Councillor Ogilvie says “au revoir” to Le Grand Depart

The Black Prince in City Square wearing his yellow jumper knitted by the ladies from Holt Park Active

The Black Prince in City Square wearing his yellow jumper knitted by the ladies from Holt Park Active

Well it maybe “au revoir” to Le Grand Depart which graced our streets a few weeks ago but I thought it might be worth reflecting on this once in a lifetime event from a social care/health perspective and what the legacy from the event could be.

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone across the sector who in the weeks and months prior to the Tour coming to Leeds and Yorkshire worked tirelessly to make sure care services in the city, particularly for those living on or near the route were maintained as much as possible. I know that this required a lot of extra work for people on top of “the day job” and I’m sure at times caused some frustrations and sleepless nights. However, I hope from the reaction of people in Leeds, as elsewhere in Yorkshire, who came out in their hundreds of thousands to see the spectacle, all that effort was worthwhile. Over the weekend of the Tour, staff in Adult Social Care and Public Health alongside colleagues in the health service worked tirelessly to make sure services were maintained for service users. And providers of care services such as homecare organisations went the extra mile to make sure their clients were not inconvenienced either.

I went to meet the group of older people from Holt Park Active who had knitted the yellow top for the Black Prince in City Square, as their handiwork was being fitted to the statue. Likewise, the ladies from Holbeck Elderly Aid, who I joined for a cup of tea at their impromptu tea party in City Square, who were rightly very proud of their crocheting of a top for one of the nymphs.

The city centre was abuzz the whole day with all kinds of activities taking place and people of all ages enjoying their city centre together. It made me think however about the issue of how friendly and accessible our city is, particularly the city centre and if one legacy of the Tour could be to strive to making our city more accessible for those who currently do not find it to be so, whether they be older people, people with disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory impairments or mental health issues.

This was very much the basis of the discussion and requests at the Learning Disability take over day of the Council Chamber kicking off Learning Disability week in June. Here we heard loud and clear about the barriers people with learning disabilities face in terms of transport, employment and being able to fully socialise in their city. Subjects that the new Leeds Learning Disability People’s Parliament will be pursuing and seeking real action.

It was also behind the paper I took to the Council’s Executive Board a couple of weeks ago about Age Friendly Leeds. We’ve been accepted as one of only seven UK members of the World Health Organisation’s Age Friendly City Network and the paper highlighted a checklist of measures/areas for improvement the city will have to make if we are to be truly Age Friendly. It’s not just an Adult Social Care issue but a responsibility of every department in the council and indeed of our partners in the city too. The city’s work around creating Dementia Friendly communities such as ‘Dementia Friendly Rothwell’ were highlighted as well as the massive issue of loneliness and social isolation.

We are of course all keeping our fingers crossed that we are successful in our bid to the Big Lottery Fulfilling Lives which could bring up to £6million into the city to help tackle social isolation and loneliness.

International Day of Older People in October in Leeds will have as its theme ‘how do older people view and engage with cultural activity in the city’ and will feed into Light Night on 3rd October ( This is one night of the year when the city centre comes alive with music, dance, performance, and art activity and you see people of all ages enjoying what the city has to offer.

We’ve made great strides over the years on the Changing Places toilet facilities around the city and Safe Places for people with learning disabilities. I have met and will continue to meet with individuals and groups representing those with disabilities, sensory impairments and mental health issues in addition to older people’s and learning disability groups to see how, keeping that legacy of the Tour in mind, we can make our city more accessible for all of our residents.


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Safeguarding Adults campaign – launched today in Leeds !

BettyThis morning we are launching our new Safeguarding Adults Campaign, in Leeds. The campaign is all about preventing abuse of adults with health and social care needs who are unable to protect themselves and also pointing individuals in the right direction if they have concerns about someone’s safety.

The campaign begins today 21 July and will run into the autumn.

Dr Paul Kingston is Chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board, and he tells us why the campaign is needed.

Dr Kingston‘Anyone can come across abuse in all sorts of places and settings so the campaign aims to reach people right across the city and perhaps even beyond. We especially need to reach people involved in looking after others, and people caring for adults at risk in any situation.

People may sometimes see or hear something about the way someone else is being treated that makes them feel uncomfortable – they may suspect something is wrong but not really know what to do about it. One of the aims of the campaign is to encourage people to think about the responsibilities we have to each other and then to do something about it. The campaign message reflects this: ‘doing nothing is not an option’.

