-packed family-fun pantomime,” said Jez.

"I grew up with pantomime, and it is really lovely to be on the stage and see the kids dressed up as their favourite fairy tale characters and having such a great time in the crowd."

Playing ‘Snow White’ is Lisa, who cannot wait to perform again in front of the Carriageworks crowd, having appeared as the Evil Fairy Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty last year.

"The atmosphere from the crowd was brilliant at the Carriageworks last year, and it is a really nice feeling to be back at the theatre again."

Lisa, who is classically trained, is also looking forward to singing with Jonathan. "It is really nice to be given the opportunity to perform some duets with Jonathan, and given that we both have a background in classical don’t be surprised to hear a big song or two this year!"

Guaranteed a hot reception from the audience every year is the pantomime baddie, and Brigid, who is playing the 'Wicked Queen', has admitted that she loves to hear the boos!

"I prefer to play the wicked characters because it is great fun seeing and hearing the crowd’s reaction when you are being nasty and telling them to be quiet," she laughed.

"Pantomimes are so much fun, and have a bit of everything really - magic, fairies, scary moments and lots of silliness and fun," Brigid added.

Stepping out this year as the pantomime dame 'Dame Dolly Dumpling' is Adam, who revealed that during each show he will be wearing possibly 10 different outfits!

"I have played a pantomime dame around 30 times, and it never fails to be really great fun to play such a ludicrous character! A pantomime is, for many people, the first time that they go the theatre, and it is a really magical experience."

Included as part of the 63 show programme, is also a relaxed performance catering for children with additional needs including autism and a British Sign Language performance.

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

"The Leeds Carriageworks Theatre Christmas pantomime is always a great night out for all the family, and we are really looking forward to the opening night of this year’s production, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

"Once again we have put together a fantastic line-up which will guarantee lots of fun and crowd participation, and as part of the run we are also offering a relaxed performance and British Sign Language performance.

"Tickets for the pantomime are already selling well, and we would ask people to book their seats as soon as possible to avoid disappointment."

Tickets are now available for ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ which runs from Friday 5 December 2014 to Saturday 10 January 2015 at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds. Book online at or call the box office on 0113 224 3801.

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

Cyclist Beryl Burton OBE given posthumous top civic honour

Caption: (L-R) - Cllr Neil Buckley, Cllr Judith Elliott, Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Cllr Keith Wakefield (leader of Leeds City Council), the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr David Congreve, Cllr Stewart Golton and Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan, with Beryl’s daughter Denise and Beryl's husband Charles.

It was a memorable occasion at Leeds Civic Hall this week, as famous Leeds cyclist Beryl Burton was granted posthumously the city’s highest honour.

Beryl’s name was added to an illustrious list of people that now feature on the ‘Freedom of the City’ board following a special meeting of council at the civic hall. Those who have previously been granted the award, include Jane Tomlinson CBE, playwright Alan Bennett, former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and former British Prime Ministers, Clement Attlee and Sir Winston Churchill.

Present at the ceremony were members of Beryl’s family including her husband Charles and daughter Denise.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

"Beryl Burton OBE is quite simply the greatest British cyclist of all time, and it was only right that as a city we formally recognised her amazing achievements in the sport by the award of our highest civic honour.

"If Beryl was competing today she would be a true global sporting superstar, and through this Freedom of the City award, we are helping to ensure that her vast accomplishments and legacy will not be forgotten and can be used as an inspiration for future cyclists.

"To see so many of Beryl’s family also present at the ceremony was really humbling, and I hope that by bestowing this honour we were able to give them a sense of how proud the city is of her."

Beryl, who died aged 58 in 1996 having lived throughout her life in Morley, enjoyed a stellar career and left a record that is undoubtedly one of the greatest that the sport of cycling has ever seen. These include being crowned five-times world champion over 3,000 metres, 13 time national champion and in a truly incredible feat, British best all-rounder champion for 25 successive years.

In what is Beryl’s arguably great accomplishment, the former Morley Cycling Club and Knaresborough CC rider also held the men’s world 12-hour time trial record for two years in the 1960s. In 1967, this included pedalling 277.25 miles in 12 hours, and it was only in 1969 that a man was able to beat this record. To this day, no other woman has been able to beat the time set by her.

This civic recognition will help ensure that Beryl’s achievements, which did not always receive the plaudits that they truly deserved during her lifetime, are not forgotten, and also act as a real inspiration to future cyclists.

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