We’re bowled over in Middleton!

Bowlign tenants Hall

Middleton Community Bowling Club members will be on action indoors over the coming months. Photograph: Andrew Picken

Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre in Middleton holds an indoor bowling session every Friday afternoon from 1pm to 3:30pm which looks like lots of fun! New members are welcome to join in too.

The sessions are run by Middleton Community Bowling Club and are funded through a Community First Grant.

Pop along if you’d like to join in!

New Holbeck skatepark to be opened


holbeck moor skate parkThe Skate Park at Holbeck Moor will be officially opened by Beeston and Holbeck councillor David Congreve on Friday 2nd November.

Local residents are invited to join in with the unveiling from 11am at St Matthews Community Centre.

South Leeds Links: Holbeck meadows, Middleton crossing and crime

Holbeck meadows

Holbeck’s meadows are still blooming lovely, even in late October. Photo courtesy Holbeck in Bloom blog

Morning all! Here’s your weekly round-up of what’s making South Leeds tick on the area’s websites, blogs and on Facebook.

Holvbeck’s meadows are still blooming in October, according to Holbeck in Bloom blog. And the group’s got a meeting coming up soon.

Middleton residents who were told a busy-three way junction was not dangerous enough for a crossing have been given fresh hope a year on, reports the YEP.

And the paper also reports how the boss of a south Leeds kitchen supplier left devastated by fire has vowed to rebuild his business.

The Hunslet Club has all kinds of Hallowe’en events on this week. Check them out.

Two men have been charged and have appeared in court over the alleged stabbing of a taxi driver in Beeston at the weekend.

The success of Holbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team on South Leeds Community Radio has continued as the show reached its 30th episode.

Don’t forget to follow the latest on thre Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan over on their blog.

Over on Facebook…

A timely reminder from, Cottingley TRAC that today it’s the winter wellbeing fair, 11am  til 2.30pm featuring over 55’s drop in for soup, slippers and wii games at Cottingley Community Centre.

New bird boxes will be fitted at Sharp Lane Plantation this weekend. All welcoem to attend.

Pie and pea supper held by the guides at St Cross Church, Middleton, 6.30pm till 8pm wed 7th Nov £3.50 for adults £2 for kids. All welcome.

Friends of Middleton Park seem ‘quietly impressed’ by how the new Lakeside Centre is shaping up.

Come dine with science in South Leeds

South Leeds Community RadioSouth Leeds Community Radio is hosting a ‘Come Dine with Science’ event on December 6, between 6.30pm-8.30pm.

The station would like to invite anyone within the South Leeds community who has an interest in science or biomedical research to attend a free three-course meal with guest speakers.

The speakers will be scientists who will be talking about their particular area of expertise in varied fields.


Hillside in Beeston. Photograph by John Baron

The evening will take place at Hillside, Beeston Road, Leeds LS11 8ND. For more details, or to book your seat please telephone Nicola on: 0113 3876464 or email nicola@southleedscommunityradio.org.uk.

Meet your new community correspondents for South Leeds Life

community reporters

Residents typing out their first posts as part of our community reporters’ training scheme. Photograph: Jeremy Morton

Pictured above are some of the local residents who are about to become community correspondents for South Leeds Life!

This afternoon we’ve been holding the first session of our 10-week community correspondents course at Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre.

Course participants got a preview about what the course will offer, including writing, photographic and video skills, as well as sessions on social media like Twitter and Facebook.

They also discovered our new community correspondents website, which helps people to put together their articles through a handy step-by-step guide.

And with a bit of luck some of them will be using it to file their first posts this afternoon!

South Leeds residents form community network

Members from a number of community groups across South Leeds have met to form a new network.

The meeting, at Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre in Middleton last night, saw local residents agree to form the South Leeds Community Network, which aims to help local groups access information to support their activities, showcase local projects and bring groups together to exchange ideas.

The network is also being established to offer an accessible community resource available to any residents needing help to form a group.

Dennis Kitchen, who lives in West Hunslet and is heavily involved in running groups in Holbeck, chaired the meeting. He said:

“I’m hoping to get people to realise that there is a mutual benefit of different groups working together and sharing knowledge and expertise. South Leeds has such a wide number of local groups and it’s be great to get them working together and bring them into a wider network where everyone supports each other.”

The meeting also discussed the benefits of applying for Community First Funding, which sees small pots of money available for groups to support their activities.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Holbeck in Bloom, Holbeck Elderly Aid, Beeston History group, Voice of Holbeck, D&P United community printers, Morley Rugby, Tingley TARA and more.

