YEP Letters: March 4

Geoffrey Boycott.
Geoffrey Boycott.
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Dismayed at Boycott comments

Jack Banner, Meanwood

I feel sure that I will not be the only Yorkshireman to be dismayed and saddened by the incredible outburst by the chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Steve Denison.

His comments regarding the desire of Geoffrey Boycott to rejoin the committee of YCC were most distasteful.

Whilst most cricket fans will know exactly who the target is, I suspect that very few will have any idea who the sniper is.

Call me an old cynic, but I suspect that the whole object of the exercis is to raise the profile of a man that few people even knew existed.

Leave a Yorkshire hero alone Steve Denison and return to your anonymity.

Campaign to oppose housing benefit changes

John Davies, Chair, Hands Off Our Homes

It was interesting to read that Mervyn Jones of Yorkshire Housing has realised that the impact of benefit changes proposed by the government will have a devastating effect on many vulnerable tenants (YEP letters March 1).

He does however appear to be overlooking the threats to social housing contained within the Housing and Planning Bill, currently being debated by the House of Lords, which will reduce the availability of social housing by, amongst other things, extending the right to buy to organisations such as his own.

This was a proposal which the National Housing Federation did not oppose although many individual housing associations with a certain amount of foresight are distinctly unhappy with.

It also seems to me that Mr Jones is confusing the overall housing benefit cap with restrictions to housing benefit caused by the introduction of a Local Housing Allowance maxima.

It is this benefit limit which will mean vulnerable such as pensioners in supported living, those with mental health problems and those fleeing domestic violence will find that the allowable housing benefit will be insufficient to meet the rent demanded by the landlord including Mr Jones.

For far too many months we have been trying to get support for a campaign against these changes.

It seems that there is some movement by the Government but only to the extent that they are feeling under pressure to delay the implementation of some changes.

We need to continue that campaign and to that end we have organised a Housing Summit in Leeds at the Cosmopolitan Hotel on the 12th March at 11.30 am.

We would be delighted to see Mr Jones joining us and we can then explain the difference between the benefit cap and the LHA. Mr Jones can also help us by trying to explain to us how his Association will be able to continue to provide the sheltered accommodation that is needed without going bust.

Our intention is to bring together those who want to oppose the Government’s housing proposals.

All are welcome – tenants, housing providers (social landlords and councils) and the vulnerable and there will be a national demonstration against the Housing Bill In London on the 13th March.


Happy with church service

Gillian Harrison, by email

In response to two interesting articles recently, by Rev Robin Paterson and Marjorie Godson.

These two contributors are of the opinion that more people should use local churches for their dearly departed funeral services, instead of crematoria. The reasons for this have already been set out, and I totally agree with them, that this is the best way forward.

I can only speak from my personal experience, after losing my dear husband in January last year. I was guided to a certain extent for the funeral arrangements by my funeral directors, but I had made the decision previously, along with my family, that we should approach our local parish church for the funeral service, rather than the crematorium.

What an excellent decision this proved to be. The lady vicar of my parish church, met up with us, we discussed the form of service, and nothing was too much trouble. The church is a large one, which easily accommodated our unexpectedly large congregation. The service was lovely, with the organ playing, it was very uplifting, and I knew I had made the right decision. There was no rush, and we were not expected to vacate the premises in a short time - as at the crematorium. After the service, we then departed for a reception locally.

At our family’s request, we did opt for a “private cremation” in every sense of the word.

After the service in church, we said our goodbyes to my husband, and later, after we had left, the coffin was removed discreetly and with dignity, for cremation, by the funeral directors.

I did feel completely happy and peaceful with my decision to have a church service.

Help to combat loneliness

Denise Marsden, Cookridge

Whilst it is probably great news that we are all living longer, we also know that this has led to a lot of older people outliving their friends and relatives, and loneliness has become the new norm for many, especially when it also brings a dread of leaving the house.

May I therefore recommend trying out the U3A – the University of the Third Age. Although it’s called a university, there is no campus, there are no teachers, only “leaders” – members who are willing to share a particular passion with you – you need no qualifications, and there are no exams to pass. You are free to stop going to a class if you eventually find it’s not for you.

It is a friendly organisation which brings together retired and semi-retired people, run by its members, where you can explore new ideas and projects. There is a modest annual membership fee, but beyond that there may be only a small charge towards the expense of maybe hiring a room for the session, or if equipment is needed. Some “leaders” will open up their own home, with no fee.

There are over 900 U3As in the UK with nearly 400,000 members and new ones opening up all the time. The Cookridge and Horsforth one began in 2008, and now has around 40 subject groups within it. You can find it online at Yorkshire U3As or ring 0787 656 2686, leave your name and number and they will ring you back. The Third Age head office is in Bromley, Kent, 020 8466 6139.

I’ve been a member of the Ilkley and District U3A for several years, and have done various classes. For the past few years I’ve been a member of a craft group. We meet throughout the whole year, knitting and crocheting things for those in need, teddies for kids in war torn countries abroad, or blankets to keep people warm. Our latest project is nearer to home, “twiddlemuffs”. Sounds crazy, but they help to keep the mind switched on when affected by things like Alzheimer’s. When you contact them, let them know if you have problems, like being hard of hearing, or don’t drive, I’m sure someone will come up with a solution.

There are many classes to choose from. It gets you out of the house, and best of all, you make lots of new friends. And if you are housebound but have computer access, there is a virtual U3A online.

Bartering does happen

Edna Levi, Leeds 17

Your recent article on bartering in stores was interesting, but it does take place.

Ask any volunteers who work in charity fundraising shops and they will confirm that it does happen, especially by foreign customers and in spite of the fact that notices are displayed. Another “joke” connected to pricing is when it says (for example) under £200 and the cost is £199.99. Many gullible people fall for this gimmick.

Snow woes

Martin J Phillips, Cookridge

it looks as though the council’s snow-ploughs and gritter teams were completely caught out by Wednesday morning’s snow.

The roads around Cookridge were gridlocked. The number 6 bus stopped running. The ones that managed to get through to Holt Park were returning to Leeds via the number 1 route marked “not in service” as there was already a number 6 bus stuck half way up Tinshill Lane. Do the council ever listen to the weather forecast?