Leeds today: Groundwork, light, collaboration and cranes, wine, Opera, PFI, fruit and On the Edge.

Morning! It’s glorious out there. It’s like summer has finally arrived. I can hardly believe it.

So, if you’re attending the demonstration in Millennium Square at lunchtime against the closure of the children’s heart unit then remember your suncream. The Morley Observer has some of the details as to what’s going on today, and like we said last week this is a really important thing for Leeds and Yorkshire as a whole; if you want to make a stand, today is the day to begin doing it.

The YEP has this lovely story about Leeds Children’s Day, an annual event at Headingley Carnegie Stadium for families to just get on and do some fun stuff, from cookery to playing rugby with some of the Rhinos.

Our lovely friends at South Leeds Life are reporting on the Hunslet Club starting a collection of after school courses aimed at year 11s. The courses are free and aimed at those who are interested in starting vocational training, or going into higher education. Good on you, guys.

South Leeds Life also has some interesting details of the council pledge to pay up to 30% of the total cost of the persistently delayed PFI housing project covering Beeston, Holbeck and Little London. It constantly amazes me that Leeds has the highest number of PFI contracts of any local authority in the UK outside of London.

According to local press Opera in the Park went well on Saturday. No mention as to visitor numbers as yet, but Lesley Garrett was a hit (who them promptly flew off to Paris to sing the national anthem at a startled-looking Bradley Wiggins).

Groundwork Leeds – an organisation that is trying to get more green space into urban wastelands – had a good day on Thursday last week when volunteers did plenty of work on Rothwell Country Park. The staff from Groundwork took volunteers and young people from Foundation projects to the park where they undertook a range of environmental tasks and improvements, from re-painting the old pit head sculpture to removing old rabbit and deer fencing. By the way, Rothwell Country Park is lovely and a bit of a hidden gem; if you need somewhere to go strolling in that’s a bit different you could do worse.

Don’t forget that this Friday is the closing date for Light Night applications. We did it last year and it was very rewarding, but hard work. If you have an idea then run with it.

The inimitable Kirsty Ware has a couple of fun things coming up. Next week she’s running a “how to get arty stuff happening in Leeds” event called Unexpected Leeds which sounds really interesting:

People wanting to take part in the arts scene often see big-scale productions, think they can’t get involved, and stay on the sidelines. People who set up events struggle to find outlets for advertising, can’t find a contact for venues or don’t know where to start with collaboration. Big organisations miss out on smaller, emerging artists, or have resources they can’t get to the right people.
[…]
We want anyone who wants to be involved to be involved to bring together the best of our city and to support new emerging artists.

Sign up here.

Kirsty is also hosting what is becoming an annual event; Fold for Peace, where people lay a thousand paper cranes at the memorial stone for victims of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Of course this means that 1000 paper cranes need to be folded, and to do that everybody is invited to the White Swan this Wednesday in order to help out.

We’re trying not to use the “O” word too much here at BGL towers, but we love this; a collection of young writers in residence will be putting on a grand finale on the 11th August. They say:

Now you can join us from 2pm and 3pm on Saturday 11th August for our grand finale, which will feature live performances from our young writers, a griots’ chorus from the balconies, and an imaginative tour of Kirkgate that treads different eras and cultures.

A new enterprise is starting up in Chapel A this Friday: The Fruit Stall is a new greengrocer that will be open next to the Yorkshire Bank on Fridays & Saturdays for the forseeable. We wish them luck!

Just a quick look at some of the photos from the weekend’s On the Edge Festival: these ones from Russ Dixon look like it was a great festival. North Leeds News has some of the skinny on one of the bands at the Festival: acoustic duo Rita Payne, who look like they’re about to take the world by storm.

And finally today, the Northerner has a great story about Yorkshire vineyards and how good the wine should be if this weather keeps up. Yorkshire wine; can’t beat it.

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