Leeds Homeshare

Leeds City Council has recently sent this, which may be of interest to you.

“A brief overview of the scheme is attached with our advert.

We are hoping that Homeshare may be a positive option for older people, particularly living alone, who are starting to struggle to live independently and are lonely or socially isolated and also offer an affordable accommodation options for younger people who are struggling to afford rents in the city. Homeshare is a great way of people coming together to give something of value, either accommodation or their time, whilst receiving something of value back. The ethos of Homeshare is of sharing lives and reciprocal support, very much about valuing what people have to offer. Website: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/homeshare

Kind Regards.”

Tribeca House, Leeds Shared Lives, Adult Social Care,
Leeds City Council
Central Mail Room, Westland Road.  LS11 5SB

Leeds drop in information and advice service for adults in Leeds with learning disabilities.

Through The Maze LogoMedia Release: For immediate release

People from Leeds with learning disabilities invited to attend new drop in information and advice service.

Through the Maze is an information advice and signposting service for adults with learning disabilities in Leeds. Through the Maze are start the year by inviting adults with learning disabilities from across Leeds to join them at their new drop in sessions.

If you have a learning disability or care for someone with a learning disability Through the Maze would like to invite you to join them on Monday afternoons between 1pm and 3pm.  You don’t need to book to come along, just turn up as the sessions are informal and relaxed.  To read more, please click here….Through the Maze Drop in Press Release

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Tania with leaflets

Drop in image 2

Leeds Learning Disability Charity celebrates 20 years of success

ConnThrough The Maze Logoect in The North, a charity based on Balm Road in Hunslet is celebrating 20 years of creating change in Leeds this November. For the last 20 years the organisation has been working to enable people with learning difficulties to have the same opportunities and power in their lives as everyone else.

Over the years Connect in the North has run different projects in which people with learning difficulties have taken a lead, for example:

  • Making Your Days Better – a project that involved people with learning difficulties visiting alternatives to day services around the country. They wrote about what they’d learnt in a resource which was published by Pavilion and was a best seller.
  • Connect Work  – a project where people with learning difficulties first found out what training people with difficulties wanted personal assistants to have. They then developed and delivered training for personal assistants.
  • Developing the Building Our Power pack. Building Our Power is training to support the involvement of people with learning difficulties on governing bodies.

Company director Cathy Wintersgill said:

“We have seen a lot of changes over those 20 years – Meanwood Park Hospital finally closed down, more people getting the chance to choose who they live with, where they live and who supports them by using personal budgets and people with learning difficulties are now actively involved in planning services in Leeds.”

Connect in the North has played a part in these changes. With funding from the Leeds Joint Commissioning Service they run free training for people who work in Leeds. This supports the ongoing development and improvement of services for people with learning difficulties in the city.

Connect in the North’s directors, who all have learning difficulties, are involved in speaking out nationally through the Learning Disability Alliance. This is an alliance of individuals and organisations working closely with the National Forum (of people with learning difficulties) and the National Valuing Families Forum to promote the rights of people with learning difficulties.

“Connect in the North is a fantastic organization. We are a user led organization of people with learning difficulties, which is great because it gives people with learning difficulties control. It is a great organization to be part of. Over the years we have done many different things. ” said Vicky Hiles chair of Connect in the North and Board member since 2010.
Connect in the North also run ‘Through the Maze’ an information and signposting service for people with learning disabilities, careers and professionals. This information service helps people find activities, services and support they need to lead full lives and be part of their communities.

Notes to Editors:
Connect in the North is a centre for inclusive living led by people with learning difficulties. All our members and directors are people with learning difficulties. Connect in the North has its 20th birthday in November 2015.
We believe that people with learning difficulties should have the same rights, choices and opportunities as non-disabled people.

We work with individual people with learning difficulties supporting them to plan the life they want to lead with the support they need. We work with people moving from their parent’s home for the first time, people who want to return to Leeds after living elsewhere (at a residential college for example) and people wanting to move to have more control of their lives.

