Leeds Osteoporosis Support Group needs new Committee members…

By Val Kay

The Leeds Osteoporosis Support group is looking for new people to join the Committee (all volunteers) for the purpose of planning local meetings & events.

In particular we are in urgent need of a Secretary for the group who would take notes at Committee meetings (usually held quarterly) and contact speakers.

Full induction to the role would be given and support offered.

Leeds Osteoporosis Support Group is part of but independent from The National Osteoporosis Society. The Leeds group has an exciting programme of speakers for 2017.

Download the programme leaflet or poster for details.

When and Where

The group meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month (except January & August) 2 – 4pm at Oxford Place Centre, The Headrow, near Leeds Town Hall, LS1 3AU.  All welcome.

Contact details

If you are interested in any of the above or would like more information, please contact:

Angela Appleyard, Chairperson 0113 2752368

Jill Beaumont, National Osteoporosis Society Regional Manager for Northern England tel: 01423 779662 email: j.beaumont@nos.org.uk or

Val Kay, volunteer tel: 0113 2669666 email: val_virgo1@yahoo.co.uk

Help Needed: Can you spare 5 minutes to help Leeds University student design revolutionary new plant watering device?

University of Leeds student Annalise Hughes is developing the first watering can reminder system, which prompts the user to water their plants when the soil becomes too dry.

There are numerous apps and small indicators on the market to remind people to water their plants but these reminder alerts can easily be ignored.

The product is primarily designed to help people with dementia but is suitable for a much larger audience, reminding users to water their plants regularly, encouraging them to get outside and interact with their plants which research proves can be extremely therapeutic.

How it works

This product idea comes in 2 parts, a plant pot which monitors the moisture of the soil, a watering can and a stand for the watering can, which plugs into a household socket.

When the soil is getting too dry the user is reminded to water the plants, and both the pot and watering can will light up to show the user which pot needs watering.

Once the soil is less dry the lights turn off and the watering can, can be places back on its stand.

How you can help

Annalise would love to hear your thoughts and feedback about her design, complete her very short online survey at:


Or to receive an email version of the survey you can email her at mn13aoh@leeds.ac.uk.

Urban Impact Programme

By Gill Crawshaw, Development Worker, PSI Network & Volition

Forum Central is a participant in the Urban Impact Programme, a new collaboration between Sociology in Action at the University of Leeds, Leeds City Council’s Graduate Programme and third sector organisations.

Leanna Hills-Joyce is the sociology student carrying out research for Forum Central about using digital tools.

We would be grateful if you would fill in the survey and indicate whether you would be interested in taking part in a focus group. And please pass this on to other members of your team.

Research overview

As part of the Urban Impact Programme, working with Forum Central, this research aims to find out the digital capabilities amongst health and social care third sector workers in Leeds.

The digital world is expanding and this survey is trying to find out how confident workers are with using online facilities at work. This will enable them to support people they work with to make the most of digital and online tools.

The survey will be used to see how confident workers currently are in using online facilities, and from this what recommendations could be made to improve the current status.

We would appreciate if the survey was returned by Monday 13th March. We will also be holding focus groups so we would be very grateful if you could let us know if you are willing to take part.

Please take part using the link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KD9XMXK


For more information about this project, please contact:

Leanna Hills -Joyce at ss15lhj@leeds.ac.uk or

Gill at gill.crawshaw@forumcentral.org.u

Bramley Elderly Action to manage Bramley Community Centre

By Rob Cook, Communications Co-ordinator, Bramley Elderly Action

Leeds City Council has formally agreed the asset transfer of Bramley Community Centre to Bramley Elderly Action , who will manage the centre as a resource for the whole community to use. BEA hopes to make the move to the community centre in 2017.

The heart of Bramley

The centre, on Waterloo Lane (near Bramley Shopping Centre in the heart of Bramley) was facing an uncertain future. It is currently used by local older people for regular activities such as:

It also hosts a number of community groups, including Bramley Historical Society and Bramley Luncheon Club.

BEA is very keen that those groups continue to use the centre, and for others to do so too, as well as it being used for more one-off family and community events.

BEA will also move their staff to the building.  BEA will continue to run activities for the whole community from Bramley Lawn (which they took on as an asset transfer in 2014).

