YEP Letters: December 3

Have your say

Travelling home on the train last week, I saw an elderly lady being accompanied onboard by a member of staff from Northern Rail.

When we left Leeds station, she approached me. She was a bit flustered and said she wasn’t sure why she was on the train.

The lady, who was 77, had become separated from her daughter in Leeds and was directed onto the wrong train.

I reassured her we could sort it out at the next stop but it became clear that she was rather confused about how to get home and where she might be going.

At the next stop, I approached the conductor and a second member of staff who, quite frankly, couldn’t wait to be rid of her and were quite happy to leave her in the care of me, a total stranger.

After a long wait on a very cold, dark, unmanned platform, I managed to find out where she lived and contact British Transport Police who returned her home to her worried husband.

I contacted Northern Rail to highlight what I felt was a sad dereliction of duty which could easily have ended with this poor lady lost, cold and alone in a strange place or far worse.

Their reply was in keeping with the apathetic attitude of their staff, stating that “it wasn’t for them to second guess what the conductor should have done” and that “we all have a duty as human beings to help where we can.”

It’s very sad and concerning if one of our largest providers of public transport has such disregard for vulnerable, elderly passengers and does not have a system in place for incidents like this.

It would seem only a more tragic ending would be enough to convince Northern Rail a change in policy is needed.

Until then, elderly passengers will apparently have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

S Robinson, Leeds

Young people were a credit

Last week, my wife and I attended a memorial service at the St Mary’s church parochial hall in Middleton conducted by the Reverend Andy Myers of St Mary’s.

The service was organised and arranged by Wm. Dodgson & Son funeral services in order for family and friends to remember their loved ones.

The service also includes an invitation for everyone who wishes to do so to light a candle in memory of their loved ones.

The service was attended by upwards of 170 people, approximately 30 of the congregation were young people aged 15 and 16 from Cockburn High School who attended in order to remember their school friend Kyle Asquith who sadly passed away last year.

It gives my wife and I great pleasure to praise the behaviour of these young people. They behaved with dignity and were an absolute credit to themselves, their parents and their school.

In the current climate, when young people are often given a “bad press”, we feel that special mention and praise should be given to this group of young people.

Keith and Margaret Barber, Churwell

Course a great idea for scheme

It was great to see Groundwork’s ‘Men in Sheds’ community learning course featured recently in (YEP, November 12).

This is a fantastic scheme commissioned through Leeds City Council’s Community Learning Programme and funded by the Skills Funding Agency.

The purpose of the community learning fund is to maximise access to community learning for adults, bringing new opportunities and communities together to experience the joy of learning and improve lives.

Groundwork is among 29 other learning providers appointed by the council for three years to deliver community learning in Leeds.

‘Men in Sheds’ is one of three excellent programmes provided by Groundwork.

It brings together men from a variety of backgrounds to build skills in woodwork but also help improve their confidence, which for a number of reasons may be low. Rather than a traditional carpentry course it provides a more accommodating approach for those men who do not feel able to participate in formal education.

It has been a great success and is set to help over 200 individuals, mainly men, 70 per cent of whom will be from deprived areas.

The overall aim of the community learning programme is to help adults re-engage

with learning and improve the social and economic wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

The ‘Men in Sheds’ programme really shows the importance of the council’s

community learning fund and the impacts of a successful scheme on people’s lives.

Councillor Katherine Mitchell, 
Lead member for Creative & Digital Technology, Culture and Skills, Leeds City Council

Not much help for disabled

LAST week I attempted to get tickets to see Madness at the Leeds Arena.

I went to the arena expecting to find the box office for tickets and disability advice, only to be bluntly sent to the Trinity shopping centre.

After struggling my way to Trinity I eventually found the lifts but couldn’t find customer services or the box office.

After an hour of searchng I had to leave or risk missing the access bus home.

I tried online and it was just as bad. There was no advice on a site that wouldn’t let me book tickets but wanted to sell me cancellation insurance.

Hopefully the telephone booking may work. What dismayed me most is that such a prestigious venue should have such poor accessibility for disabled people.

Tom Spamer, Farsley

Stop the phone messages!

Further to the mention of the Telephone Preference Service (Your Views, November 25), we belong to this and I don’t doubt that they are a help.

However, calls which must be instigated in the UK are still numerous and are a nuisance.

British Gas had a boiler offer all summer. Have you had an accident? Worked in a noisy environment? Double Glazing. Help from the Government for loft insulation. Most of these are recorded messages.

Having mentioned these frustrations I will now engage with TPS again and see if anything can be done apart from purchasing a telephone which bars them, or do they?

Kathleen Craig, Rodley

Don’be quick to judge illness

So Terry Maunder thinks he’s an expert on mental illness (Your Views, November 28) does he?

While Coronation Street (which incidentally I haven’t watched since Ena Sharples was in it), may not portray the best example, like Steve McDonald I too have gone on “spending sprees” as a way to “make me feel better”.

Mental illness is not something you can help, or categorise, but Mr Maunder obviously knows better.

Liz Goodwill, Leeds

Another awful US import

WITH REGARD to Black Friday, I was appalled to see all those frenzied shoppers.

It was like feeding time at the zoo. The retailers knew this would happen and the public fell for it. I had never heard of Black Friday until last week.

Please, let us not have anymore dreadful American traditions.

It is bad enough that we have the school prom and Hallowe’en.

Kathleen Murphy, Burley