Archive | Health & Fitness

Crowdfunding Leeds First Urban Vertical Farm



Growing Better is a social enterprise dedicated to creating better mental health through growing edible produce, and has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £20,000 to create Leeds’ first indoor urban vertical farm – in a converted shipping container!

We all know that growing food is good for our mental health, and Growing Better aims to provide a supportive environment that reduces isolation and stress, improves confidence, and provides skills and work experience – all of which helps people get back into society and the workplace.

After a successful summer in 2016 growing baby leaf salad at Red Hall nursery and supplying local shops such as Haley & Clifford on Street lane and The Fruit Stall on Harrogate Rd, the Growing Better team realised that growing outdoors wasn’t going to be sustainable outside the Yorkshire growing season. However people need support with mental health all year round – so they went back to the drawing board and after a lot of research and trials decided to create Leeds first indoor urban vertical farm.

Growing Better’s vertical farm will use hydroponics to grow micro greens, pea and sunflower shoots and wheatgrass. Although new to many people, hydroponics is well understood in the horticultural industry. Most British-grown cucumbers and tomatoes are grown hydroponically, in huge glasshouses. What’s different about Growing Better’s setup is that growing takes place on several levels, hence the term ‘vertical farming’.

Founder Rob Moores told North Leeds Life “When you’re experiencing poor mental health, it can take a huge effort just to get out of the house. We wanted to create our farm in the suburbs that was easy for people to get to, and we decided to build it in a shipping container so we’re not at the mercy of the elements. It also means that it’s secure and fairly portable, and helps us keep costs to a minimum.

“Our crowdfunding campaign is on track, and it recently received a huge boost from Santander’s ChangeMaker fund for social enterprises. If we can raise 50% of our target, the fund will provide the remaining 50% – which effectively means that the value of every donation is doubled!

“Every donation – from £5 upwards, takes us a step nearer to helping people recover from poor mental health. In return for a donation we’re offering some great rewards, and we’re hoping that the community will back us to make this a success, and a first for Leeds.”

You can find out more about Growing Better’s plans and make a pledge to the crowdfunding campaign here


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The Martin House Hospice Colour Run


Dazzle and dash for cash as Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People holds its annual Colour Run on Sunday 23rd July.

Martin House is asking runners from around the region to wear their whitest whites and prepare to be pelted with paint as they run around the 3.5km course at Stockeld Park near Wetherby.

Perfect for families, friends and workmates, runners set off dressed in perfect white and end up as unique works of art as they pass through yellow, blue, green, red and pink paint stations on the route.

“This is the ultimate fun run – you can walk, run or even dance your way round, becoming more colourful as you go. In fact, the brighter you are at the finish line, the better,” said Ellie Barker, events fundraiser for Martin House.

A fitness coach will get the crowd warmed up before the start of the run, and everyone who takes part will receive a Colour Run medal. There will also be Martin House merchandise on sale. Stockeld Park will also be selling cakes and refreshments, and it will be open at a discounted rate for people who have taken part in the run.

Martin House provides care and support to children and young people with life-limiting illnesses throughout West, North and East Yorkshire – along with their families – at its hospice, in hospitals and in their own homes.

It costs £20 for adults, £15 for children (five to 15), £50 for a family ticket (two adults, two children) and group bookings of five or more adults is £15 each. There is also a free goody bag for people who raise more than £50 in sponsorship. You can sign up at, by emailing or by calling 01937 844569.



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Charity Cycling Fun Day to Support Great Britain Transplant Sport Cyclist


Cyclists from across West Yorkshire are invited to take part in a Charity Cycling Fun Day at the Brownlee Centre on Sunday 18th June between 1-4pm.

Proceeds from the event will enable Leeds-based junior cyclist, Esben Rost, to represent Great Britain in the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain later this month.

Esben, aged 13, underwent a life-changing liver transplant in 2008 and, since then, has become a keen, competitive cyclist. His cycling gold medal at the British Transplant Games last July meant selection for the Great Britain Transplant Team for Malaga.