Easier access for local people

Together, the two centres will give much easier access for local older people to BEA staff and activities. BEA will continue to run activities and services for older people across the Bramley, Swinnow and Stanningley areas.

Overwhelming local support

Visitors to an open day BEA held at the Centre in October 2016 showed overwhelming support for the change, and the initiative also has the full support of the three Bramley & Stanningley Councillors: Caroline Gruen, Julie Heselwood and Kevin Ritchie.

The Council’s decision invites BEA to take on a 25 year lease with a peppercorn rent. The Council will carry out essential repair work identified in a recent condition survey before the lease begins.


CINAGE Filmmaking for Active Ageing – New Course Announced

“It’s been absolutely amazing because I’ve done things that I didn’t realise I could do… It’s been a journey. I’ve never, ever done anything like this before. I’ve been so hands-on in it… it’s broadened my horizons”
CINAGE participant 2016

Filmmaking for Active Ageing is a course for people of 60 years and over who want the opportunity to make films that tell their story. From April to November 2017, you will attend regular Tuesday evening workshops – and some weekend workshops – at Leeds Beckett University’s Northern Film School, on screenwriting, directing, producing and editing, you will watch and discuss films, and you will talk about your experience of ageing.

In mid July you will take part in a two week long production period, where you will collaborate with professionals and Northern Film School students, with state of the art equipment, in the making of a short film. Then, from

September through November you will be working on editing the picture, music and sound until you reach a final version which will be screened at the Hyde Park Picture House in early December.

Contact Dave Turner on 0113 812 3330 or email D.P.Turner@leedsbeckett.ac.uk for more information.

‘It has opened up a new page in the book of my life really, a new page’
CINAGE Participant 2016

Additionally we are hosting a FREE CINAGE screening/participant Q&A at the idyllic Ilkley Cinema on 27.02.2017. Information about that free event can be found via following URL booking link


If you need any further information please contact David Turner



The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness

By Cherril Cliff, Vice-Chair Leeds Older People’s Forum.                  

I was pleased to accept an invitation from Rachel Reeves MP, to attend the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness Round Table Event in Bramley on 2nd February 2017.

The meeting was very well attended, with representatives from around Leeds who are working to support lonely people of all ages.

Rachel Reeves MP talked about the tragic death of Jo Cox in 2016 and her passion to try and address the scourge of loneliness in modern times. Rachel has been honoured to pick up the mantel and take this important issue forward.

All the lonely people

According to the Red Cross, there are 9 million lonely older people in the UK and this is a shocking statistic. The plan is to talk to groups and individuals that work with lonely people and produce a working manifesto for Government.

The Commission will also mobilise the public to help themselves – educating people on how they can become the remedy – whether it be talking to a neighbour, visiting an old friend, or just making time for the people they meet.

The Commission will also target businesses and employer organisations and look at what action Local and National Government can take, to combat loneliness.

The next speaker was Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Executive Member (Leeds City Council) for Adult Social Care, Health and Well-Being.  She explained that there are approximately 37,000 lonely older people in Leeds and the reasons can be personal, private and bereavement.

What’s being done in Leeds?

However, Leeds is lucky to have 37 Neighbourhood Networks and they currently support 21,000 older people and cover the entire city. Councillor Charlwood also spoke about the excellent work being undertaken by Leeds Older People’s Forum ‘Time to Shine’ work, funded by The Big Lottery Fund.

In addition work is taking place in schools, to support younger people.  Leeds City Council is pleased to be working with Jo Cox’s Loneliness Commission.

The meeting then received 3 short presentations.

Lee Ingham, Bramley Elderly Action, talked about different aspects of loneliness and including emotional loneliness.  He gave a bitter sweet case study, of a very lonely older lady that his charity has reached out to, with practical support.

Emily Georghiou, Age UK, explained her organisation’s work with lonely older people and the links with Leeds and the Time to Talk initiative, with the ‘No one should have no One’ ethos.

Her colleague, Heather O’Donnell, from Age UK Leeds, told the meeting about a very good hospital initiative they are involved with and, with Time to Shine funding, they can offer support at home, to people recently discharged from hospital.

