Rothwell will be getting a very special visit from Santa Claus soon when he flies into Rothwell Park on his annual visit. I’ve been told by the elves that he’ll be arriving by helicopter as his reindeer are resting before all of their exertions delivering presents to the boys and girls on Christmas night.
Santa’s helicopter will be landing at 10:30 on Sunday, December 18 in Rothwell Park. Santa Claus will then have a walk about amongst the crowds to talk to the children and collect their letters. Santa will then fly away from Rothwell back to Lapland so he can read the letters and tell the elves what presents they need to get ready. Santa will then be back on Christmas night to deliver the presents to all the boys and girls in Rothwell, Woodlesford, Oulton and Carlton.
Rothwell Ladies Circle will be providing the refreshments.
I was very impressed with the Bible Readathon this week at Rothwell Methodist Church. It has meant a marathon read of the whole bible with many joining in from the community both young and old reading out loud – non-stop – cover to cover! A great way to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James’s 1611 Authorised Version and funds raised are going towards sending bibles abroad.
It started off on Wednesday evening and the Lord Mayor of Leeds helped to start the reading at the beginning of Genesis and the local councillors, along with several readers from Rothwell Baptist Church had slots reading from Genesis to help kick off the event along with the readers from Rothwell Methodist Church.
It was great to see the children from Oulton Primary School taking part in the Readathon yesterday when I arrived to do my other slot reading from Proverbs. They did particularly well reading towards the end of Psalms as there were a few tricky words in there and they pulled it off brilliantly! The children from Victoria Primary School had been along earlier to take part too.
Well done to Chrissie Brown for organising the whole event and helping to keep the reading going through the night, no doubt she, her mum and a few more will be catching up on some sleep after the Readathon finishes tonight!
Another fantastic day on the campaign trail in Rothwell, we’re getting a fantastic response! It’s been a busy week campaigning, including with John Healey. the shadow health minister, door knocking in Rothwell on a beautiful sunny day! The campaign is very positive and upbeat. Time and again people are telling us that they want to send the Lib Dems a message as they feel totally let down by their blatant betrayal of the very people that voted for them. On so many issues from VAT to EMA and tuition fees and of course the NHS and even cutting winter fuel allowance for the older people who need it most. People on the doorsteps of Rothwell are telling us loud and clear that they won’t stand for such double standards.
One example is a guy who I remember speaking to before in a recent election who had told me in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t voting Labour, but he was voting for the Lib Dems. He is now very angry at the Lib Dems and told me that he thought they were nothing more than ‘opportunist’. He also told me that he has so far been impressed with Ed Miliband and he thought that I would make a great hard working councillor for Rothwell and he would definitely be voting for me on May 5.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has chipped in to help with the campaign so far – I really appreciate it!
Thanks to Leonie Mathers for the great photo of some of the team with John Healey.
Fantastic news today that Leeds City Council has decided to keep the crèche at Rothwell Leisure Centre open on a trial basis for a further six months from April. I’m sure other parents who use our leisure centre will be delighted at the news. I go swimming with my daughter Esme in the small pool at the centre and we always have great fun along with other families with small children. The centre is great for local families and the loss of the creche would have taken away from that.
Sadly, the hourly fee will have to increase from its current £2 to £4 to try and reduce the subsidy from the council and bring the charges more into line with what they should be (although the usual discounts for Leeds card extra etc will remain). Improvements will also be made to creche hours to better align them to activities so people can make the most of the creche here. I think that another problem the creche had was the lack of publicity so it’s good to hear that it will now be properly marketed. Simply putting a banner on the outside of the centre, as well as marketing via children’s centres, health visitors, expectant mums etc could see a lot more parents using the creche. It’s interesting that three organisations have shown interest in providing crèche services and the council is working with them to see if something can be done
All in all good news for all of us in the Rothwell area as the more people who use the centre the better!
I came away from Labour Party Conference renewed and refreshed and feeling that as a party we have entered a new era. I was pleased with the election of Ed Miliband as leader (my second preference after Andy Burnham.)
Ed’s speech was excellent, I was really impressed with his passion for the party and his vigour for ideas to make life better for people, such as the living wage. I was in the hall and know that many there said they had goose bumps and others were brought to tears. It was an emotional time and whilst it was hard not to feel for David Miliband, I feel the right Miliband has been chosen and it’s time to move forward. It strikes me that David’s decision to give Ed some space is the right one.
Labour can now move forward and reach out to a new generation. Ed has the ability to listen to people, it’s an important quality to be able to get along with people and be one of them (when Ed was first elected as an MP I remember him at Labour Party Conference in the bar (I think it was The Grand in Brighton) playing the piano and leading a sing along at about one in the morning!)
I hope that this new era will be more inclusive and that the party will really listen to members and voters. Labour did some great things in its 13 years in government but the government ended up distant from people and unable to listen. If we learn from past mistakes, as I believe we will, then we can not only win the next election because people don’t want to vote Tory, but because people really want to vote Labour again.
The highlights of this year’s conference for me were a) Ed being elected b) Ed’s speech c) my three year old daughter Esme sitting in the conference hall listening to Andy Burnham’s speech as shadow health secretary and clapping enthusiastically, when I asked her what she thought Andy was talking about she said, “making people better” d) various fringes and training sessions including a fringe on the future of social care and training sessions such as community organising and beating the Lib Dems.
