Shared Moments: ‘Freedom Day’ written by Maureen Kershaw

Dear all,

Freedom Day? Well it’s not what I expected when we awaited its dawning some sixteen months ago. When we thought – and hoped – it would happen when a vaccine was found, I made my choice of tune to be played upon the day. Not ‘Freedom’ sung by Aretha Franklin nor ‘Freedom Comes, Freedom Goes’ by The Fortunes ( though this may be more appropriate) but ‘A Brand New Day’ from the Musical ‘The Wiz’. Playing it on Sunday a couple of times instead of Monday, being rather wary of what exactly dawn would bring, it would have been so perfect, if only it meant complete freedom.

Trains and buses in anticipation of many more passengers – the latter certainly increasing numbers onboard to full capacity – must have been quite disappointed. I travelled to town during the ‘morning rush’ to find the same numbers as before and thankfully all wearing masks. Walking around Morrison’s the only customers not wearing face coverings were, shall we say, probably amongst those who discarded theirs long ago. So far so good. A cuppa and catch up with a friend  in M & S Cafe was enjoyed, observing  how tables had been maximised but not the number of takers.

However, I got the gist that the majority of people are continuing with their daily routine as they have chosen so to do until now, never mind what our Prime Minister said was available to us in relaxing the rules. Certainly queuing to enter a nightclub at the midnight hour held no interest to me but there again I would have had to have been approximately 50 years younger to appreciate that.

My trolley will be at my side on the bus or train so I do not have to share a seat with a stranger, consequently I am nervous at the thought of sitting close to anyone unknown to me in a theatre –  for the time being. One thing I did notice in town was the signage still indicating ‘keep left’ or ‘no entry’ plus the floor stickers at one or two metre intervals reading ‘stand here’ although it could be they are stuck fast by now and will stay for the remainder of time.

I’ve never been ‘pinged’ but without the App there’s no chance of that anyway, which is probably a good thing. I still don’t fully understand the workings of leaving one’s name and telephone number as surely the only way one can receive a call to “Isolate” is in the event of someone calling particular establishments to report a case, and how many actually do? We will probably never know with any accuracy.

The Country is in a mess now with short staffing through being pinged, even being referred to as the ‘Pingdemic’ but so far no-one has come up with a name for the rest of us who leave our details on a piece of paper with the assurance that after 21 days, all evidence will be destroyed. Rather like the disappointment of “if you haven’t heard from us within 21 days, your application has been unsuccessful”, except in this case no news is good news . So I will continue with my regular lateral flow tests,  wear a mask, observe safety measures and carry on as though ‘Freedom Day’ hasn’t happened. What a joyous day it will be though when eventually I can play my favourite ‘Wiz’ tune “A Brand New Day” when all this is behind us. I may even join in with the Hoedown section.

Specialist Gardens outing at Roundhay

Good morning,
Below are some beautiful pictures from a recent outing to the specialist gardens and tea room in Roundhay.

The specialist gardens are opposite the Roundhay Fox pub on Mansion Lane, LS8 2EP. There are also specialist gardens in the Canal and Coronation Gardens off Princes Avenue by Tropical World. We had a  look at these too after our cuppa.

The opening hours are: 9am to 3:30pm daily.

  • The Coronation Garden is home to our winning entries to the Chelsea Flower Show. Formerly a kitchen garden there are thousands of rose trees and bedding plants
  • The Monet Garden is based on gardens planted by the impressionist at Giverny in France, was introduced to the park in 1999. 
If you would like to join us on future outings just get in touch. Such outings are born out of members suggestions so please do let us know of other local places you would like to venture to. Open to members, friends and family.
Either email:  or call Mobile: 07436 530073

Covid Roadmap – Legal restrictions end today but caution still needed

The final stage of lockdown easing happens todays so that most legal restrictions are no longer in place but health experts and the government are urging caution as we start to return to normality and reminding that covid is still very much around.

The main changes are means there are now no laws requiring you to wear a mask or social distance and limits on how many people can meet have been lifted.

However the guidance is:

To continue to wear masks in crowded and in indoor public spaces, on public transport etc.  Businesses may still require you wear a mask when you enter.

To meet people outside where possible

Limit the contact you have with people you do not usually live with, including keeping the number of people and the time you spend with them low, and not getting too close to them.

What’s changing in England on 19 July?

Graphic showing changes from 19 July

Social distancing

No limits on how many people can meet
1m-plus guidance removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering)
Face coverings no longer required by law, although the government still “expects and recommends” them in crowded and enclosed spaces
Some shops and transport operators will still require masks
Events and gatherings

Nightclubs can reopen
Pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only
No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
No restrictions on communal worship

Guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries removed. (Those returning from France to England, Wales and Scotland must still quarantine for 10 days)
Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries

Other changes

Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed.