Connect in the North also provides training, often for support staff in using person centred thinking in their work. We also run training for people with learning difficulties for example our Streetwise course helps people with learning difficulties stay safe when they are out and about.
From 1st April 2015 we have been running Through the Maze, an information and signposting services for people with learning difficulties in Leeds.

Connect in the North is a charity and not-for-profit organisation.

[Press Release – Connect in the North ] Leeds Learning Disability Charity celebrates 20 years of success.

Cathy Wintersgill Director of Connect in the North

Cathy Wintersgill Director of Connect in the North

Vicky Hiles Director (Chair) Connect in the North

Vicky Hiles Director (Chair) Connect in the North


OPALPlease see below recently received from Ailsa Rhodes, OPAL Project Coordinator with regard to Aviva Community Fund

Aviva Community Fund – we urgently need your votes to help us secure £10,000 for Bedford Arms. Voting from 1stMay and 31st May 2015

Please click on this link http://bit.ly/1IUO7lL and vote for OPAL. If we can secure enough votes then we could be entered into the Finals, where a judging panel will award the funds. Please share this link and ask everyone you know to vote for OPAL.

OPAL Annual Questionnaire

It’s that time of year when we ask for feedback – what are we doing well and what can we improve?  Please take the time to complete the questionnaire and send it back to us. It helps us plan for the future, it helps us tweak whatever needs tweaking and as a thank you for taking the time to complete the questionnaire, you will be entered into a prize draw.

Bedford Arms

We are delighted to have reached our target of raising £72,000 by 31st Match so that we could buy Bedford Arms.  We are now waiting for Leeds CC to amend the lease so that we can get the legal stuff finalised – this should happen imminently and then we can crack on getting the building renovated. We have raised some money for this already and will be working hard over the next year to raise the necessary funds to get the work completed.

You will see from the newsletter that we have had an incredible amount of support from many different quarters – thank you to each and one who has contributed to us getting this far.  This includes:

Inner North West Community Committee

Sir George Martin Trust

The Bramhope Trust

Rank Foundation

Buy a Brick Campaign – local groups, businesses and individuals have bought a brick for £50 and in total this has raised over £20,000!!!

Key Fund – Social Incubator North


School of Psychology who did a Bake Sale


Calverley Rotary Club

PF Associates Ltd who did the survey for free

Emsleys Solicitors


OPAL Fundraising Team: a group of fabulously motivated and enthusiastic individuals who have been visitinglocal businesses to raise awareness, collect raffle prizes and donations.

There have also been several individuals who have given their time, expertise and/or financial support. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Mears are going to do some of the renovation work on the first floor.

If I have missed you or anyone off this list who should be recognised, please let me know.

Fundraising Activities to look out for:

2nd May and 15th May D,UKES will perform on their ukuleles outside ASDA Holt Park 10am – 1pm to raise money for us. Come and support them, have a boogie, tap your toes and donate some money.

16th May 2015  The University of Leeds Women’s Football Club will be taking part in Colour Me Rad (a 5K run while having paint thrown on us!). You can sponsor the team through https://localgiving.com/fundraising/luuwafcrad

18th May 2015  Johnson and Johnson Ltd are spending a day volunteering with us to do a clean-up of the grounds of Bedford Arms

24th June 2015  Open Day at Bedford Arms, 3pm – 7pm. Come and talk to us about our plans and let us know your thoughts. Refreshments provided. There will also be a raffle and a stall with homemade cakes.

Representing Great Britain in the European Sprint Duathlon Championships

Thank you to everyone who sent their best wishes to me as I completed in the European Sprint Duathlon Championships in Alcobendas, Madrid.  It was an amazing experience, although the rain and thunderstorms weren’t quite what I was expecting in Spain. I came 12th in my age group (much better than I had hoped) and with sponsorship from Emsleys solicitors, I also managed to raise some money for OPAL too.