YEP Letters: December 23

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Christmas message from police chief

Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire

With the festive season now upon us I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2016.

It’s at times like this that the effort everyone connected with West Yorkshire Police, whether that be someone who works or volunteers for the Force and other services, comes into ever more sharper focus. People give up their Christmas dinner and spending time with loved ones to keep the communities of West Yorkshire safer and feeling safer. I want to extend a big thank you and my appreciation to them.

It’s been a very busy 2015 in my own office and key outcomes around tackling crime and safeguarding within the Police and Crime Plan continue to be met.

As we go forward I will continue to work very closely with West Yorkshire Police and key local partners to achieve shared community safety goals.

That includes continuing to give the ill-gotten gains seized from criminals through the Proceeds Of Crime Act (POCA) back to the communities of West Yorkshire through my Safer Communities Fund.

This year I was delighted to hit the £1million mark, this money has a hugely positive impact across all of the county with over 220 groups and organisations supported in various community safety projects making a real difference.

I know 2016 will be another challenging year. West Yorkshire Police has already had to make big budget cuts and many of our key partners saw their budgets cut again drastically during the recent Comprehensive Spending Review. There’s only so much of these drastic cuts organisations can be expected to shoulder without any consequences.

I also want to reassure everyone however, that I will do everything I can, working with West Yorkshire Police, our partners and the public to protect our communities.

Have a happy Christmas and a fantastic new year.


Thanks for appeal support

Kerry Jackson, Chief Executive, St Gemma’s Hospice

On behalf of all the patients, staff and volunteers at St Gemma’s Hospice, I would like to offer our most sincere thanks to you and your readers for your magnificent and continued support of our work via the Half and Half Appeal. This year’s most generous donation of £13,069 will help us to continue providing care to people with life threatening illnesses living in Leeds.

We are very grateful to the YEP readers and everyone who has generously donated to the Half and Half Appeal during 2015.

It is amazing to see the appeal continuing to raise money for both hospices each year. We would like to say a special thank you to your team who continue to work tirelessly on the appeal.

This year St Gemma’s Hospice has supported over 3000 local people and we would like to thank you for the major part you play in enabling us to continue providing our vital services to the local community.

Best wishes to you all for the festive season and for 2016.

A dazzling evening

S Welbourne, Leeds 15

Wow! What a dazzling evening of music, dancing and singing was had by all last night at Garforth Academy.

I never expected such talent and was quite in awe of the pupils’ ability. They had me rocking in my seat all evening to the vibrant rhythms of the music. Seeing them performing so confidently and obviously enjoying it just shows what the dedication and patience of the teachers and tutors, aswell as the determination of the pupils, can do.

Thank you to the back room staff for adding to the success of a fantastic evening. When’s the next one?

Search for unsung heroes

Stephen Ryan, Diabetes UK Regional Manager in the North of England

We are searching for those unsung heroes in the community who go above and beyond what is expected of them to help support people with diabetes.

Every year thousands of people volunteer aside hours of their time to Diabetes UK and their efforts make a real difference to the lives of those living with the condition. Our Inspire Awards are a chance to thank them for their contributions and highlight how their work has had a positive impact on the lives of others.

We want to pay tribute to our incredible volunteers for the extraordinary support they give and their sheer hard work. The wide-reaching work of Diabetes UK would not be possible without their support and dedication.Nominations for 2016 are now open and will close on 6 January 2016. Our winners are chosen by judging panels across the UK and will be presented with their award at the regional and national Make a Difference conferences held in early 2016. The winners of these awards will then be placed in a pool to be judged for the UK-wide Inspire Awards which will be presented in summer 2016.

These awards recognise and celebrate outstanding individuals as well as group volunteer efforts. To select the award you would like to make a nomination for, visit our website and fill in an online nomination form. Visit to find out more.