We have created a set of images to be used on posters that cover a range of people in different situations. Some of the images are quite hard hitting – here is another example: LCC_ADULT ABUSE_FACEBOOK POSTS_PETER 

People often have little idea who to call if they do suspect a problem, so publicising the contact number is really important. he posters and publicity materials with the number on, will very soon be appearing all over Leeds – on buses, billboards and on city-centre lamp post banners. There will also be smaller posters and leaflets in places such as health centres and one stop centres.

We are trying to cover most of the city but if you know of locations where a poster or leaflets could be appropriate, please let us know and we will try to include them. Contact via the Safeguarding website or email:

The campaign will also run on social media – as well as this blog there is a Twitter feed @BetterLivesLDS and the Facebook page is: so you can get involved with the discussion and pass on the news about the campaign.

This really is ‘everybody’s business’.

Posted in Carers, Health and Wellbeing, Learning disablity, Mental Health, older people, Safeguarding, Working together | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is it on the trolley? volunteering with AVSED

AVSED volunteers in the kitchen

AVSED volunteers in the kitchen

Being a lady of leisure or one who ‘lunched’ (even if it was a packed one I’d made!), has been something that I aspire to in my retirement. It’s fair to say that I work hard, play hard and fulfil my family obligations, and so it feels right that I deserve some ‘me’ time.   But it’s not to be. A life of leisure may be a bit further away than I’d anticipated as I’ve been inspired by the many volunteers who take on a variety of roles such as drivers, cooks and befrienders. Now my spare time might not be so spare after all because I’ve been for a coffee with AVSED and now the lunching has been replaced by volunteering. If I’m lucky though, I may just be able to combine both  Continue reading

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Thanks for the thanks…

The crochet queens get ready for their 'close up' with Sky Sports News

The crochet queens get ready for their ‘close up’ with Sky Sports News

This is the last Tour de France blog from me. It’s been a very strange week as the excitement and anxious anticipation of the Grand Depart that spirited into the city seems to have sprinted away, perhaps on the tail of the peleton fleet. It’s all a little quiet and feels quite subdued but when you work in Adult Social Care, there’s always someone somewhere to drag you from the lull of real life back into a world of loveliness.

This week it seems that every other email has been a congratulatory thank you for all the hard work that the Council and partner teams did to put on the greatest Tour de France show of them all. To be recognised by the good, great and really very important (Chief Officers and Councillors galore!), was surely appreciated by all; it certainly was for me. But today, one email prompted one phone call that topped all the Tour thanks. 6 days after the biggest day Leeds has probably ever had and it seems for the now infamous crochet queens of Holbeck Elderly Aid, the legacy of the Grand Depart really does live on.

So the email. From the wonderful, inspirational, genuine, committed, compassionate and quite, quite extraordinary Elissa, Service Manager from the Holbeck team, a note of gratitude popped into my inbox.

 ‘….Wow we had a great time at Holbeck Elderly Aid and as for City Square and the Press coverage – it was awesome! Many, many thanks to you and the team for all of the support and help that you gave to us during this amazing event for Leeds and Yorkshire…’

For those of you that know me, I’m not the quietest of folk and far prefer to chat than email. And so, on receiving this, I called Elissa back to thank her because without their support, the Grand Depart would have been far less memorable not only for me, but for the thousands of visitors that spotted and then snapped photos of their yellow jersey on the nymph in City Square. What became clear from our chat was that I don’t think either I nor Elissa anticipated quite how HUGE the impact of plenty of men riding in a peleton would have on us and those around us. That and how one group of crafting ladies would save a nymph’s modesty and be remembered in the thousands for a very long time..

Here she shares her thoughts on what a magic was created after they received the call for the crochet queens!

Elissa, what is your role in supporting people of Leeds?
I’m the Chief Officer of Holbeck Elderly Aid, part of the Neighbourhood Network Scheme in Leeds who support people in the community in so many ways. We’re a locally led organisation that help older people in our communities to live independently and really be a part of where they live. We also provide services that reduce social isolation; offer volunteering opportunities and signpost advice, information, and services. More than all of this, we’re like an extended family and, just like our recent Tour de France experience, we have quite a lot of fun too!

What role did you and the people from Holbeck Elderly Aid play in the Tour de France?
The Craft group were invited by Adult Social Care to knit a yellow jumper to celebrate the Tour De France departing from Leeds. A fair few stitches later, the jumper was placed on a nymph statue in City Square, Leeds.  To celebrate this we took our service users, who are older people that live in the Holbeck area of Leeds, to see the statue in situ. The restaurants were so busy in the build up to the event that we decided to have our own pop up afternoon tea and cakes! Table, chairs, proper cups and saucers and a some very fancy cakes too!

