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Emotional Support Can Make a Difference


This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) Samaritans in Leeds are joining organisations across the UK to show how donating your time can make a huge difference to the lives of others.

Echoing the findings of its Dying from Inequality report released earlier this year, Samaritans is highlighting the particular need for emotional support for those who are disadvantaged, as they are more at risk of suicide.

“I would say that in many of the calls I take, deprivation is a factor,” said Samaritans Chair Jenni McCartney. “It could be anything from debt to housing issues, job insecurity to relationship breakdown or bereavement. There is often some level of disadvantage, which can aggravate those challenges and make people more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.”

Jenni, who has been a volunteer for more than thirty years, is one of more than twenty thousand Samaritans volunteers who offer support to anyone who may be feeling overwhelmed, by phone, email, text, letter or face to face.

Samaritans volunteers in Leeds can also be found everywhere from schools, workplaces, communities, charity shops and prisons.


Since September 2015, Samaritans has offered calls to its 116 123 number for free, removing any financial barrier to calling, with support from telecoms companies and the Big Lottery Fund. Last year, its volunteers made a difference by responding to more than 5.7 million calls for help, an increase of 300,000 on the previous year.

“Samaritans volunteers can make the difference between someone getting through tough times, or not. But we’re just one part of the equation,” said Alwyne Greenbank Director of Leeds Samaritans. “Suicide is an inequality issue. For example, if you are male, middle-aged and from the poorest background you are ten more times at risk of suicide than if you’re from the richest. We want to see everyone from politicians and policy makers to employers and educators working together to reduce inequality and ensure that resources are targeted at those who are most at risk.”

Samaritans Leeds would like to mark the week by thanking everyone who gives their time to help achieve its mission, that fewer people die by suicide.

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Experiences of Carers of People with Cancer & Dementia Sought for New Study


A Leeds Beckett University researcher is looking for volunteers to share their experiences of caring for someone with both cancer and dementia.

Mollie Price, a Psychology PhD student within the School of Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett, is looking to uncover the unmet needs of carers of people with both cancer and dementia as part of a new research project which will result in the creation of a support programme delivered by Carers Leeds.

Mollie is looking for volunteers to take part in one-to-one interviews with her, which can take place wherever the carer feels most comfortable. Interviews will take from 60 to 90 minutes. Refreshments will be provided and any expenses and carer replacement costs will be covered. As part of the interview, volunteers will be asked to talk about their experiences as a carer, and their challenges and supportive needs.

“By 2020, almost 50% of the UK population will develop cancer in their lifetime and, by 2025, there will be more than one million people in the UK with dementia,” said Mollie. “Therefore, the number of people living with two or more chronic conditions, which is known as comorbidity or multi-morbidity, is expected to rise in the coming years. This includes people living with co-occurring diagnoses of cancer and dementia.

“While previous studies have explored the experiences of carers of adults with more than one chronic condition, none have focused on carers of people with both cancer and dementia. The findings from the interviews will inform the next stage of my study, which will be the development and testing of a support programme or approach to be delivered by Carers Leeds to help address carers’ support needs. I don’t yet know what this support will look like because it will be based on what carers tell me they need, but examples of carer support for other conditions include education, coping skills training, social support groups, improving communication between carer and care-recipient, and help with problem solving. I hope the support programme or approach will help to improve carer health and wellbeing and improve outcomes and quality of life for the person they care for.”

Earlier this year, Mollie won the prize for the best three-minute-thesis oral presentation on her doctoral research at the British Psychosocial Oncology Society (BPOS) 2017 annual conference at the University of Oxford.

If you are a carer and may be interested in taking part then you should be providing, or have provided (within the last five years), unpaid care to someone with both cancer and dementia, be over 18 and speak fluent English. For more information, or if you would like to take part, please contact Mollie Price on 0113 812 8969 or or contact Carers Leeds on 0113 246 8338.




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Surprise Singing Event for Dementia Awareness Week


Dementia Friendly Leeds is holding a surprise singing event on Saturday 20th May at 2.30pm at St John’s Shopping Centre, on Merrion Street.