From 16 August, most Covid restrictions in schools – including “bubbles” – will end.

From the same date, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.

Reporting Anti-Social Behaviour in Leeds

There has been an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour in recent months.

Here’s a reminder of what you can do if you are affected by any anti-social behaviour:

You can make a report online at

Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm you can call 0113 222 4402

Outside these hours call 0113 376 0337

If you, or someone else, are in danger please call 999 

There is more information about anti-social behaviour and what the council can do to help at

Coronavirus update from Leeds City Council

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An update on infection rates in Leeds

The overall infection rate is 572.7 per 100,000, up 21% in 7 days. There is some indication this is slowing down compared to other parts of Yorkshire & the Humber, however we expect cases to continue to rise over the summer for potentially a long time due to lifting of restrictions. The Yorkshire & Humber average is 463.4 per 100,000 and the England average is 350.3 per 100,000. Over 60s rate has increased to 127.3 per 100,000, up 61% in 7 days.

How to stay safe from 19 July

The Government has announced that most COVID-19 legal restrictions are set to end in England as part of Step 4 of the Roadmap. From Monday 19 July 2021 there will be no legal requirement to stay 2m apart from people you do not live with. Limits on numbers of people you can meet with will also be removed, as will the instruction to work from home if you can. The legal requirement to wear face coverings will also be lifted.

Thanks to everyone who has done their bit taking up the extra testing and getting the COVID-19 vaccine here in Leeds. COVID-19 continues to be a feature of our lives, so this last step on the roadmap is around learning to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others. Rates of COVID-19 infection are high and continue to rise, therefore even after 19 July we should continue to be cautious, help to reduce the risk of spread and protect people at highest risk of serious illness.

July 19 Social Distance

To keep yourself and others safe, the recommendations are that you:

  • Limit the contact you have with people you do not usually live with, including keeping the number of people and the time you spend with them low, and not getting too close to them.
  • Where possible, meet outdoors and let fresh air into homes and other enclosed spaces.
  • Continue to wear face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces, such as on public transport. Some businesses may also still require you to wear a mask in indoor settings. If they ask, please wear a mask.

Face Coverings 19 July

Many people will be excited about the return to the way things were before COVID-19, whilst others, particularly those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who have been told to take extra precautions, may be more cautious. Think of others when making your own decisions about when to wear a mask and social distance.

Please get both doses of the vaccine when called to make sure you have the highest level of protection. It is also really important that we all continue to reduce the risk of spread by washing hands, socialising outside, getting tested if you have symptoms, isolating if advised to do so and wearing face coverings in high-risk settings such as health and social care services.

Let’s keep working #TogetherLeeds to stop the spread of the virus.

Measures in Leeds schools after 19 July

In Leeds, our school term runs beyond the Step 4 easing of restrictions on 19 July. Government guidance states that schools can choose whether to continue with current COVID-19 safety measures after this date, until the end of the term.

Although schools will make a decision based on their risk assessment and unique circumstances, following discussions with public health and health and safety colleagues, Leeds City Council has advised schools to continue to follow existing risk assessment and control measures until the end of term.

If schools have events and visits before the end of term, they will already have planned these in a COVID-19 secure way and may continue to apply the control measures planned.

Individual schools will confirm their arrangements with their school community.

Schools 19 July

Vaccination update

All adults in England can now book their COVID-19 vaccination. If you have not already done so you also have the option to bring the appointment for your second jab forward to 8 weeks instead of 12.

Please note that you will need to log in to or call 119 and cancel your second appointment before you can rebook. Don’t worry, the system will show you the current availability before you cancel.

If you are over 18 you can grab a jab this weekend at:

  • 338 Trinity Leeds (between Primark and Next) on Saturday from 10:00 – 16:00 for a first dose only.
  • Centenary Pavillion (Elland Road), Lowfields Road, Beeston, LS11 0ES Saturday and Sunday 7:30 – 17:30 for a first dose or second (if at least 8 weeks apart).

If you’d like to attend one of the city’s walk-in vaccination clinics, please visit the NHS Leeds website to find the one most convenient for you.

With infection rates continuing to rise, it’s more important than ever to get a COVID-19 vaccination to protect yourself and your community.

Over 18

Safer Leeds – Antisocial Behaviour Awareness Week (19 – 25 July)

The UK’s first Antisocial Behaviour Awareness Week takes place next week. There has been a huge rise in Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) cases during the national lockdowns, yet more than half of people who experience ASB don’t bother to report it. Leeds City Council’s Safer Stronger Communities team want people across Leeds to work together to take back our communities and make them safer. Tackling ASB is more important than ever we must stand together. Find out more at

Celebrating Eid al-Adha safely

For anyone celebrating, we hope that you have a happy Eid al-Adha and encourage you to celebrate safely during the festivities.