Great feedback for Andy from Leeds with lots of twitter comments and this great email I thought I’d share:
I really enjoyed Andy Burnham’s presentation and questions last night. I am impressed. He came across as genuine. He has obviously thoroughly thought through his politics. He will definitely be getting my first preference. If only more MPs were like him. He is a breath of fresh air in a climate of career politicians. I will put a donation for his campaign in the post.
@laidbackian: Had a great night with @andyburnhammp in Leeds. He has a passion for the Labour Party unmatched by the other candidates. #andy4leader
@stephenjtowler: Andy Burnham excellent in Leeds tonight. Why would you not vote for him?
@khutchinsondean After event tonight finally getting off the fence and backing @andyburnhammp for leader; most authentic, credible and fresh thinking choice
Just watched Yvette Cooper’sconference speech. Yvette is not only the Work and Pensions secretary but is MP for the neighbouring constituency to us, Pontefract and Castleford.
Wow, I have to say I was very impressed with what Yvette had to say and the passion with which she delivered it. Yvette told us about the good work that local employment partnerships are doing and the real difference they are making to many young people’s lives. Following the success there will be further investment to help more of our people struggling to find work.
This is of particular interest to me having worked in this field, signing young people and employers up into training. The young people I worked with were so pleased that someone was taking an interest and helping them. For example, Chloe, who had been laid off from her employer. She wanted a change of direction and decided she wanted to go into holistic therapy. Because the course was about to start I hit a brick wall as I was trying to get the wheels turning for her so quickly but I persisted for her and managed to get her signed up and secure Learning and Skills council funding.Chloe was so grateful that someone had taken this much interest in her and was so excited about her new start. I helped her find the best value uniform sites on the internet too, she even promised that I could be her first customer, well I’m still waiting for that one!
Yvette also reminded us of the Jarrow Marchers in 1936, where 200 people walked 300 miles with their MP ‘Red Ellen’ (Ellen Wilkinson), from the town of Jarrow to the Palace of Westminster in protest against unemployment and extreme poverty. The marchers’ great efforts came to nothing though as all they were given were their train fares home.Yvette also talked about the people’s march for jobs 1981 in the Thatcher years. It’s always good to remember what the Tories did to us, by remembering what they’ve done in the past we can work together to fight to try to ensure that they never get a chance to do it again.
Leeds City Council reports that an Asbo has been given to a 14 year old girl in Wetherby to try to curb her drunken, threatening and violent behaviour. Earlier interventions had failed to control Catherine Emery’s behaviour. The Asbo will put strict controls on her for a two year period.
Asbos are an effective tool to use in the fight against anti social behaviour and have been one of the Labour government’s success stories, though there can always be further improvements. Asbos can be a necessary measure to protect others in the community from the individual’s behaviour and to highlight the seriousness of the situation. I have spoken at Labour Party conference on the issue of anti-social behaviour and know from my casework on behalf of others as a councillor in Garforth and Swillington and candidate in Rothwell just what a nightmare anti social behaviour can be and how it makes peoples lives a misery. The Garforth skate park, a project initiated after I met with local young people has been having problems with vandalism. Swillington residents have seen some hairy scenes recently as the Tesco Express has been targeted by vandals throwing objects at the windows which had to be boarded up. I know as a former resident and councillor that Swillington residents take great pride in their village, and many are tireless in their efforts to keep Swillington an attractive village community.
For the very real problems that anti social behaviour creates for our communities and the suffering to our people, the process of obtaining Asbos can be long – in some cases it can take two years.
I know from talking to Home Secretary Alan Johnson that anti social behaviour is an issue close to his heart also, and that’s why he recently called for a reinvigoration of Asbos as a weapon in the fight against extreme cases of intimidation and harassment. He said courts must be able to issue Asbos quicker to make it easier for problems to be reported and to provide more counselling for victims.
Although we are still tackling anti social behaviour in our communities, it’s comforting to know that since 1997 overall crime is down 39 per cent (over 5 million fewer crimes); domestic burglary is down 55 per cent; vehicle related crime is down 57 per cent and violent crime is down 40 per cent.
It’s good to remember the numerous achievements of the Labour government in the last twelve years of which these figures are just one example.
It’s a blow that bus company First has axed two Leeds night buses including the 921 Leeds – Swillington, especially as this could compromise public safety. The story is in tonight’s Yorkshire Evening Post. I would have thought that with the recession more people would be in need of public transport. I would be very interested to know how widely the service has been promoted to potential passengers before the axe fell?
When I was a councillor for Garforth and Swillington I always campaigned for improvements to public transport and was pleased to have fought for my constituents best interests for example a Swillington bus re-routed to serve sheltered housing, so older people didn’t have a long walk to get to a bus stop, and getting bus shelters as some of our older folk were being battered by wind, hail and rain.
Many of us feel that Leeds has been getting a raw deal on public transport under the Conservative and Lib Dem Leeds City Council who are not fighting our corner, and this is just another deterioration of our services!
This is a pic from the protest in Parliament Square I mentioned in my last post. Object and Fawcett took part and it was good to see a good few MPs there!
I wrote to my two local Labour MPs about this urging them to support the EDM and I’m pleased to say that both Colin Challen and Colin Burgon signed.
A cafe was created in Parliament Square complete with tables/chairs and a pole to show how ludicrous the loophole is that allows lap dancing clubs to be licensed the same as cafes.
We really need to keep the pressure on now as on 18th June the Government wrote to every local authority in England & Wales asking if they would support the re-classification of lapdance clubs as Sex Encounter Establishments – a hugely significant move. Local authorities have until 15th August to repond.