Members voted to go ahead with establishing the network. A steering meeting will be held soon to set up a constitution and bank account.

The next meeting of the network will be on January 10 at Tenants Hall, starting at 6.30pm.

What do you love or loathe about your street?

The hunt is on to find the best and worst examples of street maintenance in the UK!

Whether you’re quietly fuming about cracked and broken pavements or if you love the street where you live, this is the opportunity to make your nomination for the Living Streets’ State of Our Streets Awards.

The national charity is inviting the public to upload photographs or videos of the local streets they love or loathe. Their aim is to find the best and the worst examples of street maintenance in the country.  An independent judging panel will announce the ‘winners’ of each category in mid-November and the best overall submission will win a digital camera.

To enter visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/SOSAwards.  Closing  date for nominations is 9 November 2012.

What do you think, south Leeds? Got a street you could nominate?

Beeston: Healthy eating, swimming and walking for women at Asha

Runa Hanifa, a health development worker at Asha Neighbourhood Project, on Stratford Street has sent us the following posters on events at Asha, a local community organisation working with South Asian women and children in South Leeds.

Women-only swimming:

Healthy eating sessions:

Women’s walking group:

New network will support South Leeds community groups

South Leeds residents will tonight come together to form a support network to encourage new and existing community groups to continue and expand.

Meeting: Tenants Hall in Middleton

South Leeds Community Network aims to help community groups access information to support their activities, showcase local projects and bring groups together to share their work and ideas for the benefit of their communities.

The network will help groups to become able to apply for funding that could help finance their activities.

It will offer a community resource that is available to any residents wanting help to form a group or any existing groups that would like to share their experience of running successful projects.

South Leeds Community Network will be run by local people, be supported by local organisations and will be based at Holbeck Community Centre.

Representatives from all local community groups are invited to attend the network launch tonight (Monday, October 29) at Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre, Acre Close, Middleton (6.30pm-8pm).

How to find Tenants Hall

Scarecrow festival with a difference

‘Retired’ minister and festival organiser Jean Mortimer send us details of a recent Scarecrow Bible Festival in Belle Isle …

Scarecrow festival belle IsleAs part of our harvest celebrations we held a Scarecrow Bible Festival at The United Reformed Church in South Leeds (that’s the new building in Nesfield Road).

Adults, children and young people from the church, community, and two local schools made small, life-sized and LARGER THAN LIFE-SIZED scarecrow displays to illustrate familiar Bible stories, and took part in a competition and a quiz.

Zacchaeus climbed up a cherry tree in the garden. The woman who lost one of her coins found it at last, with the help of young visitors, in a cupboard which had been transformed into her dimly lit room. The lost sheep was brought back into the flock. The five thousand were fed in our café, where visitors also received tasty refreshments throughout the day. Sardine sandwiches, however,were not on our menu ! We ‘considered the lilies of the field’ and saw King Solomon ‘in all his glory’.

scarecrow festival 2Joseph showed off his special coat. Noah and his wife herded the animals into the ark, with help from our Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and leaders. Goliath towered over David, and everyone else, carefully supported by their flag stand and made with
imagination and flair by our Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and leaders.

Visitors were invited to place a flower in the Easter garden in memory of lost loved ones.

Three pupils from Sharp Lane Primary School won the prizes in our quiz showing that they knew more about the Bible than most of the adults and church members!

Middleton Primary School sent an army of mini, midi and maxi scarecrows for our competition, and two of their pupils also won prizes, together with some of our
own children and young people.

We all had a great time and it was wonderful to see such artistry, skill and enthusiasm from everyone who took part. Thank you to all who supported us.

Why I’m glad to be back in South Leeds!!

South Leeds Life has received this nostalgic and heartwarming guest post from the Rev Jean Mortimer on her return to South Leeds.

I first came to South Leeds in 1966 when I was ordained and inducted as the minister of Belle Isle Congregational Church, Nesfield Road, and the assistant minister and youth worker at Salem Church, Hunslet (left).

In those days as ‘a dedicated follower of fashion’, I wore mini-skirts and dresses, but when leading worship, these were always covered by my long, black, wide sleeved preaching gown.

One Sunday morning, as I stood outside to greet people at the church doorway, a young lad called out, “ ‘Ere, Miss, lift your arms up.” So, I did – revealing the mini-skirt and the legs !

The sleeves of my gown began to flap in the wind like giant batswings.