The Fun Day will give the opportunity to ride on the mile-long, traffic-free cycling circuit, part of the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre. There will also be skills sessions and fun races for children and refreshments. Tickets will cost £4 per person.

“I’m really proud to be selected for the Great Britain Transplant team and represent my country at the World Transplant Games,” said Esben. “It would be lovely to see lots of fellow riders at the Charity Fun Day for a great day of cycling to raise funds for me and my team mates to go to the World Games in Malaga.”

The biannual World Transplant Games are supported by the International Olympic Committee. It represents the largest organ donor awareness event in the world with over 2000 athletes from 55 countries competing.

For further details email and to pre-book tickets go to

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Men’s Experiences of Infertility Sought for New Study

Researchers at Leeds Beckett University, together with national charity, Fertility Network UK, are seeking men’s experiences of infertility as part of a new study.

Working in partnership with Fertility Network UK, Dr Esmée Hanna, a researcher in the Centre for Health Promotion Research at Leeds Beckett, and Professor Brendan Gough, Director of Research in the School of Social Sciences, want men to share their experiences of fertility problems, and how they have been affected by infertility, by taking part in a qualitative questionnaire.

“It is suggested that infertility affects one in six couples within the UK; however, relatively little research on fertility issues focuses on men’s experiences,” explained Dr Hanna. “When men’s views of infertility have been sought, they have often been framed via, or complementary to, women’s perspectives.

“We are conducting this new research to find out more about how men understand, experience and cope with fertility issues. The responses we receive will be analysed and publicised to raise awareness of men’s needs. We will also present our findings to health professionals so that men’s concerns are taken on board in advice and support settings for infertility.”

“Men matter too,” said Susan Seenan, Chief Executive of Fertility Network UK. “They are half of the fertility equation, yet far too often their voices are not heard. This online survey is a chance for that to change; we hope it will result in men being able to access the fertility support and advice they need in the most appropriate way for them.”

The anonymous and confidential questionnaire involves answering a number of open questions about men’s experiences of infertility. Volunteers can write as little or as much as they like and they do not have to answer any questions which they do not want to. Only the research team will have access to the data from the survey.

To take part in the questionnaire, please visit For more information, contact Dr Hanna on 0113 812 5916 or

Recent research by Dr Hanna and Professor Gough, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, into the use of online forums by men experiencing infertility, showed that initiatives to help men facing infertility should make use of such online forums and offer remote, anonymous support as well as contact with peers who have shared their experiences. A second study, published in Health journal, examined the emotions displayed by men facing infertility issues when using an online forum and showed that, although men often lack ‘emotional spaces’ to work through their feelings, they are emotionally expressive and willing to seek support.

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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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Carers Leeds Wins National Award


Carers Leeds, which offers support, advice and information to carers recently won a GSK IMPACT Award, recognising  excellence in charities improving health and wellbeing in their communities.

The charity picked up its award at a ceremony in the Science Museum, London, after taking part in a three day development programme with The King’s Fund.

There are 6.5 million carers across the UK supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill. There are thought to be more than 73,000 carers in Leeds, and there has been an increase in the number of carers of working age who are caring for parents. The pressures of caring contribute to significant health and wellbeing challenges, with research by Carers UK showing that 82 per cent of carers believe caring has a negative impact on their health and 55 per cent experiencing depression.

Carers Leeds is committed to improving the lives of the city’s unpaid carers and helping them to continue caring. Based in Leeds city centre, it delivers confidential one-to-one and group support, as well as advice over the phone and online.

The charity has played a key role in reshaping local services around the needs of carers. In 2014, it became the single point of access to services for carers in Leeds, which had previously been divided between five separate organisations. Carers now have just one telephone number to remember and can access a greater range of services.

Carers Leeds is determined to reach out to different groups of carers and to tailor its support to the diverse communities in the city. Identifying particular barriers to mainstream services faced by Gypsies and Travellers carrying out caring roles, Carers Leeds staff have been introduced to a local Gypsy and Traveller site and engaged with the community in promoting information and advice.

