Leeds today: horses, football, butterflies, baking, funding cuts and zombies.

Today in BGL we have 999 changes, charity funding cuts, design awards, bakers, poverty, butterflies, Lotherton, Photohunt, zombies, football and horse racing. We always provide the goods!

The BBC reports that proposed changes to the 999 system by Yorkshire Ambulance Service may be putting lives at risk, say Unison. The service has started sending some ambulances to 999 calls staffed by crews with basic life-support skills, rather than fully-qualified paramedics. These crews are advanced first aiders, but cannot give drugs and in life-threatening situations are there to provide first-tier assistance until a clinical ambulance crew arrives. Unison says that YAS did not consult with them before implementing this change.

A charity that supports families of sexually exploited children is facing funding cuts that may force it to close reports the YEP. CROP, based in Burmantofts in Leeds was founded nearly 15 years ago by someone whose daughter was groomed and forced into prostitution, and claims to be the only charity in the UK to work alongside parents, families and carers of exploited children. CROP provides a “listening ear, guidance and advice about legislation and child protection procedure”. The funding cuts will force the charity to be entirely volunteer staffed, or even close; chief exec Gill Gibbons said:

“I think it is getting a lot more competitive to secure funding because we find that grants have gone to bigger and better known organisations. Small, specialist organisations like ours have missed out but parents need the support of an agency like us.”

Businesses who wish to help the organisation should get in touch.

The YEP also reports that a new building in Wakefield has been shortlisted for a design award. The Craft Hub buildings are part of new premises for Pennine Camphill Community, a specialist college that helps with further education and support for young people with learning difficulties. The buildings were designed by local architects, and ten other Yorkshire buildings are also on the same shortlist.

The YEP takes a look at Leeds baker Skye Stephenson in Bramley, who uses power tools to make her cakes. Running the Whimsical Cake Company from her kitchen Skye has had it for just over a year and has had commissions from football pitches to a giant horse and carriage that barely made it out of the kitchen.

We’ve mentioned this before on BGL, but now the BBC have noticed; local business consultant Mike Chitty is organising a Disrupting Poverty in Leeds innovation lab in October to find ways of breaking the cycle of poverty. The day is supposed to be a laboratory, to come up with ideas to stop families and kids in particular entering the benefits-exclusion pattern that featured in the Poor Kids documentary in June, some of which was filmed in Bradford. More information about the lab, or how to sign up is available on the website.

A research group in Yorkshire is tracking butterflies at sites across the region, and the BBC has photos. The group are trying to understand how butterflies adapt to climate change.

Blogger Dave Roberts goes to Lotherton Hall where it seems a mop and bucket might not go amiss. But still, the bird sanctuary there is always worth looking around and BGL quite likes looking at stately homes.

Sunday sees Kirsty Ware’s monthly Photohunt, and this month it is a family day out! There will be two hunts, a themed one and a brainteaser; Kirsty says that “you’ll probably need a smartphone or a massive brain for this bit.” Previous photohunt photos can be seen on Flickr – it looks like a lot of fun.

As part of the LSx Festival of Technology Slingshot Games is bringing 2.8Hours Later, a zombie game played using the city as a backdrop, to Leeds. LSx organiser Imran Ali said:

“’Cities as platforms’ is one of LSx’s core philosophies and we very much see Leeds as an experimental ‘beta’ city. By hosting 2.8 Hours Later in September, we’re planning to subvert and ‘hack’ Leeds’ landmarks, residents, institutions, media and infrastructure so players can use an entire city to experience and tell some (hopefully) terrifying and fun stories!”

The game is being run with LCC’s permission – hopefully we get to discover the city strategy for dealing with zombies – so players should be able to join in quite happily, either turning residents into the undead or trying to make it to Resistance HQ. In preparation for the game Slingshot are calling for volunteers who want to be turned into zombies for the weekend, as well as marshalls, actors and checkpoint managers to help the game run smoothly and safely. More information can be found by phoning 0117 903 4516 or emailing zombies@slingshoteffect.co.uk.

We don’t really comment on football, it’s not our thing but Leeds United Supporters Trust has responded to notes Chairman Ken Bates made in the Leeds vs Hull match programme. The comments made by Mr Bates are not helpful in the climate and LU Supporters Trust has a reasonable series of points to make about the Chairman’s views. In other LUFC/cultural news, a new play about being a Leeds United fan is set to take to the stage across the country, including two nights at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Paint it White is the life story of Gary Edwards, a painter and decorator, who followed the Elland Road club through thick and thin, missing just one game since 1968. Should be fun.

Finally today, Janey Dodge goes to Pontefract Races and loses a (budgeted) shirt for the benefit of Culture Vultures. It turns out that if the jockey wears purple you may win money! Note “may”.

That is it for today and this week! Mike is taking two weeks off but we have some great guest writers who’ll be filling in while he’s away; please be nice to them. We’ll be back to normal on September 5th. As ever if you want to say something then please do! Email us or tweet us – someone will keep an eye on it – and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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