This is part of Dementia Awareness week and aims to bring together people living with dementia, carers, family members and the general community.

There will be several dementia inclusive groups taking part, including ‘Singing for the Brain’ in Chapel Allerton, ‘Giving Voice’ choir in the city centre and Alzheimer’s Society Leeds. The groups hope to raise awareness of dementia in a fun way.

“Its great to be a part of this event and helping to raise awareness of dementia,” said speech and language therapist Wendy Neill, who manages Giving Voice Choir. “Hopefully we can show the pleasure singing brings and that you can live well with dementia. It would be great if we inspire someone to join a singing group.”

Everyone is welcome to come and watch or join in. Dementia Friendly Leeds aims to share the message that living with dementia doesn’t mean you are unable to do things you enjoy or get involved with the local community.

If you want to learn more about Dementia Friendly Leeds or Singing Groups contact Leeds Dementia Action Alliance on: 0113 244 1697 or email


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Forward Leeds Runs Leeds Half Marathon for The Crypt

Suzanne Macklin, Rob Lumley, Nicola Lines & Kyle Walker from Forward Leeds


Staff from drug and alcohol service Forward Leeds are running to raise funds for the homeless charity St George’s Crypt.

Six members of the team at Forward Leeds are running in the Leeds Half Marathon on the 14th May and raising money for St. George’s Crypt.

St. George’s Crypt is a Leeds based charity set up in 1930 to help people suffering from homelessness, addiction and other vulnerabilities, offering food, temporary accommodation and a range of other services.

“Our runners have been training hard for this”, said Nicola Lines from Forward Leeds. “We want to make as much money as possible for St George’s Crypt. We help and support people from a variety of backgrounds and in all circumstances at Forward Leeds. St. George’s Crypt offers assistance to our clients. We all feel passionate about helping vulnerable people and we wanted to run to show our support for the great work they do.”

To sponsor Team Forward Leeds visit



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Marc Raises £1,000 for Barnardo’s


Marcellus Springer from Horsforth recently raised £1,000 for Barnardo’s by writing two colourful children’s books of poetry – ‘There is a Mouse…’ and ‘There is a Spider…’ illustrated by Justin Leeming.

The books were written for Marc’s four grandchildren after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and printed as a fundraising exercise for friends and family. Although Marc’s movement is very restricted, he writes by moving his eye and focusing on a dot on his glasses, which allows him to operate a keyboard.

“Marc has always written poems and our intention was only to produce a few books for family and friends, but it has snowballed”, said Anne Springer, Marc’s wife. “We’re delighted to have raised so much for Barnardo’s. Marc particularly wanted to help a children’s charity.”

Until he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2012, Marc was a keen runner. He was secretary of Horsforth Harriers Running Club and enjoyed both road and fell running.

Copies of the books (£5) are available from Barnardo’s Leeds Support Office, Rockford House, Low Lane, Horsforth, LS18 5QW. Tel: 0113 393 3200, or


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Dementia Friendly Leeds Awarded Funding to Support Local Communities


Dementia Friendly Leeds, hosted by the Leeds Older People’s Forum, recently received a Third Sector Health Grant of £24,613, which will be used to support two communities in North Leeds to become dementia friendly (these have not been chosen yet, contact for details). The grant is from NHS Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group, and is part of a CCG programme worth nearly a million pounds, managed by Leeds Community Foundation.

The grant will be used to employ a Dementia Friendly Leeds Communities Officer, who will work closely with two communities to set up services for people living with dementia, and raise awareness amongst local organisations and residents. The project aims to share the message that it’s the small things that can make a big difference to people living with dementia.

“Working closely with a specific area will ensure that people have awareness of dementia on a very local level”, said Sarah Goodyear, who manages dementia friendly work citywide. “Whether it’s the bank, school or cafe, the whole community will work together to ensure people with dementia feel supported, understood and able to contribute to their community.”

Dementia Friendly Leeds has also secured funding to continue its work supporting organisations. It offers free support to all organisations that want to learn about dementia, and how they can adapt their services and environment to be more dementia friendly.