Emily Axel, Time to Shine, gave a short, engaging presentation, explaining that 33 projects in Leeds are receiving funding, with the express intention of tackling loneliness and social isolation.  They are learning what is effective, via  thorough evaluation and working with small local groups.

Questions & Answers

The final part of the meeting was opened up for questions and answers and some very interesting contributions, highlighting innovative work with lonely people in Leeds and some of the challenges of identifying those who are in need of support and the perennial problem of funding.

Next steps

Rachel Reeves MP closed the meeting with thanks to those in attendance and that this is just the start of this important ‘call to action.’ She said that 13 partner organisations have already signed up to the Loneliness Commission and other groups can affiliate and have imput in the future.

Over the coming months ‘spotlights’ will highlight different issues nationally and the Loneliness Commission Manifesto will ‘knock on the door of Government.’ She concluded, by urging people to keep the conversation going and once again praised some of the excellent work taking place in Leeds.


Welcome In Community Centre 

By Ailsa Rhodes, Project Co-ordinator, OPAL

OPAL is very proud to announce that we have moved into Welcome In Community Centre and that we have reached the stage where we will soon open the doors of our community space.

Our new address is: Welcome In Community Centre, 55 Bedford Dr, Leeds, LS16 6DJ

Open Day

An Open Day is planned on Saturday 25th Feb 11am – 3pm.

We have raffles, tombola, stalls, children’s activities, Rhino’s rugby players and Ronnie the Rhino, the café will be open, the police will be putting on a ‘crime scene’ for children and young at heart to investigate and much more. Come along and join us!


Back in 2014 we identified that OPAL needed secure premises for our staff, volunteers, members and activities.

The Bedford Arms was vacant and the challenge was whether we could find enough funding to purchase it and make it our new home. In January 2015 fund raising started and by June 2015, through donations, buy a brick, extra fund raising activities and grants we had enough money to buy the building. But that was only the start!

Since then renovation work has included land clearance, roof repair, repointing, removal of asbestos, installation of a fire alarm, kitchen renovation for the Community Space, plastering, redecorating and a new Café space, to name but a few.

The renovation project is set to continue as OPAL still raise more money to cover two large activity rooms, a therapy room and a meeting room which will further enhance the offering of this Community Space.

Open to the wider community

The Welcome In is to be a Community Centre which will be open to the wider community to provide a safe, accessible and affordable community space.

Initially we will open the Community Café on 2 days a week from March. Our aims are to bring together members of the community, particularly older people and those at risk of isolation or disadvantage, be a central location for community events and provide volunteering and work experience opportunities for all sectors of the community.

More information

website: www.opal-project.org.uk
Email: admin@opal-project.org.uk 
Tel: (0113) 261 9103

Neighbourhood Network Schemes: The Jewel in the Leeds Crown

By Sean Tunnicliffe, Communications Officer, Leeds Older People’s Forum

A few days ago Bill Rollinson (LOPF Chair) asked me a favour. He wanted me to scan some documents which came from the dark ages when everything had to be typed and photocopied or even duplicated (older readers may now be reminiscing about the smell of duplicating fluid on newly printed paper).

One of the documents was the first annual report from Belle Isle Elderly Winter Aid (BIEWA) from 1986/87. BIEWA was the first Neighbourhood Network Scheme (NNS) in Leeds and Bill played a big part in setting up the scheme.

This got me thinking about the NNS and how important they have become to health and social care for older people in Leeds and how lucky we are to have them. It seems timely to talk about them as the latest NNS Review has just finished so the NNS Manager’s will now have time to read this blog.

What are the Neighbourhood Networks?

There are 35 Neighbourhood Networks in Leeds of various sizes and capacity.

According to the most recent figures I have (which are from 2016) there are 166 paid staff working for the NNS.

They also have around 2,000 volunteers who help provide services to over 21,000 older people each year. I don’t know how many hours these volunteers give so I can’t put a figure on how much money this equates to so let’s just say they are priceless.

The services provided by the Networks are too numerous to mention but include: befriending; luncheon clubs; trips and outings; exercise sessions; crafts etc. they also offer home based and one-to-one support and act as a gateway to other services.