Next Sunday there was a message scrawled on the church noticeboard. ‘BATWOMAN PREACHES ERE ‘, and an item in the local press described me as ‘the minister in a mini-skirt’.

Soon afterwards a young man from Beeston (whom I later married) began to come to my evening service each week on his motor bike.

After the service he would whisk me off down Belle Isle Road to Salem Church, where he helped me to run a youth club in the cellar.

So the ‘batwoman’ graffiti was then replaced with ‘TON UP REV. PREACHES ‘ERE’ ! A

fter my marriage I left South Leeds to minister in another lively community – Toxteth, Liverpool, where two lads who later became members of the pop group ‘THE REAL THING’ used to give me all kinds of good humoured hassle in the youth club there.

In my retirement I settled in North Leeds and began to renew my links with my former congregations at Belle Isle and Salem (now known as The United Reformed Church in South Leeds) by leading worship on a regular basis. Two years ago I decided to transfer my church membership back to South Leeds to try to give back, to both church and community, some of the encouragement and support I had received here in my youth.

Some of my friends and neighbours in Roundhay were gobsmacked when I told them.

You would have thought that I was going to travel into dangerous, far off, foreign territory with the need of a passport, visa and all kinds of protection! It takes me 40 minutes on a no 12 bus from Street Lane.

I make the journey several times a week, often returning quite late at night and have never felt unsafe doing this.

On the contrary, on some occasions when the bus has been late, I’ve had some very interesting and friendly chats at the bus stop.

A few weeks ago I met two teenage girls who’d been learning to knit at The Hub Youth Centre. One was lefthanded and having a few problems, so we had a long chat and an impromptu knitting lesson.

Since then they’ve made contact again and took part in our recent Scarecrow Festival, winning first prize for their ‘Good Samaritan’ entry!

I get very annoyed when people who live in North Leeds do and say things to perpetuate the North – South divide. Such barriers must be challenged and broken down.

For all kinds of reasons I AM GLAD TO BE BACK IN SOUTH LEEDS and delighted to see so many signs of growth, renewal, good neighbourliness, community solidarity and care.

All of this is captured so well in the pages of South Leeds Life. I look forward to reading more and perhaps to becoming a regular contributor.

These days I don’t wear mini-skirts. After spinal surgery and two hip replacements, I no longer have the ‘super powers’ of ‘Batwoman’ or the speed of a ‘ton up Rev’, but I am wholeheartedly committed to my involvement in South Leeds and very happy to be back here again.

– the Rev Jean Mortimer

South Leeds Life welcomes guest posts on any South Leeds-related subject from local residents – this is YOUR blog, after all. To contribute – ether in words, photos or video – either email us on southleedslife@gmail.com or go to our new community correspondents site which takes you through each step of writing a post for us. It’s easier than you think!

Beeston taxi assault: Police appeal for information

Police are appealing for information following a serious assault on a taxi driver in Beeston in the early hours of this morning.

West Yorkshire Police logoCity and Holbeck CID would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident which took place at about 3.55 am on Heathcroft Drive in Beeston.

It occurred after a 54-year-old male taxi driver dropped off a woman passenger at an address on Heathcroft Drive.

After pulling over his car he was approached by two men who demanded money before one allegedly assaulted him with a knife.

All three then fled and the victim was taken to Leeds General Infirmary with stab wounds. He remains there in a serious but stable condition this afternoon with injuries which are not believed to be life threatening.

Following enquiries a 20-year-old woman and two men, both aged 19, have been arrested in connection with the incident and all are in police custody.

Anyone who saw the incident or has information is asked to contact City and Holbeck CID on 101 or CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Holbeck starts to map its future

Holbeck residents turned put in force last night to start mapping out a future plan on how Holbeck will be developed.

Holbeck residents went on a walkabout around their community to help for the plan.

The meeting, at Holbeck Working Men’s Club, set up a new neighbourhood forum for the area.

The forum will help steer the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan, which will help decide how the area should be developed in coming years and provide a framework for other issues of community interest and concern. The plan is being put together by Holbeck residents in conjunction with Leeds council.

Holbeck is one of the first inner-city areas in the country to prepare a government-funded neighbourhood plan, and the meeting is the latest in a succession of community events to move the plan forward.

People who attended will contribute their particular skills to help run the forum, which has a budget of £20,000.

Interim chairman Dennis Kitchen said:

“We’re here to try and make Holbeck a better place to live.

“This plan is partly about buildings and how we want Holbeck to be developed in the future. But mainly it’s about people and society and bringing them together.”

