Leeds Today: The Saucer, Libraries, gardening and cultural differences.

The first story of the new week is quite startling: a Hampshire social worker blocked the guardianship of two children with members of their own family in Kirklees because they “would not be able to adapt to the change in area and culture”, reports the Yorkshire Post. The children were placed in foster care for several months because this ruling had to go to tribunal. Nigel Priestley of solicitors Ridley & Hall, who represented the family, said:

“Choosing to put children into foster care because of the “Yorkshire culture” is one of the most bizarre social services decision I have come across. This case is an extreme example of the challenges that many kinship carers face. All sorts of obstacles can be put in their way by social services.”

The children are now in the care of their family.

The Yorkshire Post is also reporting on a worsening homeless crisis in Leeds, Harrogate and York, due to a combination of high house prices and the proposals by the Government to cap benefit payments. Because house prices in Leeds are so high there are very few private landlords who are willing to take on tenants on benefits, and with the average house price in the region twelve times the average income, more and more people are being priced out of the rental market. As a result people are approaching the social departments of local councils who have a shortage of available properties. And the problem will get worse if Eric Pickles gets his way on capping household benefits, with any proposed savings being wiped out by the cost to local authorities to find homes for vunerable people targeted by these measures.

An opera to be performed on Bridlington beach with a cast of over 400 has been shelved because of concerns about exposing the (primary) schoolchildren performing in the piece to the idea that the main character is gay, says the creator of the work in the Guardian. Billy Elliot librettist Lee Hall has been told over the weekend that Opera North cannot maintain the project. From the article:

The opera’s main character is a gay, retired painter, and in one scene he is the victim of taunting. At the school’s request, I agreed to tone down the violence of the language in this scene, but not the character’s straightforward defence of his sexuality. Word came back from Opera North that, unless I removed the lines “I’m queer” and “I prefer a lad to a lass”, the whole project was in jeopardy.

Opera North backed the school and, despite ideas and offers by Hall to start a conversation about this issue, even involving Stonewall’s education department, when the school finally withdrew from the project Opera North did too. Hall is continuing to fight for the project.

Update: Opera North has also released a statement about what happened. Update 2: and another one: In the end this is not about personality or personal opinion, it’s about education policy over which Opera North can have no control..

The closure of the 13 Leeds Libraries will all happen week ending July 17th. This information is not on the website because LCC has written to every household that has used one of the affected libraries over the last six months. The closing dates are:

  • Lofthouse will close Thursday 14th July
  • Osmondthorpe and Richmond Hill Friday 15th July
  • Allerton Bywater, Armley Heights, Belle Isle, Broad Lane, Holbeck, Ireland Wood, Kirkstall, Swarcliffe and Swinnow will close on Sat 16th July
  • Swillington Sunday 17th July

BGL will be trying to visit as many of these as possible over the next two weeks.

The Garden Gnome at Holt Park Today is thinking about guerilla gardening; essentially, planting seeds in areas that could do with a bit of prettying up. Sounds like fun.

The Guardian Northerner takes a look at the Saucer, the official newspaper of the Chapeltown Psychogeographers as part of Under the Paving Stones, the recent arts event put on by East Street Arts. The Saucer converses with the editor of the Chapeltown News in the 70s, when Chapeltown was undergoing massive upheaval for what was perceived by the residents as the wrong reasons.

Also in the Northerner, John Baron gives us his views on Leeds Loves Food. BGL attended the three-day show; it was a *great* event, and one that did a cracking job of showcasing a lot of local food producing talent, but there was a notable shortage of cheese and dairy produce and it was obvious that stalls without samples were not doing as well as those with. But regardless it was a lot of fun and we got to discover all sorts of new and exciting foodies.

BGL also attended I Love West Leeds yesterday, although was on the bike and got a bit lost. Never mind! It was a lot of fun and very well attended.

Tonight sees this month’s Leeds Photo Hunt. Meet at 6:30 at the train station; if you’re in town with a camera why not give it a go!

Finally, Leeds foodie blog Tea & Cake has had a bit of a facelift. The blog has been quietly producing recipes and reviews, and hosting events on a semi-regular basis, for several years and the new style site is easier to navigate and much clearer to read.

That’s it for today! If you have an event you’d like us to mention or something you’d like us to say then please get in touch via email or on twitter.

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One Response to Leeds Today: The Saucer, Libraries, gardening and cultural differences.

  1. Hi BeyondGdnLeeds, just wanted to say thanks for picking up on our website and for featuring us in the round up of what’s happening across Leeds. We appreciate the mention 🙂

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