Leeds today: Bennett, admin, bins, cuts, trains, mayors, comics, beds and health.

Morning! Some admin to get out of the way first – isn’t that always the way on a Monday?

Firstly, if you were wondering what has happened to the BGL Alternative Photo Comp, well… we didn’t get many entries. So even though we said it’d close on sept 30th we’re going to keep it open for a further week, closing on Friday and we’ll announce the winner on Dec 21st. Get your entries in now! More details on the photo comp page (just ignore the closing date).

Secondly, we’re closing for Christmas. To give everybody a break – including yourselves – we’re shutting up shop on Dec 21st, and re-opening on Jan 4th. The odd post may show up in that time but they’ll be feature articles or guest posts (if anything). So if you’ve got somethng to tell us, get it in quick!

Now, on with the news.

LCC has published the bin and recycling collection schedule for Christmas and the New Year. Please remember to put your bins out on the right days! And recycle wrapping paper!

After Nick Clegg’s attempt to stir up enthusiasm for directly-elected mayors in Leeds (as well as other places) the Guardian Northerner asks if the call to lead is a smokescreen for cuts. Further cuts to local council and local authority funding were announced last week – merry christmas – so our directly-elected mayor could be overseeing a council with no staff. What do you call a leader without followers? Just a guy taking a walk.

In amongst all of this the YEP noticed a further 600 staff could be shed from LCC which has already lost a thousand staff over the last two years.

And, the Yorkshire Post today talks about how the cuts are affecting children’s services; two OFSTED reporst said that standards were “inadequate” but after investing in 60 more frontline staff LCC has managed to get that up to “good or better” – pat on the back for LCC there. However, thousands more children across Yorkshire have been put into the “vulnerable” category and as the cuts take further affect this will only get worse.

Alan Bennett has opened up his library at Lawnswood School; in his speech he criticised tuition fees and library closures. He has a very good point (and one that deserves repeating):

“The top league of universities, not just at Oxford and Cambridge, they’re almost wholly middle class, their intakes, now, and that’s wrong,” he said. “You would never get people like Albert Finney going to drama school now, people from a poor background, because they wouldn’t be able to afford it.”

Today sees the start of a programme by Northern Rail to increase the number of seats on trains at peak times into and out of Leeds, reports the YEP. Some lines will be getting three extra trains a day, although cynics will be hardly surprised to discover those lines service Ilkley and Horsforth. The article also has some news on the proposed Woodside station near Horsforth.

On a related note, South Leeds Life asks “are Cottingley trains overcrowded and awful?” Well, if Northern Rail treat all customers equally then perhaps today shall see an improvement!

The Sleep Council has produced a video in Leeds to promote the benefits of getting a good night’s kip. Two “sleep police” track down people who have had restless nights; star Andrew Dunn said “The videos are comedy videos which hopefully people will find funny.” At first glance you think that the Sleep Council is actually an interesting idea, but it turns out to be marketing puff from the National Bed Federation who are trying to get people to change their beds more frequently.

Leeds hospitals topped the league tables of clinical trials last year (YEP), carrying out more than 330 clinical research studies and recruiting over 11,000 patients onto trials. This is a good thing; more clinical trials mean safer drugs, better procedures, improved healthcare for all, and Leeds being at the forefront of that is brilliant news.

The Santa Dash was last weekend; 300 people dressed as Santa running around the city centre on Sunday raising money for St Gemma’s. Good for them!

Leeds sequential art festival Thought Bubble has put its annual anthology into the mainstream; a review at Comic Book Resources says:

“…this is a comic which displays the best the industry has to offer, particularly in terms of the UK small press, which typically doesn’t travel far. Thought Bubble has quickly established itself as one of the UK’s premier conventions, and if this is representative of its quality, it’s not hard to see why.”

The anthology is available at OK Comics and Travelling Man and raises money for Barnardos.

My Life in Leeds has asked a question that plagues all bloggers from time to time: is advertising a good thing or bad thing? A tricky question, so Darren is after responses to help him make a decision.

That’s it for today! As ever, please get in touch if you have anything you’d like to tell us; we read everything you send so please don’t be discouraged if we’re rubbish at replying!

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One Response to Leeds today: Bennett, admin, bins, cuts, trains, mayors, comics, beds and health.

  1. Sean says:

    The Horsforth trainline has been in need of extra seats at peak times for a LONG time now. Several times over the past year, I’ve seen people fainting from the crush. While Jo was pregnant she couldn’t go on the train without fainting, so the trains were a no-go at peak times, which made it pretty difficult to work.

    Perhaps BGL has been a bit cynical here in assuming that an area is getting preferential treatment, when actually it just is a quick fix that should be encouraged?

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