Could you describe what made you want to get involved with the Tour de France?  
We just thought that it was such a great opportunity to be able to include the older generation of the City of Leeds. Some of us may not necessarily want to ride a bike again, but we still really wanted to be in the heart of the celebrations and be a part of this fantastic event. It was a proud, proud time for all of us – we couldn’t ever not be involved.

Why did you and the crochet queens end up having a tea party in City Square?
It was so important that the ladies who had given up their time to crochet this jersey, could see their achievements in person and what better way to thank them and celebrate than to have afternoon tea on a lovely sunny day with all of the celebrations going on around them. It was like we were local celebrities! People came to see what we’d done; chatted to us and it felt like hundreds of people took photos of us and the jumper.

I heard you had VIP guests turn up at your tea party! What was that like?
Awesome, just amazing, impossible to put into words, I shall remember this event always. Just amazing community spirit that everyone gave us such support at Leeds City Council. Tom Riordan, Councillor Ogilvie, Councillor Yeadon, professional photographers and the lovely Orla from Sky Sports television who interviewed us. That’s us – a group of ladies from Holbeck on Sky Sports news – you couldn’t make it up! If you’d have said a month ago, that we’d be creating such a stir, I’d have never have believed you. It was unbelievable. I get goose pimples now just remembering it!

You’ve also been heard on the radio and seen on TV and the papers – what was that like?
Surreal, I was more nervous than our ladies, they were amazing, so professional and they made quite an impression! You can’t beat the our Holbeck humour and I think we proved that.

What was life like before and after the Tour de France for you and the crochet queens?
A great build up, exciting, the team spirit at HEA was just amazing. I was walking across City Square and there was Sue Cawthray and Jenny Armstrong setting up afternoon tea, as if it was a common occurrence! And Steve Hall the Transport Manager arriving across the Square with our ladies on the mini bus. Just super…we have not come down yet, what’s next?

We’ve talked of the legacy of the Tour de France, what will you all take away from this experience?
A lasting memory that LCC set this innovative challenge and we ended up in City Square being interviewed by Sky Sports News, and the community spirit around Leeds and Yorkshire, throngs of people on the streets. How it all transpired.

Any final Le Tour thoughts?
Well done Leeds and well done our ladies of Holbeck Elderly Aid Craft Group!

- Well done from me too.
   Lizzie Whewell

Posted in Achievement, Active ageing, Carers, Choice, Health and Wellbeing, Independence, Information, older people, Personalisation, Safeguarding, Social Isolation, Transforming care services, volunteering, Working together | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Tour de force for the Tour de France



The start of something special

Last Saturday, staff from the council’s Adult Social Care services were right in the heart of the city for the Grand Depart. They were also lucky to welcome the many Adult Social Care nominated customers and winners who had access to the best seats in the house in the Grandstand area. From their recollection, it seems it was all a little emotional (in a good way)!

Continue reading

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His Cycling Sporting Life

Alan Edmondson (photo taken by photographer Casey Orr)

Alan Edmondson (photo taken by photographer Casey Orr)

How long is a sporting career? It can be very short, brought to an end by unexpected injury, fading talent or even age – sometimes it’s a shockingly young age – or it can seemingly go on for ever. At the end of this week, Yorkshire will be in the grip of Tour de France fever. 200 cyclists, some just beginning their career, some near their end, will take over the roads.  Fans and tourists will watch as they speed past, wondering who will be champion, awed by their grit and determination or remembering past triumphs. Some might even be inspired to get on a bike themselves. For many just to cycle to work or the shops but for some it will be the start of a lifelong passion.

For Alan Edmondson, aged 81, living in Horsforth, who still cycles hundreds of miles every week along the roads of Yorkshire, it is a passion. Even now he and his wife Pat, aged 78, saddle up their tandem and go for a spin. I met up with Alan to find out how his love of cycling had kept him healthy, and what it is that keeps him cycling after all this time. Continue reading

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Tour de France memories are made of this

Peter with one of the bikes he has presented to be used at the West Yorkshire Playhouse by the actors onstage in Beryl from 30 Jun – 19 July

Peter with one of the bikes he has presented to be used at the West Yorkshire Playhouse by the actors onstage in Beryl from 30 Jun – 19 July

What is a memory? These days we can use videos, photographs and social media to create artificial memories which are great to look back on. But what if your day to day memory started to let you down? Should you resign yourself to not being able to join in events with your friends and family?

Leeds is a Dementia Friendly City and wants to show it is possible to make a global sporting event accessible to everyone including those people living with memory problems and dementia. The Tour de France raises powerful memories as shown by Peter Jervis, a person living with dementia, who reflects on sharing a cuppa with the famous Beryl Burton in his cycling youth.   And thanks to the Sporting Memories Network there is a way to store new memories.   Continue reading

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