I WORK for the Grandparents’ Association (Leeds) and we have been supporting grandparenting families in Leeds for almost eight years.
The first Member of Parliament in Leeds who awarded us a grant through the YEP was Hilary Benn. He presented us with a £1,000 grant to enable us to set up an office in Leeds. This, along with a grant from the Parenting Fund saw the birth of the Leeds Project. Two brilliant grandparents Beryl and her late husband Peter Lee really started the Leeds Project. Beryl now serves on our Advisory board.
Soon after we set up, I had the pleasure of meeting Hilary’s father, the liberating Tony Benn at Belle Isle Working Men’s Club. He even give me his personal home number as I asked him to speak at one of our events supporting grandparents in Leeds. He informed me that he had ten grandchildren whom he loved dearly. Unfortunately Tony couldn’t attend our event due to a prior engagement. He asked to be kept informed and we did so. Tony Benn will be missed by many up and down the country, but especially in Leeds where he often visited and supported his equally liberating MP son Hilary.
Good night Mr Benn, and rest in peace knowing that hundreds of grandparents from Leeds felt and experienced your wonderful support.
Following a successful Big Lottery Award of nearly £300,000, we have really grown. We now have a small army of volunteers led by our volunteer co-ordinator Rob Cook and our prison outreach worker Laura Teahan has opened up our support to the many grandparents raising grandchildren of parents serving prison sentences. We have also trained up via Advonet Advocate volunteers to support grandparents in all sorts of situations. We are now developing a future project called Grand Start where we will train volunteers to support Grandparent Kinship Carers. An Intergenerational Project in partnership with Ninelands Primary School in Garforth worked well with another project in the pipeline.
Being based in the heart of Leeds on The Headrow has helped us be a central project. We really ought to name one of our rooms after both Tony Benn and Peter Lee. Watch this space.
Contact us on 0113 2446111 if you require support or wish to join our small army of volunteers. Our National Helpline can be contacted on 0845 4349585.
David C Cousins, Manager, Grandparents’ Association, Leeds
Insult to English but no surprise
YOUR REPORT and editorial (YEP, March 24) about the Leeds school that has become the first in the country to treat English as if it is a foreign language comes as no surprise, except that it is an insult to the mother tongue. But what is the school to do where 24 or more languages are spoken, and only 15 per cent of the school speak English as their own?
Of course it is vital that immigrant children are taught English, but is it fair on the English minority who will be forced to sit through lessons tailored for the majority who are years behind? It now seems that all are to be treated equally, except the minority who speak English, treated as non-natives in their own country.
A huge and growing problem exists in many schools with children whose first language is not English. At whose door do we lay this problem of overcrowding? Not the schools, but mass immigration on a scale never seen before in our history. We acknowledge that immigrant children are very willing learners, but because no thought was ever given to providing more schools, teachers etc, is it really fair if their progress comes at the expense of the English speaking minority in some schools?
The Leeds school is no doubt valiantly tackling the problem as best it can. But, there is another huge problem on an even bigger scale, out of sight – that is, when many immigrant families refuse to speak English as the first language at home, thus making the school’s job much harder.
Brian Johnston, Rigton Drive, Burmantofts
Hitler didn’t face trial either
RECENTLY YOU printed a letter from someone who believes Jimmy Savile should not be judged because he cannot defend himself in court.
Does this mean Adolf Hitler should not be condemned as he never stood trial either?
Mr D Daniel, York Road, Leeds
Help buy vest for little Abbie
I HOPE everyone who reads the article about little Abbie Venner (YEP, March 28) will (like me) send a donation to help buy the special vest the little one needs. Perhaps the heart of some benevolent businessmen (or women) will be touched and they will put their hands in their pockets to ensure that the much-needed article is obtained.
This way her wonderful parents will get some small measure of hope in their search to help their darling daughter.
Edna Levi, Leeds
High rents, empty stalls
IT DOES not matter how much is put into rejuvenating Leeds market – if the rents are too high it will not make the slightest difference. Too high and it will still have empty stalls. I have been saying this for years, as many others have too, including the stall holders. Everyone seems to out price themselves these days, cinemas, theatres, football, mainly because of wages beyond most people’s wildest dreams, and other entertainment places.
Susan Whittaker, by email
Thanks to head shave sponsors
I did a sponsored head shave for Derian House on January 27 and raised £271.48, plus £15 online, making a total of £286.41. A massive thank you to everyone who sponsored me at Emmaus Church, Coppull British Legion, all neighbours and friends from Kirkstall Close.
A special thank you to Mrs June Taylor for her kind help in getting sponsors, she was a tremendous help.
Lastly but not least to friends from Delemere Place, and indeed to everyone who gave donations in the collecting box.
Mrs Jan Campbell
Donate goods to Age UK shops
I AM hoping that I can encourage your lovely readers to donate some of their beloved but now unwanted quality items of clothing to Age International’s stock appeal which runs until April 13.
The money raised will be matched by the Government.
All people have to do, is hand the items in to a local Age UK charity shop. The money raised will then be used to transform lives in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe through health projects, including the treatment of cataracts in older people. These operations cost around £20 – or a couple of bags of scrumptious threads donated by your readers.
To find out where your local Age UK shop is, please go to www.ageinternational.org.uk/donatestock or call 0800 032 69 99.
Penny Smith, for Age UK, Tavistock Square, London
TWO FRIENDS of mine, Grace and Harry Bulmer, have just celebrated 65 years of marriage.
They proudly brought along to the celebrations their congratulatory card from the Queen to show us all.
To which begs the question: did Her Majesty send herself and Prince Philip one when it was their diamond anniversary?
Kath Tate, Broad Lane, Bramley