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Unique Radio/Theatre Collaboration, “Partition” Marks Defining Moment in India’s History

Vanessa Nuttall, Celia Hutchinson, Mez Galaria, Stefan Escreet, Balvinder Sopal, Darren Kuppan, Dominic Gately and Nick Ahad. Photography by Jacob Tomlinson

West Yorkshire Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds have collaborated to present Partition, a unique radio broadcast and live performance marking the 70th anniversary of the division of India and creation of Pakistan.

This specially commissioned radio play, written by Leeds writer and established arts journalist Nick Ahad, explores the devastating legacy of a religious division which cost around a million lives.

Enacted from the perspective of a modern day couple, Partition explores how the history of the Indian sub-continent continues to tear families apart many years after the events of 1947. As Muslim Saima and Sikh Ranjit prepare for their wedding hate threatens to destroy their union. Will love or hate prevail?

Partition will be broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds (and a number of other BBC local radio stations) at midnight on 14/15 August, marking the exact time when the British partitioned India 70 years ago. It will then be performed live in the Playhouse’s Courtyard Theatre from 8 September.




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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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Watching Out for Nidderdale Wildlife

The Rivers Nidd, Skell and Washburn tumble through some of the most charismatic landscapes in the Yorkshire Dales and provide a home for an array of wonderful wildlife. This area is the focus of The Wild Watch – a new Yorkshire Wildlife Trust project.

Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty recently received a grant of £295,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for The Wild Watch. This visionary new project will involve people running a health check on the wildlife of this important area. It aims to check the ‘health’ of 50 different plants and animals that call Nidderdale home.

Much of Britain’s wildlife has been either lost, or is under threat, for various reasons, including land use and changing climate. The decline of some species is well documented and concerned organisations are taking action to try and reverse the trend. But sometimes, plants and animals start to decline and we only notice when it is too late.

“Many people love Nidderdale for its inspiring landscape and wonderful wildlife”, said Alice Crosby, Wild Watch Project Officer. “But all is not well and we want to take action to help some of the declining species recover. To know where to target our efforts we need help from naturalists, local enthusiasts and residents, so we can build up a picture of what wildlife we have and where it is, a kind of nature audit.”

Alice is planning a series of workshops and events throughout the year to inspire people about Nidderdale’s wildlife and to train people to help with the surveys. “We have had a lot of supportive comments from local naturalists which is a great start”, she said. “I feel that The Wild Watch offers a fantastic opportunity for other people, who have perhaps not done anything like this before but love the area, to get involved too.”



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PHAB Urgently Needs Volunteer Drivers!

PHAB BUS KEY HANDOVER 10 Feb 2017_0694


PHAB (Physically Handicapped/Able Bodied) has two brand new vehicles but is short of drivers to take its members to the PHAB Club at the Prince Philip Centre on Friday evenings.

PHAB Club caters for people of all ages who have a physical disability, mild learning disability or life limiting illness, alongside able bodied buddies. Members meet up on Friday evenings and on PHAB outings, residentials and playschemes for friendship and fun.

Due to retirements and relocations, the charity is looking for reliable volunteers to drive PHAB vehicles on Friday evenings and for other events. Drivers collect members from home and take them to the PHAB Club in LS7. Volunteers must be fit, with a clean licence,aged between 25 and 70. PHAB asks for two current referees, and will organise DBS and training in safe-guarding, MIDAS and basic first aid.

For further information, please email Ann Hart PHAB Secretary on or





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Post-Grad Open Events at Leeds Trinity University


Open Graph - Home


Take Your Career to the Next Level with a Postgraduate Degree from Leeds Trinity University

Do you want to continue your studies after your undergraduate degree? Progress in your career? Change career? Or do you want to explore in-depth a subject that you’re passionate about?

Whatever your motivation, Leeds Trinity is holding a series of Postgraduate Open Events where you can discover how to develop your skills and enhance your career prospects. You will also receive finance information and details on how to apply.

PGCE Open Event

If you’re interested in becoming a teacher you can find out about their Primary and Secondary PGCE programmes and the different pathways available at their PGCE Open Event on Saturday 25 February, 10am – 12.30pm. Subject areas offered range from Art to Science. Book your place today –

Postgraduate Open Evening

If  taking your studies to the next level  appeals to you, or you’re looking for a change in career, their Postgraduate Open Evening on Wednesday 1 March, 5 – 7.30pm is the one to check out.

Book your place via


For more information on Leeds Trinity postgraduate courses, visit  or call 0113 283 7150

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Let Your Child Step Inside the World of The Arabian Nights


Blah Blah Blah Theatre Company presents A Tale to Tell at Carriageworks Theatre, on Wednesday 1 June.

Building on the success of their critically acclaimed shows for young children such as Rummage and Hide and Seek, Blah Blah Blah are back with a tale that celebrates the rich world of Arabic storytelling.

A Tale to Tell blends English, Arabic and exciting shadow play to tell familiar stories such as Sinbad the Sailor. But this is a performance with a difference, inviting you to step inside to become a part of the story and to help with the telling of a new tale.

Based on The Arabian Nights, the experience takes place in a tent secretly located in the Palace Gardens. Queen Scheherazade has told her stories of magic and adventure to the King but now she’s run out of ideas and needs help to finish her final story. If you’re brave enough, come and meet her for an enchanting journey into vibrant Arabia.

Blah Blah Blah are specialists in stimulating enquiry and exploration, using compelling stories and high quality participatory theatre made with and for children and young people.

This interactive and charming production is not to be missed!

Wednesday 1 June: 11am & 2pm

Tickets: £6 (£8 adults)

Family Ticket: £24

Age: 7+

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Children Celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight

Schools from across West Yorkshire recently celebrated Fairtrade by designing and delivering their own workshops at a special event at Leeds Civic Hall.