Community based services

Being community based means Networks will have a good understanding of their member’s needs. As the schemes cover all areas of Leeds’ different postcode areas they naturally have a wide and varied demographic.

I feel it’s fair to say that they are a lifeline for many older people in their respective neighbourhoods and are likely to be more so in the coming years. Money is getting tight and local authorities are feeling the squeeze and Leeds is no exception.

It is therefore likely that the Neighbourhood Networks will face increased expectations not just because of the economic position of the Local Authority and other funders but also the changing demographics of older people.

Third Age becoming the Fourth Age

We have often referred to older people as the third age but  as life expectancy has increased we have developed a fourth age. There are more older people aged 80+, Neighbourhood Networks generally provide services for people aged 60+ (though some offer them from 55+).

This means that families often have two generations of ‘older people’ (although many of today’s 60 year olds don’t consider themselves to be old). Networks have spoken to us about the issues of younger older people which sometimes include drug or alcohol dependency which is something they haven’t had to deal with before.

People living longer means more risk of diseases such as dementia and Neighbourhood Networks are responding to this by becoming dementia friendly and opening up dementia cafes.

The Networks also play a vital role in helping older people to live independent lives. A good example of this is that in 2014 there were 2,714 reported  instances of Networks helping to avoid hospital admission.

Local but not national

I’ve never been fully able to understand why other local authorities in the UK haven’t copied the model. Whether it’s the cost and logistics of setting them up or maybe they’re not aware of the schemes.

If they’re not aware of them then maybe we need to shout about them more because they are brilliant and we should let everybody know. As well as doing fantastic work  the schemes provide unbelievable value for money which is vital in the current economic climate.

You can get more information on the Neighbourhood Network Schemes in Leeds on the Neighbourhood Network Scheme Map

Intergenerational work back on the LOPF agenda

Back in September LOPF spoke about our plans to do an update of our report Generations Together which we produced in 2013. This updated version will only be available online.

We asked organisations for examples of inter-generational work they were doing in Leeds that could be featured in the report.

We had hoped to have a draft done by the end of 2016 but due to a change in circumstances at Forum Central we had to out the report on the ‘back burner’.

Ready to go
We are now ready to start work on this report and so once again we are asking for organisation who have done inter-generational work to come forward so that we can highlight and promote what is being done in Leeds to bring generations together.

What we are looking for
We are looking for organisations from the third, statutory or private sector who are willing to be involved with this project and who want to tell everyone about the inter-generational work they do and the benefits it brings to everyone involved (young & old alike).

A city for all ages
We are really keen to promote Leeds as a ‘city for all ages’ and demonstrate how good it is to bring young and old people together and how it can break down barriers, assumptions and stereotypes and make the different generations realise how much they have in common.

Next steps
We hope to get enough interest to start work and the publication will be a similar format to the original version a copy of which you can download at http://bit.do/gen2gether to give yourself an idea of what it is we are looking for.

If you have a project or scheme that you would like to be considered please contact Sean Tunnicliffe by email or ring (0113) 244 1697

Download the flyer for more info

Dying Matters in Leeds

Following the success of the 2016 event, the Leeds Dying Matters Partnership will be holding a launch event for Dying Matters week 2017 at the Leeds City Museum in Millennium Square.

The date

The event will take place on Tuesday 9th May 2017, from 11am to 3pm and will include a range of stalls, workshops, and activities themed around planning for end of life.

Who will be there?

A range of council, NHS, voluntary and private sector services will be represented at the event, with staff available to offer information and advice on matters concerning end of life issues. Refreshments will be available.

The aims of the Dying Matters Partnership are:

  • To enable people in Leeds to feel more comfortable talking about death and dying, discuss their end of life wishes with friends, family and/or professionals, write a will, register as an organ donor and communicate their end of life wishes.
  • To enable health and social care professionals and volunteers to feel able to engage their clients in planning for the last years of life.

Please make a note in your diary, and watch out for more details about this important event.

More information

Further information about Dying Matters in Leeds can be found on our website http://dyingmattersleeds.org/

Contact:   Carole Clark, Leeds City Council;
Email agefriendly@leeds.gov.uk | telephone 0113 3783831