Leeds today: attacks, students, police, constituencies, old men’s pubs, Summat, live art

Mark O’Brien here to take your hand and lead you to the weekend with a hug and a smile. (Well I’ll do my best anyway.)

It’s Friday, and finally the end of a week to forget for West Yorkshire Police. Leading the BBC this morning is the startling and deeply troubling story about a spate of incidents which saw ten people, mainly students, assaulted and robbed within the space of only half an hour in the Woodhouse area on Wednesday evening.

This evening of violence is by no means an isolated event. Recently the Leeds student press has been investigating a series of attacks on students in the area in recent weeks. A meeting is to be held in Headingley this morning to discuss the attacks.

This comes of course in the same week that the police revealed details of a letter written by a 16-year old burglar from Leeds to his victims in which he characterised them as “stupid”, insisting it was their fault for failing to look after their home.

Urging readers to be vigilant around town feels akin to – shall we say politely – passing water in a breeze when faced with such shocking and frightening sights on our own streets, not to mention a response from the authorities that leaves local people cold (a statement and a meeting thirty-six hours later are good ways to respond to a fundraiser or a royal visit, not to this). But take care wherever you go.

This lunchtime meanwhile, trees across Leeds are set to be wrapped in white ribbons as part of the White Ribbon campaign which aims to encourage men to take responsibility for cutting violence against women. The council’s domestic violence team is co-ordinating the project, beginning with a tree-wrapping event at Park Square at 12.30pm.

South Leeds Life has this on proposals for a new headquarters for Holbeck Police off Elland Road and discussions between residents and police chiefs at a public meeting this week.

Holt Park Community News looks at the public consultation on constituency boundary changes proposed by the Boundary Commission, and how they are set to impact Leeds North West and Leeds North East.

When I do my Friday round-up, I always say a variation on the same theme: it’s a huge weekend coming up here in Leeds. Sometimes I genuinely mean it; sometimes not so much. This weekend however, I really do!

First of all, Mike and Elly are continuing the historic tradition of journos, hacks and writers through the ages and spending the evening getting merry. If you’re at a loose end tonight, why not tag along to the Old Man Pub Crawl visiting the old haunts across the city centre – and share your tales on Twitter, whether you’re taking part or not. Many is the day I still remember (albeit vaguely) of trips to the pubs down Eastgate with my granddad and his Irish builder mates (Horse & Trumpet is still my favourite just because of the cutest barmaid I remember who worked there for a while).

I however am going to be up bright and early tomorrow morning for the epic Leeds Summat, bringing together some of the most proactive organisations and keenest, most passionate individuals making a difference in this city and beyond to share insights and ideas on their projects before a committed audience. I previewed the incredible, exciting and eclectic event on The Culture Vulture just a couple of weeks ago, and will be live-blogging for good ol’ CultVult from the inside through the day tomorrow, so watch this space!

And all weekend, look out for the mesmerising range of ‘exhibits’ on show as part of the Compass Live Art Festival here in Leeds. Beginning this evening with a showing of the world-class Forced Entertainment’s show ‘And on the Thousandth Night’ in the Howard Assembly Room, the events will open your eyes anew to this city of ours.

Get out there and make the most of it. Until next time!

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