Leeds today: housing, Sue Ryder, dragons and hippos.

As mentioned in BGL yesterday a group of parents, patients and clinicians went to No. 10 Downing St to deposit a 500,000 signature petition against the closure of the Children’s Heart Unit at LGI. The YEP follows up on the story, getting a feel for just how strongly this proposed closure is felt in the community. From the article:

Four-year-year Zoe Arnold from Leeds, who has been treated at the unit, melted the hearts of even the Downing Street police and security staff as she helped hand over the petitions. Dad Jon said: “To be able to hand in a petition with half a million signatures is absolutely staggering. It’s been a really proud day to be representing all the patients and children treated by the unit.”

20 MPs also joined with the campaigners, from all parties. The consultation period ends on July 1st with decisions to be given in November.

The Yorkshire Post has reported that although the scale of the housing regeneration projects in Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck has been reduced slightly, the bulk of the improvements at the heart of the project are still going ahead. Work on the sites should have begun this summer but was put on hold by the Comprehensive Spending Review, and fears were that the regeneration would have to be scrapped. Thankfully work can now go ahead after a Housing Minister has “indicated that he is satisfied that the council’s project represents value for money”. Don’t expect brickies to arrive tomorrow, however – the final business case still needs to be signed off by the Treasury.

The YEP reports that the Tetley’s sell-off is now underway, with the famous “Yorkshire Squares” brewing vessels being put up for sale by Carlsberg.

Leeds charity campaigner Sue Ryder, perhaps best known in Leeds for Wheatfields Hospice, is to be commemorated with a blue plaque on her house on Saturday, reports the BBC. Mrs Ryder was born in Leeds and spent much of her life living and working with and for the sick and disabled, and after serving with the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and SOE in the Second World War she worked as a volunteer amongst displaced and stateless refugees. The Sue Ryder Foundation is now one of the largest providers of palliative care in the UK.

The YEP is inviting ladies to get back into netball, as Leeds gets £30k in funding to promote the sport across the city from England Netball. Emily Hearle, a netball development coach who is running the initiative said:

“A huge emphasis has been put into encouraging women to get back into sport in Leeds. It is an exciting time as we are one of a few sports embarking on the challenge to increase sporting participaion within women. The sessions provide the opportunity to get fit, have fun and make friends within a social environment.”

For more information go to the Back to Netball website.

Emma Culturevulture asks where do we draw the line between sport and culture? BGL recently attended an event where the two were so inextricably linked you couldn’t have one without the other, but sometimes it’s even less clear cut than that. The Cultural Olympiad is trying to answer that question; in Yorkshire the programme is called iMove; sports such as Aqua Kathak, a form of synchronised swimming, is astonishingly beautiful – is it culture? On the other hand, the shenanigans of footballers clearly is not. Have your say – where do you think culture and sport have a boundary condition?

Sticking with sport for the moment, in an attempt to raise funds for Bramley Baths a sponsored swim will be taking place on 20th July:

All the funds raised will go in to a pot to be spent in whatever way is deemed the best to help the Baths in remaining open for many years to come, especially if the CAT process begins, from repairs and improvements to advertising

Once upon a time elephants and hippos roamed across Leeds; Exploring Leeds takes a look at The Tale of the Armley Hippo.

Finally, this weekend will see dragons rowing up and down the Aire. Yes, it’s the Leeds Waterfront Festival, which not only includes the spectacle of Dragon Boat Racing, but also a pop-up arts market at Brewery Wharf and events at Thwaite Mills and Granary Wharf. This is a great excuse to get the camera out. Alas! On the Saturday BGL will be at the Clandestine Cake Club in Harrogate but are sure you’ll have a lovely time without us.

Do you have an event coming up – say, over the weekend – that you’d like us to mention? Please, let us know! Email us at beyondgdnleeds@gmail.com or tweet us on @beyondgdnleeds. Thanks for reading: tomorrow we look at bilberries, nature reserves and community funding.

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