Eid al-Adha

Half a Century Stories with Leeds Playhouse Creative Engagement

24/7 mental health support if you need it

NHS mental health helplines have answered around three million calls during the pandemic.
The dedicated 24/7 NHS mental health crisis helplines were fast-tracked so everyone could get the rapid care they needed without having to go to A&E.
Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call their local helpline, and you can also call on behalf of someone you’re worried about. Support is available for all ages.
to find out more about urgent mental health support or you can find more information about the background story here:
'I continue to be humbled by the work and commitment of colleagues in mental health services all over the country. They made huge changes in normally impossible timeframes, in the most collective and supportive spirit.' Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director

Shared Moments: ‘Conversation’ written by Oliver Cross

One of the most regrettable side-effects of the Covid pandemic, aside from death, illness and impoverishment, is that it encouraged people to talk more, even though there’s less to say.

For example, there was a time, at the height of the vaccination drive, when everybody wanted to tell everybody else that they had had one or both of their inoculations, that staff were friendly and efficient and that they felt fine afterwards, or if they didn’t that they weren’t grumbling, even though what they were doing might easily be mistaken for  grumbling.

The larger implications of the global pandemic, along with associated concerns such as the sausage shortage, were largely ignored. This is what happens when the nation pulls together; we all focus on the big issue, in this case getting everybody jabbed, at the expense of ordinary, pleasant conversation.

The big issue as I write is the European football championships. I don’t know anything about football, especially as played by foreigners, but I do know, because so many people say so, that beating Germany last month was one of the finest moments in England’s history.

It almost exactly replicated our win against a country which no longer exists at an earlier stage of a different competition which took place before most people were born. If football really were to come home, it would find itself in the middle of the Vietnam War.

As well as the much-heralded ‘great summer of sport’ we also face a summer of quite unnecessary talk in which experts tell the viewers what they think is about to happen, although if the viewers wanted a definitive view of how the game might progress, they would be better advised to wait for it to start, maybe filling in the time by darning a sock or making a mug of Bovril (which is my attempt to recreate the spirit of  ’66.)

Commentators try to help by offering insights like ‘Both teams will be hoping for an early goal’, or ‘Andy Murray will be looking dour’, as if that might deepen our understanding of what sports people do, other than to demonstrate their hard-won skills with or without the help of chattering pundits.

Although chattering has, over the pandemic, become a declining skill. Just because we’re living through our greatest health emergency since the last one, we’ve started taking things too seriously and chattering opportunities have become scarce.

Before we even start we’ve got to check we’re socially distanced and correctly masked or, if the conversation is being conducted by Zoom, that we’ve hidden the discarded beer cans and takeaway cartons, which wouldn’t sit well with our claims to have spent all day making artisan vegan quiches.

(Incidentally, I join with a group of friends in regular Zoom get-togethers at which the chief problem is not that we’re lying our heads off; it’s that the honest, unvarnished truth of our lockdown lives is seldom more entertaining than algebra, or curling).

At which point, as I often do, I turn to my guru, Dr Samuel Johnson, who thought the happiest conversations were the ones which left a pleasing impression, even though nobody could remember later what the heck they were about. These may resume when bars and cafes reopen fully and when we all drop our guard a bit.

Unstoppable Carnival – online dance!

A lady dressed in a gold carnival costume is filming herself on her phone.

Here is your chance to be part an amazing carnival troupe this year! Join the Unstoppable Carnival Troupe.

Learn the Unstoppable Carnival routine from this pre-recorded dance class then film yourself performing the dance (by yourself or in your bubble) and then send it by WeTransfer or Google Drive Link to by 2nd August.

Videos from across Leeds will be edited together to create a fantastic Unstoppable Carnival video which will be shared online. All ages, abilities and ethnicities are welcome! This video will represent all of Leeds, so we want you to be in it!

This is a dance workshop for all abilities. Examples of movement variations are given, so you are welcome to work at whatever level suits you. You may also dance seated.

If you’d like a headdress and wrist bands to wear, please click on this Google Drive link to print out, colour in and wear as costume. Please return the consent form that is in the folder too.

This project is supported with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council and is a free event. Learn the Unstoppable Carnival dance any time of day, film yourself performing and send it to

Contact if you need help to send your video in.

End of the Love Woodhouse & Little London Food Project

We have loved being part of this project with Gateway Church Leeds which has provided fresh cooked meals as well as grocery parcels to people in the area every week for more than a year.
Today was the last day and so a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped to organise this.