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One minute silence for Paris terror victims

Leeds City Council will observe a one minute silence in respect of the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris and other recent atrocities, at 11am today.

In line with Government buildings, council flags will be flown at half-mast for the day.

“We will hold a ceremony at Victoria Gardens to allow people to express both their sorrow and solidarity.

"We are working with others to make sure appropriate support is available to those who may need it and make clear our commitment to standing up to terrorism and violence.”

– Cllr Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader


Hobby groups for the elderly

Robin Silverwood & Eric Dalton Credit: Leeds City Council

Older people in Leeds are sticking with some exciting new hobbies after getting connected with their local community.

A number of the city’s Neighbourhood Networks, funded by Leeds City Council, have engaged community connectors from their local areas, who are helping people to pass on their skills and knowledge to older residents through a new pilot project.

Among those who have got involved through the scheme is 66-year-old Robin Silverwood, who is teaching members of Middleton Elderly Aid, along with other people from the area, how to carve their own walking sticks from pieces of wood found in their local park.

Robin began carving walking sticks around 30 years ago from wood he found while he worked in Middleton Park for Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service.

He has since taught a number of other local men how to craft their own sticks and even sources pieces of antler, shed by deer in Scotland, to carefully fashion the handles.

He said: “I used to find all these bits of wood in the park and I started carving them just as a hobby. I was asked if I’d come along and show other people how to do it and now there’s quite a few of us who work on walking sticks every week.

“Sometimes people come in and want to buy one too, which helps us to get more materials to keep the project going.

“People have been carving their own walking sticks for hundreds of years but a lot of people living in a city would never get the chance to do something rural like this.

“It’s great that older people are coming along and learning something new and we have the time of our lives here.”

Former motor mechanic Eric Dalton, 85, is one of those who has been taught how to carve his own walking sticks.

He said: “Robin asked if I’d like to come along and now I really enjoy it. It’s really friendly and we get to meet lots of different people. I’ve got two of my own walking sticks at home now too.”

Other activities set up through the community connectors include a group making their own terrariums (small scale ecosystems grown in glass containers) a baking group and a knitting group.

The knitting group is currently working to create dozens of tiny blankets which they will then donate to the premature baby unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Jackie Somerside, 60, who helps run the knitting group, said: “I’ve been knitting since I was a teenager and people have just been coming along and picking it up. Everyone is friendly and I think the community connectors are a brilliant project.”

Parking price promise to boost market trade

Customers of Kirkgate Market in Leeds will be able to reduce their car park charges from July 3.

Kirkgate Market

People who spend £5 or more will be able to claim £2 back off a stay of up to two hours at the NCP car park on New York Street.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for transport and economy, said:“In addition to the work we’ve done to encourage people to use the nearby alternatives and other travel options, we’ve put in place these offers to support traders and help shoppers.

“As well as many loyal customers, people will be supporting the market even if they visit a couple of times a week to buy their lunch or spend a fiver."

Touch of Rio to light up Leeds' Millennium Square

England fans in Millennium Square Credit: Leeds City Council

The sights and sounds of host country Brazil will bring a carnival atmosphere to a popular Leeds city square this week as England continue their bid for World Cup glory.

With Roy Hodgson’s men’s next two group games set to be screened live on the big screen in Millennium Square, fans will treated before each match to entertainment provided by DJ Lubi and Brazilian dancers. Keeping with the theme, there will also be a Brazilian BBQ catering option available.

A specially created outdoor viewing arena will once again be available for supporters to watch England’s final two group games on Thursday 19 June (8pm KO) against Uruguay and Tuesday 24 June (5pm KO) against Costa Rica.

If England progress from the group stage, the round 16 knock-out game will also be shown on Millennium Square on either Saturday 28 or Sunday 29 June.

Fans are asked to note that due to the arrival of the Tour de France, all World Cup quarter final matches taking place on Friday 4 to Sun 6 July will not be screened on Millennium Square.