The meeting heard last month’s walkabout around Holbeck – which saw local residents look around the community for areas they liked and disliked and identified improtant buildings and open spaces – came back with some interesting results.

Tony Ray, from charity Planning Aid, said good aspects fed back from residents on the walk included:

Good things:

  • The variety of people living in the community
  • The rich historical background and relics of Holbeck
  • Holbeck Moor
  • St Matthew’s Community Centre
  • Wildflower meadows (pictured above)
  • Quality of some of the terraced housing and integration with new housing

Bad things:

  • Disused industrial sites and old mills
  • The Matthew Murray School site
  • Lack of shops and services on Domestic Street
  • Spotted Cow Pub site
  • Flytipping
  • Poor maintenance of the area and some industrial sites
  • Poor integration  with Holbeck Urban Village – developments there have ‘turned their back’ on old Holbeck
  • Poor connections to the city centre

As well as forming the forum, attendees were asked to add their expertise to different task groups and decide on a boundary for the plan which will include both residential and industrial Holbeck.

Beeston and Holbeck councillor David Congreve said that ‘exciting times’ lay ahead for Holbeck and paid tribute to Dennis Kitchen’s chairing of the meeting. Councillors Angela Gabriel and Mohammed Iqbal were also in attendance.

The next meeting of the forum will be on Monday, December 10, in Holbeck Workign Men’s Club at 6.30pm.

Middleton Elderly Aid receives Royal ‘thank you’

Local organisation Middleton Elderly Aid has been awarded a prestigious regional community award.

The organisation, which was set up in 1989 to promote independence amongst the over 60s of Middleton, is the latest recipient of The Duke of York Community Initiative Award.

The Duke of York founded the initiative in 1998, primarily and actively encouraging the development of community spirit, individual leadership and initiatives in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The initiative supports projects through a dedicated award scheme and recognition of excellence. Its principal aim is to foster and increase community spirit throughout Yorkshire and is only awarded to community schemes of outstanding merit which meet the rigorous and robust assessment criteria.

Middleton Elderly Aid Chief Officer Dawn Austwick said:

“Being awarded the Duke of York Community Initiative is a fantastic achievement and a real honour for us and the members who give their time so freely.

“We are very proud of the work we do and this award is a marvellous seal of approval.”

Simon Blagden, Chair of Trustees for The Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award scheme, said:

“On behalf of myself and the assessment panel, I would like to offer our congratulations on what is a great achievement.”

Middleton Elderly Aid received its award from The Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, the Hon Susan Cunliffe-Lister, who also read a personal message from The Duke of York, who was unable to attend the ceremony because of thick fog across the country.

South Leeds Links: Hunslet Club, Belle Isle speeding and drugs talk

Here’s your weekly dose of links to what’s making South Leeds tick on the area’s websites, blogs and on Facebook. By the way, remember us mentioning the start of our community correspondents course next Tuesday? We’re fully booked up and oversubscribed, so thanks for your interest. We’ll be running more courses in the future.

“It’s 4.45pm and the Hunslet Club in south Leeds is so busy that I have to queue for quite some time to get in. Toddlers are racing around, parents drink coffee and kids in, variously, ballet outfits, gym kits and disco gear jostle to get past me.”

– The Guardian pays a visit to the fabulous work that goes on at the Hunslet Club.

PCSOs Johnny Wilson and Dave Lythe attended at the Beeston Guides company to give a talk about drugs. There’s also an update from Proceeds of Crime team on a case in Cottingley.

What’s on at Holbeck Working Men’s Club in October? Check out the Friends of Holbeck Working Men’s Club blog for more.

Speeding vehicles on Sharp House Road, Belle Isle. were discussed at a recent public meeting.

A £50,000 sensory playground aimed at benefiting children at a special school in Belle Isle has been unveiled, reports the YEP.

Check out this short video of a massive hail storm in Beeston last week, courtesy Bob Massive on Youtube.

The table top sale due to be held at Tenants Hall Enterprise Centre in Middleton on Saturday has been cancelled.

Gerald Jennings and James Pitt of the South Leeds Investment Partnership will be speaking at next week’s Beeston Forum meeting. All welcome.

Hallowe’en discos and hair and beauty are the latest offerings at the South Leeds Youth Hub in Belle Isle.

Over on Facebook…

New trees and a litter pick are discussed over at the Friends of Sharp Lane Plantation page.

The Friends of Middleton Park update their page with the latest photos of improvement work on the park.

Cottingley residents are being invited to describe the estate in one word over at Cottingley TRAC.