For more information, visit


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First Women & Girls Forum a Great Success


Chair Kate Bratt-Farrar and Deputy Chair Marvina Newton

Women from across Leeds and all walks of life, came together recently and worked to identify the priorities to make Leeds the best city for women and girls.

The Forum, organised by Women’s Lives Leeds, is part of Leeds City Council’s Equalities Assembly, and is the city’s platform for all women and girls to discuss issues they face. Attendees were asked to pick their top three priorities from a list of over 30 and what emerged were concerns in the areas of employment, violence against women, and safety. These issues will now be tackled by the Forum.

The group also elected Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive of Sue Ryder Wheatfields, as Chair, and Marvina Newton, CEO of Angel of Youths, as her Deputy, who will take on these duties for the next year.

For further information about Women’s Lives Leeds, or to attend the next Forum in June, please contact 0113 380 4796,, or visit


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A Run Just for Kids at Temple Newsam


Radical Run has designed an obstacle course just for children. The 3km course at Temple Newsam will take place on Saturday 29th April and has some amazing inflatable obstacles that children (aged 5 – 14) can run, jump, climb and slide over. It is challenging, fun, and a great day out for the family.

Safety is paramount. All obstacles are marshalled by at least two marshalls who will encourage the participants and help make the day enjoyable. Of course, there are loads of other family activities at Temple Newsam, including the farm, playparks, and walks. In addition, the team from Kings Camps will be providing free entertainment for children from age three and up.

Run with friends

Advanced tickets are required to participate and can be purchased via, spectators are free. There are two start times – 10am for high school age children, and 12 noon for primary school ages.

Representatives from Martin House Children’s Hospice will be there promoting their work. The hospice provides care, support and practical help for children and young people with life limiting conditions and their families. Visit their stall and find out how you can help.




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Student Jazz Night to Benefit Breast Cancer Haven

GSAL Jazz Club vocalist Niamh Hendron

GSAL Jazz Club vocalist Niamh Hendron

GSAL Jazz Club at The Grammar School at Leeds is holding a special gig to raise money for Breast Cancer Haven, Yorkshire, on Friday 17th March, 7.30pm in the school’s theatre foyer.

Talented student vocalists will team up with a professional jazz ensemble consisting of Adrian Knowles (double bass), Jason Scott (piano), Alex Hogg (guitar), and Gordon Kilroy (drums). As well as classics from the Great American Songbook, there will be interpretations of familiar pop tunes.

Sponsored by Daleside Brewery, this is the second year that the Jazz Club at GSAL has raised funds for Breast Cancer Haven, which exists to improve the quality of life for people affected by breast cancer by providing emotional, practical and physical support.

Tickets (£7/£5) are available from



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School Children Say ‘No’ To Exploitation


Children from 15 primary and secondary schools across Leeds, will come together during Fairtrade Fortnight on Thursday 9th March to run an afternoon of workshops which they have planned around the theme ‘Take a Break for Fairtrade’.

The aim is to educate each other about Fairtrade and how it is enabling farmers around the world to earn a fair wage and lead dignified lives. Supported by Leeds DEC and the city’s Fairtrade group, the seventh annual Fairtrade School Celebration is taking place next Thursday 9th March at Leeds Civic Hall. The official opening is at 1pm with speeches by the Lord Mayor of Leeds and Councillor Mulherrin.

During the event the children will run workshops, including child slavery in the cocoa trade, Fairtrade trivial pursuit, chocolate tasting and learning about the journey of the cocoa bean. Throughout the afternoon, they will be thinking about effects of unfair trade and at 2pm will symbolically break a giant paper chain covered in words relating to exploitation.

For some of the participants this will be this first time they have organised peer-education activities, for others they enjoyed it so much last year they are taking part again!

“It’s really exciting to run a workshop at the Civic Hall and work with other children”, said Poppy Fletcher (8) from Ireland Wood Primary School.

Fairtrade Fortnight occurs in February/March every year and people all over the UK raise awareness about the positive difference it makes. Leeds is a Fairtrade City and many organisations and businesses support Fairtrade. More widely, Yorkshire led the way to become the UK’s first Fairtrade Region in January 2013.



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