Twelve good news stories from 2016

Most people seem to want to see the back of 2016 and hope for something better in 2017, but it’s not all been doom and gloom. Part of South Leeds Life’s mission is to spread positive news about our communities so we thought we would round off the year with just twelve of the many good news stories we’ve featured this year.

Back in January we reported that William Fakes from Middleton had won the national Young Archaeologist of the Year award. William is a regular at the Leeds Young Archaeologists Club with meets every month in Middleton Park.

We went to find out what the Young Dads group at Belle Isle Family Centre does in February. The group meets on Saturdays and the dads support each other with tips of childcare and play.

Hugh Gaitskell Primary School in Beeston celebrated the diversity within the school community by holding a Mother Tongue Day in March. Children wore traditional costumes and taught each other phrases in different languages.

April saw the Cottingley community came together to help Bill Cutler celebrate his 97th birthday in style. Bill is a D-Day veteran so everyone dressed up in 1940s clothes and threw a tea dance for him.

Belle Isle carer Maureen Temperly received some royal recognition in May. Princess Anne was in town to help celebrate Carers Leeds 20th anniversary supporting the unsung heroes who support our elderly and infirm.

The School Council at Hunslet Carr Primary School took the initiative in planning their new playground. We caught up with them in June to see their fabulous new equipment.

Hanif Malik, CEO at Beeston’s Hamara Centre, was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list. In July the Hamara ‘family’ trustees, staff and partners came to together to celebrate. Hanif said: “I hope it’s an inspiration for young people to rise up and make a change in their lives and their communities.”

August saw Hunslet Methodist Church open their new, expanded kitchen. The church already hosts a lot of events including the regular Wednesday Breakfast Club. The new kitchen will make this work easier.

Two girls showed different sides of The Hunslet Club. In September we highlighted how they are excelling in their chosen disciplines: Abby Briggs is a member of the Yorkshire Boxing team, whilst Darcy-Leigh Telford is working with the Northern Ballet Theatre.

In October Cottingley celebrated its first Apple Day having planted what might be the longest orchard in Britain. The community orchard will eventually create a noise barrier between houses and the M621 motorway, as well as plenty of fruit for residents to share.

57 youngsters joined the first ever Cross Flatts junior parkrun (image: Rich Harrison)

57 children aged 4-14 took part in the inaugural Cross Flatts Junior parkrun in November. The free event takes place every Sunday morning at 9am. Children can run or walk the supervised 2km course.

And finally, in December, we spoke to Pat McGeever about Health For All’s 25 years of helping local people to help themselves. She told us “What people need is a place to go; people to meet; and things to do. It’s very simple really. But by breaking down isolation you can achieve so much. Happier people are healthier people.”

Of course there were plenty of other stories we could have featured and if you were involved in any of them, sorry for not including you. We confidently predict there will be plenty more good news stories around South Leeds in 2017. With your help we’ll be there to report on them.

Happy New Year to all our readers.