Leeds today: BGL gets cross, libraries, festivals and green streets.

Friday! Today BGL gets quite cross, and then calms down again by the end. But this first story has made me furious.

The commons debate on children’s heart care in the UK was carried out yesterday, reports the YEP. It has become apparent to BGL that closing any site will be seen as a disaster but with four options being presented in the initial review and Leeds only appearing in one of those four (as opposed to Newcastle, which appears in three) and a campaign in Cumbria and Northumberland urging people to “strongly oppose” the only option Leeds appears in, it seems that the issue is already politicised to a terrible degree. Comments from MPs who seem to feel that this is a zero sum game do not help the issue and arguably cloud and mislead decision-makers. This is dirty politics and I hope those who fight to close other units (as opposed to fighting to keep their units open) have sleepless nights and a lifetime of guilt-ridden angst. BGL would like to remain as neutral as possible, but in the face of unacceptable behaviour that’s not going to happen.

The Government has been urged to consider what happens to the assets held by Yorkshire Forward, the development agency that is being shut down after the comprehensive spending review, reports the Yorkshire Post. These assets include Tower Works in Leeds and the Bradford Odeon, amongst others, and ownership of these sites could pass into the hands of a quango as the Government will not transfer ownership to local councils at anything less than market rate. MPs have asked for the plans to be made clear; we can only hope that they become clear before YF closes.

A small pot of funding is available for local voluntary and community groups engaged in environmentally friendly projects. Groups can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 for projects that will help reduce Leeds’ carbon emissions, and grants will be awarded to groups who can demonstrate that their project is a viable yet innovative idea to assist their local community.

Leeds University students have been running a charity “give away” of unwanted items left by students as they depart for the summer, reports the YEP. The “Green Streets” projects, part of Leave Leeds Tidy, has been taking in and sorting everything from duvets to shoes, with books, crockery and odd bits and pieces that nobody knows the purpose of, to be given away in exchange for as small or large a cash donation as you feel appropriate. Rose Hampton, one of the organisers at LU said:

“The point of it is to divert all useful items that are not needed away from landfill. A lot of stuff left out on the streets can often go to local charities like St Gemma’s Hospice and hostels like St George’s Crypt.”

The “shop” is on at the Riley Smith hall in LUU until Saturday.

The Guardian Northerner goes looking for bilberries, albeit the ones in jars. Bilberries are not blueberries, and they do grow quite well in certain areas of Yorkshire but their locations are top secret and, like good patches of wild mushrooms, jealously guarded. Thankfully, Martin was only after the jars of bilberries in syrup – still a rare beast, but perhaps not quite as difficult to find.

Would you like an old master hanging above your fireplace? Leeds Art Gallery runs a scheme whereby you can hire works of art for £4 per month, reports the BBC. You can choose from a selection of 600 works on designated “selection days” – for more details have a look at the LM&G website.

The Farsley Festival has had a bit of a makeover; instead of taking place over a single weekend it will be split into several events that take place over the next month, starting with a picnic on Sunday in Hainsworth Park. The following weekend sees The Great Big Community Pizza Party where people can show off their dough-twirling skills at the launch of the new Farsley Farfield Community Cafe and Farm Shop on July 2nd.

Speaking of community festivals, the Travelling Suitcase Library will be at the I Love West Leeds festival on July 3rd. The TSL, run by Jess Haigh, is having a special Family Book Swap but needs your help, as the Library is a little understocked with children’s books! If you have any suitable books that you’d like to donate to the TSL then get in touch; Jess will try to collect, if you’re in Leeds City Centre BGL will happily collect, or you can leave books in Arcadia in Headingley. BGL will be taking a closer look at I♥WL next week.

A new nature reserve has opened in Burley-in-Wharfdale, reports the BBC. We like nice open spaces with diverse wildlife, so will be taking a look before too long, with luck.

I’ve rambled on enough, today: remember that Kirkstall Deli Market is on tomorrow featuring many local producers and a fish & chip van that’s well worth taking a look at, along with the waterfront festival with all that entails and many other events across the city and region. Let us know what you get up to!

We return on Monday; have a great weekend.

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2 Responses to Leeds today: BGL gets cross, libraries, festivals and green streets.

  1. Jason Slack says:

    Hunslet Festival is on this Saturday 12:00 onwards opposite the Penny Hill Centre, amongst it’s headlining highlights will be Hunslet Club dancers and performers, more details at http://www.hunsletfestival.org.uk/at_the_gala.htm

  2. Great point about the heart surgery, it started with such vigour and purpose that has really shown how many people feel that this is an important service that no one wants to see reduced. Hopefully it will be another one of the issues that the Government decides to change their mind on and we can keep both centres open.

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