Leeds today: organ donors, people of leeds, disabled parking, gingerbread and shoes.

Morning! Cold, isn’t it?

Have you ever fancied helping out on the canals? Actor Brian Blessed has asked for volunteers to help out on our waterways including at Bingley Five Rise and other spots along the Leeds-Liverpool canal (PA).

A new set of “youth MPs” are to be elected in Leeds on March 1st (BBC). The elections for Members of the Youth Parliament will be expected to regularly meet with MPs and local councillors, organise events and run campaigns, as well as represent the views of the young people in their constituency.

The YEP reports on a disabled driver in Leeds who has won an apology and a cancellation of a fine from LCC after he found himself unable to enter a disabled parking bay without committing a traffic offence. Brian Whitaker was fined after crossing a bus lane to enter a bay, but argued that the signage was confusing and that it would impossible to park without breaking the traffic laws somehow. LCC have cancelled the fine, leader Keith Wakefield has written to Mr Whitaker, and a review into the signs has been put in place.

Today sees the launch of the “People of Leeds” project, a blog and twitter account which is passed from one person to the next, tweeting and posting about aspects of the city. This is an exciting way of publicising our city; the @peopleofleeds twitter is already gathering a lot of interest.

There is a shortage of black and asian organ donors, and Bradford Bulls player Chev Walker has been highlighting this problem, leading a campaign to get more people from those communities to sign the organ donor register (BBC).

Also on the BBC: the Bradford-based shoe retail chain Barratts has been bought out by its management. The chain could have closed completely, losing close to 1800 jobs but 1100 have been saved after the deal was struck over the weekend.

The YEP is reporting that attacks on staff at Leeds hospitals has risen over the last 12 months. There were nearly 200 attacks from April 2010 to March 2011 on clinical and nonclinical staff at the hospitals. In context this is still rare, but LTHT are prepared to prosecute offenders. One man fired a ball bearing pistol in A&E last year, for example. He was given a suspended 9 month sentence.

Harehills Youth In Partnership has won a grant from the Natwest CommunityForce Fund. The group, who keep kids off the streets with football, cricket, literacy classes as well as women’s fitness groups and police partnership work, is always in need of more funding and this grant will keep them open for a few more months.

Blogger Alex In Leeds interviews historical crime fiction writer Chris Nickson, who sets his books in 18th century Leeds. Interesting stuff!

Friends of Leeds Kirkgate Market put forwards their thoughts on the Quarterbridge report into the future of the Market. They see it as a blueprint for privatising the market. What are your thoughts? Let us know!

Finally today, Bake Lady has a recipe for stem ginger cake up on the blog. The reasons why are perhaps best left as an exercise to the reader.

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