Gates for Thursdays now crucial game against Uruguay will be open from 4.45pm showing coverage of the earlier game (Columbia v Ivory Coast) followed by the Brazilian themed entertainment in the lead up to the big kick-off for the England game at 8pm.

For all games, fans are advised to arrive early to secure their places as admission is on a first-come first-served basis until the capacity is reached. No tickets will be issued or required and the outdoor arena will also feature a fully-licensed bar, food concessions and toilet facilities.

Leeds City Council 'takeover' underway

The councillors of Leeds City Council have been replaced for the day by people with learning disabilities.

Takeover of Leeds City Council chamber

The event kicks off Learning Disability Week in the city as speeches are delivered in the chamber by people involved in the scheme.

They will speak about issues most important to them, such as employment, feeling safe and having good friends and social networks.

Takeover of Leeds City Council chamber

After the speeches the audience, made up of more than 100 people with learning disabilities as well as Hilary Benn, MP, Tom Riordan, Leeds City Council Chief Executive, Mark Burns Williamson, the West Yorkshire Crime and Police Commissioner.

Takeover of Leeds City Council chamber


New war memorial moves step closer

A proposed design of a new war memorial in Bramley Park. Credit: Leeds City Council

Plans for a new war memorial and peace garden in a west Leeds community have moved a step closer.

Currently Bramley does not have a war memorial, but working closely with partners including local sponsors and the Friends of Bramley War Memorial, the city council's inner west area committee have now agreed to provide £10,000 towards the project.

As part of their research, the Friends of Bramley War Memorial have identified 270 individuals from the areas of Bramley, Rodley and Stanningley who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for their country, and their names will be inscribed on the new tribute.

Set to be unveiled at Bramley Park later this year, a peace garden will also be opened, which will provide people with the opportunity to quietly reflect and remember those people who served.

Anyone wishing to nominate a family member or friend to be included on the war memorial who lost their life in combat or as a result of their injuries whilst in combat, are asked to contact the Friends of Bramley War Memorial

200 jobs to go and rise in council tax in £50m Leeds' budget cuts

Leeds Civic Hall Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Leeds City Council is set to raise council tax, after a three year freeze, by 1.99% as part of a raft of measures to cut £50m from its budget.

Other measures include increasing council house rents by 5.9% and the loss of up to 200 jobs over the next 12 months.

The job cuts are on top of over 1,800 that have gone in the past three years, including 25% of senior manager posts.

The council tax rise would represent an increase of 43p a week for a Band D household.

Councillors set to approve Elland Road park and ride scheme

Artist's impression of proposed Elland Road park and ride scheme Credit: Leeds City Council

Final approval for the creation of the city’s first major bus-based park and ride scheme will be considered by senior councillors in Leeds next week.

At its meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 6 November, the council’s executive board will be asked to give the go-ahead to the £2.8million project to create a new park and ride scheme to be run from the council-owned car parks to the west of Elland Road Stadium.

The plan and designs have been drawn up by Leeds City Council and Metro, with the scheme seeing the introduction of an express bus service running every 15 minutes to and from Boar Lane in Leeds city centre.

The service would run from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, excluding Saturday matchdays when Leeds United are playing at home. Running initially for a five-year period, the service would provide parking space for up to 800 vehicles.

Work on site would see a formal parking area being put in place along with bus waiting facilities, a shelter, lighting, signage, ticketing machines, fences, CCTV and landscaping .

Planning permission was granted last week, so should executive board approve the plans work would be expected to start on site in February 2014 with the service scheduled to start operating three months later in May.

£16m Woodhouse Tunnel project to start next month

Essential strengthening work on Woodhouse Tunnel in Leeds is set to begin next month after funding approval was confirmed today.

The work can now go ahead after the Department of Transport formally approved funding of £16.34million for the project, which is part of a wider £24.96m maintenance scheme of improvements to the Leeds Inner Ring Road (A58M).

The project is expected to last approximately two years, with the majority of the works being carried out at night from 7pm-6am Sunday to Thursday during which times the tunnel will be fully closed.

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