Looking to future needs of Rothwell people with extra care housing

Great news for Rothwell as plans are approved by the council to provide brand new extra care housing potentially in the Rothwell area.

I brought a group of interExtra care groupested community activists together to start looking into the possibility of extra care for the future in Rothwell over a year ago and they have been meeting regularly with and my Labour ward colleague Nagle and the council’s adult social care and Executive Board members to discuss how the group will liaise with the council and others to help to make extra care happen in the Rothwell area. Members of the group include, Ron Frost, Pauline Hope, Peter Smith, Anglela Kellett, Stuart Bruce, Gordon Dick, James Morley and Brian Garbett.

We also have an ambition to incorporate a community social hub into Rothwell plans where both residents inside and outside of the extra care housing can meet and it could become a focus of activity to beat social isolation in the wider community, especially where older people are living alone in their own homes.

We have as a group visited two extra care sites – at Yew Tree House in Moor Allerton and last month the recently opened council extra care facility Wharfedale View in Yeadon to get a feel for what we could achieve in Rothwell as a forward thinking alternative that many of us would prefer when we reach our older years.

Yew-Tree-Court-extra-careAt the council’s executive board meeting held at Civic Hall on Monday 17 July, members approved a proposal which involves potentially developing six sites in the city for council-owned extra care accommodation, and one of the sites is at Windlesford Green, Woodlesford, which is past the Tesco Express along Holmsley Lane.

The sites identified for possible extra care schemes are in Rothwell, West Ardsley, Armley, Seacroft, Holt Park and Middleton form part of a commitment by the council to invest £30million in the development of extra care housing in Leeds, and working with partners with the aim of delivering over a thousand new extra care units to meet rising demand by 2028.

The council’s approach forms part of the Better Lives Programme, which aims to modernise how care and support is organised in line with older and disabled people’s aspirations. Extra care housing offers an alternative model to residential care, and is primarily for those who have care and support needs as well as a housing need.

Features of the extra care approach include on-site access to 24/7 emergency or unplanned care, access to shared facilities, dining and activities to help alleviation isolation, allows people to use personal budgets to make their own arrangements for planned care, accommodation can be adapted to support the delivery of personal health and social care services.

It’s great news that Rothwell is in the six identified for potential extra care housing to be built. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen looking at other schemes. Whilst in a care setting, people get to have their own modern apartment, not just a room like in a care home, and still have access to the care they need, extra care is not like sheltered housing, as some have suggested, as it can still provide the level of care one might expect in a care home. Times change and so do expectations, I want the best possible for people in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton. I would like to thank the group for helping us come this far and look forward to working even more closely with local people and the council to try to get the scheme we’d all like in the Rothwell/Woodlesford area.

Aldi backs down on late night opening

Aldi

Good news for many residents living close to the proposed new Aldi site.

Following our strong opposition with the community to Aldi’s attempt to opening hours until late at night, me and my Labour ward colleague Cllr David Nagle and nearby residents are pleased that the pressure we brought to bear has caused Aldi to withdraw its application to open later.

When Aldi got planning permission to build a store in Rothwell hours were restricted to 9pm as we as your councillors and nearby residents objected to late night opening as young children and older people in sheltered housing would be sleeping nearby.

Aldi went for another bite at the cherry as it didn’t like the original decision at plans panel but soon realised that permission would not be given and that we are still as opposed to late nights. Aldi seem to be more interested in tinkering with the opening hours than with actually getting on with building the store which should be its priority now. Residents want to know why it has stalled and we are calling for Aldi to get on with the job.

Rothwell to get brand new leisure centre built

Rothwell sports

Fantastic news for Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton, Carlton and surrounding villages as it is announced that Rothwell is to get a new state of the art leisure centre

At the recent meeting of the Executive Board, as part of a wider report on the vision for leisure centres in the city, proposals will see a brand new facility built on land adjacent to the existing site in Rothwell.

Me and my Labour ward colleague Cllr David Nagle have been campaigning for improvement and significant investment to overhaul Rothwell Leisure Centre and have had meetings with the senior officers and the executive board member responsible.

We really welcome the new proposals, which will see a number of integrated services housed alongside gym facilities and full size and small swimming pool,with lido splash pool, along with new gym and sports facilities. Extra facilities not currently offered under the existing leisure centre model will also be included. Pending the outcome of a detailed feasibility study, it is estimated that the new leisure and wellbeing facility would cost in the region of £10-14m, forming part of the Council’s wider ‘invest to grow’ focused commercial strategy.

This is even better than we hoped for as we have been pushing for investment in our leisure centre for a long time. To get a new build is absolutely fantastic news. It’s wonderful to see this significant investment into our local communities despite continuing pressures to our budgets. It shows a continued commitment to giving all residents the opportunity to either remain or become active, and will contribute greatly towards the health and well-being of local people.

