Monday, 19 September 2016

Is Wayne Rooney a negative on the England team? Yahoo Sports Question of the week

HALIFAX REBORN: Square Chapel reopens as works continue

Halifax Reborn
Big Issue North magazine article 
Square Chapel reopens as works continue 

The first phase in the development of Halifax’s new cultural quarter will be completed this month as staff move back into the newly renovated Square Chapel Centre for the Arts. The £6.6 million capital fund project has been funded by the Arts Council and Calderdale Council.
Extensive renovation work is being carried out on several historic buildings in the Yorkshire town, including the Square Chapel and nearby Piece Hall. The three-year, £27m project, which includes an extension to Piece Hall as well as new shops, offices and outdoor spaces, is being funded by Calderdale Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. 
Staff will move back into the Square Chapel at the end of September after spending three months in the nearby Orangebox Young People’s Centre. The public will have access to the revamped arts centre from January 2017, with an official launch planned from autumn 2017. 
The Square Chapel, a Grade II listed building, was opened in 1779 and is one of only a handful of square churches ever built. In the decades that followed, it was used as a Sunday School and a base
for community events. 
It fell into disrepair in the 1980s, but was then brought back to life by businessman Robin Sutcliffe and his wife Jessica, an architect specialising in building conservation. Ignoring signs saying ‘Dangerous – Do Not Enter’, the couple climbed into the building to investigate whether it could be turned into a performing arts centre. 
“It was a wintry afternoon in 1983 when we groped our way up a dank staircase. I was completely unprepared for what greeted me,” said Jessica Sutcliffe. “It was a remarkable space, unexpectedly large but intimate at the same time, still with traces of Georgian elegance despite its ruinous state.” 
Over the next five years, the Sutcliffes assembled a team of people, the Square Chapel Trust, to bid to buy the building from Calderdale Council. They are both still on the board. 
Robin Sutcliffe added: “We could definitely see that this wonderful building could be turned into a performing arts centre and help play a role in culturally redeveloping Halifax town centre. 
“We knew it would take time to realise our objectives but from the start we used the building for arts activities.” 
As more funding became available, building work at the Square Chapel was undertaken, interspersed with theatre, poetry, music, dance and children’s events. 
“Ten years ago, with the support of Yorkshire Forward and the Arts Council, we began seeking funding for a major redevelopment,” Robin said. “The Square Chapel welcomes 40,000 visitors
a year and the building is no longer large enough for everyone who uses it.” 
The newly refurbished facilities will include a 108-seat multi-purpose cinema/studio theatre space, a dedicated space for volunteers and a cafe-bar area. There will also be direct access to the nearby Piece Hall. 
A new library designed around the remains of the nearby Square Congregational Church, which was built in the 1850s and closed its doors in 1969 before being destroyed by fire, is also under construction and will include a new IT area and media store. 
Meanwhile, volunteers are working towards the reopening of the Calderdale Industrial Museum, just yards away from the new library. 
“It’s a real thrill to see everything coming together to help form a really vibrant cultural heart to Halifax,” Robin said. “It was what we dreamt of all those years ago.” 
David McQuillan, the Director of Square Chapel, believes: “what is particularly exciting about opening the new building is that it affords the opportunity to programme more art, to welcome more people to take in live performances, watch films and eat and drink with us. 

“What won’t change is that Square Chapel will remain the red brick building heart in this grand stone town.”

Thursday, 1 September 2016


Two campaigns against immigration detention 
Legal aid cuts hinder asylum seeker justice 
Two new campaigns against immigration detention will be launched this weekend at a conference in Manchester. The gathering, by members of the Right to Remain (R2R) organisation, takes place after successive governments have extended immigration controls from the point of entry into local communities and workplaces. 
The numbers being placed in immigration detention centres have leapt in the last two decades from 300 at any one time to around 3,000. Last year more than 32,000 people were locked up on occasions in places such as Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre and Pennine House at Manchester Airport. 
'Appalling conditions' 
According to Michael Collins, Right to Remain co-ordinator: “Many of those detained have actually got a right to be in the UK. Unfortunately, because of cuts to legal aid, access to justice in the legal system has been stripped away, especially for people on meagre incomes. 
“Inexperienced civil servants are making decisions on people and taking away their liberties even though they’ve done nothing wrong. People are moved hundreds of miles from friends and family. 
Also, while detainees seek to get solicitors to represent them they can be confined indefinitely as the UK is the only European country not to have set a time limit on detention. 
“Many people have rightly been campaigning against the appalling conditions at the detention centres. We now want to build new local campaigns in Manchester and Liverpool against detention. These will be called These Walls Must Fall. We aim to get civil society to say it is unacceptable for so many people to be detained without a time limit being set.” 
Aderonke Apata, currently seeking asylum in the UK, fled Nigeria in 2004 after her partner was murdered because of her sexuality and Aderonke had a death sentence imposed on her by a sharia court. When she was detained in Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire in 2011 she claims to have experienced homophobic abuse and intimidation on a regular basis. Other lesbian detainees who she befriended were attacked. 
Apata stayed in the detention centre for almost a year and fears she could be returned at any time.
She helped launch African Rainbow Family (AFR), which supports LGBT people of African heritage. 
Aderonke and AFR both contributed to the 2016 All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights report. 
This recognised that “the decision-making process needs to be improved in assessing LGBT asylum
cases through improved staff training, potentially appointing specialist caseworkers for LGBT asylum cases”. 
This recognised that “the decision-making process needs to be improved in assessing LGBT asylum
cases through improved staff training, potentially appointing specialist caseworkers for LGBT asylum cases”. Aderonke wants to build on the inquiry’s recommendations. “I wish to raise awareness amongst immigration decision makers so that they can properly understand that the culture of many asylum seekers and detainees is different to their own. For example, it is not the practice in Africa for people to look directly at people and to make eye contact. In Britain anyone who doesn’t do this can be seen as shifty, disrespectful and untrustworthy. This can lead to decisions wrongly going against applicants who are applying to stay in the UK. 
“LGBT people are being detained unnecessarily as there is no way they can be sent back to places they have come from because it is not safe to live there. Being detained ruins people’s mental health and means when they do return to society they struggle to integrate into the local community.
It costs £33,000 a year to detain someone and this money could be used more effectively. 
“This Saturday I am establishing the We Rise: LGBT Asylum Seekers Campaign as what we need is more people openly involved and campaigning for their rights. It is an issue we need to make much more important.” 
Collins said: “Aderonke is a massive inspiration to so many people. It will be great for everyone to hear her speak as part of a packed programme of events.” 

