Time to make housing shortage a real priority

One of the issues featured in the paper for some time now is ‘housing’. Many people in our area are very concerned about several applications by developers to build houses on pleasant sites in the district.

I live in one such pleasant area, which I am told is under threat. So I understand how strongly some feel about this matter. In your paper of May 24 you report one of our local MPs spoke out in the House of Commons regarding tenants’ rights to house ownership.

However, I grew up in the Great Depression in a working class family. I remember at Christmas time being taken to see Santa Claus to Leeds by tramcar. We just had to sit on the top. The ride was just wonderful. I recall as we approached Leeds, seeing the long rows of narrow sunless street, I was told they had no facilities and were referred to as “slums”. I remember too, how when the Rev Charles Jenkinson arrived in Leeds, he was appalled when he visited his parishioners and saw the condition many had to live in. So much so, he put up for Leeds City Council with the object of “clearing the slum properties” and rehousing the families in decent homes. He was not very popular in some quarters and the opposition was unbelievable.

We have a housing problem today. I am told there are two million families in our country desperately needing homes. That there are a million properties standing empty, for one reason or another. In the present era of “austerity” at least half the families in this country do not earn enough nor will never earn enough to buy a house or rent some of those available. When is our Government going to do something about this and give local government the finance to build the modern equivalent of what we call “council houses”, at rents the bottom part of the earnings pyramid can afford to pay?

When our first lady Prime Minister got the idea of selling council houses to sitting tenants she overlooked that it would reduce the housing stock for the poor families. The money acquired from the sales should have been used to build more affordable houses. Where has the money gone?

Perhaps our MPs could tell us if anything is being done about lack of affordable housing for our many low paid workers.

SH Waddington Billing View Rawdon

Cruel taunts do not help in obesity debate

If you wanted to call me the fattest man in Britain I don’t suppose I’d be all that bothered. I’m a grown man and I’m broad shouldered and sticks and stones, etc. But the recent calling by the media of a young lady “the fattest teenager in Britain” strikes me as more than a little unkind.

Besides which, we live in the greatest welfare state ever invented by man, and so we are all supposed to be kept as fit as a fiddle from cradle to grave. So where were all these people while this unfortunate young lady was getting bigger and bigger?

And presumably she has a mum and a dad? Pointed questions are what are needed here, not cruel taunts.

John Wilson Wilsons Solicitors New Road Side Horsforth

‘Thank you to tireless village Jubilee team’

I read with interest the article quoting Richard Hunter Rowe in last week’s paper about how Addingham villagers really pulled together to ensure a successful village event on the Monday of the Jubilee weekend, following a 24-hour postponement owing to the dreadful weather.

I should point out that modesty obviously prevents Richard from highlighting his own considerable contribution to the event. Richard, together with several members of FAPS (Friends of Addingham Primary School) namely Giles Blackburne, Rick Glover, Brandon Gore and Dan Stapleton should be congratulated on their tireless efforts throughout the Sunday and Monday, which, in conjunction with the cricket club and the civic society, ensured a truly memorable and enjoyable weekend.

Fiona Mann

A day of laughter and gorgeous goodies

I would like to say a big thank-you on behalf of myself, my daughter and two grand-daughters to Anne and Ruth for a delightful street party on Tuesday, June 5, in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Although cold, there was a lot of laughter and gorgeous goodies provided by all.

It was lovely to meet with our neighbours and their families. So many people had taken time and trouble to decorate their houses, it really was a festive occasion. Thank you once again for all the hard work and organisation – the quiz was a big hit and my granddaughters enjoyed making their biscuits, crowns and flags.

Lynda Wrigglesworth West View Avenue Burley-in-Wharfedale

Animal welfare concern at Olympic ceremony

I read with great anxiety that the opening ceremony at the London 2012 Olympics will involve live animals, including cows, sheep and chickens.

It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate setting for animals than amid the thunderous crowds and fireworks of such a ceremony. Sheep are particularly fearful of loud noises, and farmers have reported that they may spontaneously abort during fireworks displays.

In 2008, the noise of a hot air balloon killed 300 chickens on a Herefordshire farm, and if horses become frightened, there could be human casualties, as well as animal.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause physical or mental suffering, ‘where this is unnecessary and the person knew or could be expected to know that an animal would suffer as a result’.

The 1988 Seoul ceremony was seriously tarnished by doves being burnt to death in the Olympic flame. Is London prepared to be seen in an equally negative light?

Kate Fowler Head of campaigns Animal Aid The Old Chapel Bradford Street Tonbridge, Kent

Chance to get involved as Girlguiding volunteer

Members of Girlguiding Reva District will be running a stall at Guiseley Carnival on Sunday, June 24, giving women the chance to find out about opportunities for volunteering with Girlguiding. The stall will also offer free activities for children.

In Guiseley there is already a team of more than 50 volunteers, but we do need more leaders for Brownies and Rainbows.

Volunteers will have the chance to develop skills, make friends, have fun, and most of all enjoy the smiles on the girls’ faces!

Girlguiding UK is hugely popular, with more than half-a-million members. It provides a unique girl only space and gives girls and young women a voice.

To find out more or to volunteer call 0800 169 5901 or visit girlguiding.org.uk or for a local contact, email girlguidingreva@ btinternet.com or visit our stand at the Guiseley Carnival.

Jill Buddle Girlguiding Reva District Commissioner

Champion bid to teach youngsters money skills

An important new peer education project is taking part nationwide, to equip young people with a crucial life skill – managing their money.

Barclays Money Skills champions provides young people with money management training to pass on their financial know-how to friends and peers.

Barclays is working in partnership with a group of leading youth and information charities to train 5,000 young champions who will reach up to 100,000 more young people across the country.

All the champions are aged 16 to 25 and most are not in education, employment or training.

We know from our pilot programme, which has taken place in eight areas across the UK and has already trained a number of champions and support workers, that taking part will give young people a real confidence boost, and a useful addition to their CVs.

Not only will it improve their financial ability and give them the proficiencies to be peer educators – but it will also help them build key life skills such as communication and leadership skills, and hopefully give them the motivation to go on and find employment.

You can find out more at barclaysmoneyskills.com/champions

Fiona Blacke Chief executive National Youth Agency

No kidding – this could be big break for comics!

Do you love telling jokes? Are you great at delivering gags? Is your mate or sister the funniest person in the pub?

If the answer is yes or you know someone who fits the bill, then get in touch now.

I need funny joke tellers from every walk of life to take part in a brand new show hosted by me, John Bishop.

Contact the team today at 07580 803068 or email jokes@channelx.co.uk

John Bishop