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

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.

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

Hunslet Club Fireworks Display Coming Saturday

A busy week at the Hunslet Club for half term with Activity Camp for 5 to 14 year olds and a Halloween Party for Toddlers on Wednesday, then on Saturday it’s our Fireworks Display.

Numbers are strictly limited so arrive early to avoid dissapointment.

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.

South of The River – Fear and Loathing in South Leeds

It’s been a week when I couldn’t escape the realities of how this world is run and the effect it has on communities like South Leeds.

On Saturday I marched through London supporting the TUC’s call for a change in economic policy. I met someone I hadn’t seen for twenty years or so. I mentioned that I still lived in Beeston and his face grew grim “How is Beeston these days?” he asked. I reported that we’d had a good decade (do we call them the “noughties”?), but I was bracing myself for a decline back to the awful eighties and nineties. That was the time when too many people didn’t have enough to do, or enough money to get by.

This led to drug use, house and car crime, increased fear and isolation and degradation of the environment – all the things we gradually improved during the noughties.

On Monday I was at a meeting of the JESS Cluster – fifteen schools in Holbeck, Beeston Hill, Hunslet and Belle Isle. The cluster looks at how children’s services are delivered, both educational services and social services. I heard that 800 children had been referred to Social Care (Social Services, as was) in the last six months. That’s one of the highest figures in the city.

I watched New Tricks that evening. There was the old boy network at work – these people knew each other at public school, Oxbridge, Sandhurst. Now they are running the police and MI5 and making inconvenient people and crime scenes disappear.

I also caught David Attenborough on a programme about Grammar Schools. As a sixth former in Leicester during the war he had helped out in schools in poorer parts of the city. When he got to Oxford, the chap in the room next door had been to Eton. Attenborough said he felt sorry for this old Etonian – he’d had a sheltered upbringing and knew so little of life. Of course what he did know was privilege, he had an expectation to get what he wanted.

The wartime generation was radicalised. They lived much closer to death of course, but there was some very interesting social mixing going on too. Within the forces and also as a result of the evacuation of children from the cities. People found out about and had to face up to the different lives people from different classes lived. That radicalisation – an understanding for the need for social solidarity – brought in the Welfare State. Not just benefits, but the NHS and legal aid and much more.

I’m not a Labour supporter, although I usually end up voting for them as the best on offer. However, there is a clear difference between Cameron’s schooling at Eton and Ed Milliband’s experience at Haverstock comprehensive (or Hilary Benn’s at Holland Park, or mine at Pimlico for that matter). Our current government are just completely out of touch – they have no clue how people in South Leeds live. They don’t understand the implications of their cuts to public services and they don’t appear to care.

We need social solidarity today – making sure everyone in society is looked after – and not just to make South Leeds a better place to live.

There is a fascinating book called The Spirit Level. The authors measured the difference in incomes between rich and poor in countries around the world. Then they compared that to a whole range of things: the murder rate, infant mortality, incidence of mental health problems. Whatever they measured they found the same result – things are better in fairer societies. And not just for the poor, all sections, even the rich, had better lives.

Back to “Fear and Loathing”. The government wants a “small state” without understanding what that means for ordinary people. This week I found out that it means the council can only provide two social work teams instead of three (or four) to meet the needs of the 800 children and their families that have been referred in the last six months.

I fear what will happen in our community in the coming years. I fear for those children, for the under twenty fives who can’t get Housing Benefits, for the job seekers barred from benefits for three years for not taking a sweatshop job, for the disabled people told they are fit for work. The list goes on.

And I loathe this government, because they have such contempt for plebs like you and me.

I apologise if you found this column too political this week. Well, actually I don’t. I’m afraid that’s my view from South of the River. Jeremy Morton will be back next week. You can follow him on Twitter @BeestonJeremy.

Hunslet Photo Nostalgia Part 2

Following on from part one of a nostalgic photo slideshow of hundreds of photos of Hunslet and it’s surrounding area, from a bygone age, last week (viewed over 150 times already), we now present Part 2. See how many places you recognise still standing, or what is long gone that you remember. Feel free to post your memories or knowledge of any of the places shown.

Tune in next week for the 3rd and final part.

Toddlers & Pre-School Kids Fancy Dress Halloween Party At The Hunslet Club

As well as the Halloween Party for all the family at the Hunslet Club this coming Friday 26th October, the club will also be hosting a special party for toddlers and pre-schoolers’ on Wednesday 31st October between 4:00 – 4:45pm. Lots of fun and games, come and join in, newcomers very welcome!

Halloween Party for Tots and Pre-Schoolers

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.

Sessions in Beeston and Belle Isle offer jobs and studying help

Struggling? Need a job? Want to study? Want help? Help is on hand!

Connexions, an organisation which supports young people in the area, is running drop-in sessions at Hamara off Tempest Road, Beeston Hill, and at the South Leeds Youth Hub, off Middleton Road, Belle Isle.

See the poster below for more.

Asha project appeals for new trustees

We’ve received the following appeal for new trustees for the Asha Neighbourhood Project in Stratford Street, Beeston. Asha is a local community organisation established in 1985 to work with South Asian women and children in South Leeds, aiming to increase confidence levels and improve life chances through providing opportunities to access education, health and employment. Helen King writes:

Do you like a challenge, can you problem solve, do you have a pro-active approach, a practical approach, or are your skills more analytical or are you good at generating ideas?  Whichever skill/s you have, we are interested in you and invite you to apply to join the Asha Centre Board of Trustees.

Being a Trustee

Being a trustee can be very rewarding and can provide a great opportunity for personal development. Plus, as a member of Asha’s Management Committee, you would be working with a group of women who come from a variety of different backgrounds.

Trustees are expected to prepare for and attend six meetings per year and to undertake follow up tasks, as required. Trustees are also asked to allow the equivalent of an additional two days a year for business planning and development. We would also like to attract applicants willing to represent Asha at public forums and attend external meetings with the aim of raising awareness about the aims of Asha and to engage with a network of contacts to support the work of the organisation.

Previous experience of being a member of a Board of Trustees is not required; however Asha would welcome enquiries from women who possess skills, knowledge and/or experience in some of the following areas:

  • · Business background
  • · Chairing experience
  • · Customer care
  • · Education/Health
  • · Financial knowledge
  • · Fundraising
  • · Human resources
  • · Legal knowledge
  • · Local knowledge
  • · Project management
  • · Sales/marketing/PR
  • · Statistics/monitoring/evaluation
  • · Strategic planning
  • · Voluntary sector activity

Individuals with experience of working with/living in the local community would also be particularly welcome.

If you are interested or would like more information please contact or  in the first instance, or telephone me (Helen King) on 0113 2704600.