The event, organised by Leeds Development Education Centre and Fairtrade Leeds is part of a wider national programme which aims to raise awareness of the millions of farmers and workers struggling to feed themselves and their families, while supplying our breakfast tables with food and drink, such as bananas, cocoa and coffee.


Fabian Hamilton MP presented schools with Global Learning Charter certificates, for work on valuing Global Learning within school. Greg Mulholland MP presented Bala footballs to students from local schools and then gave a short speech in which he encouraged local sports teams, such as Leeds Rhinos to use Fairtrade sports equipment. Greg congratulated Fairtrade as an organisation for branching out beyond food to other sustainable products, such as the Fairtrade footballs and Rugby balls.

Last week Greg highlighted the importance of Fairtrade Fortnight in the House of Commons by tabling an Early Day Motion (EDM 1137) welcoming Fairtrade Fortnight 2016.


“I really enjoyed attending this fantastic event, which was very well organised by Leeds Development Education Centre,” said Greg . “It is important that young people especially are encouraged to learn about Fairtrade produce and where their food comes from. As the consumers of the future, they have the power to change Britain’s buying habits.
It is terrible that the people we all depend on to grow food are not able to feed themselves and their families. Fairtrade do excellent work supporting these people, but more must be done to support the hundreds of millions of people going hungry across the world.”
“It was a fantastic event with children from across the city creating and delivering wonderful, hands on workshops on Fairtrade,” added Hannah Langdana of the Leeds Development Education centre. “It is another important step in making Leeds a Child Friendly City, where awareness about children’s rights locally and globally is raised. ”

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Cut and Dry: New Babershop Rises Above the Floods to Open on Kirkstall Road


When Janek Makuchowski met up with a group of friends on Christmas Eve he was buzzing with excitement. After more than a decade in the hairdressing profession and months spent sourcing authentic vintage barbershop paraphernalia, he was about to open his own traditional barbers on Kirkstall road.

Unfortunately, the heavens opened on Boxing Day and The Gentleman’s Barber’s location was in one of the areas worst hit by the floods.


The days that followed could have been incredibly dispiriting for Janek but due to sheer determination, perseverance and the help and support of good friends, the shop was bailed out, the Chesterfield furniture was salvaged and the place was in good enough condition to hold a grand opening party last Saturday.


The premises Janek has taken over was a barbers for twenty years previously and with his reverence for, and devotion to the trade Janek is clearly keen to carry on the tradition. Having overcome such a potentially disastrous setback at the outset of his new venture, the future looks bright for The Gentleman’s Barber.

The Gentleman’s Barber
388, Kirkstall Road
Leeds LS4 2HG
0113 3456112

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Tours & Exhibitions at Leeds Town Hall

Town hall

Town Hall Tours

Leeds Town Hall Heritage Tours start again in January, with two tours a month on the last Saturday and last Monday of the month.

Tours take in the Victoria Hall, Court Room, Victorian Cells and the Clock Tower, ending with a trip around the outside the clock tower face to see views of the city. Tickets for the public tours cost £4.50. They also offer private tours for groups of up to 25 people at a cost of £115.

Upcoming public tour dates:
January: Monday 25th, 2.30pm & Saturday 30th at 10.30am
February: Saturday 27th, 10.30am & Monday 29th at 2.30pm
March: Saturday 26th, 10.30am
April: Monday 25th, 2.30pm & Saturday 30th at 10.30am
My Leeds in Focus

The Town Hall has two exhibition spaces and opening in January is an exciting photographic exhibition ‘My Leeds in Focus’, showcasing the images and stories of the amazing buildings, places, people and activities that define Leeds as a city.

The exhibition displays a collection of shortlisted entries from the Leeds Community Foundation ‘My Leeds in Focus’ photography competition.

Open January – March 2016, Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm.

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The Force is With Fulneck Boys!


The weeks running up to the release of the new Star Wars film may have been frantic for its director, J J Abrams, but those weeks have been no less frantic for a couple of young fans from Leeds. Thirteen year old school boys, Jake Ellis and Ethan Newman, both in Year 8 at Fulneck School in Pudsey, Leeds, have been hard at work alongside their Art teacher Mr John Hargreaves. Turning out each week to the School’s Art Club, they have managed to create a five foot (1.5m) replica of the famous Millennium Falcon spaceship, piloted by Harrison Ford in the hit movie.

Their version is a little more down to earth, as it is constructed entirely from old cardboard boxes raided from the recycle bin. It may sound a little low-tech, but it has taken months of work to get to this point, and the resulting model is actually bigger than the boys themselves!

When asked about the project, Fulneck’s Head of Art, John Hargreaves said, “We first started on the project back in late spring, when the movie seemed a long way off. The boys have been coming to our Art Club and adding bits here and there, and their enthusiasm has kept us going. The original idea was from Mr Aaron Murphy, our technician at the time, who is the Schools’ number one Star Wars fan, so it has been quite a multi-generational effort, with the ‘big kids’ working alongside the real kids.”


Model maker Jake explains, “If you look closely, the cockpit contains the Star Wars action figures for Han Solo and Chewbacca, which we picked up on eBay, and they fit perfectly to scale.” When asked which was the most challenging part of the project, his partner Ethan told us, “It was probably keeping my fingers away from the hot glue gun we used, but you only make that mistake once!”

The final model will take pride of place in the Art block, suspended from the ceiling ‘Airfix’ model style, for all the pupils to enjoy. If Mr Abrams needs a couple of spaceship engineers for his next Star Wars movie, he needn’t look in a galaxy far, far away; we have plenty of Yorkshire talent right here to get the job done for him!

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