The charity also runs other specialist projects, including training for carers of people with living with dementia, and support for bereaved carers and those affected by the substance or alcohol abuse of someone they know.

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LGBT Communities in Leeds Experiencing Mental Health Crisis


Mental health is the number one health and wellbeing priority for LGBT+ people in the city according to community research undertaken by the Leeds LGBT+ Mapping Project.

The survey of LGBT+ people in Leeds found that nine out of ten of the respondents had experienced mental health difficulties that had impacted severely on their day to day life in the last five years. Around 40% of respondents said that they weren’t confident they would be able to find support for their mental health that was appropriate for them.

“Some LGBT+ people in Leeds are having poor experiences accessing mental health support where services and practitioners do not have the cultural awareness or understanding of their lives”, said Anne-Marie Stewart, Community Development Worker for The Leeds LGBT+ Mapping Project. “Research tells us the high rates of mental health difficulties within our communities is driven by experiences of discrimination, violence, bullying and a lack of safe and welcoming spaces.”

The project also found that experiences of homophobic and transphobic hate crime were common to many LGBT+ people in Leeds and ranged from verbal abuse and harassment to sexual assault and physical violence.

The full report can be found here  and the summary can be found here

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Get Kids Active This Spring Bank Holiday at Camp Carnegie

Camp Carnegie, programme of American sports, football, rackets and athletics for children aged eight to 16 will take place this Spring bank holiday week from Tuesday 30 May to Friday 2 June.

Taking place at the Carnegie Sports Centre at Headingley Campus, Camp Carnegie is open to children of any sporting ability.

New to the Camp this year is the specialist football camp, alongside the popular American sports programme including American football, lacrosse, baseball/softball, ultimate Frisbee and dodgeball. Children will also have the opportunity to mix and match their choices of sports during the day. They will have access to some of the finest sports facilities in the country, within the safety of the University’s grounds.

The Camp runs from 10am to 4pm each day, with the option of paying for wraparound care from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Children will be taught by qualified and friendly coaching staff, who will place them into age and ability-appropriate groups.

The athletics programme includes sprinting, hurdling, long jump, javelin, discus and shot put; while the rackets programme features tennis, badminton, squash and table tennis.

The cost of the Camp is £15 for a half day, £25 for a full day, £30 for a full day with wraparound care, and £18 for a half day with care.

For more information and to register your child for the Camp, please go to or contact Kirsty Mcphee on 0113 812 3737 or by email at

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Forward Leeds’ Ground-Breaking Programme to Stop Overdose Deaths


Lee Wilson and Becky Carroll of Forward Leeds holding the Naloxone kits


In an innovative new policy Forward Leeds, the drug and alcohol service for Leeds has been distributing potentially lifesaving kits to clients. The kits contain Naloxone an opiate receptor blocker along with instructions for use.

Naloxone can temporarily reverse the effect of opiates such as heroin. It binds with the opioid receptors and removes the opioids from these receptors. This has the effect of quickly bringing someone round in the event of an overdose and saving their life.

Senior management at the service say they are pleased to be able to roll out this important programme across Leeds for the first time and make the kits available to everyone who needs one.

“We have been distributing Naloxone kits to clients since the beginning of March this year,” said Lee Wilson, Area Manager for Forward Leeds. “Most opioid overdoses are witnessed by friends, partners or family members. There is often someone on hand who could have administered Naloxone and prevented a death if the kit was there and they knew how to use it.

“They are being distributed by our Recovery Coordinators and by staff at harm reduction services across Leeds. We have already had three used packs returned for replacement. Potentially that’s three lives saved. That’s someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, father or mother who is alive because of the kits we are distributing. They are life savers.”

Forward Leeds supports adults and young people to make healthy choices about alcohol and drugs. They reduce risk-taking behaviours through dedicated prevention, early intervention and tailored programmes. Their experts support people to achieve and sustain recovery.

Forward Leeds was commissioned by Leeds City Council and three Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups.

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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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