These events include a workshop by Refugee InfoBus people from Calais, who are organising know-your-rights sessions for refugees in the Calais Jungle and also seeking to establish new groups in northern cities to welcome refugees when they get here. 

Friday, 26 August 2016

NO PLAY FOR TODAY - funding cuts hit sports in English state schools

Taken from Big Issue North, 22 - 28 August, please buy a copy of the magazine  when you see a seller 
Sport in schools is at “crisis level”, according to a North Yorkshire head teacher. 
In the week the government announced its long awaited anti-obesity strategy – and Britain continued to bring home Olympic medals from Rio –Tony Gavin, head of Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough, warned that some school sports are “virtually extinct” outside the private education sector as a result of funding cuts. 
Specialist teachers 
Under Gavin’s leadership Laurence Jackson School was a specialist sports school and the organising centre for the East Cleveland school sports partnership (SSP) – a funding scheme introduced by the Labour government in 2000 to increase sporting opportunities for schoolchildren, with a commitment that every child would receive a minimum of two hours a week of high quality competitive sport. 
In 2010 the Labour government claimed it had met the two-hour target for 90 per cent of children, up from 25 per cent in 2004. But on becoming prime minister of the new coalition government that year David Cameron claimed only 20 per cent of children were participating in inter-school sport and called Labour’s record “woeful”. 
School sports partnership annual funding of £160 million was slashed by 80 per cent, and ended in 2013. Funding was absorbed into general schools budgets, with a government spokesperson saying: “Having enjoyed some £2.4 billion of public funds since 2003 every school should have embedded good practice in order to maintain the current sports provision.” 
But Gavin said schools sports partnership funding was effective. “Pupils participated in over 20 different sports because the programme allowed for the bringing in of specialist sports teachers that local primary schools could also borrow,” he said. 
“Many schools marked out tracks and pupils used them. Young children became playground school leaders and every school got bags of kit. The school sports partnership was positive and helped begin to tackle obesity. Scrapping it was short sighted.” 
Gavin said sports such as cricket have almost disappeared in state schools.
“Schools can’t afford groundsmen,” he said. “Consequently, pitches are not safe enough to allow a 14-year old to bowl on at cricket. Unless you can, like us, establish a partnership with a cricket club that means no cricket. Rugby is similar. Sport in schools is at a crisis level.” 
Coaching standards 
Gerry Sutcliffe, Labour MP for Bradford South from 1994 to 2015 and sports minister from 2007 to 2010, said: “We upped participation levels, created over 130 specialist sports colleges and later increased the numbers of coaches. We moved sport away from being just football, cricket and rugby for boys and netball and hockey for girls. Our research showed we were making progress.” 

Sutcliffe said the current approach to school sports “is a disaster area”, adding: “Free schools and academies provide no guarantee about sports provision. In Bradford too many schools have no sports provision or a playground. Coaching standards have fallen. There aren’t any reliable figures on schools sport. It is time for change.” 

The government though has defended its school sports record. A spokesperson said: “Since 2013 we have provided over £450 million direct to primary schools to improve physical education and sport provision. 
“The national curriculum sets out the expectation that pupils should be physically active for sustained periods of time and teachers have the flexibility to organise and deliver a range activities. The sport premium was doubled in the last budget to £320 million annually. Schools remain
free to work in partnership to deliver sport for their pupils if they wish. The numbers of people playing sport weekly has risen to 15.8 million.” 

Tony Gavin and Gerry Sutcliffe will be guest speakers at a public meeting on ’What future for school sports?’ on 20 October at 7pm at Unite’s regional office, 55 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BW