Rothwell Leisure centre is one of the most well used sports centres in the city and is well loved in Rothwell and our villages by many people and families, including my own. But the current centre was built in the 1970’s and needs more than a little TLC. We need our leisure centre to be fit for the 21st century and people’s expectations and experiences change. With a brand new modern, high quality leisure and wellbeing centre, I know that the people of Rothwell will greatly welcome access to affordable, top class classes and facilities.

Support for ground breaking Rothwell Dementia Friendly garden

P1000321 EditJMA ground breaking project to create a ‘dementia friendly’ garden in Springhead Park Rothwell moved a step closer to becoming a reality after the Outer South community committee gave £10,000 worth of funding towards the special garden.

As Rothwell councillor and chair of the council’s committee of Outer South councillors which approved the funding, I’m really pleased to have been able to help to provide much needed funding to transform an area of Rothwell’s Springhead Park into a safe, secure, open space for people with dementia to become more active.

A further £5,000 was agreed by the council’s housing advisory panel to fund the project. However, more is still needed in order to reach the total project cost of just under £34,000. Donations for this fantastic local project have been flooding through from local people and local businesses and local people have held fundraising events to help move funding closer to the amount needed.

I would urge any local businesses who are interested in supporting the initiative to contact me, Peter Smith or Rothwell and District Live at Home Scheme, where Brian is administering the project.

The idea is the brainchild of local Rothwell resident Peter Smith, who also created and runs Rothwell’s Tea Cosy cafe and is responsible for helping to make Rothwell Dementia Friendly. Me and David have worked closely with Peter on these from the early days and are pleased to have been able to have worked with Peter from the beginning to help him get this idea off the ground.

Peter and aIMG_9232 group of volunteers run the popular Tea Cosy Memory Café that sees more than a hundred people every month. The aim of the café is to provide a place where people with dementia and their families and friends can socialise and relax.

A partnership between Dementia Friendly Rothwell, Rothwell Live at Home Scheme and Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside Service was formed to take action to make the idea a reality.

I’m really looking forward to seeing a part of our Springhead Park turned into a special, sensory, safe and secure outdoor space for people living with dementia to visit and enjoy with their family, friends and carers. It will also create another great part of the park which everyone is able to enjoy.  It would be great if the remainder of the funds fall into place to have the new garden enjoyed by many next summer.

Visit Rothwell’s Dementia Friendly Garden Facebook page.

Rothwell councillors save 22 bus running through Rothwell, Woodlesford, Garforth and Seacroft

Just had the great news that we’ve saved the number 22 bus which me and my ward colleague Cllr David Nagle have been working to save on behalf of local residents.

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When we found out the the private bus company Square Peg was going to stop the service we launched a campaign to save it. The 22 is a vital bus for many residents who rely on it. It runs from Rothwell Commercial Street via Woodlesford to Garforth and Seacroft.

We’d already started to campaign to save it when residents started to contact us and also came to see us at our councillors’ advicce sessions and street surgeries we’ve been holding around the ward.

We raised residents’ concerns directly with the chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Transport Authority (WYCA), Cllr Keith Wakefield; the deputy leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr James Lewis; and Square Peg.

It’s hard to save a bus service as Square Peg is a private company running the route as a commercial business so can withdraw it if it wants to.

However, we got WYCA to get passenger numbers from Square Peg so it could analyse the route and do surveys to see if it would meet its criteria for support. A spokesperson for WYCA told me that it has now decided to subsidise Square Peg to continue operating the 22 service. It will run Monday to Friday off peak from 21 March until 22 July, when the service will be reviewed alongside others in Leeds as part of a wider network review.

I know residents from the Woodlesford area, who don’t live near the main Aberford Road and many people who live further up the hill off Holmsley Lane, including older people really rely on this service.  This bus serves a need for those going to the NHS dentist in Garforth who haven’t been able to register with one in Rothwell. It also allows people relying on public transport to shop at Lidl. There are also quite a few carers who rely on this bus.

Residents on Haigh Road and streets off such as Styebank Lane are also badly affected as they rely on this bus with no bus serving it to Leeds. We are campaigning for a better bus for these residents and don’t want residents to lose the service they do have.  We understand that buses are essential for many local people who need them to get to work, college, hospital visits and shopping.

Many people think the council run bus services as they did many years ago but this is not the case. Square Peg run this service commercially so decisions to run or cancel are made by them as a business not by Metro.

The Conservative government cuts mean there’s a lot less money to subsidise tendered services, but we are so pleased that funds have been secured to keep this valuable service going and we will be pushing for this service to be further extended on behalf of the residents who rely on it.

So you see despite the Tory cuts to council service we can still stand up for local people and not just stand by and see people suffer.